This article is from the WSSF 2010 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
Jade Luthy, facebook
Q I’m going to go to a pet store (I really wanted to adopt from a breeder but my mother trusts a pet store more) to buy two female mice. It’s a bit of a trip from my house to the pet store—about an hour’s drive. How and what should I use to transport these two mice? What foods do they need? Do they need bedding? I was thinking I would have to buy a carrying case at the store, but there’s got to be better (and considerably cheaper) alternatives.
Also, once I get them home, is there some special thing I should do when putting them in their cage? I was just going to have it completely ready for them and put them in it right away. I was planning on leaving them alone for two days as well so they can adjust before trying to handle them. Thanks!
A The AFRMA web site has lots of information on mice www.afrma.org/rmindex.htm—everything from cages to food to bedding, treats, etc.
Since traveling that long, your new mice need to have a secure carrier, plus you would need something to have available for transport to a vet if needed, so I would recommend investing the money in a good carrier. Some people make their own cages and carriers from the plastic bins/totes. They cut holes in the lid and replace with wire but they can chew out of these cages over time, plus they would require your time to construct one.
In regards to feeding your mice: lab blocks should be the main diet with oats (oatmeal, oat groats, or whole oats), dog biscuits, whole wheat bread, millet, etc., as treats.
Yes, mice need bedding—paper or hardwood bedding with shredded napkins or hay (orchard grass hay works well) for nesting material.
Mice need some sort of house which can either be a cardboard box or store bought plastic kind. With a cardboard house they can easily be replaced when they get dirty or completely chewed up, plus it gives them something to chew on and use in their nest as well. With plastic houses some mice don’t like them plus they have to be washed weekly. Most mice will chew the plastic to some extent. There are wooden houses available in the pet shops, but these have to be washed and completely dried at least once a week as the mice will pee on them. Mice enjoy tubes—again cardboard (toilet paper or paper towel) or plastic, a wheel (a must for pet shop mice!), and will need a water bottle (water dishes will just get shoved full of bedding and leave thirsty mice), and a 10-gallon tank size cage (wire cages are not good for mice).
Yes, just put them in their new cage when you get home. You can take them out and handle them the next day a couple times for a little bit and then each day just add more handling. Give a treat when you put them back so they associate it with something good (just like rats).
Candy Evans, Wenonah, NJ
Q I’ve been researching lab boxes for my new mice—where to get them and the costs. So far I have found several places and am in the process of getting prices. Even found a place that supposedly deals with used equipment, so we’ll see (Labex of MA). I know there are a bunch of labs out here on the east coast. I’m trying to locate them and see if they sell their boxes used. Where do you get your lab cages?
A Most of the cages I have all came from Maryland Plastics, P.O. Box 472, 251 East Central Avenue, Federalsburg, MD 21632, 410-754-5566, 800-544-5582. They have “seconds” they sell to pet/hobby breeders supposedly cheaper. They are new but have slight flaws in them so can’t sell to labs. The last price list I have is from 1997 so you would need to call to get current prices/what’s in stock. They hadn’t been taking phone orders, only mail orders so don’t know if that has changed.
I use the 19″L x 10½″W x 61⁄8″H and the 147⁄8″L x 127⁄8″W x 65⁄8″H for breeding/holding/growing up cages. For the growing up/holding cages I only put 4–6 mice per cage depending on size. I now only use their 11″L x 8½″W x 6″H (no longer being made) for transport cages or overflow new moms/young single males now that I have found the cages from Tecniplast to replace these for moms with new litters.
In the process of trying to find different size cages, I found several other companies (all on the east coast). There is Allentown Caging Equipment that has a cage I was looking into for new moms. It is for 5 mice/4 hamsters 12½″W x 9¼″L x 6″H. There is Tecniplast that has the 14″L x 9¼″W x 7½″H (2150E). They also have other cages that seem pretty good. I got some of their nice size lab rat cages with higher lids. There is Thoren Caging Systems that has an expanded mouse cage 8.75″W x 12.13″L x 7.37″H. You can also check out lab animal guide site for a complete list of companies that make just about everything for lab animals.
I’m pretty sure everyone also sells water bottles. Ancare might be a place for water bottles. I recommend the ball-point sipper tubes rather than the open tubes. They also make the Nestlets bedding sheets that we did a review on in one of the newsletters.
I don’t recommend getting any cages shorter than 6 inches tall for the big fancy show mice.
To see a list of more lab cage companies, visit the AFRMA Links page .