View Full Version : The best way to start a breeding colony?

08-27-2005, 12:20 AM
I'm wanting to set up my own breeding colony of mice. How should I go about getting the mice? I know you can buy fancy mice from pet stores for $5 each but is that really the best way to go? I've heard all the horror stories about pet stores not keeping the best care of their animals and I really don't want to feed my little guy sick mice. I haven't had any luck finding a local breeder in my area. There is one pet store sorta near by that breeds mice to sell as feeders but no matter the size they are $1.75, frozen or live, and getting him to sell a male and a female is like pulling teeth. Basically, he doesn't want anyone setting up their own colony because he would lose some profit. Any ideas of how I could get him to sell me 2 males and 4-8 females? I'm hoping to start with 2 cages then using some of their offspring to start a couple more. I'm not all that sure about the guys setup so I can't say if there is any inbreeding. Will this hurt my chances of having healthy mice?

From the info I've gathered so far, I'll be best off getting them all at one time and about the same age (roughly 6-7 weeks old). Also, once I do have them set up, I can't add anymore so buying them in shifts won't work and I'm rather limited on pet stores so I can't really get some here and some there. Is this info correct? Or would it be possible to buy a male at one store then get the females from another? If I got them at the same time, would they accept each other at home?

Any comments and/or tips would be greatly appreciated.

08-27-2005, 03:52 AM
it all depends on the mice dude, if worse goes to worse its better to place young to mature, or young to young, but mature to mature can some times (rarely) cause problems

08-27-2005, 05:04 AM
Adult females can live with adult females, but adult males are less likely to live with adult males. Explain to this guy that you want all females because they will be housed together until they are fed. Get 10 females.

Then go to the local petshop and buy 2 males.

Now you have two groups of 1.5 mice and the males and females would be of differnet bloodlines so you can avoid too much inbreeding.


08-27-2005, 05:32 AM
mice and rats can actually tolerate some inbreeding compared to other mammals, to an extent.... but it still screws them up down the line.

08-27-2005, 02:15 PM
How long does it take usually, for mice to start breeding, once placed in an enclosure? How do you tell they difference between the sexes?

08-28-2005, 08:09 AM
Thanks for the replies :D I was pretty sure I would have to get the females from one place and the males from another. I just wanted to make sure they would all get along once I got them home if I did that but I'm guessing since they'll be on neutral ground it will be ok.

How big of an age gap is ok for them to still mate? I have 2 mice now (1male, 1 female) that have never even attempted to mate. When we got them, he was still pretty small but she looked to be full grown. The pet shop's owner's son snuck me a female :P He made it sound like they never sold females but I'm hoping Rick's tip may persuade him to let go of a few ;)

08-28-2005, 08:24 AM
James_James, I can tell you that females have nipples and males don't once they are sexually mature. Also, (in my case anyway) if they have to lean down into the food bowl while sitting on the edge, the males testicles will descend. I found that little tip somewhere on the internet but I can't seem to find it again now.

This site http://www.ahc.umn.edu/rar/MNAALAS/MiceRat.html also says "Sexually mature male mice and rats usually exhibit prominent scrotum. Sexually mature female mice and rats usually exhibit a prominent double row of nipples. Furthermore, the distance between the rectal opening and the penis of the male is greater than the distance between the rectal opening and the urinary opening of the female in both mice and rats."