Appropriate company for mice

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 Ensure your mice have appropriate company

Mice need:

Two mice together © Fotolia / Emilia Stasiak
  • Housing in single-sex, stable, compatible, harmonious groups:

    -Ask breeders to pre-group before weaning, ensuring the group comprises of mice that know each other, ideally siblings.

    - Keep the group the same; don¿t add/remove individuals. Upsetting the group¿s complex organisation by adding/removing even one individual can cause intense, stressful conflict which can affect the welfare of all mice.

    - Ensure males can¿t smell females, as this can increase aggression between male cage mates.

  • Housing with other mice ¿ they¿re gregarious and social. Never house them alone unless it¿s under specific veterinary recommendations. They find social isolation and/or individual housing incredibly stressful. If it¿s required, ensure they can see/hear/smell other mice of their own gender, and provide them with additional environmental resources to meet their needs.
  • Consideration. Take care with group size/composition, and husbandry, when housing male mice in groups and ensure minimum disturbance. They can be aggressive to other mice they aren¿t familiar with. Mice form a complex social organisation within the group. How each individual fits within this social group can depend on age/gender/position/reproductive condition.
  • Monitoring immediately after grouping and when they¿re placed back in the cage after cleaning, to avoid aggression.
  • Checking regularly to ensure aggression isn¿t becoming a problem.
  • Positive interactions with you. Gently habituate them to you; this reduces the stress associated with handling. Mice are a prey species; if not properly habituated to human interaction can find handling very stressful.
  • Housing away from other rodent species. Ensure wild rodents can¿t enter the area where you house mice. They can also find the presence/scent of other animals in the home stressful.
  • You to wash your hands and cage equipment properly before handling different species, and handling mice from different cages. Other rodent species don¿t make suitable companions for mice; they carry diseases which can be transmitted to mice and vice versa. Such diseases affect health and can be fatal.
  • Themselves, and their home-cage, to be kept away from other animals within the home.
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