Nutrition, food for thought.
Food is a vital role in ensuring the health and longevity of our mice. While breeders will have diﬀerent requirements for their feed, we will be aiming this more towards pet homes for those of you out there looking for what is best for your pet mouse.
The diﬀerence between pets owners and mouse breeders to take into consideration is that breeding mice will be expending a lot of energy on the growth of babies and then nursing them in the following weeks after birth. A third of a mouse's growth occurs during the nursing stage and because of this, puts a lot more strain on a doe's body. Breeders will counteract this by providing high protein and high fat feeds to ensure that mice are always in top condition regardless of if they are nursing or not.
Pet mice have the opportunity to take things at a slower pace and because of this, breeders will suggest that ready made commercial feeds are suitable for their nutritional requirements. Mice should have food that has protein levels of around 16% protein and a low fat level of 4 to 5%. The reason for such low fat levels is that de to inactivity, obesity easily occurs in domesticated pets, mice are not immune to this. There are some varieties of mice that are more prone to obesity, often red and fawn mice. Ask your breeder if they have any varieties in their mousery that they have noted are more prone to obesity, just because its fat, doesn't mean its cute and chubby, they may be prone to health problems and shorter lifespans because of this.
There aren't actually many brands available on the market that are species speciﬁc to mice, which is the more recommended option, this is due to the fact that multiple species feeds will be trying to provide nutritional requirements for as many animals as possible, so protein that is suitable for a mouse may not be for another animal but may still be advertised for multiple species.
Another issue to be addressed with animal feeds would be muesli mixes Vs pellet feeds. While muesli mixes seem to be full of healthy natural foods, they may often be full of bulking ingredients that are high in fat such as seeds. Muesli also allows for something called selective feeding, this is where your pet will eat only the bits of the food that they actually like, which although they enjoy, wont allow for their nutritional requirements to be fully met. Pellet feeds may look more clinical and you may feel like they don't get as much variety, this can be done in the form of fresh foods alongside their pellet feed. Pellet feeds allow for every pellet to contain the required nutrients for your pet to be met, theres no selective feeding opportunities.
The product that we always recommend new mouse owners looking for a food that is
suitable is Supreme Science Selective Mouse. This is a pellet based food that is species speciﬁc and has nutritional values that are well suited for pet mice. Unfortunately the company only sells this food in 350g bags so isn't really suitable for breeders as the volume of feed required for large numbers of mice would not be ﬁnancially viable. In recent months it seems to not be so readily available but we have found this website still selling the food: https://www.hyperdrug.co.uk/Supreme-Science-Selective-Mouse-Food-350g/Productinfo/ SCIENMOUSE/? gclid=CjwKCAiA8K7uBRBBEiwACOm4dzWYud_cVG4y40Vwg1mnH24QIMJqg3VgoRdtB4BUdKD 6do4JKAqYwRoC0pAQAvD_BwE
Fresh fruit and veg can also be oﬀered to your mice as a weekly treat, but by providing your pets foods high in fats an sugars can lead to excessive weight gain and so should be given in small portions. These make for healthier alternatives to commercially produced pet treats that are often full of cereal ﬁllers with little to non beneﬁcial nutrients.
Mealworms also make for a beneﬁcial addition to feeds, however, carries the risk of coccidiosis. A disease that can be fatal to vulnerable mice such as the young and the old, so products with heat treated meal worms can be a slightly safer option though this may cause the mealworms to lose some of their nutritional value.
Food changes should always be done gradually, just like you would with cats and dogs. This is because mice have sensitive digestive systems that get used to certain levels of nutrients in their usual food, when this is suddenly changed with no time to acclimatise, it may cause gastric distress in to form of diarrhoea. If this occurs, ensure that your mice have easy access to full water bottles to make sure that they stay hydrated as dehydration is a real possibility and can be fatal for vulnerable mice. When mice leave here at Burford Mousery, we will always provide a bag of changeover food to ensure that your mice don't get upset stomachs from sudden food changes.
Fresh food and water should be available to your mice at all times, with water being changed daily, food bowls should also be changed daily due to mice often using their bowls as toilets. A mouse that isn't eating or drinking is often ill and should be seen by a veterinary professional as soon as possible.
What brand are you feeding your mice? Have you noticed them getting on the podgy side? We'd love to know your experiences!