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Feeders Any and all issues about raising rats, mice, or anything else that you feed your cornsnakes.

Thinking about starting a single mouse colony - tips?
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:58 PM   #1
hypnoctopus
Thinking about starting a single mouse colony - tips?

I've always adored rodents and I'm thinking about starting a single colony to supplement my feeder supply. Ideally the adults in the colony would be basically pets and then I would use their babies as feeders. I've never kept live mice before, so this is just the very beginning stages of my research.

Can I keep one male with 3 females? I've watched a few videos that have a 1 to 5 or 1 to 6 ratio, but I assume that's for maximum production. I don't know if I would want to start off with that many, so is there any reason I couldn't do a lower number? Like will the male harass the females too much?

Can I keep them in my bedroom or will the smell be too horrible? How often would they need to be cleaned to keep the smell down? Can I house them in a 20 gallon tank or is that too small?

I would love to be able to keep them in the garage, but I live in Arizona where the summer temps in the garage easily exceed 100 degrees, so I'm assuming that would be too hot for them?

Thanks for any pointers!
 
Old 01-01-2021, 12:27 AM   #2
Rich Z
Mice REALLY stink. And you will pick up that smell on your clothes and in your hair, and on your skin. Which will be hell when you go to pick up any of your snakes and they smell mice on you. Their sense of smell is much MUCH greater than yours, and they will smell FOOD when nosing around your hands.

And having them in the same room as your snakes will likely be a real problem for you too. They will constantly smell the mice nearby, which might keep them in a constant state of agitation.

We had a rather large colony of mice and it was a gargantuan anchor on our lives. We could not go anywhere for longer than 3 days MAX, because the mice needed to be tended to.

How many snakes do you have? A single harem of mice will not provide you very much in the way of feed items, IMHO.

And honestly, if you are treating the parent mice as pets, I think you are going to have a tough time taking the babies away from them to feed them to your snakes without feeling some guilt over it.

We usually had one male and 4 females in each cage, if I remember correctly. In your case, what happens if your lone male dies suddenly? Or is sterile? That DOES happen. And not all females will produce for you.

Sorry if this sounds real negative, but the mouse colony, although saving us a bunch of money, was one hell of a headache to maintain. Maybe a small group would be OK, but I think you will come to regret that decision.

Anyway, just my personal opinion, and your mileage may vary. A lot.
 
Old 01-01-2021, 12:34 AM   #3
LyraFamily
We’ve been raising mice for about 3 years (currently am down to 7 colonies over the winter) and I actually prefer to keep the 1:3 ratio. Despite all of the reports on the internet, we keep the male in with females and we’ve never had a case of him eating the babies - our males actually help out the mothers quite a bit.

I pick clean the cages every 2 or 3 days and do a major cleaning once per very 5-7 days week have not had any issues with odors.
 
Old 01-01-2021, 12:44 AM   #4
LyraFamily
Over time, we’ve been selecting for larger litter size and am currently running 14-17 pups per litter. We also swap out females out every 9 months to a year (as soon as an individual’s production slows down) and feed an low ammonia lab block (which may be helping with the odor issue).
 
Old 01-01-2021, 12:56 AM   #5
MysticExotics
I've been keeping colonies on and off for several years.
I currently have 3 mice colonies and one ASF colony.
They're currently in my spare/snake room, but once I get one of my outbuildings set up, I will be moving them all out there.
I like breeding fancy mice, so that's what I focus on. It makes it harder when it comes time to cull, but I like them better than standard mice.
 
Old 01-01-2021, 01:00 AM   #6
MysticExotics
1.3 ratio will depend on the individual mice, but it could work.

They do smell more than rats, but I use horse pellets on the bottom, with pine shavings, and it does help a little with the smell. Keep the bins clean, and it helps.
 
Old 01-01-2021, 03:04 AM   #7
hypnoctopus
Thank you everyone for your input!

Rich - no worries about negativity! I need to know all the variables in order to make a good decision. I was actually going to ask about snakes and mice in the same room, so I'm glad you touched on that. I only have 8 snakes right now, but hopefully will have babies next year. I hadn't thought about the fact that they obviously need more daily care. Hmm, well all good points to consider.
 
Old 01-01-2021, 05:06 PM   #8
MysticExotics
I started my colony so I could have day old pinkies for hatchling snakes.
There's a fair amount of work involved, it's a matter of deciding if it's worth it to you.
I have been contemplating feeding more ASF's to my permanent residents.
ASF's are less stinky, and produce larger litters.
I initially started ASF's for my carpet pythons (smaller species, like IJ's, Inlands, etc), but seeing the benefits of raising them, I started thinking of also giving them to some of my Corns.
I don't feed ASF's to ones I am going to sell, in the event they decide to refuse mice, but it's worth it to me to keep the colony.
 
Old 01-01-2021, 05:07 PM   #9
MysticExotics
I started my colony so I could have day old pinkies for hatchling snakes.
There's a fair amount of work involved, it's a matter of deciding if it's worth it to you.
I have been contemplating feeding more ASF's to my permanent residents.
ASF's are less stinky, and produce larger litters.
I initially started ASF's for my carpet pythons (smaller species, like IJ's, Inlands, etc), but seeing the benefits of raising them, I started thinking of also giving them to some of my Corns.
I don't feed ASF's to ones I am going to sell, in the event they decide to refuse mice, but it's worth it to me to keep the colony.
 
Old 01-01-2021, 05:07 PM   #10
MysticExotics
Sorry about the duplicate post
 

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