Breeding with Mice

Questions and suggestions regarding reptile cuisine.

Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:00 pm

Hello there Guys/Gals

I have been toying with the idea of setting up a large scale mice breeding colony for a while (2 weeks - Impulsive person)

As I am brand new to this I thought it might be fun/entertaining and educational to share my trials and tribulations with everybody or just those who are interested.

Well I started off reading posts on here and many other sites/forums on who needs the products and what the return would be like. That only made me want to start sooner.

I then obviously needed some kind of containers/racks for the mice to live in and I found a guy on Junkmail selling his setup for R500. Now he has his reasons why he is selling them for so cheap and I am more than willing to assist him in this. So i am now the semi proud owner of 15 glass tanks divided into 4 /6 tanks. Good start there i think. I just need to go collect them.

Next i did major research and asked a few questions about mice. I was told that Multimammate Mouse (Rattus natalensis) are very sought after. I have subsequently found they so sought after that you cant find any at all. Now I know they do exist, but I feel like the butt of a inside joke and i am being sent on some wild goose chase. I know we made new troopies search for underwater grease, funnel spanners and red port light oil when I was in the SA Navy.

Well I am going to end this post here. Before I get banned or bore you all to death.
Edward Seaborne
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Bushviper » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:04 pm

Multimammate mice are bred quite regularly and it is possible to find breeding stock. The first ones brought into SA were sold for R80 each and now you can buy them for R4-00 each. They are a bit more difficult to breed and bite like demons.
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:11 pm

Chapter 2:
Ill call this post -Turning the Enemy

Well I guess the most difficult part of my new business idea was to convince my wife it was a good idea. We have this newly refurbished loft style garden cottage and instead of renting it out I thought it would be perfect to for my breeding colony. Besides the fact that my wife thought i was mad she flatly refused that I use the cottage. She was however willing to part with the garage so I guess a compromise was made.

My wife and daughters also bombarded me with questions and comments like "they smell", "can we name them", "do we have to kill them" "how do you kill them" "you cant use the freezer". As this is a family forum I will not write about the "adult" words that were also used.

Eventually after doing some sums and showing my wife the potential income we (I) can make from a part time business I think she caught onto the business. Now if Edison gave up on his idea we would all be sitting in the dark. I also know that this is still just an idea and until I actually start breeding and selling them it will just be that, an idea.
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Psychogav » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:34 pm

I bred mice for some time, I had about 60 cages in my garage. The biggest problems I encountered were the smell, even if you keep the cages clean they smell, it is also a lot of work, unless you have some sort of self feeder system, that does not block.
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby marc bt » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:25 pm

I have found to get rid of the smell, you can just drop a drop or 2 of vanilla essence into their water bowls or bottles.
a wiseman once said:"you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach him how to fish and feed him for the rest of his life.."
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Fri Apr 22, 2011 12:29 pm

I will try answer some of the questions and comments that have been raised as we go along.

Multi mice do apparently bite like demons, but I guess a pair of welding gloves can really help preventing my hand becoming a blooded tea strainer.

As for the smell. well i have read a few old wife's tales about putting vanilla essence in the drinking water and that partly eliminates or masks some of the smell. I will give feedback on this only once I have proof this works. i have also read that multi mice don't smell as badly as regular mice and that was another factor in me choosing this breed.

As for hard work. that never killed anybody. I also believe that give a lazy man a difficult task and he will find a simple solution. My main objective was to make about R3500 profit a month. In doing some numbers i actually see that this would really not be to difficult to manage. So now this gives me the nice option of hiring my many Malawian friends (gardeners friends) to work for me 3 times a week. They can clean the cages, wash them out and do other sorts of tasks. I know that it will still take some of my time to actually feed the mice and give them water and I have given my eldest daughter the task of assisting me (she wants her car when she is 18 so she can work for it).

I will share my findings when I have them. lets hope my well laid plan actually works as well.
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:34 pm

Well today I went to fetch half of my cages. I guess I now also know why he was selling them so cheap. I have my work cut out fixing them up and scrapping the really bad ones. I must say I already have plans for better, neater, cleaner cages. In fact I have my dream cage setup however I don't have the kind of money to buy this setup.

http://www.animalcaresystems.com/optimice.html

So what to feed the mice. I have heard dog food is best, but I would totally disagree with this one. Dogs eat dog food and mice eat mouse food. So one again I turned to my trusty friend Google. Reading posts and forums and tons of websites i eventually stumbled upon Epol Feeds.

I logged onto the Epol website and shipped off my email to the sales and marketing guy. Sakkie responded in no time telling me that his sales guy in the area would contact me. Well later that same day I got his mail. I must say mice food is not only made for mice, but it is much cheaper R214.00 for 50Kg. Now that sure sounds like a bargain. Wanna hear the catch? The minimum order is 120 bags! do the maths here - 120 x 50Kg = 6000Kg. Yes I can only buy 6 TONS of food. Well I soon sent him an email asking for a reseller of their product. Now I wait for the reply.
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Hoss » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:32 pm

I must say Seaborne not only is the topic interesting (because I'm planning on getting me some rats next weekend so I can save a bit on the hectic prices my nearest pet shop charges for the feeders), but your writing style is quiet amusing :D

Good luck with the project mate!
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Kevin Lancaster » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:19 am

I enjoy the posts as well and wait in anticip-p-p-pation for the next instalment.
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby bubblesharp » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:50 am

Hi seaborne,

I am curious as to what type of bedding will you be using? I have been pondering on the idea (rather my wife pounding my head :smt021 ) on the idea to breed my own rats as my rat snakes are now starting to get expensive with the weekly rats I need to buy and then sometimes not being able to find any. If I don't find any rats my female Rat snake will gulp down 4 - 5 mice and continue to wait for more in her feeding box, I have learnt to leave her for another hour after feeding to calm down and realize there is no more. So you can imagine where the price is going as I now also have 5 juvie corns chowing 2 Fuzzies a week each, and another juvie black rat snake, chowing a mouse every week, will be putting him on Rat pups next week.

But back to my Q: What bedding? Are you going to opt for the normal wood shavings, shredded paper or something else. Are you getting something thats cost effective to just be replaced or something that will be washed and re-used?

Like I said I was pondering on the idea and each week when I pay for the food I wonder WHY, WHY, WHY?

Q # 2
Is there a big difference between the mouse food and say those for rabbits? Spoke to a guy at the pet shop and I was told that rabbit food is good enough for mice and rats, so I was starting to wonder when I read that you were told to feed them dog food. When we go to a pet shop to ask for advise to we really get any genuine advise or just some random BS story to make a quick R25?
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:05 pm

Hey there Bubblesharp.

Question 1: Bedding - Close to where i live I have a rather large hardware store. I have been buying my hardware from then now for nearly 12 years so I have got to to know the owner quite well. They have quite a large timber area and he said I can buy my wood shavings from him - R10 per bag (black bag size). There is just now way I can afford to buy Pet Shop Bedding as this will just raise the costs quite dramatically.

I have also read that you can use straw/hay as a cheap bedding. Now I know that in Kyalami you can buy bales of hay for R10 - R20. This is also quite a nice and cheap alternative.

Question No 2 - One food vs another. I have a firm believe that most pet shops are there to make a fast buck. However I found that Pet Box Hypers are helpful and also quite reasonable. I have not bothered to ask them on pricing for the mice food yet, but seeing I can buy 6 TONS of Epol I guess i would have to eventually. I think the poor tannie is going to give me a few skeef looks if she knows why I need the food.
Edward Seaborne
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby bubblesharp » Sun Apr 24, 2011 2:37 pm

Makes sense then to go for the wood shavings, @ that price. I am considering using shredded newspaper (Just need to get a shredding machine, not too expensive) I've also heard that corn cob is a good bedding for them as it is so absorbent, though I doubt that guy thought of using it for breeding, can you imagine the cost?

I think the poor tannie is going to give me a few skeef looks if she knows why I need the food.


Well you only need to tell her you are breeding, then sell some of the live stock to her, tell her the more live mice she sells the more food she will sell

Just don't tell her it will be snake food she is selling and not mouse food :lol:
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:39 pm

Chapter 3. whatever
Lets call this one - The work begins

Well as I have said before I bought some cages. So today I had my one gardener wash all the cages. I am sure if I had to do it I would never ever do this momentous task of setting up a breeding colony. Well there he was on the lawn washing glass tank after glass tank with water and bleach.

I on the other hand wasn't just standing idly by as my Malawian friends worked. I went to Westpak to go and cost some containers for my long term racking system. I can just see the flaws in having converted fish tanks as breeding tanks. They are going to be a "female K9" to clean.

I found a sample of a small butchers meat container. This would work perfect as it is made of hard plastic. The dimensions are about 60L x 40 W x 20H so it also has more than enough room. I also sat and worked out that I can build a rack and slide these little babies in and out without a hassle.

Well back at home with the washing and the likes I unpacked the garage with assistance from Charles (my other gardener). My loving wife suggested that it might be a really good idea that we paint the back wall where the tanks are to be placed. Awesome idea at the time. Not such awesome idea because it meant scrapping the old flaked paint off, filling the holes and painting the wall. Tomorrow we painting the OTHER walls and while we at it the floor also. So what started off as a small task has become quite a busy day. No rest for the wicked.
Edward Seaborne
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Sun Apr 24, 2011 8:56 pm

Chapter 4
Starting a business

I guess I have to answer the one fundamental question here - WHY?

Well as I have no snakes of my own to feed I am not doing this to save some money (i have a bearded dragon). The main aim of this business and any business for that matter is to make some money. I also don't plan to become a millionaire from it. My main aim was to make some additional income. I have said before that we have a cottage on our property and we used to rent that out. Having a tenant however comes with its own pitfalls.

Enough of that and back to "The Business".

As I intend to make money from this idea it would be wise to register a company. SARS would also like a cut of my pie. So I have looked at registering a CC. That would cost me about R650 for a shelf company or R950 for a new company. Next thing and very important in my eyes would be a VAT number. Another R1500 added to my ever expanding bill. have I mentioned I don't actually have those darn $%^&ing multi mice yet (hint hint I am buying if you selling).

So now I "have" the company and a VAT number. I can now charge myself rent, phone usage, have staff, ADSL and all the other benefits that come with owning a company. I can write stuff off as an expense.

So what to do next. Pick a name. I guess that was the easy part here as I have had that sorted from the very beginning. What lays ahead for my little company selling a product I actually don't have - YET. Have a nice logo designed, get a website made and hosted - Craig if you read this you can expect my email - and last but not least contact all the people on here telling them I have something they really want. Keep that in mind - I want your business sometime soon.

I have taken one or two pictures of the washing today and will post them soon.
Edward Seaborne
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Re: Breeding with Mice

Postby Seaborne » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:05 pm

Sorry Guys/Gals

If you do plan on building your own tanks from glass and use silicone. You have to use non toxic silicone - Marine Type. You don't want the little rascals to die on you.
Edward Seaborne
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Seaborne
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