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Rat/mouse breeding

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Buggster

Well-Known Member
Having two snakes now (and always planning on getting more xD) buying mice/rats for them in getting increasing expensive.
im paying $25 for a pack of 7 adult mice, and since my Woma needs to up his food size (2 mice are barely putting a dent in him), I wanted to get him rats, but at $25 for only three small sized rats, it's not exactly something I want to be buying so often!

Ive been considering starting my own setup of breeding mice or rats (but the family isn't exactly supportive but willing to allow me if they don't see or hear the mice/rats) to help cut the costs a little.

i previously had mice as pets, and have volunteered at a large rat/mouse breeding facility. I am comfortable in euthanasing mice with CO2 gas (have a SodaStream that's lying around in disuse).

Looking into setting up a basic tub setup (although I'm happy to buy a proper rat/mouse cage if I feel I need one). Anyone have any suggestions/ideas on what I could do here?

Ive not met decided whether I want mice or rats- mice are far smaller and more manageable, but my Woma has already outgrown them, but my Stimmies is struggling to eat adult mice as it is- and both is not reasonable.

from what I understand starting with 2-3 females and one male should be plently to start off with- and to be honest I don't really need so many, I'm hoping to only need to have a couple litters from each female to keep me supplied for a while- even keeping the adults as pets is an option as I do love how tameable and friendly rats and mice can be (although I don't know if I could euthanise something I've named).


any suggestions in general?

thanks guys!
 

Wally

Very Well-Known Member
You need to decide if breeding rodents to support two snakes with the possibility of more in the future is worth it, personally I'd say no.

If you have an eye on making a few extra bucks as an aside to your hobby then you need to weigh up all the factors with supplying rodents to the wider community and the costs involved.
 

pinefamily

Very Well-Known Member
I agree with Wally. You need to get the ongoing costs of food and bedding, and weigh that up against the cost of rodents purchased. Where are you buying from? Can you source a local breeder who might be cheaper?
 

saximus

Almost Legendary
Like Pinefamily alluded to, I would suggest that the problem right now is your rodent supplier. Two snakes are not expensive to feed. You shouldn't really need to pay any more than about $5 per rat, unless they're large adults. I have 17 snakes and a Lacey and have been breeding both rats and mice for a few years now but even with that many I'm starting to think the "savings" just aren't worth the time and effort. It seems funny to write that because, when I started, I came here asking questions like you and got told it wouldn't be worth it. So I won't be too negative because I know how bad it feels to be excited about this new project only to be told not to do it. Depending on your personality, there are actually a bunch of pros and cons and plenty of threads on here outlining them both.

The main advice I would offer based on your actual questions is:
- Use professional/home-made tubs over cages. As your numbers wave up and down, you will be very thankful that everything is modular and interchangeable for cleaning.
- Pay the money to get good bloodlines from the start. The most painful thing when you start (particularly with rats) is literally just trying to get the bloody things to breed in reasonable numbers. Lab rodents are also nearly genetically identical so you can inbreed without defects.
- Soda Stream is perfect for large numbers but it is much easier to get comfortable with cervical dislocation or introducing them to a hard surface at high velocity. You'll save a lot of time and money.
- If you get good mice, a trio will be plenty for two snakes. Rats vary considerably but, again, for one or two snakes a trio will probably do as well.

PS don't worry about your family seeing or hearing them. The smell will be the most obvious sign by a long way :p.
 

pythoninfinite

Well-Known Member
APS Veteran
Ditto the smell factor saxi - especially with mice - they're terrible unless cleaned every couple of days.

Jamie
 

icuucme2

Active Member
I keep my rats in the carport plenty of ventilation limited smell, mice stinks more than rats. where I live frozen rats are too expensive so I tracked down a couple to breed, when there is enough in the freezer u take the male away until u need more. I have a rat cage + 2 plastic tubs and a fish tank with wire on top to grow some on to the size u want. I have 1 snake maybe another 1 down the track. maybe a waste of money but I enjoy it and it don't bother me to spend the money imo.
 

pinefamily

Very Well-Known Member
+1 for mice smelling more than rats. We used to have one tub of mice, and several tubs of rats. The one tub smelt worse than all of the rats together.
 

Allan

Well-Known Member
Trusted Seller
+1 for mice smelling more than rats. We used to have one tub of mice, and several tubs of rats. The one tub smelt worse than all of the rats together.

I've found that mice usually wee in one corner of the tub and you can scoop out most of it using plastic disposable gloves.

Why can't you try the Stimmies with rat pups instead of adult mice?
 

Buggster

Well-Known Member
Adult mice and pinky mice are pretty much the only thing all the local stores have on offer :/
The adult mice are probably on the top end of what he can eat, but he'll only take one every fortnight or so. He'll be coming up to two years this December and currently weights about 300g, the mice are about 20-30g each- so far so good. The stimmies is right now exclusively eating mice- the one time I find rat pups and he won't touch them at all! Offer a rat first, refused. Immediately offer a mouse and he pretty much launched himself out of his cage to get it.
Then again, about a year ago he would only eat rats... funny little bugger he is.
 

Nero Egernia

Well-Known Member
I agree with Saximus. I breed most of my lizard food and that includes mice, quails, and woodies. The woodies are relatively easy to feed and house. Mice are easy to feed and house too but, as has already been stated, they apparently smell something awful. Establishing good bloodlines is paramount. Even good bloodlines sometimes pop up a bad mouse or two. You have to watch out for cannibalism, aggression to other mice, and aggression towards yourself. I once had a male that would attack newborn litters and chew a hole in their bellies, before discarding the corpses. When I detected that he was the culprit he instantly became lizard food.

While I don't hate breeding mice, I don't particularly enjoy it either. Some days can feel like a chore. But I was never much of a rodent person.

There are other small animals you can breed to feed your snakes. I recommend Japanese Quail. They not only feed your reptiles, but they can feed you and your family via their carcasses and eggs. They're bigger than mice, although I'm not sure how they compare to commercially produced rats as I've only really had contact with monster rats that are around the size of a small cat! Quails also don't stink like mice do! These birds lay eggs just about everyday, although they will take a break over winter. However if you had a good productive season your freezer should be well stocked. Alternatively I have heard that artificial lighting and heating results with laying all year round. The eggs do need artificial incubation (or they can be placed under a broody hen, I get more success incubating them myself) as the parent birds have little to no brooding instincts. Eggs typically hatch around 16-18 days and the babies generally mature at around six weeks. Larger strains will take longer however. Quails are essentially miniature chooks, and I find them more enjoyable to keep and breed.

I too find cervical dislocation to be the best method of killing feeder animals.

Good luck with whatever critter you choose to breed to feed your reptiles.
 
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Jen

Very Well-Known Member
Can you describe how you cull your quail? I have been breeding mice for many years and am comfortable with CD, but when I have tried with chickens, the head just pops off...
 

Buggster

Well-Known Member
Not sure how I'd feel about quails- I've got a small flock of pet chooks that I adore. Don't know how I'd feel about killing off a bird so simmiar to them.
Although incubation here is easy. I've got one extremely broody hen right now- despite having her nest box blocked off during daylight hours for the last week, she'll jump at any chance to sit on it again, eggs or no eggs. Usually she'll sit the whole 20-30 days before gradually starting to lay her own eggs again... silly chook.
You always know when the season has changed cause that's when she'll go sit on the nest like it's the most important thing in the world... for an extrordinarily smart bird, chickens can be rather feather brained at times
 

HiramAbiff

Not so new Member
The main reason I think breeding your own rodents is a good idea is the fact that you won't have to rely on anyone for your reptile food.
After being stuffed around at least 3 times, years ago by one person who would message half an hour before they were meant to meet you while they are doing a rat run you learn pretty quick some people aren't reliable.
 

Nero Egernia

Well-Known Member
Can you describe how you cull your quail? I have been breeding mice for many years and am comfortable with CD, but when I have tried with chickens, the head just pops off...

Hi Jen, sounds like you may be pulling too hard. I'll try to explain it as best as I can. Gripping the head and yanking is the general method here, although birds that I prepare for human consumption I remove their heads anyway, not so with the reptiles however. With tiny chicks, if you find your hands are too big and clumsy, the pencil method that can be used on mice can work here, although it's a little different. Grip the bird's legs with one hand and then place the bird's head on the ground. Then place and hold a pencil or other small long object just behind the bird's head. Firmly, but not too hard, with the hand that is gripping the legs, pull up and you should feel the head disconnect from the neck. With larger birds, you can do it differently from the pencil method. I grip the bird's ankles and lay them on my lap or between my thighs, their head pointing down and away from my body. With my other hand I grip the bird just behind the head, feeling the back of the jaw is a good indicator that you're in the right place. Then firmly, but not too hard (otherwise the head can come off), you pull the head back and push down. You will now feel a gap between the head and the neck. The head will feel loose and disconnected from the rest of the body. Don't worry about the wild flapping, they all do this and it's just nerves. I hope this explains it adequately. Somehow it seems easier just doing it than explaining.

Not sure how I'd feel about quails- I've got a small flock of pet chooks that I adore. Don't know how I'd feel about killing off a bird so simmiar to them.

Quails are indeed very similar to chooks and can have just as much personality. Culling is nothing new to me, I was raised on a farm.
 
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icuucme2

Active Member
hey guys/gals, im trying to decide in leaving the male rat with the females all the time, or take him away once I know the females are pregnant. I know if I leave him in the females will get pregnant again after the litter is born, what do most ppl do with there rodent breeding. I understand there producing feeders but I still want to do the right thing, they are a living animal and I don't want to mistreat any animal. btw I love the soda stream way, way better than baking soda and more humane I reckon.
 

pinefamily

Very Well-Known Member
You need to leave him in once, to observe if he will eat the pups. Some do, some don't. That is the deciding reason for leaving the male in, or taking him out.
 

icuucme2

Active Member
thanks I have some pups due soon but not from my males my males are young but the females arrived pregnant so hopefully all will be good
 

Woma_Wild

Active Member
Pet shop near me sell 3pkt adult rats for $54.00 and adult mice 7 pkt for $34.00 so I too have decided to try my hand at breeding mice. My brother is going to do the rats.
Will be interesting to see how much it costs after a few months of breeding.
 

Buggster

Well-Known Member
Pet shop near me sell 3pkt adult rats for $54.00 and adult mice 7 pkt for $34.00 so I too have decided to try my hand at breeding mice. My brother is going to do the rats.
Will be interesting to see how much it costs after a few months of breeding.

I feel your pain- bought 16 rats for over $100 the other day. And this is probably the cheapest place near me. Hmm.
Been too busy lately, but hopefully sooner or later I'll get my own rats to breed.
 

icuucme2

Active Member
gawd $54 I paid $18 for 3 weaner rats why I started doing my own. my boi is only on med size so I don't have to wait to long to get them to weight and than freeze them.
 
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