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  1. #1
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Thoughts???? Is breeding mice worth it in my situation???

    So I've been tossing the idea of breeding mice around for a little while now. I've admittedly just barely scratched the surface of the ins and outs, but figured it couldn't hurt to ask my trusted friends at BP.net.

    So here's my situation...

    I have my Borneo STP who is a pain in the butt as far as eating F/T. He eats live like a champ, but will only eat F/T once in a great while, and has yet to take a rat. When he accepts F/T mice he'll only eat one, so nowhere near an appropriately sized meal.

    I also have a King, KSB and Hognose who will all eat mice their whole lives.

    So I'm thinking breeding mice may not be a bad idea.
    I'd keep F/T on hand for any dry spells I may endure with breeding. If I have a surplus, I'll freeze some.

    So I'm curious about the logistics and finances of it all and whether or not it'll be worth it. I'm paying a ridiculously high price for live mice, so each of Juice's (Borneo STP) meals costs me upward of $15.
    I can't imagine breeding would be more expensive than that.

    Anyway, like I said, I'm just scratching the surface, but I thought it would be nice to hear some feedback from some trusted sources rather than relying on random internet info.

    Thanks in advance all!!
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  2. #2
    bcr229's Avatar
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    I don't breed my own mice so I can't speak to the cost of producing your own feeders versus buying them. I do know that if I had to spend $15 per feeding I'd definitely explore other options.

    Have you tried your Borneo STP on stillborn rabbit kits or chicks from local breeders? These often are inexpensive and if your STP won't eat them your king snake will, should you wish to give it a try.

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts???? Is breeding mice worth it in my situation???

    Quote Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
    I don't breed my own mice so I can't speak to the cost of producing your own feeders versus buying them. I do know that if I had to spend $15 per feeding I'd definitely explore other options.

    Have you tried your Borneo STP on stillborn rabbit kits or chicks from local breeders? These often are inexpensive and if your STP won't eat them your king snake will, should you wish to give it a try.
    Yeah, the feeding costs are absurd. And as he gets bigger that number will just climb.

    I haven't tried anything other than typical mice and rats. I've yet to find a reliable local breeder for live rats, so I wouldn't even know where to start looking for "non-typical" prey items.
    I'll put my Google skills to the test, but if you have any suggestions I'm all ears.

    Thanks!!
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  5. #4
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Wow, that's a tough call for so few snakes...but the price of live for the Borneo is .

    First, do you have a place to breed mice that is warm enough in winter & cool enough in summer? Mice stink, btw. They can handle my cold garage in winter
    but I insulate their cages as well as the area they are in, & I'm in the mid-South (winter varies greatly but my garage can get pretty cold). They prefer about 70*
    and not above 80*. Summer for me means keeping them in my laundry room & this is far from ideal...like I said, odor! I cut way back in summer & clean more.
    (too cold, they don't breed much, & too warm, they can't: have to think in terms of fertility)

    You'll be buying food & litter...and then there's your time, cleaning cages, & making sure each day they have food & water.

    Small colony, not a big deal, but reproduction can be hard to predict: young adults take a while to get going, & some just don't, or kill their babies. For just a few
    snakes, getting the right size mice consistently when you need them will be a challenge...AND, you always need to hold back some to replace spent breeders, so
    it's not as if one trio of mice is going to get the job done for you.

    You'll need to buy lab cages also, trust me on this...pricey, but you do NOT want to raise mice in glass tanks. You can use a plastic laundry tub & make a wire mesh
    top, but food & water in bowls is a no-go. They perceive water as a threat & pile shavings into it, and food in bowls will be crapped on: lab cages have the tops
    with holding areas for food & water bottle. (they can also chew holes in plastic water bottles pretty easily if they can reach them...lab cages are the answer!)

    You also need to consider "security": you don't want mice getting loose, ever, but your cats may think it's a fun idea? So consider your other pets in relation to
    having a rodent ranch.
    Many friends in low places...

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  7. #5
    BPnet Veteran GoingPostal's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts???? Is breeding mice worth it in my situation???

    Have you tried him on a live rat? I have a jerk of a borneo that's the same way, pounds live, won't hardly touch a f/t. I bred mice and rats while I had several hatchling snakes but as they grew up, he was the only one who wouldn't take them prekilled or f/t. Everytime I get him eating f/t for a couple weeks in a row I think yay and then it's back to refuse refuse. Had to drive 1.5 hours and pay $9/rat last year over the summer because he hadn't eaten in awhile, had the rats upstairs in the room prescenting and offered him a f/t again to try, nabbed it right up. So for a couple weeks I just had pet rats that I stuck near his cage before feeding and tricked him into taking f/t with. Then I got ahead of myself, euthed and fed those two off, he's been hit or miss since but eating enough I'm not overly concerned about it. Not enough to get a new pet rat anyways. But just a thought!
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  9. #6
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts???? Is breeding mice worth it in my situation???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Wow, that's a tough call for so few snakes...but the price of live for the Borneo is .

    First, do you have a place to breed mice that is warm enough in winter & cool enough in summer? Mice stink, btw. They can handle my cold garage in winter
    but I insulate their cages as well as the area they are in, & I'm in the mid-South (winter varies greatly but my garage can get pretty cold). They prefer about 70*
    and not above 80*. Summer for me means keeping them in my laundry room & this is far from ideal...like I said, odor! I cut way back in summer & clean more.
    (too cold, they don't breed much, & too warm, they can't: have to think in terms of fertility)

    You'll be buying food & litter...and then there's your time, cleaning cages, & making sure each day they have food & water.

    Small colony, not a big deal, but reproduction can be hard to predict: young adults take a while to get going, & some just don't, or kill their babies. For just a few
    snakes, getting the right size mice consistently when you need them will be a challenge...AND, you always need to hold back some to replace spent breeders, so
    it's not as if one trio of mice is going to get the job done for you.

    You'll need to buy lab cages also, trust me on this...pricey, but you do NOT want to raise mice in glass tanks. You can use a plastic laundry tub & make a wire mesh
    top, but food & water in bowls is a no-go. They perceive water as a threat & pile shavings into it, and food in bowls will be crapped on: lab cages have the tops
    with holding areas for food & water bottle. (they can also chew holes in plastic water bottles pretty easily if they can reach them...lab cages are the answer!)

    You also need to consider "security": you don't want mice getting loose, ever, but your cats may think it's a fun idea? So consider your other pets in relation to
    having a rodent ranch.
    Thank you!! I have plenty of options as far as a place to breed them. I'd likely have them in the same room as the ferrets. I figure one "smelly" room is enough, hahahha. But my basement or shed are also options for part of the year.

    Since the others all eat F/T with no issue I'd probably have to focus on raising the majority to adult size for the Borneo.

    I'm glad you said that about glass too, I was pondering repurposing a few old glass tanks.

    As for escapees, I'll be careful. I don't need any additional animals roaming my house, hahahha.

    Thanks, Boger!
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  10. #7
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    If using a glass tank for rodents: one of their hobbies is chewing thru the silicone in the corners...just so you know. And you'll have to hang a water bottle in
    there, which is then vulnerable to being chewed thru, and which (I guarantee!) will be scent-marked (pee'd on). Just not a fun way to raise them...& a hassle
    to dump out for cleaning.

    About raising most mice to adult size: the males fight & sometimes kill each other (& they also make the most odor, to impress the females). In a communal
    cage, they'll be fighting all the time if there's more than one adult male.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 06-17-2019 at 03:00 PM.
    Many friends in low places...

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  12. #8
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts???? Is breeding mice worth it in my situation???

    Quote Originally Posted by GoingPostal View Post
    Have you tried him on a live rat? I have a jerk of a borneo that's the same way, pounds live, won't hardly touch a f/t. I bred mice and rats while I had several hatchling snakes but as they grew up, he was the only one who wouldn't take them prekilled or f/t. Everytime I get him eating f/t for a couple weeks in a row I think yay and then it's back to refuse refuse. Had to drive 1.5 hours and pay $9/rat last year over the summer because he hadn't eaten in awhile, had the rats upstairs in the room prescenting and offered him a f/t again to try, nabbed it right up. So for a couple weeks I just had pet rats that I stuck near his cage before feeding and tricked him into taking f/t with. Then I got ahead of myself, euthed and fed those two off, he's been hit or miss since but eating enough I'm not overly concerned about it. Not enough to get a new pet rat anyways. But just a thought!
    I haven't tried a live rat, for no reason other than I haven't found a source within a decent driving distance. By the time I factor in gas and time it's just easier and probably a wash financially.

    But that's EXACTLY how Juice is. I've tried leaving his live feeders in their cage so he can smell them, then offering F/T. Apparently he's smarter than I give him credit for, hahahha. I've also tried feeding a live mouse and following that with F/T. No dice.
    Then randomly I'll try and he takes ONE F/T mouse. But won't take a second.
    I've tried scenting with mouse bedding. No luck.

    Up until he just let out 300 grams of pee/poop he was looking good, now he looks a bit skinny,hahahaha.
    But not unhealthy. I tend to wait him out a bit between offering, hoping he'll just be hungry enough for F/T but that's never worked beyond one mouse either.

    I started nicknaming his Juice-ifer, cause I swear he loves the thrill of the kill, hahahaha!
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    Re: Thoughts???? Is breeding mice worth it in my situation???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    If using a glass tank for rodents: one of their hobbies is chewing thru the silicone in the corners...just so you know. And you'll have to hang a water bottle in
    there, which is then vulnerable to being chewed thru, and which (I guarantee!) will be scent-marked (pee'd on). Just not a fun way to raise them...& a hassle
    to dump out for cleaning.

    About raising most mice to adult size: the males fight & sometimes kill each other (& they also make the most odor, to impress the females).
    Ok cool. That's enough of an endorsement to scrap the glass idea. In Bogertophis I trust!
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    BPnet Veteran pretends2bnormal's Avatar
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    Re: Thoughts???? Is breeding mice worth it in my situation???

    I'd second the lab cages as easiest, and for your needs, just 2 is probably plenty. (1 for the colony, and 1 for grow outs or to pull the Male out if you start getting overrun with babies.)

    Even when I had just 1.2 going, I was getting plenty for about 6 or 7 snakes taking mice. Luckily adult mice will never really outgrow your needs. Just be sure to freeze off your males at weaning and raise up solely females for the live feeders or you will get deaths from male dominance fighting.

    But I don't recommend getting the mice size lab cages. The rat size ones have the same bar spacing (1/4") and are able to house a 1.3 colony without getting nearly as smelly. The mice ones are just very small and once you have hoppers on top of even 1.1 adults, you have to clean at least 2x weekly. (Sizes I'm referring to are for the 2 off of RBI, not sure of any others)

    I'd recommend using primarily the horse stall pine pellets with a handful or two of kiln dried pine shavings for them to make nests (or sub for Aspen if you don't mind the cost). I only have the 1 mouse colony, but I've only had to clean it weekly. The pellets tend to powderize as they get soiled and is good for visually telling the mess and also absorb smell very well. It still has some smell, but in a ventilated room it isn't bad; not likely to be worse than ferrets from how I've heard it described.

    A 40lb bag of the pellets is like $6 at tractor supply co and the big pine shavings are about the same. I've yet to run out of either after having 2 mouse cages to clean weekly in about 3 or 4 months now. Almost to a new bag of pellets, but still have quite a bit of pine left.

    Food is also important to consider for pricing, but I can get mazuri 6F locally for cheaper than most due to proximity to one of their lab supply locations, but Doggy Bag (also at TSC, $14/40lb bag) has similar ingredients and stays on the bars nicely. It is an awful dog food, but mice don't require their protein to be from animal meat the way dogs do and it is otherwise pretty effective for them. For cost, I mostly feed the mice doggy bag, and my rats get the 6F, but I give the mice some 6F on occasion for variety and to balance out in case there is a deficiency somewhere.

    With your live prices, you'd almost certainly be saving money to breed your own. And you could offer excess adults for sale live or frozen locally and cover costs some or entirely if the prices you have been paying are the only available ones currently.

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    Last edited by pretends2bnormal; 06-17-2019 at 03:43 PM.

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