The easiest cage you can get for a mouse is a glass tank. Cleaned properly (ie: before you notice a smell) tanks are perfectly acceptable methods of housing mice. A 10 gallon tank with at least one hide, one toy, and preferably a wheel can house 2-3 mice. We recommend twenty gallon long tanks as a minimum as it allows for much more enrichment. The more space the merrier, but make sure to clutter up the tank with lots of toys and hides. It seems counter-intuitive, but if a mouse feels safe with things to hide in you will actually see them more!
We do not recommend critter-trail cages or similar. They are small, hard to clean, and hard to add things to. The wheels included are usually too small and it’s nearly impossible to offer bigger. Feel free to use old pieces like tubes as part of a larger cage, just make sure you clean them well.
If you are up to a fairly simple DIY task, bin cages make excellent, cheap, super customizable cages. There are a lot of guides out there already on how to make bin cages, but general guidelines include: at least the two long sides of the bin must be meshed with no larger than 1/4″ hardware cloth, make sure the windows are high enough to allow 2-4″ of bedding, put the mesh on the inside of the bin to avoid chewing, and try to find bins with smooth sides to also avoid chewing. I recommend 110qt tubs for 3-7 mice (these have the same footprints as a critter nation, they are big!). Keep in mind, more mice = more hides, more food, and more frequent cleaning needed. Don’t get more mice than you can care for.
We recommend regular cleaning once a week regardless of cage, with occasional spot-cleaning in between. Mice will readily pick one toilet corner so spot-cleaning is super easy!
We highly recommend kiln-dried pine as your primary bedding for mice. It has superb ammonia control and is also really fun to dig in. Mice can also be given small amounts of hay and shredded paper to nest with but this needs to be taken out once soiled. Your mice will love you forever if you offer about 3-4″ of bedding to dig and make tunnels in! We recommend at least 2″. P.S. The Tractor Supply has big bags of bedding for about $4 versus pet shops selling the same size bag for $12-20.
Paper beddings such as CareFresh have very little ammonia control and can be very dangerous for your mouse’s health. There are studies
showing that CareFresh in particular quickly builds up dangerous levels of ammonia very quickly. If you find that you are allergic to pine
, I recommend using aspen instead (or vice-versa if you are currently using aspen). Should you be allergic to both types of wood bedding, you can use paper-based beddings but be sure to change the bedding very often and spot-clean pee corners.
Tallgrass Rattery does NOT endorse fleece bedding. Mice love to burrow as it makes them feel safe and taking that away is detrimental to them. Fleece also has zero ammonia control properties, which can quickly lead to sick animals.
Really easy toys come from trash: toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, small boxes (rip off bottom to avoid pee-soaking), or ripped up paper for extra nesting material. There are so many YouTube videos on how to repurpose stuff for mice toys so I won’t go into too much detail here. Just make sure to change out toys/hides before it starts stinking as paper and boxes soak up pee and that built up ammonia can lead to sick mice.
One of the easiest forms of enrichment is treat balls (wrapping up in paper or hiding in paper rolls) or simply scatter-feeding. There is nothing wrong with having your pets work for their food. This works their brains and keeps them active physically as well.
Most mice will enjoy getting out of their cage for a time as well, so feel free to pick them up and set them in your lap or in a designated play space they can’t escape from (tub, table, large box/bin). Always make sure to supervise during free-roam time. Do not take your mice out in public, as it is simply too easy to lose them and if taken to a pet store they could easily pick up diseases from animals there.
How many mice should I keep? This a common question, and one that has many answers. First off, one should never get more mice than they have the time or money for. While fairly cheap and easy to care for, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The best number for a new owner is three female mice, otherwise known as a trio. Mice are highly social animals and should never be housed alone, and getting a trio ensures that should one pass away, the remaining mice are not alone. Once you get down to one/two mice you will have to make the decision to bring more into your household, or perhaps give away the remaining single mouse either back to TGR if from us, or to another home that has mice.
Male mice are the exception here, as male mice usually will not get along with one another. There is a good chance that they will end up fighting with each other once they reach maturity and lead to either stressed, injured, or dead animals. At TGR we offer female African Soft Furs as companions for male mice so that they will not be lonely. Fancy mice and ASF cannot breed, but do love to cuddle and clean one another.