How Old Mice Reproduce

And just like the breeding output increases if a mouse takes refuge in your home, so does the length of their life. While the average mouse lifespan is only about 12 months outdoors, indoors, this number can climb to 2 to 3 years. This is because indoors, mice aren’t exposed to harsh environments or natural predators. That leaves them with nothing to do but eat through your valuables, spread disease to your family and breed future generations to carry on the scourge.

If you think you can avoid dealing with that mouse in your home by simply waiting for it to die, think again. The life cycle of a mouse makes it easy to see why these rodents are such common pests. It’s not that the mouse lifespan is unnaturally long, but more that mice are notorious breeders. Just one female mouse in your home can average between 25 and 60 offspring in a single year. At that point, you no longer have a mouse problem – you have a mouse infestation.

  • After 8 weeks from birth, the mice can be mated for offspring.

Mating method

Cage separation

  1. Female and male mice are obtained and put into separate cages where they are raised.

A few days before mating is to begin, male mice will be kept individually (1 mouse per cage) and female mice will be kept in a herd (5 mice per cage).

Creating the Next Generation through Breeding

The next morning, the female vulva are observed and if the vaginal plug is observed, mating has taken place.
Since the vaginal plug will fall off by noon, observation must be done in the morning.
A log is then kept recording information about the male and female mice who are to become parents and the date that the vaginal plug has been confirmed.

Female mice whose vaginal plug has been confirmed are kept together in one cage

A few days before the delivery date (20 days after confirmation of vaginal plug), each mouse is given their own cage and a message is put on the cage which reads «Delivery date is near so please don’t replace this cage» thus removing any extra excitement from replacement of cages, etc.

For one week after delivery, cages aren’t replaced while the mother nurses her young.

Four weeks after delivery, the baby mice are weaned.
The male and female mice are then divided into separate cages
To ensure sufficient space per animal, the mice are divided as to not to exceed 5 mice per cage.

  • After 8 weeks from birth, the mice can be mated for offspring.

Breeding your mice is not a decision to make lightly and you absolutely must consider what you will do with any babies that result. Most pet stores have established suppliers already. You should also carefully consider the temperament and health of the mice you are breeding. I do not advocate breeding mice for the average owner, but the information here may be helpful if you find yourself with a pregnant female by accident, or perhaps from the pet store.

Breeding your mice is not a decision to make lightly and you absolutely must consider what you will do with any babies that result. Most pet stores have established suppliers already. You should also carefully consider the temperament and health of the mice you are breeding. I do not advocate breeding mice for the average owner, but the information here may be helpful if you find yourself with a pregnant female by accident, or perhaps from the pet store.

Mice reach sexual maturity by 4-6 weeks. However, females should not be bred for the first time until they are 8 to 12 weeks old.

A minimum of two to four breeding pairs are recommended for most strains; additional pairs are suggested for strains challenging to breed, or to expedite colony expansion.

1. Why won’t my mice breed?

Also see Mouse Room Conditions (Section D), which includes suggestions to reduce stress.

2. My mice didn’t breed. Can I get a credit?

No, unfortunately non-productive breeders are not covered by our credit policy. Learn more about our credit policy .

3. How do I plan a colony? How many breeders do I need to set up?

A minimum of two to four breeding pairs are recommended for most strains; additional pairs are suggested for strains challenging to breed, or to expedite colony expansion.

4. What is the mating age? When should I set up my mice to breed?

Most strains reach sexual maturity at

6 — 8 weeks of age

5. What is the weaning age?

Most strains are weaned

21 days; up to 28 days if preferred

6. How long is gestation?

7. How many pups do mice have in a litter?

Litter size: 2-12 pups; highly strain-dependent

8. When should breeders be replaced?

7-8 months of age (several mutant strains have considerably shorter windows of optimal breeding performance)

9. How do I set up timed matings/timed pregnant females?

  • House stud males (individually) for 2 weeks prior to mating
  • Use 8-15 week old females
  • Add 1-2 female(s) into each stud male’s cage in the late afternoon, prior to the dark cycle
  • Check for vaginal plugs early the next morning (plug will dissolve over time)
  • The date a plug is observed is gestational day 0 to 0.5
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Note: Not all females will plug and not all plugged females will become pregnant; success rate varies by strain, male’s experience, conditions, etc.

 

10. How do I foster mice?

  • If possible, select a foster mother with a different coat color and a natural litter as close as possible to the same age as the foster pups.
  • Remove as many pups from the natural litter as you have foster pups, to keep the final litter size manageable for the foster mother. If the litter to be fostered is large, consider dividing it between two foster mothers.
  • Combine the remaining natural litter with the foster pups and gently intermingle them with soiled shavings (including feces) from the foster cage, then place them together with the foster mother.
  • Replace the cage and do not disturb.
  • Check the pups after a few hours (without disturbing the cage). If the foster mother has gathered the pups together, she will likely care for them.

11. How well does this strain breed at JAX? Where can I find information about how my specific strain breeds?

Some data on your strain may be in the Handbook on Genetically Standardized Mice. There may be additional information in the Technical Support section of the strain datasheets under Breeding Considerations.

Reproductive performance can vary significantly at different institutions due to environmental factors.

12. Can this transgenic breed as a homozygote?

If we distribute a given transgenic as hemi (and/or noncarrier), we may not have information as to whether the strain can be bred to homozygosity without adverse effects on fertility or viability. If known, this information is commented on in the strain datasheet in the Technical Support section under “Breeding Considerations.”

Litter sizes vary by strain. Some data on your strain may be in the Handbook on Genetically Standardized Mice.

We recommend refreshing the breeders every 5 – 10 generations. For more information, please see the Genetic Drift section

The fertility may be affected by the irradiation at 3 weeks. Please note the human immune system is not passed on to the next generation.

Love Mash™ is a diet designed to support reproduction.

Consult with your facility veterinarian. Below are some general guidelines that can help to reduce the risk of aggression.

B: Tips for Poor Breeders

  • Minimize noise. Keep in the quietest area possible, away from doors, sinks and heavy traffic.
  • Minimize handling, especially with females close to delivering or with new litters. Stressed mothers are more likely to cannibalize or abandon their young.
  • Keep males and females together whenever possible to maximize breeding and reduce stress. If a male needs to be removed, do not remove him when the female is about to give birth, and do not return to the cage until pups are weaned.
  • Handle mice gently with forceps. Disinfect forceps between cages and change gloves frequently, to avoid spreading scents.
  • Maximize darkness. Move to the darkest location available, away from exit signs and other night light sources. Ensure that the dark cycle is maintained once the lights are turned off.
  • Provide nesting materials. Nestlets, Kimwipes or other soft, fibrous material provide security and enrichment that may enhance productivity. See ‘Enrichment’ suggestions in the Mouse room conditions section.
  • Consider changing diets. Diets with a higher (or lower) fat or protein content, compared to your standard diet, may improve productivity of a challenging strain.

C: General Husbandry Tips

  • Consult your institution’s Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) for guidelines to determine the best husbandry practices at your institution.
  • Obtain 2-4 breeding pairs to establish a new colony. Additional breeders can significantly reduce the time needed to expand a colony.
  • Combining males from different litters is only appropriate at weaning (3-4 weeks). Males combined later are likely to be aggressive and to fight, causing wounds and/or death to their male cage mates. Males shipped in separate compartments likewise should not be combined.
  • Mate mice early, at 6-12 weeks of age. Mice tend to gain weight and be less productive if mated later.
  • Replace non-productive breeders. If matings have not produced a litter within

D: Mouse Room Conditions

  • Light cycle: A 14-hour light/10-hour dark cycle or 12 light/12 dark cycle is commonly used. Ensure lights are not used and that researchers and technicians do not enter the mouse room during the dark cycle.
  • Temperature and humidity: Temperatures of 65-75°F (

Once a female becomes pregnant, it will only take 18-21 days before she delivers her litter. The number of baby mice in a litter is about five or six on average. When you do the math, assuming half of each litter is female and can begin reproducing in six weeks, the number of mice can multiply at an astonishing rate!

Have you ever had a mouse in the house?

Although a pet mouse might make an adorable addition to the family, some mice may be more like uninvited houseguests. Before deciding to adopt a pet mouse, or screaming and hiding if you find one running around your home, find out more about the life cycle stages of a mouse.

Mouse life cycle

Baby mice: Mice pups are small, roughly the size of a quarter. They only weigh about as much as a sheet of paper. They are blind and sometimes referred to as ‘pinkies’ due to the pink color of their hairless bodies. Unless you find a mouse’s nest, you are unlikely to encounter baby mice.

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Juvenile mice: By two weeks of age, their eyes and ears have opened and they have grown hair. Click here for detailed photographs of the weekly development of mice.

By three weeks, the mice are weaned from their mother. They are able to come and go from the nest, finding their own food. The diet of a mouse varies based on its surroundings. Mice can eat practically anything, from dry foods, fresh or rotting produce, other insects and more, but have shown a preference for the same foods their mother ate while pregnant.

Adult mice: A mouse reaches reproductive maturity by about six weeks of age. Male mice attract a mate by ‘singing’ ultrasonic songs (meaning people cannot hear them) and through the use of scents only other mice can detect called pheromones.

Once a female becomes pregnant, it will only take 18-21 days before she delivers her litter. The number of baby mice in a litter is about five or six on average. When you do the math, assuming half of each litter is female and can begin reproducing in six weeks, the number of mice can multiply at an astonishing rate!

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Life span of a mouse

As you can see, it does not take long for one mouse to become many, but how long do mice normally live?

In the wild, the average mouse tends to live about five or six months. If living in ideal conditions, a mouse can live approximately two years. Ideal conditions for a mouse mean a steady supply of food without intense competition from other rodents or predators, as well as a somewhat temperate climate.

Mice can survive for months without water, getting the hydration they need from their food, or by licking the condensation from sink pipes. Reproduction slows down during periods of lower temperatures, so indoor populations breed throughout the year, while outdoor mice have peak breeding seasons during the spring and fall.

If you have an unwanted mouse in your house…

Taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to mouse control runs the risk of exposing yourself and your family to the various diseases spread by mice. While cats and dogs can help control the mouse population, they do not usually eliminate mice infestations. Not only is a well-fed pet a lazy mouser, but mice actually love to eat pet food and may be more attracted to homes where food is readily available.

If you think you have one, or more than one of these unwanted guests in your home, visit our article on proven ways to get rid of mice.

Once they are fully grown, mice will begin their search for food. Despite their small size, mice eat 15 to 20 times per day. While they primarily feed on plant-based material, house mice will also eat meat and dairy products they find inside the home. Sometimes they will even eat their own droppings to acquire nutrients produced by bacteria in their guts!

Birds

The breeding habits of pest bird species in the UK are less intense and more seasonal than those of rodents. Nevertheless, breeding birds still cause problems for businesses, not only due to rapid increases in population size, but also because of the damage they cause when building nests, which can also result in fire hazards and blocked drains and guttering.

Pigeons: In absence of extreme weather, pigeons are able to breed right around the calendar, though the main breeding period is between the months of March and July. Two to four eggs are produced at a time and are incubated for around 18 days before hatching, with the young birds fledging some five weeks later.

Sparrows: Sparrows breed between March and August, but can have multiple broods per year. As such, numbers can multiply rapidly in a given area. Typically, four eggs are laid at a time, though some nests can have as many as seven. Incubation lasts approximately twelve days and the young, once hatched, leave the nest 15 to 17 days later. Once the young birds have fledged the nest, the male will continue feeding them while the female begins the next brood.

Rooks: Rooks are common pest birds in the UK and, although they tend to prefer wide, open spaces, where they are present, the sheer size of their flocks can cause a very noisy problem for close-by houses and businesses. The breeding period begins in early March and each pair will lay between three and five eggs. Incubation lasts for around 16 to 18 days and the young will leave the nest about a month after that.

A single female produces between 5-10 litters annually. Each litter consist of 5-6 young that are able to reproduce at approximately 30 days of age. Mice produce a great number of young, but have a high mortality rate. Mice are an important source of food for wildlife such as hawks, owls, and fox which can control populations outdoors.

The house mouse, is probably the most successful mammilian invasive species in the world (they are not native to the USA). Their success can partly be contributed to their reproductive capacity (and their ability as a commensal rodent).

Aproximately 6 mice can multiply into more than 60 mice in 3 months. Reaching sexual maturity at about four weeks of age, it’s easy to understand how a mouse population within a home can quickly grow out-of-hand.

Not to mention the fact that they breed year-round. The staggering birth rate is kept under control naturally by predators in the outdoors, but owls, hawks, cats and other hunters are absent from the typical attic or basement.

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The sole natural factor limiting the mouse population in the home is the limitation of resources such as food. As the average house mouse lives for a year, that means a staggering number of mice can call your abode home over the course of 365 days.

A single female produces between 5-10 litters annually. Each litter consist of 5-6 young that are able to reproduce at approximately 30 days of age. Mice produce a great number of young, but have a high mortality rate. Mice are an important source of food for wildlife such as hawks, owls, and fox which can control populations outdoors.

The lifespan of a house mouse is approximately 1 year.

In order to control mice inside your home, it is important to treat key areas of the home — before you see mice.

The typical mouse life cycle will vary, but typically lasts about two years indoors, which can be a problem for residents. Mice cause both damage and the spread of disease, problems made much worse by their high birth rate. On average, an adult female mouse can have over 60 babies in one year.

Rapid Reproduction

The typical mouse life cycle will vary, but typically lasts about two years indoors, which can be a problem for residents. Mice cause both damage and the spread of disease, problems made much worse by their high birth rate. On average, an adult female mouse can have over 60 babies in one year.

Mouse Life Cycle Stages

  • Females go into heat for 4 to 5 days.
  • Once pregnant, rodents give birth after three weeks.
  • Litters consist of 5 to 8 pups, and females can reproduce up to 10 times per year.
  • At the start of the mouse life cycle, newborns are hairless and blind.
  • After two weeks, baby mice develop thin fur and slowly gain sight and mobility.
  • Mice reach sexual maturity and are ready to mate about 2 months after birth.

Ridding Homes of Rodents

The mouse life cycle results in rapid breeding and makes control hard for homeowners to handle on their own. A call to Orkin can provide much-needed relief for those dealing with mice in the house or yard.

Male rats reach sexual maturity at about 6 to 10 weeks of age; females reach maturity at 8 to 12 weeks. From this age onward, females and males should be housed separately. The average gestation time is 21 to 23 days, and pregnancy is sometimes detectable at about 2 weeks by feeling the abdomen or noticing weight gain or mammary (breast) development. Pregnant females will make a nest, and they should be provided with suitable materials. Tissue paper provides excellent material for nesting.

, DVM, MPH, DABVP (Avian);

, DVM, DACLAM, Washington University

Male rats reach sexual maturity at about 6 to 10 weeks of age; females reach maturity at 8 to 12 weeks. From this age onward, females and males should be housed separately. The average gestation time is 21 to 23 days, and pregnancy is sometimes detectable at about 2 weeks by feeling the abdomen or noticing weight gain or mammary (breast) development. Pregnant females will make a nest, and they should be provided with suitable materials. Tissue paper provides excellent material for nesting.

Breeding and reproduction in rats can decrease because of factors such as age, malnutrition, abnormal light cycles, cold environment, cysts on the ovaries, tumors, and inadequate nesting material. Pregnant females may abort, abandon, or eat their babies because of inadequate food, lack of water, overcrowding in group housing, inadequate nesting materials, sick or deformed pups, or excessive noise. In healthy rats, however, reproductive problems are uncommon.

A newborn baby mouse is blind and hairless. The young pests grow a coat of fur within two weeks and begin to open their eyes. At this stage, juvenile mice look like tiny versions of adults. They begin to leave the nest shortly after, which is when homeowners may start to notice the pests in the house.

Mouse Reproduction

Mice are prolific breeders with a short gestation period, two factors that combine to make the rodents hard to control. Mouse babies are born around 20 days after mating and are ready to breed in as little as 10 weeks. Females can have 5 to 10 litters, so infestations grow quickly.

What Do Baby Mice Look Like?

A newborn baby mouse is blind and hairless. The young pests grow a coat of fur within two weeks and begin to open their eyes. At this stage, juvenile mice look like tiny versions of adults. They begin to leave the nest shortly after, which is when homeowners may start to notice the pests in the house.

Baby Mouse Diet

The animals feed on their mother’s milk until they can eat solid foods in about 21 to 28 days. They are then able to forage for meals outside of the nest. Mouse babies consume nuts, seeds, insects, and crumbs. As a result, kitchens are a common place to spot droppings and other signs of activity.

Problems and Removal

Noticing baby mice in a home means there is likely an ongoing infestation. Keeping inside entry holes sealed and homes clean are the best ways to prevent rodents, but stopping a current infestation often requires more serious intervention. For help removing mice, contact the specialists at Orkin.

Source
http://www.terminix.com/pest-control/mice/life-cycle/
http://card.medic.kumamoto-u.ac.jp/card/english/service/animalcare/orientation/breeding.html
http://www.thesprucepets.com/breeding-data-for-fancy-mice-1238491
http://www.jax.org/jax-mice-and-services/customer-support/technical-support/breeding
http://www.earthkind.com/blog/how-long-do-mice-live/
http://www.pestworldforkids.org/pest-info/bug-articles-by-type/how-many-babies-do-mice-have-at-once/

Pest Breeding Habit Facts


http://www.crittercatchersinc.com/critters/Mice/Mousereproduction.html
http://www.orkin.com/rodents/mouse-control/life-cycle
http://www.msdvetmanual.com/all-other-pets/rats/breeding-and-reproduction-of-rats
http://www.orkin.com/rodents/mice-babies

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