Spiny Mouse Breeding

Weaning and Selling Ages

Have you some time thought about the terms weaning age and selling age? Spiny mice are allowed to grow with their mothers at least 4 of their first weeks, until they reach the weaning age. By that time you are allowed to separate them from their mother and let them grow the next 2 weeks, either with the siblings or in a completely new group, with new friends. Only after that you are allowed to sell or give the spiny mice to the new owners.

These two weeks between the weaning age and selling age are important for the independence of the spiny mouse. During this time the young spiny mouse is learning how to manage without its mother. Spiny mice live in groups and in order to manage in changing conditions and with changing cage mates, it will have to learn certain social rules.

You should never separate a spiny mouse from its mother at four weeks of age so that it would be left alone. If there are no other options, it has to be left with the mother to grow for a little longer. A four week old spiny child will not perhaps manage to handle the stress, which it will get when everything it has known before will be taken away from it. It will need a "helper", someone to guide it through all aspects of life, or at least other pals who are as helpless as it is so that they can learn about life together.

Matterhorn Find Me In my Fields Of Grass

Matterhorn Find Me In my Fields Of Grass
o. Sari & Saara Mattero, pic: Arttu Väisälä

Selling Age Ain't Flexible

Spiny mice are born ready: their ears can hear, their eyes can see and they even have a coat of some sorts on. A couple of days old baby is already running around the cage following its mother, resembling a foal with its long legs.

A couple of days more and the little spinie is already eating solid food with its parents. At the age of 4-5 weeks the baby will start to get real spines and by 6 weeks it already looks like rather independent. At this age the young spiny mouse is ready to leave the home of its breeder. At six weeks, not a day before.

Still many breeders think: what's there with selling a 3-4 week old spiny mouse! It eats by itself and looks rather developed... And again an underaged spiny mouse is sent to a new home, living a much shorter and unhappier life than many other spiny mice who left their birth home at six weeks. Oh, the excuses, it eats by itself. Think about this: a gerbil baby eats solid food way before it has its eyes open. Would you sell a gerbil baby that young?!

A spiny mouse baby who has been taken away from its mother too young, will not only suffer fron inadequate diet or indigestion or low immunity. Now, the mental damages cut much deeper.

A spinie will feel defenceless without the most important person in its life - the mother. It is not developed enough to make own decisions, it does not dare to do anything from its own initiative and will get frustfrated out of being so helpless. It does not dare or even want to get to know other possible friends, it is scared and in the end will turn uncommunicative. No wonder it starts to bite and be nasty. If it could, it would cry.

Wake up, people! How do you want to represent yourself as breeders, when you are selling way too young animals?! We want to keep our babies with their mothers as long as possible. We think it is the responsibility of the breeder and what they owe their animals. If this feels like being too much, maybe it's better stop messing with live animals and start to think about gardening!Let your Dumbos keep their mothers.

Happily, there are those responsible breeders. These people we express our most sincere thanks and bow.

Text: Tiina Andersin + Lotta Ahlfors & Kaisa Kattilakoski