How Many Pet Mice Should I Get?

If you’re looking to break into the world of pet rodents, mice are a great place to start. Still, you’ll need to understand some basics before you get them, that way you can avoid a lonely or injured pet. The first thing you’ll want to know is how many you should get. You may wonder, do mice need a companion or do they do best on their own?

The number of mice you should get depends on their sex. If you’re planning to get a male mouse, stick to one because they are highly territorial. Female mice, however, do better with friends, so get two or more females. You can also get one male and multiple females if you plan on breeding.

If you’d like to learn more about keeping pet mice, we’ve got you covered. Below we will discuss why male and female mice have different needs, where you should keep your pets once you have them, and several more tips that will ensure you’re ready to raise some cute but also healthy rodents.  

Male vs Female Mice: Why Are They Different?

Male and female mice tend to behave in different ways; particularly when they are in a group. How many mice you get will therefore be largely dependant on their sex.

2 mice sharing a drink

Male mice are highly territorial towards other males unless they are part of the same litter. If you put two males into one enclosure they will likely end up attacking and possibly even killing one another. If you’ve just gotten two male mice and this hasn’t happened yet, keep in mind that they usually don’t start fighting with each other until they are around 5 weeks old.

Female mice get along with each other much more easily. In the wild they tend to live in groups, often sharing one male mate amongst them. If you are looking to get female mice, you’ll want to get two or more. Generally, it is said that 2 female mice are the best way for beginners to learn how to take care of their new rodent friends. Still, keep in mind that if you want more than 2, +you’ll need a much larger enclosure.

What’s the Best Type of Enclosure for Multiple Mice?

Mice Enclosure

The size and type of enclosure you decide to use is a big part of determining how many mice you should get. Below we have outlined a few things that your enclosure should have before you start adding more mice.

  • Make it cozy: Remember these little guys eat their way into the tightest spaces of your house when they aren’t domesticated. If the container is too open, it actually causes the mice to become stressed. Making sure there are places in the container that are nice and cozy helps the mice to feel secure. 
  • 10 gallons of space for 4 mice: Usually, a five-gallon tank is fine for one mouse. It gives them room to move around but has enough places to huddle in so they can feel secure. If you want more than one mouse, however, 10 gallons per every 4 mice is a good rule of thumb.   
  • Good circulation/ventilation: Mouse urine can lead to a build-up of ammonia. If the enclosure you are using doesn’t have good ventilation to air out the ammonia, it can lead to your mice developing respiratory issues and even dying. Using a wire cage, screen lid, or having mesh windows helps to make sure your mice stay happy and healthy. 
  • Toys are important: Mice love to play and are constantly active. Wheels, chew toys, tunnels, and hideouts will help with everything: from your mouse’s dental hygiene to their propensity to procreate if you’re planning to breed them. Make sure you give them plenty to do!

What Should I Feed My Mice?

Mice Food

Now that you’ve got the right enclosure, you’ll need to know the dos and don’ts of feeding your mice. If you know the breed of mouse you have, you can further specify their needs. However, there are some basic guidelines that apply across the board.

  • Moderate to high protein: Mice thrive on diets with moderate to high levels of protein. You can get pellets that are specifically designed for the needs of your mice at any pet store. However, you should not rely on these alone.
  • Grains and seeds: Mice love things like sunflower seeds and grains. You should provide around 2 tablespoons of regular grains per day. Experiment with different packs of grains – this is because if you get the wrong kind your mice may end up only eating the bits they like and develop an unbalanced diet. Sunflower seeds, on the other hand, make great treats but should be given sparingly because of their concentration of fat.
  • Variation/Treats: It is good to give your mice some fruit or vegetables to help vary their diet and act as treats a couple times a week. 1 tablespoon per mouse is a good rule of thumb.
  • What to avoid: If any food causes your mice to have diarrhea, you should discontinue its use immediately. Further, like dogs, mice cannot properly digest chocolate, so you should never use chocolate as a treat. 

What About Breeding Mice?

What if you want to get mice of multiple sexes instead of just one? Generally, this is done when you’re planning to breed your mice. There are a couple of guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind if you want to get the best results from breeding.

  • One male, multiple females: Usually, you’ll want no more than 3 females per male when you are breeding them. You really shouldn’t house male and females for any other reason, though.
  • Introduce one doe at a time: Though breeding usually involves having multiple females, it is a good idea to introduce one doe at a time to your buck so that you can monitor how they respond.
  • Love Mash: Diet plays a large role in the libido of your mice and the likelihood that they will successfully breed. Most mice are more likely to breed with foods containing a higher concentration of fat. Fortunately, there are feeding pellets called “Love Mash” that are specifically designed for breeding.
  • Proper cleaning routine: Too much interaction with humans can lead to higher levels of stress and ultimately lower levels of intercourse. Make sure that you’re only cleaning out the enclosure once or twice a week to limit stress. 
  • Don’t separate pregnant females from males: Separating pregnant females from their male counterparts can lead to reabsorption in utero, or the mother actually eating her own young when they are born. Until the litter is weaned, it is best to keep the male and female together. Keep in mind that after the litter is born, it is quite possible that the female mouse will get pregnant again.

So, How Many Pet Mice Should I Really Get?

The number of mice you should get really depends on their sex and what you’re planning to do with them. Male mice will attack and possibly kill each other, so you should never put 2 males in the same enclosure. Female mice enjoy the company of others, so it’s a great idea to get 2 or more so they don’t get lonely.

Make sure that you feed your mice an appropriate amount of food with a diet that contains some variation to balance their diet. Also, ensure that they have an enclosure with lots of toys that is big enough for your purposes. If you’re looking to breed mice, then a 10-gallon tank is probably best; if you want a single male, a 5-gallon tank will do. Bear all this in mind and you’ll have mice that are happy and healthy in no time!

Lee Cameron

When I was younger, I had guinea pigs and hamsters as pets. There was limited information back then as to how to take care of rodents, and indeed information on the various types of rodents that could be kept as pets. In this website, I hope to make it an easy, one-stop information portal on raising rodents!

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