This issue has come up repeatedly in the forum recently, and I'm not sure whether this is due to many casual breeders finding this forum, or simply that more people than ever are considering breeding than before.
Diane wrote a great post about things to think about before you start a mousery, and I'm afraid that many of the people this post is aimed at have either not read it, glossed over it, or simply posted their agreement without really paying attention to it being relevant to them.
The result is that many established breeders are getting incredibly frustrated. At first, we were very gentle with the people who put no thought into breeding.
"I have a buck and a doe - they can have babies!" <-- them
"Well that might not be a good idea - there are a lot of mice in the world without homes. What would yours add?" or "Are you prepared for the possibility of a lot of babies? What will you do with them?" <-- us
We got ignored. These people bred anyway, and brought babies into the world they were not prepared to take care of, find homes for, and babies they could not properly socialize - babies who were doomed to become feeders for no other reason than that no one wanted them, rather than being bred humanely for such a purpose - babies who would not receive vet attention when needed. Not to mention the stress on the mothers who wouldn't get the diet they needed to do this without killing themselves, or the mothers left with the fathers to then get a pregnant right after giving birth. Not to mention the poor does who hurt themselves during labor because they aren't built correctly, or those who died during labor.
We tried being rougher.
"Don't you think my girl is going to have such cute babies from my boy???" <-- them
"You shouldn't do that - you don't know the background of your mice. They might be unhealthy, and they aren't going to improve the species." <-- us
The same thing happened. The responses were "But my mouse has a great personality so of course she should be bred!" Every mouse should have a great personality, or they wouldn't be pets. Stock that should be bred should have good conformation - good colouration - good markings - and, invaluably, good health history. If you don't know what these mean or can't explain what a good example would be, you need to research more.
And then they bred anyway. These mice went to pet shops because parents get upset. These mice are sometimes let go - into the wild, where they are not equipped to survive. The "breeder" lost interest and stopped paying attention and suddenly had dozens upon dozens of mice because the litter wasn't seperated in time, and all the girls got pregnant.
So now we're here.
"I can't wait to breed my mice!" <-- them
"You should NOT breed unless you know X!" "Why would you breed that mouse? What do you know about it?" "That's a BAD idea because you're doing Y." <-- us
You see it as rude. But you know what?
It works. If you don't know enough to research and answer basic questions, and you don't have a reason for breeding beyond "I want babies," "My mouse is nice," "I have two mice," "I want more mice," "My mouse is pretty - I've never seen an brown/black mouse before!" - you should not be breeding! And when we tell people it's a bad idea without sugar coating it?
They don't breed.
You see it as rude. We see all the mice you might bring into the world because "why not."
So this is my charge to you, potential breeder: Don't, unless you have done a lot of research, and *KNOW* you're stock is good. (Usually, this means you need to get it from a breeder.) Don't, unless you know when to seperate your male from your female. Don't, unless you know when to seperate your boy babies from mom & the girl babies. Don't, unless you have a basic understanding of MOUSE genetics. Don't, unless you know what to do with the potential 16 babies. Don't, unless everyone who lives with you is okay with it - after explaining how many mice will be born at a time, and how expensive it will be. Don't, unless you have a basic grasp of animal husbandry.
These are all prerequisites to breeding, and are not optional. If you research and ask intelligent questions before breeding - before even thinking about putting a buck with a doe - then like Ash, Jaye, Diane, Kat, Kelli, Brenda, and myself - you will be welcomed with open arms.
But otherwise? If you want to take our bluntness as rudeness because you haven't done your homework?
We have teeth, and your disregard for the animals you want to perpetuate scares us. And casual breeding, or breeding just because, is not okay. In any species, "even" mice.
Last edited by hbmousery
on Wed Feb 21, 2007 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.