Improving Mouse Breeding Success With Nutrition

So here at MisterMiceGuy I have been having trouble getting my mice to reproduce and so I’ve been exploring potential factors that might being impairing my mice from breeding. I’ve been looking into factors such as parasites as well as improving nutrition to overcome this hurdle.

Something that can affect breeding and pup survival is stress. Disturbances such as too much handling, noises, and vibrations can causes mothers to cannibalize their own litters. (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016). Cannibalism due to stress can be reduced by providing a source of high quality protein, such as dried mealworms or sunflower seeds (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016).

In one instance there was a construction situation going on were lab mice were exposed to construction noise and vibrations. By providing mice with dried mealworms workers were able to completely eliminate cannibalism despite exposure to the stressors and changing animal rooms five times (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016). In another instance there was a transgenic line of mice that was prone to cannibalism. This tendency was completely eliminated by providing dried mealworms to mothers and pups (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016).

Like mealworms, Sunflower seeds are a high quality source of nutrition that deliver protein, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Supplementing mothers and pups with sunflower seeds can significantly increase pup survival (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016).

Along with protein, fat supplementation can aid in breeding performance and milk production (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016). Supplementation with a home made mix called “Love mash” can help with this. Ingredients include 42 oz oatmeal, 200ml wheat germ, 200ml brewer’s yeast, and 150ml cod liver oil. The ingredients are mixed dry without cooking and given to the mice (Kagle 2014). Love Mash can be supplied in conjunction with regular mouse food (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016).

The Omega-3 Fatty acids present in the cold liver oil have shown to aid in breeding performance for both males and females (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016).

Research has shown this Love Mash improves the quality of eggs and embryos that females produce, increases litter size by 40%, increases fertilization rate, increases milk production, and increases body weight of pups (Lecker and Froberg-Fejko 2016).

MisterMiceGuy is trying a Modified Love Mash Supplementation consisting of dried old fashioned oats, wheat germ, olive oil, and water mixed in a bowl and microwaved for one minute. The mix is allowed to cool before being crumbled and given to mice. I don’t measure the ingredients I just eyeball the amounts and add it to the mouse feed. I am also supplying my mice with mealworms. I would like to note that the Modified Love Mash is extremely well received by all my mice. I will try the regular Love Mash recipe soon and will continue to explore other cost effective love mash type alternatives.

References

Lecker, J., and Froberg-Fejko, K. (2016) Using environmental enrichment and nutritional supplementation to improve breeding success in rodents. Bio Serv, 45(10), 406-407.

Kagle, D. (2014) 5 reasons your mice aren’t breeding. The Jackson Labratory. Retrieved from: https://www.jax.org/news-and-insights/jax-blog/2014/december/five-reasons-why-your-mice-are-not-breeding

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