Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

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Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by Peace&colby on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:14 am

So, long story short, my longhair argente doe Lindt just gave birth on the 15th of June. There are 13 on the first day but one died the following morning. So now we have 12 pups, 5 girls(1 PE) and 7 boys(2 PE, one of which is a runt). At first, I was prepared to cull the litter down to around 5-6, the manageable size, with 2 males and 3-4 females. I also want to keep any other colour that are not agouti, so I wait until their colour were shown.

However, when the time comes, which is yesterday and today, I feel that I couldn't do it, even with the runt. I tried to cull some many times now but every time I end up putting them back with their mum. I know that it is for the benefit for the doe, their litter mates and me who take care of them. I know in the wild large litter don't all survive. But on the other side I feel guilty for not giving them a chance to live. If they're sick pups, then I'd be fine with it. But they look too 'healthy' to just get rid of because they're surplus. The more I search for a good reason to cull some, the more I feel bad and think 'they'd be fine'. I'm also scared that I'd do it the wrong way/not fast enough and makes them suffering. There're too much room for errors for me T-T

I don't know what to do now. I'd feel bad if the mother has to take care of that many pup, but I also feel the same to get rid of some. I don't have the other nursing doe I can foster them, nor do I have time to hand-raise them. Would it be irresponsible to keep them? Is culling really necessary in a big litter? No
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by kawmice on Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:50 am

Right now I am on the bus and sadly do not have the time for a lenghtly response. I would recomend you look at previous posts in this section. There are many posts here about culling that have some great information and reasons for culling. I will try my best to get back to this post sometime today. Just so darn busy lately! Lol
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by candycorn on Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:00 pm

Not culling is hard on the mother. She only has 10 nipples...so by not culling, you are causing her stress. And in the case of the runt...prolonging dealth that will probably happen in a cruel way. It is kinder to do it yourself than let nature take it's course.
It all comes down to though...why are you breeding? If you are breeding to show and make good show mice...then you need to cull, to get the best size and strenght out of the babies you have. If you are breeding feeders, then it doesn't matter as much if the babies are as large I suppose. And if you are breeding to make pets for others...then keeping that many males is going to make it very difficult to rehome them. Each has to be kept seperatly and most pet homes don't care for bucks because of the smell.
Sooo it all depends on many factors.
If it were my litter I would cull all the boys unless you yourself need one.
If you are unable to cull yourself, you could advertise (on something like craigslist if you have it in your country) live pinkies to others, or take them to a pet store that has pinkies and let them resell/cull them as feeders. ( To clarify, the shop I am thinking of in my area is a small town reptile shop and they will cull them in front of you to either show you how, or if you can't do it and wish to have them do it. I would never leave the live babies there. I have never done this myself, but heard of someone else who did.) I know at least one breeder who prefers to do that. I cheat and use my reptiles for the pinkies and CD for the older mice.


Last edited by candycorn on Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by tinyhartmouseries on Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:39 pm

You can easily freeze pinkies and they will have passed within minutes. It's the least "hands on" method I know of.

You've said it yourself, that the mother can't handle this much. Basically, it comes down to what you value more, the mother who is stressed and struggling, or your feelings about culling. I made the decision to put my own feelings aside to do what's best for the mice that I took responsibility for.
Mice going into pet homes need to be strong and healthy too, with a good start in life. I do recommend culling if these are going to be pets, starting with the males. I don't really agree with taking live anything to a pet store, you cannot guarantee the pinkie will not starve and suffer as it's sitting in the store. If you bred it, it's probably best that you personally deal with it.
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by madmouse on Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:54 pm

candycorn wrote: I cheat and use my reptiles for the pinkies and CD for the older mice.


When you say CD are you referring to carbon dioxide?

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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by Laigaie on Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:25 pm

CD is cervical dislocation. CO2 is carbon dioxide.
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by Peace&colby on Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:08 am

Thank you for the reply. I had made my mind, I'll cull the runt and 3 other bucks (maybe more though)

candycorn wrote:
It all comes down to though...why are you breeding?
I'm breeding mainly to improve the temperament and overall look of the mouse (colour, coat, etc. maybe some type). There're no mouse shows here, so they're not bred to the standard that much.

candycorn wrote:
If it were my litter I would cull all the boys unless you yourself need one.
If you are unable to cull yourself, you could advertise (on something like craigslist if you have it in your country) live pinkies to others, or take them to a pet store that has pinkies and let them resell/cull them as feeders. I know at least one breeder who prefers to do that. I cheat and use my reptiles for the pinkies and CD for the older mice.
Some of the boys will be kept to breed back to the mum, the ones that I don't use might go to another breeder. I cannot rely on the others to cull them for me, as culling is not a common practice here with all species, and most feeder breeder fed mice/rats alive. Only a few that got freeze(all age)/CO2 before thay're fed.

Would CD work with 6 days old mice? How about flicking? I've heard that it won't work because of their elastic bones, and I'm afraid that flicking might just make them feel pain in their head. I also don't have anything that can be use to produce enough CO2. I cannot do other hand-on method though, I'm not comfortable with it.
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by Peace&colby on Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:35 pm

The runt just got culled T-T
[graphic warning]
At first I was going to do a CD, but I couldn't get myself to do it, so I flick him instead.
But when I actually do it (as hard as I could), I wasn't hold him firmly enough and he drops back into his box. He's still moving a bit when he get paler and the blood comes out where I flick(but still under the skin). The mom comes over and take him back to his nest, and takes a long time licking him. It breaks my heart and I feel so sad about him right now. I don't know if I'd be able to cull the others or not, it makes me feel wrong even though I'm doing what I should do...
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by tinyhartmouseries on Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:51 pm

Try to get that baby out. He is likely already dead...when they go pale they are dying. If he's not dead, he definitely needs to be euthanized now.
If it is any easier for you, take the culls and throw them down hard on a hard or concrete floor. They should die instantly. Or, freeze them. you do not have to deal with flicking. I personally find flicking hard to do, myself.
You can do this! all of us have a botch or two, or mess up the first time. The important thing is to keep going and make sure the animal is not suffering, to euthanize it as quickly as possible.
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by Laigaie on Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:49 pm

CD works on literally any vertebrate of any age. If it has a spinal cord, and that cord is severed between the brain and the lungs/heart, the animal will die quickly, painlessly. I find CD works most humanely for small batches of animals over three days, and use freezing for pinkies under three days. Both are fairly non-violent, and preserve the physical integrity of the animal.
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by doganddisc on Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:12 pm

When I cull pinkies, I flick them in the head then give them to my dog. No messy clean up and the babies die very quickly. I have only had one incidence where this didn't go as smoothly as planned- I flicked the baby too hard and he landed between my bed and the wall. He died quickly though.
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by Peace&colby on Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:53 am

tinyhartmouseries wrote:Try to get that baby out. He is likely already dead...when they go pale they are dying. If he's not dead, he definitely needs to be euthanized now.
If it is any easier for you, take the culls and throw them down hard on a hard or concrete floor. They should die instantly. Or, freeze them. you do not have to deal with flicking. I personally find flicking hard to do, myself.
You can do this! all of us have a botch or two, or mess up the first time. The important thing is to keep going and make sure the animal is not suffering, to euthanize it as quickly as possible.
I buried him last night in my garden, around 5 minutes after he's dead. I won't do flicking again, it's too heartbreaking from what I've seen with the runt that night Sad
I'd really prefer CO2, but I'm not sure how to do it properly (CO2 could be produce by mixing vinegar and baking soda, right?).

Laigaie wrote:
CD works on literally any vertebrate of any age. If it has a spinal cord, and that cord is severed between the brain and the lungs/heart, the animal will die quickly, painlessly. I find CD works most humanely for small batches of animals over three days, and use freezing for pinkies under three days. Both are fairly non-violent, and preserve the physical integrity of the animal.
I'm glad to know that it'd work, thank you Happy


Last edited by Peace&colby on Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by seafolly on Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:48 pm

I wrestled with this. The runt was the easiest for me because I knew it was just best for her. I really struggled with the healthy ones, especially since the males (what I culled) were the biggest. For me, it helped to research the heck out of my chosen method. I added on inducing hypothermia before putting them in the freezer so it was more like going to sleep (freezing is considered a last resort but hypothermia is documented as something that eases the transition).

The most important thing, I think, is to not second guess yourself. Plan ahead, choose a method, and stick to it. Don't hesitate, as you saw with the runt. Dedicate yourself to the task so they don't suffer. In my case, to remove the pinky from the ice bath (in an insulated latex glove sleeve) would be horribly painful. There's no going back!
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Re: Is culling 'necessary'? [problems with letting the babies go]

Post by seafolly on Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:15 am

So, I wasn't sure where to write this, but I think this thread will do for those who second guess culling.

What went through my head when I was trying to cull the very last healthy males was, "Oh it won't be hard to find a home for these two. It's just two." But, when browsing the pet store today I peeked over at the mouse cage (glorious satins and long haireds!) there was a little boy, perhaps 5 years old, elbow deep on the floor-level cage that had been unlocked as his mother was buying some, I suppose. No one was watching him directly, and he spun and spun their wheel while three mice clung on for dear life. Knowing it's possible mice I produce could end up in a home like that seals in my mind that an early (ideally painless) death is far better than a home with kids who have no ability to handle such little critters.
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