Home: Feeding

Additional Foods

By Cait McKeown

Vitamins and Minerals and Hay Fruit and Vegetables as Treats and Supplements, Leftovers and Treats and Supplements


Vitamins and Minerals
The importance of additional food grows greatly if you feed your mice solely on seed mixes as the basic diet. In this case you should give additional food daily, in order for your mouse to get all the vitamins and trace elements it needs. One thing that a mouse does not need is vitamin C, which it can synthesise inside its body, unlike humans and apes. For this reason it is not necessary to give citrus fruits (which also tend to give mice upset stomachs and diarrhoea). Mineral licks sold in pet shops are not actually needed by mice and many contain mainly salt. If you want to give your mouse some vitamins and minerals you should either use water soluble solutions for rodents and small animals, or dissolve children’s vitamin and mineral tablets in their water. I prefer to use the soluble stuff mixed into their water: this way I know the dosage is right and evenly distributed in the water.

These are the vitamin drops I use, which cost £3.65 a bottle

Hay
You should also vary the additional foods you give. One of the most important additional foods can be high quality dry hay. It contains lots of minerals and fibre, which is beneficial for the well being of the intestines and the digestive system. In addition to this, hay offers plenty of activities for the mice; they love to arrange it and build nests out of it. Having said this I have raised many mice successfully (and healthily) without giving hay; so as long as you make sure your pets are well looked after this is not a necessity, although it may be nice for them. If you use hay, just be sure it is fresh and dry with no mould. One way to kill any bugs that may be lurking is to put it in the freezer for at least 24 hours before using it.

Fruit and Vegetables as Treats and Supplements
Other additional foods that mice love are different kinds of fruit and vegetables. With these it is a good idea to pay attention to the seasons and what is cheap at the time. For example, there is no point in buying strawberries when they are at their most expensive.

Using knowledge of the seasons and your own garden, you can build up a versatile and cheap diet for your mice. In the early summer you can pick dandelions, coltsfoot and seeding grass (make sure it’s clean and not contaminated by a source of pollution) and in the late summer feed vegetables and berries. Autumn is the best time for apples and roots and in the winter you can give branches of trees or twigs, and grow sprouts on the windowsill. In spring you can give your mice the first green plants to grow, like coltsfoot. You can also dry many vegetables and plants during the summer to use in the winter. Whatever you collect, always make sure that the area you collect from is free of pollution, pesticides or other poisons. Also make sure that the plants you gather aren't poisonous and don't contain harmful substances. Do not pick anything you don’t know for sure to be safe!

Leftovers
It is sometimes mentioned that you can give porridge, macaroni casserole, boiled vegetables and similar things to your mice. This is true. However, you should remember that it does not pay to start preparing these foods solely for your mice. Some vitamins are destroyed when heated, which leads to the lessening of the nutritional value of food. However, if there are leftovers from your own cooking (porridge, potatoes or rice) you can give them to your mice.

Treats and Supplements
The following is a list of foods that can be given to mice as treats or added to their mix:

  • Rolled oats/crushed barley/oat groats
  • Carrots
  • Dandelion leaves (not too many)
  • Seeding grass (not too much)
  • Pasta (cooked or uncooked)
  • Boiled rice (cooked, wholegrain or uncooked)
  • Mealworms (yes, live food! But don't attempt to give your mice giant mealworms because they will frighten them)
  • Porridge oats
  • Mouse chocolate drops/yoghurt drops/milk drops

Mixture of milk, yoghurt and chocolate drops that are rodent-safe

  • Millet (yellow not white)
  • Cockatiel seed/budgie seed
  • Molasses (to bind a mix)
  • Brewer's yeast flakes
  • Wheatgerm
  • Cod liver oil (follow the directions on the packaging)
  • COOKED Soya beans
  • Bread (which can be soaked in water, skimmed milk, stock or gravy)
  • Apple (raw or stewed – stewed it is wonderful to mix with worming powder as the mice eat it all very quickly)
  • Garden peas/frozen peas
  • Dry dog food (including biscuits and dry complete mixes, especially those intended for puppies)

Left to right: dog meal, Pedigree Denta Stix, broken mixer dog biscuits, dog biscuits

  • Peanut butter (small amounts, useful to mix with worming powder to dose your mice)
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Raisins/sultanas

Left: Sultanas, Right: Dried meat sold for dogs

  • Locust bean treats
  • Flaked peas
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Parsley
  • Biscuits (small amounts)
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Cake (crumbs)
  • Dried meat
  • Cooked chicken/turkey
  • Scrambled/boiled egg (unseasoned)
  • Cooked fish
  • Cooked meat (e.g. gammon, bacon, pork etc)
  • Chopped mixed nuts
  • Toast (not too much if any butter)
  • Tomato
  • Pear
  • Yoghurt
  • Coltsfoot
  • Swede
  • Pancakes
  • Baby food
  • Corn flakes
  • Clover
  • Hay
  • Tuna
  • Pizza crust
  • Garlic bread
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Sunflower seeds

Left: Beware that a mix is not made mainly of corn flakes, Right: Don't give your mice too many sunflower seeds

  • Spinach
  • Cranberries
  • Rat treats are ok to feed to mice
  • Honey
  • Dried grass
  • Meat-filled dog bones (make sure the hole in the middle is large enough for the mice to crawl into when they are eating the meat so they don’t get stuck)

Group of adult does enjoying a meat-filled dog bone

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