The Mouse StuD
There are many considerations when setting up a stud for show mice.
Do you want to keep your stud indoors or in a shed or garage?
Mice are very able to withstand cold and do well enough in a shed over a British winter, provided they have have enough nesting material to snuggle up in. The summer is a different matter however, and if you are keeping your stock outside you need to make sure they are protected from the heat as mice can overheat and die very quickly and easily. You need to make sure that wild rodents and predatory animals can't get in but your shed must be well-ventilated. In a shed your mice have their own safe little world where not much disturbs them, it doesn't matter if it smells, and you don't have embarrassing situations when you invite musophobics round to dinner. On the other hand, you have to go out there every day, whether you feel like it or not, whatever the weather.
Once you have decided where your stud will be located, then there is the decision about how you will house your mice
Traditionally mouse fanciers have made wooden boxes for their mice to be housed in, much like the boxes in this traditional mouse shed:
More recently, fanciers have started to use converted plastic storage boxes, these are cheap, easy to clean and come in a range of sizes to suit your needs. The wire mesh used on these is 6mm, an example is pictured here next to a modern mixed mouse shed.
Another option is to purchase Lab breeding cages. These are strong, easy to clean and will last for many years. The wire lids of these cages can be turned upside down to provide additional headroom for your mice. Here they are pictured in a modern indoor stud:
Other things your stud may need are:
SEALED FOOD BIN:
When running on as many mice as it takes to keep a stud thriving, you'll want a large, sealable container to keep your mouse food in. If you keep your stud outside in a shed then it's doubly important the food bin seals tight and that you pick up any food spillages as easily available food will attract unwelcome visitors.
SOILED BEDDING BIN:
You'll need somewhere to empty your boxes into.
SPACE TO STORE BEDDING AND NESTING MATERIAL:
You'll want to buy in bulk when running a stud, so you'll need somewhere to put it!
A SOURCE OF NATURAL DAYLIGHT:
The mice themselves aren't bothered about getting daylight as they are dawn and dusk mammals, but you need it to inspect them. A mouse's colour will look completely different in incandscent or fluorescent light, so make sure you have somewhere to view them in natural daylight.
Many Thanks to Sarah Yeomans for allowing the use of much of the written material and photographs in the production of this article