You can always tell when mice are in the barn during fall – there is a pile of tasty acorns laying in piles in the corners!
Mice love acorns, and will eat as many as they can find in certain seasons when they are in abundance. They enjoy them because they are very chewy, and when they chew an acorn, a mouse’s razor-sharp teeth are exercised and also filed-down.
The teeth of mice grow continually, and acorns are a good way of giving them something nutritious to gnaw on.
As the guardian of a pet mouse, I know how much it loves to eat acorns!
But of course wild mice love everything they can get their hands on when they are hungry. This can include wood around your home, plastic wires, and also food. [Source]
Your home is like a fancy buffet to a hungry mouse! They enjoy animal products, herbs and vegetables because they are omnivores. Some call them opportunistic omnivores, because even a bit of a brown paper bag will be chewed up by a wild mouse.
Anyway, in this article I’m going to take a look at all the many benefits of eating acorns for mice, as well as lots of tips about alternatives, and their diet in general.
Mice Enjoy Eating Acorns
Mice love acorns. They love all sorts of nuts, but acorns have a special meaning for most mice.
In the wilds, they are easy to get hold of and in bountiful supply.
They not only taste good to mice, but they also serve a very important purpose, and that is to keep their teeth sawed down.
Mice also chew for relaxation, believe it or not. They are anxious little pets and this is an inbuilt system designed to help them not become just another small prey.
Due to their constant moving around and agitation, chewing acts like a relaxant for them.
Acorns can also act as a give-away that there is an infestation of mice in your home, as mice in the wild tend to carry their food with them and will store piles of acorns in corners, which indicates that mice have been there.
If you do need to remove mice, please do so humanely, and there is a way to do this without hurting them.
Mice Love Nuts In General
All nuts are loved by rodents in general, and mice are not immune to that!
If you want to give your pet mice acorns for the same reasons wild mice love them, you can do so.
Just be aware of where you are getting your supply. Meaning, are they contaminated in any way? Have pesticides been sprayed on them, or have other animals had a go at them which could make the acorn an unsavory treat.
What About Garden Acorns For A Pet Mouse?
By all means, if you have a tree bearing acorns, then give them to your pet mice, but in moderation.
If you are collecting acorns from the wild that should be OK, but ensure that they are very well washed, cleaned and dried to protect your pet from mildew, pesticides and perhaps the chewing of another animal that could carry disease.
Never overfeed your mouse. Mice are quite cheap to keep in terms of food and this could lead to overfeeding which is not a good idea.
Let’s look at other great things mice can eat.
Luckily, store-bought mouse food is relatively inexpensive, considering the amount of scientific thought and work that goes into them. Mice need a good diet, filled with protein, carbs and other goodies like wheat and barley.
A good feed will list the ingredients on the packet. Some mouse owners will buy the mouse nougats or bars, since these ground together ingredients stop selective eating and give your mouse the best chance at getting what they need.
They will often contain a mix of soya, dried fruits, nuts and seeds. No sugar or salt additives.
Get A Good Basic Diet To Start With For Your Mouse
One of the easiest things I found when buying my first mouse was to purchase some good mouse food.
I knew that varying his diet was important, but being a newbie, I didn’t want to give him the wrong things to eat.
When I was younger, I even saw one of my friends feeding sticky treats to his pet mice. It was innocent enough, but sticky human treats are bad for mice on so many levels, as mice don’t do well with sugar, it is bad for them.
Sometimes the sweet treat can be very toxic, like chocolate for example.
When I brought my first pet mouse home, I was a little older and more sensible, and it was my mission to find out exactly what mice like to eat and what is good for them.
Animals, or rodents for that matter, have a good sense of what is good for them. You wouldn’t think so if you have seen what wild mice can eat.
As mentioned earlier, a telephone wire could be devoured by a wild mouse in your home. This is why it is so troubling having an infestation of mice.
Pet mice are different, mostly because we learn how to care for them and how to help them obtain optimum health. It is just what a good pet owner strives to do. In return, we get a loyal and fun pet, it’s an easy trade-off!
So now we know that mice do love acorns and why they love them, let’s look at some alternatives that are easy enough to add to their diet.
Apple Branches For Mice
Apple branches are great for chewing on, and your mouse will chew away happily for ages whilst taking care of his biggest issue in life, his teeth. If a mouse’s teeth are not filed down constantly, they will cause them a lot of trouble in the long term. [Source]
Not everyone has apple trees in their gardens, but perhaps you have access to apple trees. If you do, you can cut these and use them.
Be very careful, because many trees, and other nuts and fruits, like acorns, can have pesticides on them, and you certainly do not want this harming your pet mouse.
Also, don’t forget towWash all things you bring into the home very well.
The best thing to do is soak them and rinse them very well, and then allow them to dry out.
Watch out for mold forming if you store them away, which isn’t advisable. Most people will purchase apple twigs as part of the mouse feed simply because of the chewing factor, and these twigs are prepared to avoid mice getting any toxic chemicals from them. They also don’t have mildew or mold on them if they are from a reputable company.
The chew factor cannot be stressed enough. As a mouse owner myself, I am constantly in the know of which chew toys and objects a mouse can chew safely without any issues.
More Ideas for Chewing For Mice
Many pet stores stock special chew toys for rodents, and these are also helpful.
Many are made from safe woods and tied with thick ropes, which your mouse will love getting his teeth into as well. You can simply hang them about the cage, and your mouse will have a good nibble.
There seem to be two types of mice when it comes to teeth filing.
Some insist on something tasty, like the apple twigs, others don’t mind the ornamental types shaped like various fruits and nuts, like acorns! Be careful when you purchase these, some are better than others.
Make sure there is no visible glue showing. If there is, speak to the seller and ask if the glue is non-toxic.
As I always say, if you buy from a proper pet supply store, whether it is online or in-store, you should be okay, but never leave it to chance for obvious reasons. You might have to pay a little extra or do a bit more research, but it is well worth it in the long run.
Special Mouse Sweets
You can also purchase special treats that are more or less sweet treats for mice! I love trying out new things with my mouse to see what he likes and dislikes.
Sweet nibbles are mostly fruit-based and specially prepared for mice. My mouse has his favorites as will yours, this is part of the fun of keeping mice!
Mice sweet treats have no sugar additives, as fruit is sweet enough for a mouse. You can even cut up fresh berries and fruit for them yourself.
I’ve done this often, but if I am in a hurry, I like to have a packet of treats ready to go with no fuss. A quick search on the internet can bring up several ideas plus things that mice can and cannot eat, which is handy.
Once you’ve settled on a store-bought basic feed for your mouse, you can rest assured that they are getting the best nutrient breakdown possible.
From this, you can add on vegetables, fruits, a few nuts (as often these are already in the feed) and treats.
Vegetables For Mice
With vegetables, carrots do very well. They can be cut to a specific size, and they are of course very nice, chewy and sweet to a mouse.
Broccoli, lettuce, peas and sweet peppers are fine in small amounts, don’t overload them with these items and make sure you clean any leftovers immediately. Decaying food and a dirty cage are not good for your mouse or yourself for that matter, as bacteria can breed quickly.
You will find that over time, your mouse will show a preference for certain vegetables, and then find new favorites. I love cutting up fresh leaves for my mouse, like bok choy, Brussels sprouts and peas, for example.
If I do serve vegetables then I will remove them the same day. Mice just as humans can become unwell from spoiled food.
Mice love fruit, and pieces of melon, apple, pears and banana will go down a treat. This also refers to dried fruit, but again, do check the sugar and sodium levels.
It is better to get dried fruit specially prepared for mice for this reason, or this could fall into the sticky treat section, which is a bad idea.
Some fruits to avoid are citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons and grapefruit.
One entertaining way to give pets fruit is to thread cubes of melon onto a string and hang them on the side of the cage. This encourages a bit of exercise, as it requires your mouse to stand up.
If you have a multi-level cage, which is better for their health, you can hang a few pieces on each floor, making your mouse look for their food, which is better for them.
More Chew Toys For Mice
Adding to their repertoire of chewy things, you can include coconut shells and also twigs from other trees, like pear trees, dogwood branches, elm, hawthorn and yucca as some examples. Remember to wash well, and if you want to dry them faster, place them in the oven and bake for a while, cool down and serve.
Mice also love seeds, but most of their seed requirements will be met by mouse muesli.
Always clean foods well
If you do decide to take acorns home from the park or the wilds, then just wash very well, soak for a while, and then dry in the oven a little on bake. Do not keep the acorns too long, as some can gather mildew and moss, and this is very unhealthy for your pet to eat.
Never overfeed treats, although it is very tempting. Mice should have their basic diet, which is specialty food, or mice and rat muesli, and some vegetables and fruit thrown in.
Always clear away any old food from a cage, as old food can cause stomach upset in mice, and you don’t want to have to take your pet to the vet when it could have been avoided.
Also, make sure you make their food fun times, this way your pet will get more exercise, and nothing beats a healthy diet and exercise, as we all know.