Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why I didn't raise mice for Wesley...

Norma asked why I didn't raise mice for Wesley. I did, actually, once. It was a complete disaster! Trying to raise that many mice, so that there was a steady supply, was almost impossible but I thought it would save money to try to do so, so I set up shop in the backyard playhouse of a house I was renting a room from. The trick was to have so many litters going that I had 3 to 4 full sized adults ready to feed him every day, and in July, 6 or 7 for about a month before his molt. These mice had to come from existing litters and not from my breeders. So I had all these breeders at different stages w/ litters and needed the litters to mature at the right times.

This required a huge setup at significant cost in terms of caging, water bottles, bedding, food...and then it got really hot outside and a lot of the mice died even though the playhouse was well ventilated and under a shady tree. I kept at it. The smell was terrible w/ that many mice and I spent hours cleaning cages, although you can't disturb a mother mouse for a little while after she has a litter. I still ended up having to buy mice because it hardly ever worked out for me to have enough for Wesley.

Raising so many mice became nearly a full time "hobby" and it was just a big ol mess. They kept dying from the heat that summer and I started running electricity into the playhouse to use a cooler in there. Then I moved the entire operation into the garage w/ a portable air conditioner and the smell was terrible.

Last but not least, I got attached to the mice I was raising and found it even more painful than ever to have to, er, dispatch them. I never did get used to that and I still prefer not to kill even bugs, much less animals, but as I always tell people, if the only thing your child could eat and live was mice, you'd become God's gift to getting and killing and preparing mice! It's amazing what that parent instinct will make you do, even if your child is an owl. "To that which you tame, you owe your life."

So I gave up and just budgeted for the mice from then on. What a disaster it was to try to raise them!

by the way, I have an email that people can use to write to me if they want to, but I may not be able to write back. I'm really, really bad at doing my email and even my publisher knows to call me if there's something important and not rely on email. The main reason I've never set up an email for readers is my fear that it will infer an expectation that I can't meet, that I'd answer and get into email conversations. I probably won't, but not because i don't care! I am still limited in my energy and try to dole out my activities carefully w/ the teaspoon of energy I get each week.

so if people know up front that I'm terrible at replying, and they still want to email me, the email address is:


1 comment:

Norma said...

Hi Stacey,
I can see why raising the mice was a bad experience and get why you would get even more attached.

Fiona is adorable! What kind of dog is she?

So happy your book is so successful! It is a huge feat, especially with the competition--over 400,000 books published last year alone!