No when i tied colony breeding i had "set" colonies of 1 male and two females and never seperated them. THe way I do it now has just producd more babies for me with both rats and mice. I dunno why but its working so im stickin with it lol.
We never have a shortage of mice... granted, I'm only feeding one mouse/day to my bird. We have 5 10 gallon tanks, complete with food, water bottle, hide-house and wheel. One male/female in each tank. We have tried a 1:2 ratio, but have found that the other female kills the babies that aren't hers. It seemed really strange, but after watching her do it, she went in the freezer. The females don't get a break between breedings, though I'm considering setting up a tank for them to have a week off or so at least for the ones that look 'tired.' We have the same pairs going now for about 3-4 months with many babies produced, and now have to start looking for decreased production.
As for rodent smell, the cages are cleaned weekly and deodorized with an all-natural cage cleaning solution. We put in a little of the Sweet PDZ horse-stall stuff on the bottom of the tank before adding bedding. It is completely safe and non-toxic, and really helps to control odor. Bedding used is the CareFresh papery stuff, which also goes much further than wood chips while also being a softer substrate for the babes.
In addition to the mice, we have two pairs of rats in a large aquarium [odd-size reptile tank] Once their babies are old enough to be out on their own, we take all the babies and put them in 20gal tanks to grow up fully before going to the freezer. Odor from the rats has always been far worse than the mice, with the only solution found to change the bedding more often [and they still put out a serious urine reek].
Mice are fed black oil seed mixed 60/40 with dog food [Diamond Lamb + Rice, it's what our dogs eat so it's on hand] and have the dishes topped off with the rat/mice food blocks found in pet stores. Rats have the same diet, with striped sunflower seed being exchanged for black oil.
In the long run of things, it's probably not the most efficient way of raising food, but they seem happy and fit right up until they become dinners.
'09- Sept '11 Éowyn - F AK
1 Golf Ball
That seems strange that the rats have a worse odor than the mice. I found just the opposite to be true. For me rats were WAY easier to raise. I feed them Mazuri 6F Rodent feed for breeding. $19 for a 40# bag. I clean the bins about once a week and use pine bedding. Most rats get euthenized at about 30 - 40 grams. (21 days old). ne male and 4 females. They take turns being with the male, for about 2 weeks at a time. They go in heat approx. every 6 days, so 2 weeks gives them 3 chances to get prego. I had to stop raising them for a while, since I have no bird to feed this summer and the freezer was full.