If you own pet mice and maybe even birds, you may have wondered if they can eat each other’s food. After all, it would be very convenient if both could eat the same thing. A bird probably won’t want cheese, but what about the mice? Can mice eat bird seed?
Mice can eat bird seed. They are even part of a balanced mouse diet. You can even feed a birdseed mixture to mice. However, you should be careful not to give too many fatty seeds such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or nuts. You can also offer cob millet to mice as adventure food.
So mice can eat bird seed. And they should do so to get a balanced and nutritious diet. However, as with all things, it depends on the dosage. This is also true for other rodents.
The diet for mice is quite similar to the diet for gerbils. Probably this is due to the fact that the two rodents are relatively closely related.
Read on to learn which bird seeds mice can eat, how many bird seeds you should give, and what other typical bird foods you can give your mice.
Finally, we will also discuss what ingredients and nutrients a balanced mouse diet should contain.
Table of Contents
Which Bird Seeds Can Mice Eat?
Mice can actually eat almost all typical bird seeds. As mentioned above, you can feed sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. But this should happen in moderation because they are very fatty.
You can also feed grass seeds and herb seeds. Grass seeds should even make up the largest part of their diet. These have the advantage of being nutritious, but not as fatty as the seeds mentioned above.
The food should also contain germinable seeds. You can test if the seeds are germinable by placing them on damp kitchen paper on the windowsill and waiting to see if they germinate.
You can definitely still feed the germinating seeds to your mice. They are an important source of vitamins. Especially in winter, you should even feed germinating seeds regularly. This way you keep the vitamin level of your mice in order.
Seed mixtures should not be stored longer than 4 months. After that, most of the nutrients are gone and the fatty components taste rancid. Your mice will then not like this so much. And it doesn’t do much for nutrient absorption either.
How Many Bird Seed Should You Give to Mice?
As we have learned, seeds should be the main ingredient in mouse diets. Therefore, let’s first discuss how much food mice should get in total.
Initially, give your mice about one teaspoon of food per day per mouse. This is a good guideline to start with.
When everything has been eaten the next morning, you can increase the dose. If anything is left over, you can reduce the dose a little the next day.
This way you will find the ideal amount of food your mice need.
Fatty seeds like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds should not make up more than 5% of the seed mixture. If mice eat too much of these, they can become obese.
You can also offer your mice individual seeds as a treat if you wish. However, it should remain with single seeds.
If you hand-feed the individual seeds, you can even hand-tame your mice this way.
Mice usually forage for food throughout the day in the wild. They want to do the same when they live as pets. Therefore, it is important that you also offer them experience food.
For example, hang a cob millet in the cage. The mice will then actually have to go in search of food. This way you encourage their movement and provide them with employment.
Can Mice Eat Cereals?
You can also offer your mice cereals in addition to seed food. However, the grain should be of good quality and offered only in small quantities.
It is best to choose cereals of organic quality. This way you avoid that the mice ingest too many toxins. These could harm the small creatures.
As cereals you can offer the following:
- Emmer wheat
- Foxtail millet
- Red millet
- Silver millet
- Panicle millet
- Japanese millet
Can Mice Eat Corn and Corn Flakes?
Mice can also eat corn kernels. But it is important that you give them only in very small quantities.
However, corn kernels can be an interesting supplement that makes the food more interesting for the mice.
Corn flakes are also a possible treat. They should not be given as regular food.
With corn flakes, it is important that they are not sugared under any circumstances.
But also other flakes like rice flakes or pea flakes are possible treats.
Can Mice Eat Nuts?
Mice should be given nuts very rarely. And then only as a treat, if possible.
Nuts are very fatty, which can have a negative effect on the weight and thus the health of your mice. If you give too many nuts, the mice can become obese.
A quarter nut per day should be the maximum a mouse gets.
The following list contains the types of nuts that a mouse may eat.
- Pine nuts
- Sweet almonds
However, do not give your mice bitter almonds under any circumstances! These contain prussic acid and can severely damage or even kill the mice.
Can Mice Eat Legumes?
Legumes such as lentils, peas, or beans are rather unsuitable for mice. They simply cannot tolerate this type of food.
Some people know that after eating legumes it pinches and twinges unpleasantly in the stomach. It is the same with mice.
It will not harm them in the long term in small quantities, but it simply feels unpleasant and painful for the mice.
Mice also do not tolerate potatoes, various types of cabbage such as white cabbage, red cabbage or Brussels sprouts, eggplant, avocado, various onion crops, papaya, avocado, and clover well.
So it’s best to leave these foods out altogether. Your mice will thank you for it.
What Should a Balanced Mouse Diet Contain?
Mice need certain nutrients to stay healthy. They must absorb these nutrients through their food.
However, it is also important that the basic nutrients are included in the diet in the right proportions. For example, too much fat in the diet can cause mice to become overweight.
An unbalanced diet can lead to health problems in mice and in other animals as well. Incidentally, this is just as true for humans.
The following nutrients should be included in a balanced mouse meal:
- Crude protein: 14 % (19 % – 22 % was previously recommended)
- Crude fat: 4.5 %
- Crude fiber: 3.9 %
- Crude ash: 6.8 %
- Amino acids: 16.93 %
- Minerals: 3.05 %
- Trace elements
Amino acids are divided into the following varieties:
- Lysine 1.3 %
- Methionine 0.4 %
- Cystine 0.03 %
- Glycine 1.0 %
- leucine 1.6 %
- Isoleucine 0.9 %
- Arginine 1.5 %
- Phenylalanine 1.1 %
- Tryptophan 0.3 %
- Histidine 0.6 %
- Aspartic acid 2.1 %
- Glutamic acid 4.3 %
- Valine 1.0 %
- Threonine 0.8 %
Mice need the following minerals:
- Calcium 1.0 %
- Phosphorus 0.7 %
- Sodium 0.25 %
- Magnesium 0.2 %
- Potassium 0.9 %
As for vitamins, the following should be included in the mouse diet:
- A 15000 IU
- D3 1000 IU
- E 100 mg
- B1 10 mg
- B2 20 mg
- B6 12 mg
- B12 80 µg
- Biotin 400 µg
- Pantothenic acid 30 mg
- Choline 1600 mg
- Nicotinic acid 60 mg
- K3 5 mg
- Inositol 50 mg
Among trace elements, the following are important for a healthy mouse diet:
- Manganese 90.0 mg
- Copper 12.0 mg
- Zinc 75.0 mg
- Iodine 2.0 mg
- Iron 220.0 mg
- Selenium 0.2 mg
- Cobalt 2.0 mg
You will not, of course, have the individual nutrients mixed together by the pharmacy. In most of the feeds that you can buy, many of the nutrients are already included.
Some of the nutrients you can add by creating your own food mix. In the next section, we have instructions on how to make the perfect food mix for your mice.
A Recipe For a Balanced Mouse Diet
Having covered more of the theory of optimal mouse nutrition in the previous section, we now move on to the practical side.
We will show you how to make the perfect food mix for your mice yourself. Simply use a commercially available mixture for mice or hamsters as a basis.
- 10 oz of commercial mouse or hamster food (we recommend this product as it has good ingredients and a reasonable size).
- 3.5 oz unsweetened fruit cereal
- 3.5 oz dried vegetables,
- 7 oz bird food (budgie food without poppy seeds and rice; we like to use this product).
- 1.7 oz soft bird food
- 3.5 oz six grain cereal mix
- 5.2 oz grass and herb seeds
- 1.7 oz herb mixture (possible herbs are nettle herb, blackberry leaves, dill, daisy, green oat, hazelnut leaves, shepherd’s purse, chamomile, cornflower blossoms dandelion root with herb, lemon balm, parsley, peppermint leaves, marigold blossoms, sorrel herb, yarrow, sunflower blossoms, ribwort herb, chickweed)
- 1.7 oz pea flakes, carob, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and walnuts (total 1.7 oz of these ingredients)
With this mixture, you can get along for quite a while, even if you keep some mice as pets. Remember, though, that after about two months the food will have lost most of its nutrients and should be replaced.
As you can see, bird seed is also included in this food mixture for your mice. However, they are only one of the components of a balanced diet for your mice.
Conclusion: Can Mice Eat Bird Seed
We learned that mice may actually eat bird seed. In fact, they should eat them because they provide some important nutrients.
However, you should not overdo it with the bird seeds either. Especially fatty seeds should only be given in small amounts, otherwise, the mice might become overweight.
However, a balanced diet also includes some other foods. However, with our recipe for a balanced mouse diet, you now have the means to provide your mice with exactly the right nutrition.
If you follow the tips in this article, your mice should want for nothing when it comes to their diet. We wish you and your mice all the best and the best health.