For The Newcomer
HOUSING YOUR STOCK
You do not need much space to start in the mouse fancy. The corner of a shed or garage, providing it is dry, can be ideal. A window to inspect your stock in natural light is an advantage as is artificial light for evening feeding and the short days of winter. All serious 'mousers' would prefer a self contained mousery but it is far from essential and the highest awards have been won by small studs housed in the most unlikely places.
The most satisfactory box for a mouse is a wooden one. A wire cage such as pet shops supply is not suitable as it gives the mouse no shelter or protection from the outside world. Mice are not fond of daylight and a wire cage has no dark secluded corners. Some people advocate plastic washing up bowls fitted with a wire mesh lid, though there is a tendency for condensation to form in cold weather, if you keep your mice in an unheated shed. Mice can stand the cold very well provided they have enough bedding, but they do not thrive in draughty or damp conditions. There are also many proprietary plastic small mammal cages available on the market, but these tend to be rather expensive.
At least three breeding boxes should be made or obtained in advance of your mice. These need not be elaborate and 18" x 12" x 7" deep is a good starting size. Later you will find uses for boxes both larger and smaller. If you are making your own it's not difficult cover 50% of the fronts with perforated zinc or ¼" Weldmesh and similarly provide some top ventilation in the lid.
ACQUIRING YOUR STOCK
the greatest error made by the newcomer is to be over ambitious. That, however, is quite different from being just enthusiastic! There are so many varieties to choose from that you may find it difficult to decide which to go for, but remember it is folly to start with more than one or two varieties at the most. Having selected your variety, get to know which breeders are generally successful on the show bench and if possible go and see them and their mouseries. Listen to what they tell you and be guided by what they say. Put the advice you receive from different breeders together and by careful thought act accordingly.
All you need now is a little patience. The rewards will come relatively quickly, provided your stock is kept clean and well fed.