What Bedding Do You Use?
The only bedding I've ever used is fleece, but it hasn't been getting the best ratings and its super annoying having to change it every 2 days. Lately I've been having some sneezy rats and a couple URIs, and I am sick of these flare ups and was thinking that it was possibly the bedding or my own mistake on cleaning their cage.
I've heard that aspen was good but I'm not really sure where to start with that. I would need to find a good brand and a place that sells it in bulk. Is it super messy having it and cleaning it up? How often should I clean it all out? Do I put the aspen in their litter box too or would that confuse them? I've heard that it comes really dusty, so how do you remove at least most of the dust before putting it in the cage? Do you put the aspen on all levels of the cage and does that work for you, or do you only put it on certain levels?
If you don't use aspen, I would like some insight on what you use!
I use care fresh, I personally like it much better than aspen. I used aspen when I first got my rats and even though it was slightly better on the ammonia front, it got EVERYWHERE, and I'm talking.. everywhere. The rats would kick it out of the cage and then it would get tracked all over the house. My hairless got a couple splinters from the shavings as well so if you have any hairless I personally would stay away from it.
Yeah fleece is not good to use unless your rats are fully litter trained, it just doesn't do anything for odor or ammonia.
Controlling ammonia is the most important thing.
I have to disagree with Ladylazerstar, carefresh is actually really bad as well. It has been shown in studies to be one of the worst at controlling ammonia. If you want to use paper, pellets are supposed to be better.
I do prefer wood myself, either aspen or kiln dried pine. I use aspen. I get a very large bag at tractor supply for like $10. I go through it in about a week but I have around 40 rats, give or take. Plus an extremely large almost 10ft long guinea pig cage and bunny litter boxes that use it!
Quality does matter. I wouldn't get really cheap crappy bedding. The one from tractor supply is a very nice brand, I like it alot. I really love aspen, I have alot of rats and even tiny babies and the health and safety is super important to me and I've never had any issues with it.
How often you clean and where you put it will depend on your cage. In general I suggest most cages will need cleaned between 5-7 days. You want to clean it before it has odor.
if your cage has shallow shelfs it is not going to be able to hold bedding, you can remove the shelfs and use baskets or hanging beds instead.
I'll have to look into that. I've never heard that care fresh sucks and I hear it highly recommended all the time but you learn something new every day. In all honesty the only bedding I can use is care fresh. My hairless is so sensitive she gets sick if I use anything else.
Ive never liked fleece for the same reason. Paper pellets are awesome at absorbing odours, but I find it doesn't make the most comfortable bedding, especially if you're using large pellets like yesterday's news. Do you have plenty of hammocks and hides where they can rest their feet? If so, it should be fine.
I personally use a mix of paper pulp bedding or shreds of old cloth for their sleeping areas and hides, but I use a paper pellet litter for the rest of their cage. Rags and cloth scraps are definitely the better option for sleeping material if you're having problems with sneezing. If you're worried about them peeing on the scraps, you can always just put it over top of the paper pellets.
As long as they have some place to stand just in case their feet ever got uncomfortable, paper pellets absorb odours like nobody's business. Just make sure they're unscented.