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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

I would looooove to know as many opinions as possible on this topic, I really need to figure out the best possible bedding option for my rats! I have shredded paper bedding right now and it works well for me but it is not sold anymore anywhere where I could order it, so I have to figure out something else before this bedding ends. I was thinking about carefresh at first but it is extra expensive here in Finland + I just read that carefresh might not even be that good of a bedding, especially when it comes to odor control. So my question is....

What is the best bedding for rats?

At the moment I'm thinking that aspen shavings could be the best option.. the only problem is that I also read that some brands of aspen shavings can be a bit dusty. I know this is probably a long shot, but my second question is....

Has anyone used the Millamore premium aspen shavings? And if so, is it dusty?
 

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Aspen isn't BAD it just isn't the BEST. I personaly use fleece, but then you HAVE to give them a dig box.
 

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I think this really depends on what you're looking for most. Absorbency, odor control, amount of dust?
I personally like hemp bedding the most, however hemp may not be the best fit for everyone- so I could call it the "best bedding" but other people could say it's the worst.
Here are my personal, ever-changing "top 3" rankings of bedding:

1. Hemp
Hemp is really absorbent, doesn't have much dust, and is quite good at controlling odor- plus the hemp I get (new country organics) is really cheap compared to other bedding. For me, the most important thing is for the bedding to be safe for ratties obviously, then the odor control (my family hates it when the cage smells in the least, so I've always got to make sure the cage is odor free 😂) then the price. Normally the price would be more important than the odor control, but my mom has offered to pay the extra price for bedding that controls the smell best 😂 Anyways, hemp is what fits what I need, so it works out well for me.

2. Aspen
Aspen is fairly absorbent and has great odor control, and the price is reasonable so it works out ok. It is a bit dustier than other options (does depend on the brand) but you can sift the dust out. I just don't like how aspen sticks to every. single. piece. of. cloth 😂 It sticks to the fleece hammocks, to my sleeves, to my socks, to the carpet, and that really bothers me. But to people who wouldn't be so bothered by that, it's probably a good option, and that's the only problem I have with it!

3. Kaytee Clean & Cozy
I really like clean and cozy, it has a soft pillowy feeling that other beddings don't have, and that must feel great for the ratties! It's really absorbent, not very dusty, but it SUCKS at odor control- you could say there isn't any odor control! It is a bit expensive but it expands a lot, like 3x. I would probably get it sometimes, to mix into the regular hemp or just to use for fun once or twice, but as I said before the odor control is awful and my family complains, LOL. It doesn't bother me that much, but I have to do a deep clean like every 2 days because my family keeps complaining about the smell 😂

Edit: Wow, I didn't realize I wrote so much :oops: I totally understand if you just skimmed through that, LOL
 

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Of everything I've tried so far, aspen has been my favorite for the cage floor. Different people like different things for different reasons, though! Unfortunately, there isn't a "best bedding." Everything has its own pros and cons. We get to decide what works best for us and for our rats, then try to compensate for the substrate's shortcomings.

Wood shavings (aspen and kiln-dried pine) are great for odor and ammonia control. They're also often more affordable than other options. Wood shavings can be messy and (like with most loose substrates) a little dusty.

You may be able to find wood shavings in large bales intended as horse bedding. The price may be a lot better but it also might be a bit dustier. One of the aspen products I use is a shredded aspen horse bedding and it's incredibly cheap but very dusty. I use a fine-mesh fabric laundry basket to sift out the excess dust and it's fantastic after that!

The shredded aspen is fairly fine (little pieces) so it tends to lay a bit dense and flat. I mix it with aspen shavings because the pieces are a bit bigger so the bedding has more "body" and is a bit looser so my boys can easily dig through it to forage for little tasty bits of their food that I scatter into the bedding.

It looks like MillaMore Premium is a "sani chip" style of substrate made up of very little squares of aspen. I've never used this style of aspen as a primary bedding but I have used it in my boys' litter boxes. As long as it's affordable, I say give it a try! Because it's so dense, it will take a lot of it to fully cover your cage floor. It may be easier to scoop poops out if you devise some sort of sifting device, though!

Paper Based Beddings come in a variety of forms. I don't know exactly what options are available in Finland. Fluffy blobs of paper like Carefresh are okay. Paper options in general aren't going to be as good at controlling odors/ammonia as wood shavings, which means you would need to clean out the bedding more often. If Carefresh is more expensive than wood shavings and you need to throw it out more often, it might not be the best choice. If dust is an issue, you could try the sifting trick with it but if Carefresh is just made of finer fibers, no amount of sifting may fix the issue.

You may also have paper pellet or crumbled pellet litter options available to you. Paper based pellets are often sold as a cat litter. Of course you'd never want to purchase any bedding or litter that contains perfumes or added scents so you'd want to be careful to get fragrance-free litter.

Fleece/Fabric Liners are a low/no dust option. Fabric is the worst option for controlling odors and ammonia, though. Because fabric has basically no odor control, fleece liners require the most regular maintenance. I use [fleece mats with an absorbent inner layer] on the platforms in my boys' cage and they need to be swapped out and washed every 2 to 3 days. If you can handle the added laundry, though, fleece produces next to no dust and fabric liners are reusable. I made a bunch of liner sets a several years ago and they're still in great condition. Some rats are really hard on fabric items, though. so you don't always get as much re-use out of them as you'd like.

Another issue with fabric (as opposed to a loose substrate) is that it doesn't encourage natural digging and foraging behaviors. I scatter my boys' food into their aspen shavings on the floor of their cage and it provides enrichment for them all day long. You just can't get that with fleece liners. Maintaining some sort of in-cage dig box could offset that issue, though.


Don't be afraid to experiment! Let us know what you've tried and how you've liked it and if you have questions on any specific style of substrate, ask away!
 

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Bandit, Biscuit, and Sage
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Hello!

I would looooove to know as many opinions as possible on this topic, I really need to figure out the best possible bedding option for my rats! I have shredded paper bedding right now and it works well for me but it is not sold anymore anywhere where I could order it, so I have to figure out something else before this bedding ends. I was thinking about carefresh at first but it is extra expensive here in Finland + I just read that carefresh might not even be that good of a bedding, especially when it comes to odor control. So my question is....

What is the best bedding for rats?

At the moment I'm thinking that aspen shavings could be the best option.. the only problem is that I also read that some brands of aspen shavings can be a bit dusty. I know this is probably a long shot, but my second question is....

Has anyone used the Millamore premium aspen shavings? And if so, is it dusty?
Personally, I use paper cat litter and shred some thin cardboard to mix in with it
304003
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think this really depends on what you're looking for most. Absorbency, odor control, amount of dust?
I personally like hemp bedding the most, however hemp may not be the best fit for everyone- so I could call it the "best bedding" but other people could say it's the worst.
Here are my personal, ever-changing "top 3" rankings of bedding:

1. Hemp
Hemp is really absorbent, doesn't have much dust, and is quite good at controlling odor- plus the hemp I get (new country organics) is really cheap compared to other bedding. For me, the most important thing is for the bedding to be safe for ratties obviously, then the odor control (my family hates it when the cage smells in the least, so I've always got to make sure the cage is odor free 😂) then the price. Normally the price would be more important than the odor control, but my mom has offered to pay the extra price for bedding that controls the smell best 😂 Anyways, hemp is what fits what I need, so it works out well for me.

2. Aspen
Aspen is fairly absorbent and has great odor control, and the price is reasonable so it works out ok. It is a bit dustier than other options (does depend on the brand) but you can sift the dust out. I just don't like how aspen sticks to every. single. piece. of. cloth 😂 It sticks to the fleece hammocks, to my sleeves, to my socks, to the carpet, and that really bothers me. But to people who wouldn't be so bothered by that, it's probably a good option, and that's the only problem I have with it!

3. Kaytee Clean & Cozy
I really like clean and cozy, it has a soft pillowy feeling that other beddings don't have, and that must feel great for the ratties! It's really absorbent, not very dusty, but it SUCKS at odor control- you could say there isn't any odor control! It is a bit expensive but it expands a lot, like 3x. I would probably get it sometimes, to mix into the regular hemp or just to use for fun once or twice, but as I said before the odor control is awful and my family complains, LOL. It doesn't bother me that much, but I have to do a deep clean like every 2 days because my family keeps complaining about the smell 😂

Edit: Wow, I didn't realize I wrote so much :oops: I totally understand if you just skimmed through that, LOL
Thank you for this long answer, I did read fully through it since I am very eager to find the best bedding for our rats and us!! I feel like for us the most important thing of course is that the bedding is as dust free as possible so that the babies won't have any problems, the next thing would be the odor control and absorbency and the last would be the price. I will look into hemp bedding as well since it works for you so well! I do feel like I might try the aspen shavings next and I'll see how dusty it is or isn't and try if shifting out the possible dust would work too! Yeah I have now noticed that paper bedding is not the best for odor control and I'd like something better 😅 But fleece is the worst for odor control in my opinion, we have some small pieces of fleece for their sleeping spots and it starts smelling INSTANTLY!!
 

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Kleo, Manta, Bean
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Of everything I've tried so far, aspen has been my favorite for the cage floor. Different people like different things for different reasons, though! Unfortunately, there isn't a "best bedding." Everything has its own pros and cons. We get to decide what works best for us and for our rats, then try to compensate for the substrate's shortcomings.

Wood shavings (aspen and kiln-dried pine) are great for odor and ammonia control. They're also often more affordable than other options. Wood shavings can be messy and (like with most loose substrates) a little dusty.

You may be able to find wood shavings in large bales intended as horse bedding. The price may be a lot better but it also might be a bit dustier. One of the aspen products I use is a shredded aspen horse bedding and it's incredibly cheap but very dusty. I use a fine-mesh fabric laundry basket to sift out the excess dust and it's fantastic after that!

The shredded aspen is fairly fine (little pieces) so it tends to lay a bit dense and flat. I mix it with aspen shavings because the pieces are a bit bigger so the bedding has more "body" and is a bit looser so my boys can easily dig through it to forage for little tasty bits of their food that I scatter into the bedding.

It looks like MillaMore Premium is a "sani chip" style of substrate made up of very little squares of aspen. I've never used this style of aspen as a primary bedding but I have used it in my boys' litter boxes. As long as it's affordable, I say give it a try! Because it's so dense, it will take a lot of it to fully cover your cage floor. It may be easier to scoop poops out if you devise some sort of sifting device, though!

Paper Based Beddings come in a variety of forms. I don't know exactly what options are available in Finland. Fluffy blobs of paper like Carefresh are okay. Paper options in general aren't going to be as good at controlling odors/ammonia as wood shavings, which means you would need to clean out the bedding more often. If Carefresh is more expensive than wood shavings and you need to throw it out more often, it might not be the best choice. If dust is an issue, you could try the sifting trick with it but if Carefresh is just made of finer fibers, no amount of sifting may fix the issue.

You may also have paper pellet or crumbled pellet litter options available to you. Paper based pellets are often sold as a cat litter. Of course you'd never want to purchase any bedding or litter that contains perfumes or added scents so you'd want to be careful to get fragrance-free litter.

Fleece/Fabric Liners are a low/no dust option. Fabric is the worst option for controlling odors and ammonia, though. Because fabric has basically no odor control, fleece liners require the most regular maintenance. I use [fleece mats with an absorbent inner layer] on the platforms in my boys' cage and they need to be swapped out and washed every 2 to 3 days. If you can handle the added laundry, though, fleece produces next to no dust and fabric liners are reusable. I made a bunch of liner sets a several years ago and they're still in great condition. Some rats are really hard on fabric items, though. so you don't always get as much re-use out of them as you'd like.

Another issue with fabric (as opposed to a loose substrate) is that it doesn't encourage natural digging and foraging behaviors. I scatter my boys' food into their aspen shavings on the floor of their cage and it provides enrichment for them all day long. You just can't get that with fleece liners. Maintaining some sort of in-cage dig box could offset that issue, though.


Don't be afraid to experiment! Let us know what you've tried and how you've liked it and if you have questions on any specific style of substrate, ask away!
Thank you so much for this thoughtful answer!! I really appreciate it! 😊 I feel like next I'm going to try the Millamore aspen shavings and see how that works, I'll also get one of those fine laundry bag things and if the shavings are dusty, I'll try that out to see if it fixes the problem! I feel like I won't be using fleece as the main cage bedding since the small pieces of fleece we have start instantly smelling horrible 😅 But yeah this was SO SO VERY HELPFUL, so thank you so much! I'm going to try out some beddings and see which one works the best for us!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey!
Extra question that just came to my mind! I use aspen wood chips in our rats' litter box and they instantly started using their litter box and are doing really well with it, 90% of their poops are in the litter box and they also pee there too so that's great! So my question is, if I start using aspen shavings (smaller and softer than the chips in the litter box) will they still know the difference between the litter box and the rest of the cage or will they be like.. oh I guess the whole cage is our bathroom now..?? 😅 Just like.. because the litter and the bedding would be different.. but would they be different enough?
 

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I have a litter box with some kiln-dried pine in it, and the entire bottom of the cage is kiln-dried pine as well, and they still use the litter box most of the time. Depends on the rat but they should keep using the box if they've already taken to using it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have a litter box with some kiln-dried pine in it, and the entire bottom of the cage is kiln-dried pine as well, and they still use the litter box most of the time. Depends on the rat but they should keep using the box if they've already taken to using it.
Oh that's really great to hear!! Thank you so much, I do think that hopefully they'll continue using the litter box just the same since they have already started out so great!
 
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