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I understand that pine and cedar shavings are taboo for bedding but what about fir shavings?
I have always (years and years) kept my mice on natural forest soil; the microbes absorb the odors very well (the females only need to be changed once a month) and they have all live(d) happy healthy lives. The soil provided hours of fun for them.
Would like some feed back on these questions regarding rats. I will be getting my first rats in the spring.
 

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hmmm, fir is technically a conifer, but I don't know about its oil content. I think if you can smell any "piney" smell, not good.

Anyone else have any feelings on the soil? The only think I might worry about is ectoparasites.
 

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huh...intersting, I've never even seen fir...but (I could have this wrong)...I believe I read that it's the softwoods that have the dangerous aromatic oils. is fir considered a hardwood or softwood? I should know this, my dad is a carpenter...anyways, I'm not even positive about that, so you I'm sure you'll want to look into it more. we switched to aspen (it's kiln dried to get rid of the oils and dust) and the sneezes have decreased by like, 90%. good stuff in my opinion, and very affordable. a lot of folks on here suggest "yesterday's news" cat litter, which I've been thinking about trying out. pretty decently priced as well, and easy to find. it's great that you're doing your research. :D
 

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Anyone else have any feelings on the soil? The only think I might worry about is ectoparasites.
a certain type of soil is recommended for their digging boxes but I've never thought about soil as a bedding. It might be possible but it would provide some pretty dirty rats. Perhaps you could use towels, and soil for the litter boxes. I don't think it would hurt them (if it were the right type of soil) but I don't think it would be very practical.
 

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MopyDream44 said:
a certain type of soil is recommended for their digging boxes but I've never thought about soil as a bedding. It might be possible but it would provide some pretty dirty rats. Perhaps you could use towels, and soil for the litter boxes. I don't think it would hurt them (if it were the right type of soil) but I don't think it would be very practical.
I use eco-earth for my millipedes and frogs, its compressed coconut fiber that you add water to and it goes WOOSH and expands. I use that in my digging box as well, I haven't tried it yet, I'm still waiting for my seeds to sprout.

I know when the frogs get wet the dirt sticks to them and they get pretty messy, this might not be a problem with rats as long as they don't have a water bowl. Also it tends to hold moisture really well, so you'll want to make sure its completely dried when you put it in the cage.

I think some people also use sterilized potting soil w/o vermiculite
 

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Fir is a softwood, and it's recommended against for reptiles. I don't think rodents would be any different.

I'd be careful with soil, unless you freeze it first. Could open the door for mites.
 
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