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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Referring to the people who use bedding, not liners.
I'm thinking carefresh because it was my go to brand with my 3 hamsters. What do you guys think?
 

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I've heard the paper-based litters (not the pelleted kind, but the fluffy kind) can get smelly fast. That said, I've never tried them myself. I used shredded aspen with a thin layer of horse stall pellets underneath. The pellets absorb pee / water and the layer of aspen keeps the rats dry and away from the soiled pellet dust. I've been using this combo for about 2 years and have no issues with respiratory problems, etc. The bedding will go about 1 wee - 2 weeks before I need to do a complete change. I used horse stall pellets in their litter pans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm I see what you mean. I'm not so much bothered by smells though. I plan on having them use a litter tray, and I'll probably get a pee rock for them to encourage them to pee in there rather than the bedding. Where can you get horse stall pellets? I live in a small town where a lot of people live on farms so would they have that in a store?
 

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Do you have feed stores or tractor supply company? They sell them there. I get mine at TSC and they are cheap ($6 for a 40lb bag). Be wary though, I have ever gotten a bag with what looks like dust in the bag (they are clear, so you can see the inside). I would avoid any such bags as they've already been exposed to moisture and might harbor mold spores. The bags should have little to no dust in them when you buy them.

I know you think you aren't disturbed by smell... But rat pee is a powerful odor and no rat is ever 100% litter box trained. We aren't talking hamster-level odor either. IMO rats small more faster and especially if they are to be in your bedroom, you'll want to minimize that as much as possible. Mine pee / poo in their boxes, but they mark throughout the cage so it is important to have a bedding layer that can handle it. The less dusty, the better. At TSC the bags are labeled "TSC Pine Horse Stall Pellets" or something similar. They do not have a strong pine odor.

Pee rocks will help. Just make sure they are large / heavy. My rats pick them up out of their litter boxes and move them to somewhere else then pee there lol. You may want to consider getting litter boxes with grids over them so they can't sling all the litter out too. It is a pain to clean the grids, but better than cleaning up half the litter every day. These are the ones I use. Having a litter box on every major level of the cage will help too. When I had the rat manor cage (it has a solid middle floor grid then a bottom section) I had a litterbox on each level. Now that I have a DCN, I have 2 litterboxes per cage half. I have 3 in one particular cage half. You can also spot-clean corners that don't have litter boxes which helps with smell.

If you minimize flat surfaces in the cage, that will help too. Any solid plastic shelves will be peed on. You either need to cover with fleece and something absorbent or wipe down daily. In my case, I removed the plastic shelves and replaced with hammocks that I change out about twice a week. That way, they can be removed when soiled and I replace with fresh instead of constantly wiping down shelves.

Good luck!
p.s. since you live in a rural town, your local feed store may carry rodent food / lab blocks. You should check into it. Mazuri 6F is pretty good (16% protein) and some feed stores carry it. It would certainly be much cheaper there than at the pet store. The only catch is that it usually comes in large bags, so you'll need to store the unused portion in air tight containers.
 

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Ive used 2 types of carefresh and aspen bedding, but I really prefer coconut husk bedding which is what Im using at the moment.
2 of my rats are litter trained but my 2 new ones arent, and the older rats still didnt get litter trained to a 100% so when they do poop outside the litterbox its easier to spot clean the soiled bedding to keep it lasting longer. Also looks very natural too :)
 

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I've never heard of coconut husk as bedding use! But also, I've never had a reason to venture into the reptile section of any pet store haha. How would you say it spreads and do your rats like to dig/tear it up?

Personally, I've always used sophresh crumbled paper with baking soda, but only in my litter boxes. My levels are covered in cardboard and occasionally fleece over that, which really absorbs urine and I change it every couple times per each cage clean. My girl loves to tear corners of the cardboard up and make a little bed but that's never been a major issue.
 

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Coconut husk bedding gets veeery dusty when dry. I personally wouldnt use it for rats. I use fleece and litterboxes with pelleted aspen (because supposedly even kiln dried and pelleted pine is bad for small animals and I personally am paranoid) and pee rocks/bricks on each level. Spot sweep poops and viola. I change fleece liners and change litterboxes once every 3-4 days and wash off the rock. I have no odor even with 9 rats, 7 sugar gliders, 5 mice, 5 Guinea pigs, and one rabbit all sharing a small hallway (they're not all mine but I do care for them all). Pelleted paper worked well smell wise for me too, but I got a couple batches with mites from a particularl brand and now I'm gun shy. I can push the pelleted aspen for up to 6 days with only minimal sugar glider odor of I spot clean the poops off fleece every day.
 

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flaked pine may have issues, but wanted to note that the way I use the pelleted pine (in boxes, and a very thin layer under aspen) has caused no respiratory issues in 2 years of use. That includes adult rats, elderly ones, and pups raised on it. If pine makes you uncomfortable, the same effect could be achieved by using a pelleted paper or hard wood pellet instead.

I use coconut husk, but for my reptiles. I would think the rats would make a huge mess out of it... especially if it is dry. Maybe there is another version of it I am not familiar with though.
 

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I was looking at feline pine last month trying to find my usual brand of pelleted paper (that was back before I switched) and researched quickly online and someone on another forum said that a study was done that supposedly even kiln dried or pelleted, pine still caused kidney problems or some such as that. Considering it smells less than pelleted aspen, that's questionable, but I don't see a reason to risk it other than cost, which isn't as much of an issue when it's just in litter boxes. But like I said, I doubt it'd actually be a problem and you've certainly had good luck with it :)
 

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I prefer fleece over everything. I use fleece held down with binder clips with many toys and extra pieces of fleece strewn on top so they don't rip it up. That way I can scoop up wastes every day to keep the cage clean and it is easier to litter train them on fleece. I also find that the smell is depleted when I use fleece and I have used both aspen and carefresh in comparison. I wouldnt use anything else at this point! It is 100% non-debatably (is that a word? I'm tired.) safe and so effective, looks a lot more clean as well and doesnt get pieces all over the room like aspen and carefresh tend to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I considered it but I cant really use fleece, the kind of cage im getting has a deep pan meant for bedding like shavings or newspaper, I'm not sure if it would sit well on top of it either unless I fold it, but then I can't pin it down with binder clips . I have two fleece blankets but I love the patterns and fear they will get chewed up XD. I think I could ask friends if they have some used fleece blankets they don't really need, so I could cut them up and put them on the plastic shelves because even if I used bedding I'd rather not have pee just sit on top of there. Do any of you know if dollarama sells cheap fleece/fabric? We just got this store in our town, we don't have much around here so if I ever needed to get something like that I would have to drive out to the city, which we don't do often, and my dad doesn't like taking me places if its of no use for him.
 

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You can clip it to the edges of the pan with smaller clips or even use industrial strength Velcro to stick it on there. You can get fleece fairly cheaply at Walmart or if you have a debit card or your dad might be willing to help you, you could get it off amazon or eBay as well (and usually at a fraction of the cost). A little hand sewing or tying and viola, you have your own diy cage set :)
 

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For my deeper pans I usually add in a dish mat from dollarama and put fleece on top of that, just a lot of extra fleece because of the deep pan style. They 100% will rip up the fleece at some point but this is still a lot less maintenance and cost compared to aspen and carefresh I find :p They throw aspen and carefresh everywhere outside of the cage annnnnd since it has to be cleaned just as often one will go through a lot more bedding than fleece, it will end up costing a lot more!
There is occasionally good thick fleece at dollarama, the regular fleece is ripped through relatively easy. Cheap fleece can also be found at Ikea! Different types of blankets also work as long as you make sure they cant catch their lil paws on the material and get stuck.
 
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