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I've never heard of anyone using hay, but I suppose I don't see the problem with it. Though I doubt it'd be very absorbent.

The second could be dangerous. It depends on what kind of wood chips it is.

A lot of us use something called Yesterday's News, which is just newspaper compressed into pellets. It works very well for litter (I'm not sure if you have a separate litter and bedding)
 

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The problem with hay is that it 1) doesn't absorb hardly anything, but 2) when it does get wet it easily molds, and the mold can be toxic to your rats. And I doubt it's much good for odor control... :?

Many people use aspen wood shavings (wood shavings should be from a hardwood, like aspen, never pine, or cedar, or fir, etc), Yesterday's News (a cat litter made from rolled paper), Carefresh (shredded paper, the colored or Ultra tend to be less dusty), or fabric (with a litter box containing one of the others). There are other options, but these are most common.

Personally, I use fabric, with Yesterday's News in the litter boxes. :)
 

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Forensic,
what kind of fabric are you using? I've started out with strips of cut up towels and flannel sheets, but they unravel fast and I worry about the rats getting their feet tied up in the strings.
 

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My boys have stiff (but absorbent) fabric on the bottom of their cage attached with velcro for easy removal and cleaning. I just toss it in the washing machine once a week. Not sure what it used to be - a curtain I think. I just picked it up from a second hand shop for a few dollars.
Their bedding is assorted fabric but I've found that thick fleece type material is the best. They have hammocks made from it which they sleep in. I also put smaller strips of it into their 'demolition box' and they take these strips into their hammocks to build their nests. This material is hardy but so soft and warm (great for winter) and it doesn't unravel when they start to chew holes in it.
Hope that helps!
 

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Thanks. I noticed they love fleece. And also my corduroy pants. (But I'm not cutting those up). I stuck the bedding to the bottom of the cage with velcro as well, but it came of in the washing machine. Now I'm looking for a different way to secure it.
 

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Yeah I used self-sticking velcro which wasn't happy after going through the wash cycle and began to unstick. I started to sew it on but it was a nightmare so I stapled it on instead. This has worked really well but I need to check the staples after each cycle to make sure they're still attached and not sticking out in a dangerous manner. So far so good, and they've gone through around 50 washes so far! (I do use the 'gentle' wash cycle though!)
 

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Personally I use fleece or whole towels.
 

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have a look in the pet aisle of your local supermarket, and see if there is kitty litter made from either compressed or pulped newspaper.

my rats were using kitty litter, but they also had a habit of throwing it out of their cages, so i switched to using tissues and fleece squares. the tissues get replaced every day; the fleece squares are also replace every day and the dirty ones get thrown in the washing machine and washed whenever i do laundry.
 

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Not saw dust. Anything very dusty can affect their breathing. :)
 

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Saw Dust has dust in it and dust is bad for respitory. The hay is no good either. Hay isnt too digestible for rats, and does nothin for absorbin or smell. at my store, we use carefresh(to absorb) with hay on top for rabbits, but for rats, the hay is pointless and uncomfy.

Personally, i find fabric difficult bc i hate washin just a few rat cloths. So i have linolium tiles on the top 3 floors, and 3/4 carefresh 1/4 yesterdays news on the bottom, where they go potty.
 

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You can shred newspaper. You can get a huge newspaper that will last for a couple weeks. BE sure to cut out anything with color, and the shiny ads. You can send it through the paper shredder, but I shred it by hand...great stress reliever!

It's not the best at absorbing, so I put a layer of paper towels on the bottom, and stir up the newspaper every day. Great for odor control.
 
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