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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been looking in the archives and has not seen much on this. I have two adorable male rats that have just turned one and have been using Small Pet Select brand of Aspen bedding (shavings). I am about to order more bedding but have been reading that Aspen bedding - especially certain brands - are not god for rats respiratory systems. Any thoughts on this and suggestions on the best bedding and what brands of Aspen - or any other bedding - is a wise choice?
 

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Unfortunately, I don't think there's a best bedding. Everyone has their own preferences based on their own circumstances. Also, different rats may react differently to different types of bedding.

I've tried a lot and I've been happiest with aspen shavings. I actually use a mix of two brands/types. One is a shredded aspen, like snake bedding, that I like because it's very cheap in my area (it's sold as horse bedding) but it's ridiculously dusty so I have to spend a good deal of time sifting out the excess dust with a mesh laundry basket. It's brilliant after that. The other is Kaytee aspen shavings. I like to mix in the larger shavings because the shredded aspen alone gets very flat and dense so the bigger pieces of Kaytee make it lighter with more body, easier to forage through.

That said, I'm always open to trying new options. I'm not married to aspen shavings. Maybe take some time to experiment with different types of bedding like some of the paper based substrates, pellets, crumbles, pine, hemp, etc. I would suggest purchasing new products in smaller quantities, though. I once tried hemp bedding but it was only available in giant bales. My rats seemed fine with it but I reacted poorly and I had to scrap the entire bale.
 

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FLEECE! In my opinion, fleece is hands down the best option. Some people may disagree but its washable, cheap, and makes cage cleaning extremely simple. I have tried bedding and just didn't think it made much sense to use it. You can also buy fabric puppy pee pads and baby pee pads and use those, they are very absorbent and also easy to clean. Another plus is you can buy fleece with cute prints on it and it looks adorable in the ratties cage, for example, I use dinosaur fleece in my cage and it looks unbelievably cute with my ratties. You can buy 3 yards of fabric for around 20 bucks and it will cover the whole cage for 4-8 months. Or, you could buy a bag of standard paper bedding for 15-20 bucks and it might last you a month. It's up to you but I think that you should at least try it.
 
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