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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Question Best Bedding for Rats?

So as I've posted in several other places, I am getting two little dumbo females over Christmas break. I'm very excited. ^.^

Anyway, I'm looking for a good bedding that's good at odor control, confortable, and not too dusty. I was originally going to go with CareFresh but have read that it can be irritating to the rattie's noses. As the rats I had several years ago (Sierra and May) died of respritory infectons, so this is a major concern for me. Aspen shavings is another option I'm considering. I'll be using Yesterday's News in the litter box, so I'd like to use something else for the rest of the cage.

So, what type of bedding do you all use? I'd really appreciate as much input as possible.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 06:32 AM
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Hi Lyramon, welcome!

Well, bedding choices will definitely get you many differing opinions, as I am sure others will chime in soon about their picks for safe rat bedding!

The only no-no rules would be pine bedding which is irritating to ratty noses, but I am sure you already know that, and dusty beddings like sawdust, etc. Also inked newspaper is not a good choice of course.

Some people love Carefresh, but yes, I agree, it can be a bit too dusty. Carefresh Ultra is more expensive but much less dusty.

I know many people also swear by the pellet bedding like Yesterday's News or Aspen Supreme but you already said you are using that for your girls' potty tray. (I used Aspen Supreme pellets for my boys' potty tray actually and it was great).


My own choice for my two boys' bedding for the bottom of their house was actually using fresh towels and fleece blankies on the bottom of their house instead of loose bedding like Carefresh. BUT, when you do that, you need to do a lot of laundry!


I did about a jillion loads of ratty laundry (towels and blankets) every week as I pretty much changed their towel/fleece blankets just about every day or every other day, to keep it dry and not smelly. Zero dust problems with this method and very soft and comfy for the babies, but a lot of washing to do! I didn't mind doing extra laundry though.

Anyway, I am sure you will get LOTS of opinions on bedding! Hope I helped a bit! Looking forward to seeing pictures of your girls when you get them! I am sure you will fall in love with them.

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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:16 AM
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I always found carefresh to be pretty stinky once it was urinated/pooped on.

Don't forget the Cedar Vladina. Pine /and/ Cedar bedding are icky. They both have great smells, but it's the smells that cause irritation in ratty lungs. Aspen is the safe one to use, but that's already been covered.

I use fleece to line the cage, purchased from the remnant section at joanns fabrics, or I'll use towels from the dollar store. I look for sales and will sometimes load up for 50 cents to 1.00 a yard. I'm not as spotless as Vladina. My boys get too worked up when I clean their cage too frequently. I pick up stray raisins daily, and then wipe down smooth surfaces with a perfume free baby wipe once a day. The hammock they use most gets changed twice a week, and depending on the cage I am using I change the liners between 1 and 2 times a week. I have a rat bag I keep the soiled bedding in, and I wash a big load of rat laundry once a week. I also often cut the chewed ones down to size and get extra use as a hammock and then later as snuggle scraps.


I've used aspen before, and it gets kicked out of my cage too much. I think someone worked out that fleece was more expensive, but I think it depends on how badly your rat chews. I can usually get about 4 uses out of a fleece liner, which is about 1-5 dollars a month.


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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:33 AM
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Oops, I knew I forgot one of the no-nos, thanks Story! Pine AND cedar, yes. Both bad.

I used those scent free baby wipes to do daily wipe downs of their platforms, etc. Aren't those great? And of course picking up stray raisins, always a good daily habit, agreed Story.

Since my boys came out of their house for playtime several times a day, I would just pick one of their outside times to scurry over to their house when they were having free play on top of our bed and change out some towels and fleece, change the water, etc, so it was pretty easy and the boys never got bothered, as they were just out playing on the bed while I did it (of course, keeping one eye on them while I worked on their house) so it was a set routine.

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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:44 AM
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Everything Vlad and Storyseeker have said is perfect! The three of us have similar methods, I think. I also use Yesterday's News for their litter box (luckily my boys are great at using the box, so I don't have to worry about stray raisins...if only they would urinate in it all the time!!).

For bedding I use polar fleece, too. You can get it for great prices at the fabric store. (I just go to Joann's when they're having a sale, and then buy a bunch of it.) I make blankies and hammocks for them with this fleece, and to attack the hammocks to the cage I use binder clips--really safe, strong, and easy to use. (BTW: If you are considering using a fabric lining, definitely go with fleece. It is the safest kind of fabric to use with rats because their little nails will not get caught up in threads.) I change these out every other day.

And I also use fragrance-free baby wipes to wipe down their cage every morning as they are eating breakfast.


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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:48 AM
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Oh, I should note one difference: instead of actually lining the shelves with the fleece, I just cut blanket-sized squares and place them on the boys' sleeping shelves. I've found over time that they actually prefer to sleep directly on the plastic (maybe they're a bit odd that way...), and love to have the blanket to wrap up in.


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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:52 AM
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I also use fabric in my rat's cage. I just clean everything once a week (i have a female, and they are supposed to smell less than Vlad, Breyer and Story's boys) so you will probably be able to do the same
I just use a fabric liner at the bottom, I have a fleece blanket at the top of the cage, and she chews the heck out of that fleece blanket and leaves the fleece liners inside the cage pretty much alone so I have yet to buy new liners
1 load of laundry a week for me! and i don't use disposable litter at all.
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:52 AM
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Ha, that is so funny that you said that about your boys preferring to sleep directly on their platforms Breyer, because you and I both have the exact same ratty cage (well, I have dismantled it since my boys passed away.
But, yes, they LOVED sleeping on that plastic so much, even though I would put square pieces of fleece down for them over the plastic. I think ratties love the coolness of laying on plastic sometimes. I think I remember Storyseeker, or someone else maybe, talking about how her rats loved laying down on their bellies on top of her toilet tank in the bathroom. I bet it feels cool on their tummies.

And yes, I agree that you have to be careful with towels, and not use the kind with all those little loops that the babies can get their little toenails caught in. I used fleece more than towels, but sometimes I used towels also, if they were not "loopy".

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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:53 AM
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Louna's platforms are metal, in the winter i put fleece liners on them so they're not cold, but in the summer she lays flat like a pancake on them to try and get as much cooling effect from them as possible!
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 08:58 AM
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Oh yes, I can see how Louna would love that cool metal on her tummy in the summer!

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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 09:08 AM
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i use Carefresh for litter but i stay away from carefresh colors. the colors is the one that has the most amount of dust, and i think that's what was making Queequeg sneeze. He stopped sneezing after i switched to ultra and regular. confetti is bad too.

my rats seem to have a favorite corner to poop in so i just clean that corner out every few days and it seems to work as well... i also make sure to sleep with any fabric that i give them to nest with before hand so they can feel safe

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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 09:10 AM
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oh i also use baby wipes or dawn to do wipe downs of their cages~!

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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, so much input! Thanks, guys!! =D

Lost of people seem to like using the fabric, but somehow I don't think my mom would appreciate having to wash soiled rat bedding, even if I offered to do it. It's a stretch for her even allowing rats in the house, although it was easier to convince her this time (this first time I wrote her an eight-page report). So I could look into the fabric, but I do think I am going to end up using a disposable bedding. I do like the idea of the fleece liners, though, especially since the cage I am getting has metal platforms. I can't post a link, though. >.>

I guess I'd like to ask...if money was no object and you had to choose between aspen shavings and CareFresh Ultra (or something else, if you have another bedding to suggest), which would you choose?

Also: do you use hammocks for your rats, or a house on the ground?
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 01:19 PM
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Personally, I would prefer Carefresh Ultra instead of aspen shavings for bedding, if money was no object for you. I don't really think the Carefresh Ultra is that pricey anyway, but others may not agree with me. The ultra has a lot less dust than the regular Carefresh and I think it would be nicer and softer on the ratties' feet than sharp edged shavings. Much more comfy. Just my opinion.

Rats LOVE hammocks and they also love having nesting boxes on the ground as well. One of my rats never did go into his hammock much at all and the other one loved it, and they both loved having different hidey boxes on the ground to curl up in or have some private time. Both hammocks and ground nest boxes are essential and much appreciated by ratties in my opinion. Give them both!

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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 12-14-2010, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyramon View Post
Wow, so much input! Thanks, guys!! =D

Lost of people seem to like using the fabric, but somehow I don't think my mom would appreciate having to wash soiled rat bedding, even if I offered to do it. It's a stretch for her even allowing rats in the house, although it was easier to convince her this time (this first time I wrote her an eight-page report). So I could look into the fabric, but I do think I am going to end up using a disposable bedding. I do like the idea of the fleece liners, though, especially since the cage I am getting has metal platforms. I can't post a link, though. >.>

I guess I'd like to ask...if money was no object and you had to choose between aspen shavings and CareFresh Ultra (or something else, if you have another bedding to suggest), which would you choose?

Also: do you use hammocks for your rats, or a house on the ground?
do you know the name of the cage? we could probably find it only ourselves if you describe it to us...

well, i get my Carefresh at costco, or online so its pretty bloody cheap to me, lol

i use both, both cages have hammocks and homemade houses and they also have houses that are in our rat room for hidings during floor time...

thunder, Thunder, THUNDERRATS HOOOOOO~!

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