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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With my rabbits, I was really pleased with a feed from ADM alliance that my local livestock feed mill carried. My show and meat rabbits do great on it. Many of you likely have similar places - grain elevators or genuine feed mills - in your area. These places can order almost any kind of feed for you - much cheaper than other sources like pet stores or online ordering which costs a TON.

I did some digging and after a few phone calls and emails to ADM, I was able to find that they did make rodent diets - though they weren't listed on their website. My feed mill ordered me a bag to try.

I got a 50lb bag of 24% protein rodent diet for 20.00. My rats LOVE it and are doing well on it. I don't have the feed tag in front of me, so I can't list any ingredients, but it looked good. I also use Vi-Tal, a vitamin/mineral water supplement for them, because I'm a worry wort about their nutrition. I use it for most critters on the farm, in fact. :)

Also, I found a supplier of paper shavings that work GREAT for rats. At 8.00 or so a bag it's just a couple bucks more than pine shavings. My two huge cages have been changed several times since I've gotten the bag of bedding, and I've gone through only half of a bag. It's great stuff and the rats LOVE it. 99.9% dust free. I'll have to post the brand as I believe it can be found from local suppliers in many areas, and the company can direct you to local suppliers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I had previously used pine shavings for YEARS for ALL sorts of pets - and never ANY ill effects from it. I just grew up using it, especially back when I 'accidentally' raised hampsters (friend got me a missexed 'female' which I put in with my known females... I was 8 so cut me a break, LOL) I know many rat breeders/owners freak about pine bedding, but I'm not sure my experience of years of use with it is a 'fluke'. I also used it for a couple years when raising mice and rats in my early ownership of them. JUST IMO, not looking to start any arguments. :)

Anywho, since the paper bedding is better because it is dust free AND more economical, I like it a LOT.

http://www.papershavings.com/

Through this main website, you can find a local dealer.

24% protein is higher than maintenance diets, but I do produce a litter here and there. This is just what the mill ordered for me to try but I did see a tag for a 19% which I'd like for maintenance of non breeders and males. I just wanted to try a bag before varying my orders too much. :) Next I plan on getting a bag of 24% and also a bag of the 19%.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I found out about the 'dangers' of pine shavings a few years ago, so under pressure of being a 'good' rodent owner I switched. I tried Yesterdays news - expensive, and stained my rats varying degrees of black. It also looked terribly uncomfortable. I tried aspen, which is what I use for my snakes - also expensive though more comfy. I tried fleece for the shelves - they tore it up, wadded it up, and otherwise went through it too fast and it SMELLED. I found small bags of paper shavings but that too went too fast to be affordable. I grew frustrated and switched back to pine shavings - if it ain't broke... :)

Paper shavings make me feel better than having to settle for pine shavings. Though I never had issues, I feel like so many people recommending it can't be WRONG. It makes sense that dust and phenols can irritate respiratory illnesses.

The bedding comes in large bags that are the same size as the large bags of pine shavings you get at like a tractory supply company. Even if you have just a couple critters, this 'bulk' is MUCH cheaper than buying any sort of equipment from almost any pet store, hence my desire to pass it on.
 
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