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Old 06-05-2019, 08:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2019
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Smile Are these brands okay?

I have had 3 hamsters in the past, Jo (winter white male) Cheesecake (syrian male) and Kobe (Black and white Syrian Male). I am about to get another hamster, and I'd like to name it Daisy or Henry, but I might change my mind depending on his or her colors, size, and personality. It's been a while since I've raised hamsters, and I was wondering what you guys thought of Carefresh Shavings plus. It's like a mixture of wood shavings and bedding. Also, does anyone know anything about the food VitaKraft VitaSmart Hamster food?
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:11 AM   #2
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Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
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Default Re: Are these brands okay?

The shavings plus uses softwood shavings which are not safe. It'll be pine or cedar which can cause respiratory issues. If you want a combo of paper based and wood shavings you can buy a regular bag of carefresh and mix it with aspen (a hardwood) shavings yourself.

I only know the Vitasmart brand form reading about it on other forums. I'd normally hesitate to reference a forum other than this one but hamster hideout has the food listed as "Recommended" and they have a much more US-focused userbase. The protein is a little low at 16% but you need to supplement most seed mixes with extra protein anyway.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Are these brands okay?

I’d stick to Carefresh or Kaytee Clean and Cosy. In the US softwood shavings aren’t safe because of the way they’re dried. Hardwood shavings like Aspen are safe tho!

Most US hamster owners use Higgins Sunburst substituted with Mazuri lab blocks or Harry/Hazel Hamster.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Are these brands okay?

Higgins Vita Garden would be better with some Pure Bites chicken, shrimp, or turkey added. You really don't need to use Mazuri lab blocks, and Hazel/Harry Hamster is not a very good food either(artificial dyes and minimal variety). The current Vita Garden formula has 15% protein which doesn't need too much boosting.

Oxbow Pure Comfort would be a much better substrate choice than anything mentioned! It's virgin paper(not recycled which can have dyes and such mixed in which is best avoided, nor is it cellulose pulp type fiber like Carefresh which also happens to use unsafe wood fibers as it is). You would have to order it online, but it is known to be a very good and 100% safe substrate.
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Old 06-07-2019, 03:19 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2019
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Default Re: Are these brands okay?

Thank you so much for asking this question. I had the same question in another thread about using Vitakraft. That seems to be the standard here. I tried to look up Higgins on Amazon but no shipping where I am. What percentage protein is a good amount? I see 12% is too low and 15% is ok. I don't want to have to substitute the food I buy in case I can't get the extras. What brand of food is enough on it's own? I can delve into whether I can get mealworms, crickets etc later but want to be on the safe side.
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