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Old 02-25-2020, 12:58 PM   #1
Nakuzo
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Greece
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Default Question about bedding

Hello everyone

I have a bit of a problem/ dilemma with bedding. A little while back, I had bought a wood fiber bedding (it only stated that it is 100% natural so probably not aspen) and I switched it for the expensive carefresh. Since then, I get the feeling that Oscar doesn't like it as much as he liked his wood bedding. He hardly ever digs now, but in the past when he had wood bedding he used to burry himself and then he kinda swim underneath his bedding (he liked it a lot).

Aspen is almost impossible to find so do you think I should use wood even if it is not aspen?
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:13 PM   #2
sushi_78
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Default Re: Question about bedding

I use kiln-dried pine without any problems, as do many others. There's some uncertainty over its safety, which is why many prefer to avoid it, but I go by the "tried and tested" approach. My Robo loves burrowing in it and it holds her tunnels up well. It's up to you whether you are comfortable using pine.

Hemp bedding is similar in texture and consistency to wood shavings, but isn't made from softwood so there isn't the same uncertainty over its safety. I'm not sure if you can get hemp in Greece.

Another option would be spruce shavings, if you can find them. Spruce is technically a softwood but has negligible levels of phenols (the compounds responsible for the controversy over pine). It should still be kiln-dried before use.

You could also try mixing the Carefresh with some hay or shredded paper, which might help hold up his tunnels better.
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:58 PM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: Question about bedding

I would put paper in one half of the cage and wood in the other then see what happens. I'd go with whatever the hamster prefers because he's the one who has to live with it and not us humans.

I use Kaytee mainly with a bit of Carefresh now and again but use wood shavings in their playpen box. I can't remember why exactly wood shavings are deemed unsuitable and what harm exactly, if any, they are meant to cause a hamster.

My dwarves dig in both, paper and wood and seem to like both but prefer the Kaytee i think, going by the amount of time they spend underground and the number of tunnels they build. They need paper for their nest so they can surround themselves with it and plain toilet paper strips are well liked.
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:39 PM   #4
Nakuzo
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Default Re: Question about bedding

Quote:
Originally Posted by sushi_78 View Post
I use kiln-dried pine without any problems, as do many others. There's some uncertainty over its safety, which is why many prefer to avoid it, but I go by the "tried and tested" approach. My Robo loves burrowing in it and it holds her tunnels up well. It's up to you whether you are comfortable using pine.

Hemp bedding is similar in texture and consistency to wood shavings, but isn't made from softwood so there isn't the same uncertainty over its safety. I'm not sure if you can get hemp in Greece.

Another option would be spruce shavings, if you can find them. Spruce is technically a softwood but has negligible levels of phenols (the compounds responsible for the controversy over pine). It should still be kiln-dried before use.

You could also try mixing the Carefresh with some hay or shredded paper, which might help hold up his tunnels better.
Bedding options in Greece are limited. My only options are to make my own bedding out of kitchen paper, buy carefresh or buy wood shavings but not knowing the type of wood they are made of. I believe that my hamster generally likes to play in wood and sleep in paper, but I was kind of sceptical about wood shavings because a lot of people say they can cause raspiratory problems. I don't know if carefresh is bad of not, but I can most certainly say that Oscar doesn't enjoy playing in it. His cage surface looks flat because he never digs it and I also think that he has trouble transporting it. I think I might switch back to wood, so I wanted some extra advice so thank you for the answer
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:04 PM   #5
sushi_78
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Default Re: Question about bedding

Respiratory problems tend to result from dusty bedding, and any kind of bedding can be dusty. I find that dust levels in wood shavings vary a lot. Some brands are horribly dusty, and I don't feel comfortable using them, while others seem nearly dust free. It's important if you are buying pine or unspecified wood shavings that they are kiln-dried / heat treated / autoclaved, as they are unsafe otherwise. Unspecified wood shavings are usually pine, sometimes mixed with spruce.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:16 PM   #6
MaryRobinson
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Default Re: Question about bedding

I use Carefresh in one third, hemp deeply in the middle third and sand in the other third. Mimi loves her fibre bedding. I used to use aspen but the snake and reptile aspen available here was too dusty.

I buy mine mail order from Rodipet online. It comes in small and large and if you buy large the postage isn't a big deal. .It's organic and clean and very soft and not dusty at all. Mimi likes the 'swimming' burrowing too so it has been a hit. I recommend them. The care fresh she sort of toys with but never burrows in.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Question about bedding

Unspecified shavings are a definite no. They are an unknown variety which automatically places them in the unsafe category, kiln dried or not.

Respiratory issues from substrate isn't only about dust levels, but that is a factor. Phenols found in certain wood species can contribute to the problem along with being far more prone to causing allergic reactions(whether right away or over time).

Kiln drying does lower the phenol content significantly, but you can't make 100% phenol free wood shavings as wood cannot safely have 100% of the moisture content removed and simply due to the nature of the usage they would become rehydrated in some form anyways - thus restoring at least some of the phenol content if not all in any spot where the wood shavings get wet(through urine, water, fresh foods, etc).
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