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Old 04-11-2016, 04:33 AM   #1
hamtarokid
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Default Fir substrate?

Hi guys,

I know this is probably a dumb question, but I can't seem to find the answer on my own. Are wood shavings made from fir trees safe for hamsters? I think fir trees might be a type of pine tree, but I'm not sure. All the substrate I seem to be finding in the pet shops is made from fir wood.
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Fir is softwood,so no.Also I believe fir tends to hold humidity which would be very bad for hamsters.If you can get aspen or a paper based substrate it would be much safer.
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:44 AM   #3
hamtarokid
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Oh. I will probably have to get paper substrate then, since I haven't seen any non-fir wood shavings. A shame, since paper gets stinky quicker.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Most wood shavings here are pine, I haven't come across any fir not that I've looked at that many but the main thing to look for is kiln dried which is what usually makes wood shavings safe for hamsters.
Do you have any paper based substrates there? They are generally a safer option if you aren't sure about the wood.

ETA I think we posted at the same time, paper shouldn't get smelly, hams are very clean really, usually pee in one spot once they've settled in so spot cleaning is easy & the cage shouldn't smell at all.
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Old 04-11-2016, 04:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamtarokid View Post
Oh. I will probably have to get paper substrate then, since I haven't seen any non-fir wood shavings. A shame, since paper gets stinky quicker.

Thanks for the help!
Paper shouldn't smell terrible as long as you have a large cage with good ventilation that is spot cleaned regularly and definitely have a sand pit or two that can be used as toilet areas!

Posted at the same time as cypher!But just another reason to have a large cage if not even up to a German sized or larger one that has deep substrate is how infrequently you have to do full cleans as well as how much better large cages tend to smell!
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Paper based substrate is good - the only really difference is pine smells piney and covers the aroma a bit but I have had no problems at all using paper substrate and the smell is no different. It helps if you use a potty litter tray as hammies tend to use the potty if you put it in the corner/wee spot they have chosen You can put anything in the potty - Chinchilla bathing sand is probably best, but if you can't get that then children's play sand can be baked to sterilise it, or you could use a different kind of substrate in it.

As the others say, pine bedding isn't safe (fir is a type of pine) unless it is kiln-dried. If it doesn't say kiln-dried and dust-extracted on the packet then it probably isn't safe.

If you can't find paper based bedding or Carefresh where you are, then reptile shops usually sell Aspen bedding, which is fine (although it can be a bit dusty so it can be a good idea to sieve it a bit or shake the dust out somehow if it seems dusty). Hemp bedding is ok as well. So maybe look for somewhere that sells bedding for reptiles or horses. There are often paper or hemp horse beddings.

Spruce is the only kind of softwood that is ok for hammies - it has the same low phenols as hardwood.

Let us know what you can find - I know it's difficult in some countries to find anything other than pine. If you are really stuck you could use lots of torn up white toilet paper. You can use any dish as a potty litter tray
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Paper based substrate is good - the only really difference is pine smells piney and covers the aroma a bit but I have had no problems at all using paper substrate and the smell is no different. It helps if you use a potty litter tray as hammies tend to use the potty if you put it in the corner/wee spot they have chosen You can put anything in the potty - Chinchilla bathing sand is probably best, but if you can't get that then children's play sand can be baked to sterilise it, or you could use a different kind of substrate in it.

As the others say, pine bedding isn't safe (fir is a type of pine) unless it is kiln-dried. If it doesn't say kiln-dried and dust-extracted on the packet then it probably isn't safe.

If you can't find paper based bedding or Carefresh where you are, then reptile shops usually sell Aspen bedding, which is fine (although it can be a bit dusty so it can be a good idea to sieve it a bit or shake the dust out somehow if it seems dusty). Hemp bedding is ok as well. So maybe look for somewhere that sells bedding for reptiles or horses. There are often paper or hemp horse beddings.

Spruce is the only kind of softwood that is ok for hammies - it has the same low phenols as hardwood.

Let us know what you can find - I know it's difficult in some countries to find anything other than pine. If you are really stuck you could use lots of torn up white toilet paper. You can use any dish as a potty litter tray
Pine tends to have a very strong scent so I wouldn't feel comfortable using it.Even if kiln dried,it tends to still have a very strong scent to it that I'm not okay with personally knowing how sensitive hamsters and other small pets are.That's not even considering what pine shaving manufacturers(even those manufacturing kiln dried pine shavings)have said that is just derogatory,disrespectful,and extremely dismissive even to scientific studies.

Aside from all the negativity though,I did forget that hemp is an option.Must be a result of not really having it in the US!

On the note of potty tray dishes,I'd mostly recommend ceramic over plastic due to how chew proof they are and the ease of cleaning.That's not even considering how many adorable varieties of them there are if you look at different stores or even a thrift store!
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Yes personally I wouldn't use pine shavings, even kiln-dried, but I doubt the pine shavings are kiln dried anyway, as outside Europe they tend not to be.

Looks like you can get Carefresh on Amazon in Japan I don't know how expensive that is though.

Amazon.co.jp: Carefresh:

This 14L bag looks good

Amazon | CareFRESH?NaturalTM Premium Soft Bedding 14L Bag, 2.2 Lbs. by Carefresh [

or this 60 litre bag works out more economical but more to pay up front

Amazon | carefresh Complete Pet Bedding, 60 L, Natural by CareFresh [

Also this hamster blog has some links to pet shops in Tokyo, if that helps.

Hamster Stuff in Japan - Dwarf Hamster Blog
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Old 04-11-2016, 05:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Yes personally I wouldn't use pine shavings, even kiln-dried, but I doubt the pine shavings are kiln dried anyway, as outside Europe they tend not to be.

Looks like you can get Carefresh on Amazon in Japan I don't know how expensive that is though.

Amazon.co.jp: Carefresh:

This 14L bag looks good

Amazon | CareFRESH?NaturalTM Premium Soft Bedding 14L Bag, 2.2 Lbs. by Carefresh [

or this 60 litre bag works out more economical but more to pay up front

Amazon | carefresh Complete Pet Bedding, 60 L, Natural by CareFresh [

Also this hamster blog has some links to pet shops in Tokyo, if that helps.

Hamster Stuff in Japan - Dwarf Hamster Blog
I might try and calculate prices into USD and such later on to make it easier to understand,but it is not as expensive as it looks that I do know!
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Old 04-12-2016, 01:02 AM   #10
hamtarokid
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Default Re: Fir substrate?

Wow, thanks for all the replies, guys!

Thankfully, I've seen paper substrates in the pet stores I've looked at so that shouldn't be a problem. I'll go ahead and put two sand baths in the cage (planning on getting a Detolf so it should be good space-wise) so hopefully she will use one of them as a toilet and my cage will stay fresh.

I don't really know how much substrate I will need in practice. Those prices seem like a lot but they might not be compared to buying smaller bags more often. I think I'll start out with paper substrate from the store and see how much I'm using, or at least see the Detolf in person to get an idea of its size, then decide if ordering online is financially reasonable.

Also, funny story, I asked a friend about pet stores here in Tokyo because of a suggestion in response to another post I made (I was trying to find mealworms) (no luck), and ended up applying to a job at Kojima, a pet store that is listed in Serendipity's pet shops link. I have an interview Friday. :P So that'll be nice if that happens! Just funny how that worked out. (I think the job mainly involves puppies.) (I want it a lot.)
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