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Old 12-31-2016, 05:58 PM   #1
Crayolalaura
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Default Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

With my Syrians I used these cat little pellet things as a thin layer on the bottom and a thick layer of carefresh on top
Will this be ok for little guys? Not sure exactly her breed so presuming she's a hybrid Russian
They gave me wood shavings when I bought the cage and it says on the package it is dust free etc and safe for dwarves but I know you must be very careful because respiratory problems etc
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

I'd avoid wood shavings.They're nowhere near as safe as paper substrate,since they can cause an allergic reaction and are far less comfortable and could easily cause injuries with sharper pieces.

Pellets wouldn't be necessary with a good absorbent substrate,but they could be an additional litter in a separate tray along with a sand bath.

If you can get Fitch that would be the best substrate,regardless of species
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Old 12-31-2016, 06:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

I've been using Carefresh but I'm switching to Fitch because it's more cost effective and I've heard it's less dusty (haven't noticed any dust in the carefresh but it's better to be safe).

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Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
I'd avoid wood shavings.They're nowhere near as safe as paper substrate,since they can cause an allergic reaction and are far less comfortable and could easily cause injuries with sharper pieces.
My Satin hybrid, Stephano, is allergic to wood shaving, I'm not sue if it's the dust or just that the sharpness of the shavings poked and irritated his skin but he was fine as soon as I switch to paper substrate. If you don't have better substrate currently then it's fine to use temporarily though.
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Old 12-31-2016, 07:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

Yes this is what I think about wood shavings too! I honestly don't know toooo much about wood shavings but what I have heard hasn't been good. Plus it stinks lol
I will look into fitch though as carefresh is quite pricey!

Thank you!
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Old 12-31-2016, 11:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

Fitch really is a good substrate, I use it mixed with hemp for a bit of variety but have used it alone too, all my dwarf hams love it & do well with it, it's soft, absorbent & as close to dust free as you can get as well as being far more economical than carefresh or most other substrates, it does come in big bags, 10kg is easier to store than the 20kg & would last one dwarf ham ages.
You can buy it here.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

Fitch Fitch Fitch! I love it - it's cheap, dust free and hammies really like it. If you get the 10kg bag it's not too enormous and will last for months. It's just recycled food grade paper. A bit like Carefresh but without the dust It's also hypoallergenic (I tried hemp but was a bit allergic to it). I also wouldn't use cat litter - it's not very digestible if chewed. If you want to avoid the cage getting wet and stinky the best way is to have a good depth of substrate - (6" if you can - more is even better) and a litter tray with chinchilla bathing sand in. Hammies tend to use a litter tray if you put it in the area they choose to pee in - then you can just spot clean mainly and the cage stays cleaner and you only need to do a "big" clean every 2 to 3 months maybe. Even then a partial clean is better to leave some familiar scent and avoid stress. So do the substrate one week (or half the substrate and mix the old in with the new), the wheel a different week and the toys/house at a different time.

You can get Fitch direct from the manufacturers - the price includes postage. Or order it on Amazon where it costs a pound or two more and still comes direct from the manufacturer I think.

The 10kg bag is about the size of a small child's beanbag - and can be disguised as a beanbag by putting a throw over it

https://www.fitchrecycling.co.uk/ani...-delivery.html

This size bale lasts me 4 to 6 months with a 100cm cage and 6" of bedding.
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

Shavings can be a perfectly adequate substrate and has been used by many hamsters for years without problems however the suitability of any substrate material will depend on both yourself and the hamster(s) that will live on it. If you're prone to allergies then you may find that it's not the most suitable and as others have pointed out hamsters too can develop allergies to it even after having lived on it for a while.

Some people find that Carefresh can be a little dusty and the Natural one can have a rather strange smell but in the UK it can also work out fairly pricey depending on the size of your cage and how often you clean your hamster's cage. I was recentely given a 10L pack and it wouldn't have done my four cages so I had to mix it with Fitch.

As others have mentioned, Fitch is a very popular choice but the bale size can be restrictive for some people if space is limited as it will need to be stored in a damp free area. If you've got the space though a 20kg bale could last you several months. I go through a 20kg bag every 3-4 months with fortnightly cage cleans of my four permanant hamsters. Some people have reported an occasional issue with availability but I've always been able to get hold of it, however I do have a backup substrate in mind in case that happens.

The other substrate I've tried is Finacard, which is a little bit cheaper than Fitch and is made from small pieces of cardboard. It's softer than it sounds but my little Chinesey who tested it found that it wasn't as quite as good for her housekeeping and burrowing as Fitch but it's one I'd use if I couldn't get hold of the Fitch. Here's their website: Zen Cart!, The Art of E-commerce
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fluffagrams View Post
Shavings can be a perfectly adequate substrate and has been used by many hamsters for years without problems however the suitability of any substrate material will depend on both yourself and the hamster(s) that will live on it. If you're prone to allergies then you may find that it's not the most suitable and as others have pointed out hamsters too can develop allergies to it even after having lived on it for a while.

Some people find that Carefresh can be a little dusty and the Natural one can have a rather strange smell but in the UK it can also work out fairly pricey depending on the size of your cage and how often you clean your hamster's cage. I was recentely given a 10L pack and it wouldn't have done my four cages so I had to mix it with Fitch.

As others have mentioned, Fitch is a very popular choice but the bale size can be restrictive for some people if space is limited as it will need to be stored in a damp free area. If you've got the space though a 20kg bale could last you several months. I go through a 20kg bag every 3-4 months with fortnightly cage cleans of my four permanant hamsters. Some people have reported an occasional issue with availability but I've always been able to get hold of it, however I do have a backup substrate in mind in case that happens.

The other substrate I've tried is Finacard, which is a little bit cheaper than Fitch and is made from small pieces of cardboard. It's softer than it sounds but my little Chinesey who tested it found that it wasn't as quite as good for her housekeeping and burrowing as Fitch but it's one I'd use if I couldn't get hold of the Fitch. Here's their website: Zen Cart!, The Art of E-commerce
Thanks very much
For me I'm just not keen on the scent of woodshavings mixed with that of a hamster LOL
I wasn't sure though if I do carefresh/ fitch if I would need to ease her into the substrate (mixing the two to begin with so it's not as big of a change)
She's only been with us since Wednesday and in Friday I filled her cage up with lots of new bits and bobs so she's still a bit skittish with all the newness
I don't plan to clean her out for at least another week so she can settle more but the smell might push my hand to do it sooner haha!
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:32 AM   #9
Crayolalaura
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Fitch Fitch Fitch! I love it - it's cheap, dust free and hammies really like it. If you get the 10kg bag it's not too enormous and will last for months. It's just recycled food grade paper. A bit like Carefresh but without the dust It's also hypoallergenic (I tried hemp but was a bit allergic to it). I also wouldn't use cat litter - it's not very digestible if chewed. If you want to avoid the cage getting wet and stinky the best way is to have a good depth of substrate - (6" if you can - more is even better) and a litter tray with chinchilla bathing sand in. Hammies tend to use a litter tray if you put it in the area they choose to pee in - then you can just spot clean mainly and the cage stays cleaner and you only need to do a "big" clean every 2 to 3 months maybe. Even then a partial clean is better to leave some familiar scent and avoid stress. So do the substrate one week (or half the substrate and mix the old in with the new), the wheel a different week and the toys/house at a different time.

You can get Fitch direct from the manufacturers - the price includes postage. Or order it on Amazon where it costs a pound or two more and still comes direct from the manufacturer I think.

The 10kg bag is about the size of a small child's beanbag - and can be disguised as a beanbag by putting a throw over it

https://www.fitchrecycling.co.uk/ani...-delivery.html

This size bale lasts me 4 to 6 months with a 100cm cage and 6" of bedding.
Haha love the idea of the bean bag LOL
Thanks very much for all that info- big help
I will be getting Fitch and hopefully she'll like it
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:35 AM   #10
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Default Re: Substrate preferences for dwarf hamsters

I mixed it in gradually when spot cleaning so by the time I did a cage clean and replaced half the substrate most of it was Fitch and the time after that I went fully over. Again it probably depends on the hamster a bit as to how gradually you do it, but it could be an idea not to change all the substrate in one go at first. I found when I had the Fitch mixed with shavings our Syrian liked picking out the bits of Fitch and taking them to his nest - it's nice and soft for their nests as well - but I still put out torn up strips of toilet paper for nesting as it holds the nest together better
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