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Old 06-08-2019, 05:42 PM   #11
AmityvilleHams
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

Baked and sifted children's play sand is the best litter, in safety and general price. Critter litter is clay, which is definitely not safe(can cause blockages and can be incredibly dusty). Paper cat litter tends to be fairly uncomfortable to little hamster paws too, which may discourage hamsters from using that sort of litter as much as sand.
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Old 06-08-2019, 06:06 PM   #12
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

The 49L clean and cosy is enough to fill the bin with a good layer of bedding and have enough left for spot cleaning still
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:15 PM   #13
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

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Originally Posted by AmityvilleHams View Post
Baked and sifted children's play sand is the best litter, in safety and general price. Critter litter is clay, which is definitely not safe(can cause blockages and can be incredibly dusty). Paper cat litter tends to be fairly uncomfortable to little hamster paws too, which may discourage hamsters from using that sort of litter as much as sand.
Ok thanks for the heads up. How do you bake the sand and for how long on what heat?
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

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The 49L clean and cosy is enough to fill the bin with a good layer of bedding and have enough left for spot cleaning still
Ok great, do you clean monthly or leave for longer? I guess it depends on the hamster right? Can I use the rule that if it's not smelling I don't do a big clean?
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Old 06-08-2019, 10:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

I found children's sand on Desertcart. Do you clean that sand out daily? How much do you go through on average a month for a Syrian? I just want to know how much to order. Is it ok if the sand is coloured?
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Old 06-08-2019, 11:23 PM   #16
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

Colored sand wouldn't be considered safe unfortunately. You want plain 100% natural play sand, no additives or anything like that(including dyes).

It gets baked at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/approximately 176 Celsius, however you want to be sure to rinse and sift it before that to remove any potential debris and such.
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Old 06-09-2019, 02:59 AM   #17
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

I use Chinchilla bathing sand in the litter tray Must be sand not "dust".

Cleanouts - yep - if you use a litter tray and empty that every few days the cage should stay pretty much clean and dry for a long time, with just the odd bit of spot cleaning (replacing the odd handful) if necessary. I find I go about 3 months with the Barney cage and then I change about 2/3 of the substrate, and keep back the clean third - usually from the bottom and either mix it in with the new or spread it on top. That way it's a lot less stressful for the hamster as it still smells familiar.

The other tip is to not clean everything at the same time. So something always smells familiar (they scent mark everything). So if you do the substrate, don't clean anything else at the same time. You can do the wheel a different week and toys etc a different week again or as and when needed. Don't overclean basically. Toys often don't need much of a clean very often.

Don't worry about poops either unless they start taking over the cage in a big way - they are not dirty or smelly and can be like little black seeds. They will sometimes even hoard poops for emergency food supplies - and sometimes eat them - which is normal - they have two stomachs and can redigest nutrients from the poops.

What I find is when doing a substrate after that length of time, the hoard has become very large under the nest, and I do prune the bottom half of it at that time as that part will be getting a bit stale - plus taking over the cage bottom! But if you ever remove any hoard, always add some new food on top in exactly the same place or they feel robbed and could start peeing on the hoard.

I also don't remove the nest and hoard when cleaning unless it's pee'd on.

Plain white toilet paper is best for nesting - a pile in the cage somewhere so they can forage for it and take it back to the house to build or rebuild a nest. If the nest does get pee'd in you need to remove it obviously, but try and leave a bit behind that's dry and put new paper out in the cage so the hamster can rebuild it.

If the hoard gets pee'd on you have to remove it too, but again try and leave some dry hoard behind and add the new food to replace some of the removed hoard.
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Old 06-09-2019, 03:02 AM   #18
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

Incidentally I am not sure what the whole anti Fitch thing is at the moment as I have been using it for a few years, and still using it and don't have any issue with it whatsoever. It varies in colour and texture slightly sometimes, depending on what they have been recycling but it's good stuff, dust free and our hamsters love it. The occasional hard bit of paper but that does no harm and the occasional blue bit of paper which also does no harm. Never seen cardboard in it, but cardboard wouldn't do any harm either!

As Kaytee Clean and Cozy seems so popular at the moment I did try some but I still prefer Fitch.

Yes it has gone up from about £17 to £23 for a 10kg bag but a 10kg bag lasts me about 6 months with the Barney cage, or maybe even longer.
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Old 06-09-2019, 04:17 AM   #19
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

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Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Incidentally I am not sure what the whole anti Fitch thing is at the moment as I have been using it for a few years, and still using it and don't have any issue with it whatsoever. It varies in colour and texture slightly sometimes, depending on what they have been recycling but it's good stuff, dust free and our hamsters love it. The occasional hard bit of paper but that does no harm and the occasional blue bit of paper which also does no harm. Never seen cardboard in it, but cardboard wouldn't do any harm either!

As Kaytee Clean and Cozy seems so popular at the moment I did try some but I still prefer Fitch.

Yes it has gone up from about £17 to £23 for a 10kg bag but a 10kg bag lasts me about 6 months with the Barney cage, or maybe even longer.
Thank you so so so much for your detailed answer. Itís so frustrating when you ask a question and you donít get a full answer. Thank you so much. Iím trying to figure out how to convert L to kg as Kaytee cozy and comfy is in liters and Fitch is in kg - want to see which one is better value for money. What size is your sand bowl? I want to make sure that I get a big enough sand bowl. Will tear up tissue paper for bedding.
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Old 06-09-2019, 04:43 AM   #20
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Default Re: Best substrate for burrowing in the UK?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Serendipity7000 View Post
Incidentally I am not sure what the whole anti Fitch thing is at the moment as I have been using it for a few years, and still using it and don't have any issue with it whatsoever. It varies in colour and texture slightly sometimes, depending on what they have been recycling but it's good stuff, dust free and our hamsters love it. The occasional hard bit of paper but that does no harm and the occasional blue bit of paper which also does no harm. Never seen cardboard in it, but cardboard wouldn't do any harm either!

As Kaytee Clean and Cozy seems so popular at the moment I did try some but I still prefer Fitch.

Yes it has gone up from about £17 to £23 for a 10kg bag but a 10kg bag lasts me about 6 months with the Barney cage, or maybe even longer.
I mightíve just gotten a bad batch but the last bale I bought (over a year ago now) was very dusty (way more so than Carefresh) and irritated Stephanoís skin (he had severe dust allergies) so I stopped using it. But Iíve been meaning to try it again now none of my hams have allergies.

Iíve heard a few people on various places complain about the few pieces of coloured paper or card in fitch bevause theyre worried about their hamsters getting ink poisoning but thatís incredibly unlikely tbh.
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