What substrate do you use?

Discussions relating to the housing, environment, free ranging and enrichment of rats.

What is the main substrate in your cage

Cardboard squares / shredded cardboard
Other paper (e.g. carefresh or pellets)
Something Neo hasn't thought of
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by Linda » Sun May 20, 2012 1:59 pm

I use shavings with a layer of Finacard on top.
This combination is the best I have used for keeping the smell down and they love digging about in it.
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by htsr4 » Sun May 20, 2012 3:26 pm

I used hardwood stove pellets with shredded newspaper or hay on top for burrowing and sleeping.

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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by lauraaa » Sun May 20, 2012 4:13 pm

Ive used finacard, although it kept the ammonia smell down, it caused my whole group to have a resp flare up.
I found carefresh too dusty, and smelt...wierd when damp.
Currently using back2nature, its ok, but its best just in litter trays, but its all I have right now.

Im planning on going back to using hemcore or something similar, looks great, smells great, absorbant, rats love it, and they were healthy on it..
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by flash-gordonette » Sun May 20, 2012 4:33 pm

I was a Finacard girl, but I tried Greenmile and I can't believe how much less mess it makes! Nothing gets kicked out the cage and no nasty dust stuck to the trays :)
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by KateR » Sun May 20, 2012 6:41 pm

We mostly use card but at times have used hemp or shavings as trials.
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by Exogenesis » Sun May 20, 2012 7:43 pm

Since I started getting breeder rats I've used ecobed, but a few months ago I thought I'd try finacard... Never buying again, it's dusty, messy, soggy and just a general pain. I still love the papelit litter for both rats and my cat, but I now have a new bale of ecobed for when the finacard runs out. Wood shavings set my asthma off, so I wouldn't want to use it for my rats.
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by Rootigger » Sun May 20, 2012 7:56 pm

Cardboard's my main substrate - currently finacard but I'm switching to squares.

They also have shredded newspaper and kitchen roll for nesting, occasionally hay to forage in, fleece blankets and vetbed in sleepy places and paper pellets in litter trays. Plus peat free compost in their digging box.
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by Yamazumi » Sun May 20, 2012 9:00 pm

I use newspaper then fleece on the very base of their cage, but Greenmile in the storage box which covers the majority of the floor., also add some to baskets and their sputnik. Litter tray has yesterday's news at the moment and I used shredded paper/newspaper in all their baskets and such.
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by absolute_twaddle » Sun May 20, 2012 9:44 pm

We'll be using Ecobed after the current bale of Finacard as big bales can be picked up locally. The Finacard is yet another dusty bale - in fact it was so dusty one end I had to flip it over and start at the less dusty end. I'll be recycling the last 1/4 or so, or I may sieve it in the garden to save on waste but it's such a faff!

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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by Roobarb » Sun May 20, 2012 10:59 pm

I moved from shavings a while ago because a group of girls I had were respy and it wouldn't clear. I used Hemcore for while but didn't like that so much either. I'm on squares now but the baby boys I have refuse to walk on it :roll: they walk on the rim of the base and litter trays to get around. Will try Finacard/green mile as I believe that's softer... other than that I dunno lol
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by littlemonster » Mon May 21, 2012 1:41 am

I've just moved from cardboard to Aubiose (hemp) to see if it cuts smells down. Downside for rats is they can't carry it to use and make into beds in their hammocks and sputniks, but I figure lots of shredded paper will make up for that!

Will see how it goes though, I've just been finding that the cardboard doesn't absorb the urine, and therefore the smell, as well as it did with less rats.

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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by ali_rat1987 » Mon May 21, 2012 12:46 pm

I used finacard as the substrate. I have noticed it's a bit dusty when I'm cleaning them out, but I think honestly don't think anything is entirely dust free. It's a lot cheaper that Bio Cat-o-Let which I used on my last boys as well!

It's really tough as a new rat owner to know which to use, especially with SO much conflicting advice on here, and in other places!
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by Snippet » Mon May 21, 2012 8:06 pm

I use a bedding that looks like shredded tea bags. It seems to keep the smell down very well, and it's fairly dust free.
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by KatieD » Mon May 21, 2012 10:31 pm

Finacard or Greenmile for the bulk of it but I usually chuck in all manner of other bits for variety/engineering usefulness ;) (I have some avid nest building boys), papelit (unscented paper based cat litter) for the litter trays.
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Re: What substrate do you use?

Post by Hanlou » Mon May 21, 2012 11:02 pm

Walmsley Premierbed here (Eco-bed lookalike). Can get it fairly locally which makes it good value.

Hemp is used in litter trays. I will probably mix hemp and cardboard once my Explorer is up and running. Hate hemp on it's own but mixed in with cardboard it's fine. Currently using Hemcore as I can get it locally and frankly I prefer to use this to keep flies away from the rabbits' litter trays. Not noticed any problems resp-wise via the hemp.
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