Chinchilla Bedding And Litter

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Chinchillaville13

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Jan 6, 2021
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Hey y'all!

So, I took my little dude, Pedro, to the vet. They recommended that, in his cage, I should put down 1 layer of litter and 1 layer of bedding. It was an Oxbow pamphlet that they gave us which told us what types to use, but that means it was all Oxbow stuff. I'm not saying that I'm against EcoStraw and Pure Comfort, but they're not the only brands of litter and straw out there.

So what do you all recommend for bedding and litter? Also, my rabbit uses SoPhresh cat litter, which is paper-based pellets, in her litterbox. I know that generally paper litter or bedding is questionable. But can I just use that for Pedro's litter?
 

Chinchillaville13

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Jan 6, 2021
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And I suppose a lot of y'all use those fake fleece sheets. I'm planning on getting a cage better suited for chinchillas, one that can have those sheets. Should I talk to my vet about using one of those instead?
 

Amethyst

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I use antipill fleece for the cage floor and aspen shavings for the litter box if that is what you mean. Bedding and litter for a chin is pretty much the same thing, it's what is used to absorb their pee, they don't nest or burrow like most other rodents.

Paper bedding like Pure Comfort is dangerous, so is pellet litter, if they decide to eat it it can swell up in their gut causing a blockage (it has happened to people's chins) or it can get stuck getting pooped out causing a rectal prolapse (again it has happened). Chins don't normally drink enough to flush things like that through their system, so it basically just gets stuck. The Ecostraw is even questionable since it's a pellet, if falls apart as soon as pee or water touches it then it might be ok, but if holds it's shape and just swells bigger it could cause a problem. I would not use strands of straw as bedding either, chins have been known to get eyes poked with straw (happens with hay too but hay is normally softer), as well as you don't want the chin eating too much straw it has no nutritional value so you don't want them filling up on it.

I know a lot of vets don't advise using shavings because they can be dusty and cause issues in rodents that live in the shavings, but chins don't normally spend all their time on the cage floor and don't burrow and sleep in shavings. For most rodents paper bedding is actually the best option, but again most drink more water for their size and have different digestive tracts then chins. If you don't feel comfortable with advise online then you can ask your vet. The only real issue with fleece is you do need to make sure you wash it regularly, at least once a week but at least twice a week if they pee on it, and if they chew it then it's no longer a safe option. Antipill fleece is the only safe fabric to use since it doesn't rip, shred, or unravel into strings so if the chin does chew it you can often notice and remove it before too much has been swallowed to cause an issue, a small amount should pass without issue.
 

JamaisVu

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Jan 7, 2012
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Amethyst has pretty much covered everything.

I favor fleece, too, because I find it keeps mess to a minimum and it's easy to switch out and wash. People that don't like fleece usually argue that you do have to switch it very often if your chin doesn't use a litter box otherwise it will smell really quickly. For those people, aspen or pine shavings are top choice, since they are safe for the chins and keep smell to the minimum.

Be careful with those Oxbow pamphlets. Oxbow makes great products, but they tend to generalize with pretty much all small rodents/rabbits and chinchillas are different in many ways. Not every Oxbow product marked safe for chinchillas is actually safe for chinchillas. A lot of vets go with it, so I'm of the opinion of listen to your vet, but if something seems questionable don't be afraid of getting a second opinion. Even in the same clinic you might have different levels of expertise with chinchillas. I really trust the clinic I take my chin to, but I definitely trust one of the doctors above all of them because she's the most experienced and clearly has done the most studying of chinchillas and their needs, so I make a point of only scheduling appointments with her.
 

Jawramik

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Nov 3, 2021
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Like Amethyst and JamaisVu, I use fleece liners with aspen shavings in the litterbox. I'm a big fan of fleece liners. They're less messy and more economical in the long run, and they're easy to change and spot-clean.

As far as I know, fleece liners and aspen shavings are really the only chin-safe bedding (and fleece is only safe if they don't chew it). Some people also recommend kiln-dried pine shavings, but because pine oils are known to cause respiratory issues in many other rodents, I don't feel comfortable using them with my chin. If you don't want to use fleece liners, then aspen shavings are the safest option.
 

Chinchillaville13

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Jan 6, 2021
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Thanks guys! And @Amethyst I don't have any issue getting advice here. Y'all are really experienced. Plus, if I had a problem, I wouldn't have joined

Some of my vet's info is questionable, I'm from a farming town where some animals earn their keep and not many people own exotics. So the vets have more expertise in dogs, cats, and animals raised for food or other stuff. Our doctor is great for what our town sees, though, so I would definitely recommend her

So we have shavings at our barn that are kept dry. We use them for horses and such, but I use them for my critters and have been seeing no issue. Just wanted to make sure though, the pamphlets seemed more in favor of bedding on top of litter

Thanks y'all!
 

Jawramik

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Nov 3, 2021
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Just make sure the shavings are safe. Anything other than aspen or kiln-dried pine is a no-go (and honestly, I wouldn't use kiln-dried pine unless I had no other options, I know it's not good for rats' respiratory systems, and chins also have delicate respiratory systems....though perhaps not quite as delicate as rats).
 
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