Both mice and mice are easily prone to respiratory infections, especially in environments that are not suitable for them. Rats are even more sensitive than mice from our personal experience. This is why it's very important to make sure you find bedding that is suitable for your mice and rats.
Below are some ideas and recommendations from our own personal experiences on what has and hasn't worked for us. End of the day it's your choice but please keep these in mind. Keep in mind we also noticed that bedding quality varies depending on the location you get it from, including the same brands.
BASE & PLATFORMS:
Make sure to cover any wire platforms or bases in the cage to avoid bumblefoot.
WHAT SHOULD I AVOID?
- Avoid anything scented.
- Avoid anything dusty.
- Freeze bedding for 24-48 to help avoid and prevent any possible mites (optional).
- If it makes you sneeze, is it suitable?
- Shredded paper is not an acceptable bedding or litter tray substrate, it is not absorbent enough.
- Be extremely cautious when using any pine shavings and other wood bedding.
- Watch out for any allergies.
WELL, WHAT SHOULD I USE?
- Aspen (that isn't dusty packaging).
- Chipsi (that isn't dusty packaging).
- Kiln-Dried Pine Shavings (always be cautious when using).
- Coconut Coir (bioactive).
- Coconut Coir Reptile Bedding.
- Mixture (some use recycled kitty litter paper with CareFresh and Aspen).
- Half Half (some have half coconut coir bedding, half aspen, and so on).
- Recycled Kitty Litter (great for hospital tubs but sadly doesn't provide digging enrichment benefits).
As you can see in Australia it can be quite challenging to find the most optimal and most suitable bedding for pet mice and rats. We still research often and try to always think of new ideas. Some of these beddings can be hard to come by (especially good quality and in large enough quanities like Aspen).
Mice and rats can both be litter trained, even if you have a bioactive cage this can still be beneficial for many reasons.
You’ll find that most may already do this already, our rats were very easy to toilet train, our mice, especially females tend to already go to a particular corner already. They prefer a corner, this doesn’t necessary mean triangle litter trays are the best as they tend to be too shallow for rats, we use little storage containers from bunnings for our rats.
WHAT WE CURRENTLY USE
Base: Breeders Choice Kiln-Dried Pine Shavings
Toileting: N/A (Currently Spot Clean Corners)
Base: Coconut Coir (Bioactive Setup)
Platforms: Recommend Fleece (Kmart Bathmats)
Toileting: Breeders Choice Recycled Paper Kitty Litter
What may work for us might not work for you, it's just what we recommend based on our many trials. In the future, we aim to go full bioactive for mice included to more completely away from Pine Shavings. This has just been the only bedding that hasn't caused respiratory infections for us personally but from research, we still aim to move away.