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Shale sand as bedding?

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Shale sand as bedding? Empty Shale sand as bedding?

Post by gemmaxlouise Sat 19 Mar 2022, 8:38 pm

Hey everyone.

I have been keeping and breeding mice for quite a few years now and it has recently become very popular in NZ to use shale bedding as a substrate. I was wondering what everyone's thoughts on this would be? I have had a lot of people asking me whether it is safe and I'm a bit concerned about respiratory issues. It also seems like it would be difficult to clean and maintain properly.

Has anyone used it and found it to be safe?


Thanks heaps in advance!

gemmaxlouise
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Post by cerial Mon 21 Mar 2022, 7:54 am

I tried sand once.

Ok first off they get very dirty digging in it and you will notice they dig with their eyes closed.
Mites and such love sand.
Cleaning it is a process. You need to wet it down then it can take several DAYS to dry out. So you will want to be able to switch it out with dry bedding to let the wet stuff dry.

I have a heavy duty cross cut shreader. I go to thrift stores and pick up cook books or self help books etc for $1 each. I fill two 18 gallon trash bags up 3/4 of the way then shake them. I spray them down with diluted ivermectin and shake them some more. Once my tanks are clean with diluted glass cleaner I pour in the bedding and throw it around before a few more sprays of ivermectin on the surface.

The bedding is between 8 to 10" at first but settles to half of that within a few days. After a week they start really building nest and tunneling which makes hills.

Being 1" pieces they can easily carry it around, push it, and they love digging in it never having there eyes closed like with sand.

I replace the bedding every 2 weeks and the paper comes up almost completly dry. There are sometimes wet patches. But they are easily removed with nothing sticking to the cage.

I have over 25 mice running around a connected 4 tank system which makes up around 230 gallons with a hose that I can block off to move the mice from one side to the other. I can shread, treat, and clean the entire tank system in under 2 hours. Most of them do as they should when I clean the tank. But, I tend to have one or two that I need to catch which adds a bit of time.

I have used carefresh and kaytee bedding.
It is far from dust free.
It does clump more.
And you can imagine due to the cage size. It is almost $70 more every two weeks then my current system.

I have never used any wood based bedding so I can't comment on that. They also cant dig through felt bedding only get under it making tons of holes in it so I have only tried that twice.

I think any kind of stone like gravel that can be cleaned and dry out fast might work. But if they can fit in their mouth they may eat it which is to risky in my book.
I know just from cleaning the toys that something that looks clean really is not. I have a tub just for cleaning the mice wheels and other mesh things that after soaking for 10 minutes you can really see the filth. After the 3rd time soaking they are not bad and ready to be rinsed/wiped down.

A good crosscut shreader will cost you a bit. You do need to shake and give the bedding a few sprays to reduce dust. But it is the best setup that I have found if you go through alot of bedding.
None of my mice have respiratory issues using shreaded paper. The amount of dust some of the other bedding options put out is far worse and I would shake it spraying it down before tossing it around in the cage with more spraying to reduce the dust amount.

cerial
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Post by gemmaxlouise Mon 21 Mar 2022, 2:30 pm

Awesome, thanks heaps for that! I was definitely concerned about the mite issue with using sand. I'll look into the paper based bedding you use:) Thanks again!

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