With all of the different types of bedding available, it can get a little confusing. With Flemish Giants for example, however, bedding can be the difference in several health factors, including how healthy your rabbit’s feet are – especially as prone as some Giants are to getting sore hocks. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the different options there are and, in doing so, help you decide which is best for your bunny.
Schredded felt based material
This is one of the newer products available. The general consensus on this one varies greatly. Rather than attempting to debate what others opinions are, however, we are just going to lay it straight on the line. Felt is a fibrous material that was never created with the purpose of it being ingested. Rabbits have extremely sensitive guts also, and add to that the fact that all felt has either been dyed or bleached, which over a period of time would cause all types of health problems – including but not limited to increased risk of wool block – which can quickly become fatal to any rabbit. Therefore it is our opinion that any bedding made of any type of material should not even be a consideration for use.
Who doesn’t love the smell of cedar? The answer is rabbits. This is one of the worst types of bedding to use because cedar acts as a respiratory toxin to rabbits. While it may be fine for other small animals, it simply is no good at all to use for rabbits. So, we advise that this be at the top of the “don’t do it” list.
Pine has its own fresh smell, however, it is not at all toxic in any way to rabbits. It’s easy to use, and its easy to clean up. It pads the flooring, soaks up urine, and during the hot months, it allows air to circulate, so there’s no build up of heat. Furthermore, it is relatively cheap and easy to get, and it does not mold. For these reasons, pine shavings are one of the two best options there is available.
Shredded corrugated paper
While this is another cheap product on the market, and it does do the job its intended to do, there are a few things that you won’t get in this, which is provided in the pine shavings. There is no smell to this, unless it has been artificially added. It does soak up urine, however it clumps together very quickly and unless cleaned out very thoroughly and more often than pine, it will mold which can causes health problems with your rabbits. For these reasons, we conclude that its good to use in a pinch, but its not your best choice, and you have to be very diligent about keeping it clean on a daily basis.
Cob works well, but again, this gives you the same basic results as the shredded corrugated paper bedding. It is ok to use in a pinch, but in doing so, you are subjecting your rabbit to tons of hard bumps as a flooring, which generally doesn’t cause a problem – by why subject them to that when there are softer, better options on the market? Furthermore, this is also subject to molding if left unchanged on a regular basis. And with the price of this being as much or more than pine shavings, well – you be the judge on this one.
This is another product that is at the top of the “use it” list. Straw has a clean, fresh smell to it. It is, of course, 100% natural. And it is easy to clean up, without a significant price – although some may have a more difficult time in finding a supply of it (at a good price). Straw will mold, however it would take a long time for it to do so. It provides soft flooring, and it soaks up urine. But rabbits are prone to nibble on straw, and frankly there is no nutritional value to them eating it – plus it could possibly add the risks of parasitic infestations, both internally and externally, so if choosing this option, thorough cleaning must be done on a very regular basis.
As another option to the method of bedding, offering many of the same benefits and risks as straw, the hay does offer nutritional benefit if your bunny nibbles at at. But the risks of internal parasitic problems are increased in the process. So, the general rule of thumb with hay is that it is fine to use, if once again, you are highly diligent on frequent cleanings.