This article is from the WSSF 2013 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
7084 Pelleted Paper® Bedding is a product from Teklad. These pellets are made from pre-consumer recycled paper mixed with some aspen hardwood sawdust as a pelleting aid. Since it is from pre-consumer recycled paper, it does not contain bits of plastic, string, or staples, have a high ink content (most has never been used for printing; if it has, the ink is from soy ink so it will not turn rodents gray like some other products), nor had any chemical de-inking solvents used. This makes for an environmentally-friendly, safe, clean, non-toxic product. It is also biodegradable, incinerable, and has very low dust. It is produced in a sanitary plant with stringent procedures which makes for a quality product. This was originally designed as a non-contact bedding and cat litter but is now used as contact bedding as well.
I was looking forward to trying out this product as it is a paper pellet mixed with aspen. I was hoping for the benefits of both products—paper pellets don’t break down into a powder and aspen has great odor control. This, however, didn’t meet my expectations. While the labs found it superior in absorbency and having excellent odor control, I didn’t find that in my testing. While it doesn’t break down into a powder like straight aspen pellets do, the odor control left a lot to be desired.
It just smells like paper when first opening the bag, not strong or overpowering in any way which is one of the things I look for in beddings. Other things I look for are odor control, amount of absorbency, and the dust factor. Also, I don’t want it to color the animals tails or fur which I have found with other products I’ve tried.
I did the majority of the testing on the rats as I was hoping to find an alternative bedding to the existing paper pellets I currently use under the aspen chips in the corners of the rat cages. Just a couple days after placing it in most of the rat cages, the whole room smelled of dirty cages which is not normally the case. At cleaning time most of the cages looked clean (had clean areas), but smelled dirty or had a strong smell.
There was no extra dust from using these pellets like I have found with other products. Also, it did not turn the rats tails gray or make the white areas on the rats look dirty.
I have found the aspen to be far and above the best to
use on mice in both odor control and moisture absorbency. Using the
7084 in several mouse cages in place of the aspen pellets underneath
the aspen shavings in the corners of the cages, the cages would vary
from smelling like paper, to some ammonia smell in the pee corners,
to some cages that wouldn’t be very dirty but would smell very
mousey with very wet corners.
I found I was cleaning more often than normal just to keep the smell away during the 8 weeks of testing.
So based on the odor control and absorbency failing my tests, this is one product that didn’t work in my situation and I won’t be using. Each person needs to do a test for themselves to determine what the results are for their situation (number of cages, number and type of animals, if it is used in litter boxes instead of under bedding in the whole cage, etc.) as they may find a different outcome.
NOTE: 7084 Pelleted Paper® comes is 40 lb bags and is manufactured by Harlan, P.O. Box 44220, Madison, WI 53744-4220, phone number 1-800-4-TEKLAD (483-5523), and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. See 7084 Pelleted Paper® Bedding for more information.