We are going to talk about recycled paper as bedding for your hamster. When I say ‘recycled paper’ I mean Back 2 Nature bedding. It’s a new type of bedding compared with sawdust bedding what we have known for a long time. It’s one of the first types of bedding for rodents. I have known about Back 2 Nature in the Netherlands for about 4 to 5 years now. When I heard the first time of Back 2 Nature a salesman told me about it: “It’s really good, you should try it out. It’s bedding that’s really back to nature.”
What Is It Made Of?
I asked him, “What it is made of”? “It’s made of paper,” he told me… When he said it looks like grains I thought to myself… grains? Made of paper? Nature? What does that have to do with each other? OK whatever, I will try it out.
At that time, I used wood fiber as bedding. I had to clean the cages (with 2 hamsters) every 1,5 weeks. I had a mask for this task… it was a really dusty, and I needed less dusty bedding. They told me that Back 2 Nature isn’t dusty at all. Of course, I didn’t believe them. I need to see that before I can believe it. But it’s really true. It isn’t dusty… at all! When you take Back 2 Nature out of the bag, you don’t get any dust. When you do this with wood fiber… you get pretty much dust. Plus, it doesn’t smell, it’s odorless.
Is It Smelly?
You can smell a little bit of paper, but that’s all, and it isn’t dusty. I’ve cleaned the cages, I’ve put in the Back 2 Nature bedding, and ready! I thought, let’s see how long it stays clean.
- Week 1- clean
- Week 2 – clean
- Week 3 – clean
- Week 4 – clean
- Week 5 – I thought… When do I have to clean the cages again?
It’s been so long! At week 5, the cages were still clean. Even the corner where the hamster’s pee didn’t stink. Hamsters drink about 5 ml per day, so they also don’t pee much more than that. 5 ml goes right in this paper grain… and it’s gone. The paper takes it in, then dries out. I don’t smell anything. The only mess you will get is from the hamster food… and the mess the hamsters make by making the glass dirty. My hamsters live in aquariums so when they go against the glass with their paws… it gets a little dirty. The whole cage is messy, but the bedding is perfectly OK.
Hamsters & Burrows
Back 2 Nature is made of paper. Most people find the color of the bedding is not pretty, and the most significant discussion, however, is about something else. It’s about the need to dig holes in the ground as the hamsters do in the wild. Hamsters live underground, so they like to drill holes. Hamsters like to have a sleeping place under the ground. With Back 2 Nature, they can not do that. They can not dig holes in the grains. They do try to do so when you put in Back 2 Nature in the cage… the hamsters will start digging, and you see the grains fly around. The hamsters will also try to get underneath the Back 2 Nature bedding, but they can not make burrows. By the way! You don’t need to be afraid your hamster will suffocate underneath bedding.
Therefore, your hamster cannot be crushed by Back 2 Nature. A layer of 5 cm is enough. What can I say more? A great advantage is that it is not dusty. This is especially useful for people with allergies or animals with allergies. Is Back 2 Nature perfect bedding? It depends.
I keep my hamsters in couples (male/female) because I breed. You can not keep dwarf hamsters together because they will be fighting. Since I’m a breeder, I keep the hamsters in male/female couples. Hence with two hamsters in one cage, I don’t have to clean the cage for about 5 weeks. With one hamster in a cage, you may be able to keep the cage clean for much longer. You will start to wonder when you have to clean the cage again. Back 2 Nature is really that good! It absorbs perfectly. It doesn’t smell it’s almost a perfect bedding, but…
There Is One “But”
Like I said before, the hamsters cannot dig, so the biggest objection to the bedding is that the hamsters can not exhibit natural behavior. It does not meet the fundamental needs of the hamster. How can you solve this problem? The manufacturer says that you can add another layer of bedding. The second layer can be something they can dig in, so you have good underground bedding because it absorbs very well and thanks to the second layer, the hamsters can also do a little bit of digging. I’ve got Carefresh here, for example. Here they can make burrows and dig. It’s also very soft, hence with the Carefresh, there can be made a second layer. This will add more volume to the bedding. Lets’ say you have a cage surrounded with Back 2 Nature and you are happy with it. It absorbs good, and it’s not dusty.
These are the excellent points of Back 2 Nature. For the digging, you add a second layer of bedding like I’m doing now with Carefresh. However, you can also take wood fiber for the second layer or Tumblefresh or something else.
So you would think all problems are solved. You have a tremendous underground bedding and a top layer. It’s nice! But then the next problem occurs. The hamsters pee on the top layer of the bedding! So the pee doesn’t reach the underground layer. So what do you get? You’ve got great underground bedding that will not be used.
When you put a second layer on top of the underground layer that’s not that good. Your cage will be smelling fast because the hamsters pee on the top layer. Back 2 Nature loses its usefulness because when a hamster drinks about 5 ml… it will not pee much more. Therefore, everything stays on the top layer. Let’s say you are using Back 2 Nature and on top wood fiber. You have to clean the cage much sooner because of the wood fiber. Wood fiber doesn’t absorb that good. So the usefulness of grains goes out the window you can try it for your self with one hamster and an excellent top layer you can still be able to keep the cage clean for a long time.
But I think when you want your hamster to make burrows, the two layers will not be efficient. Back 2 Nature is expensive bedding. Plus, now with the Back 2 Nature and Carefresh, you have two costly beddings, and the underground bedding is not being used because only the top layer gets dirty You need to clean the top layer much often. You could also only clean the top layer and let the underground layer in, but then you can ask yourself why is there an underground layer? Just my thought.
For breeders, Back 2 Nature is excellent bedding. When you have a litter, you don’t need to clean the cage that often and Back 2 Nature is available in three bags. In a one-hamster cage, you could fill a corner with the trial pack. That’s my tip.
Then you have also a bag of 10 liters, 20 liters, and 30 liters. I don’t have them, but the 20 and 30 liters are much bigger than my 10-liter one. I would recommend the 30-liter packages. These are the most advantageous in terms of price. If Back 2 Nature is your bedding, then the 30-liter packs are the best choice. They are more efficient than smaller ones. I have to say that when you have just one hamster, you can go for a long time with the 30-liter pack. It also depends on the size of the cage, so the largest package is better. Thanks for reading, I do hope my information will help you!