A key element to maintaining your hamster's living conditions is the amount of bedding in the cage. Hamster bedding consists of a number of materials, such as wood shavings, shredded paper or cloth and is used to absorb hamster's urine in the cage.
The Justifiable Amount
The proper amount of bedding to put in a hamster's cage is 2 inches (5 cm) deep across the entire bottom of the cage. This allows the hamster enough depth to build a nest and the ability to borrow, so he can sleep comfortably. If too much bedding is in the hamster's cage then you're going to waste bedding, which will lead to unnecessary spending on your part as the owner. If you put too little bedding in the cage then your hamster won't have comfortable living conditions.
Types of Bedding
A number of common hamster beddings are available. The most common is wood shavings, which can come from a number of different kinds of source material. It's not recommended that you use pine shavings or cedar, as they can cause respiratory problems for rodents because they omit harmful phenols. Saw dust can also cause problems for hamsters.
Other types of bedding can include Megazorb, which is a dried wood fibre pulp material. This is a material that's commonly used for horses, but can be used for hamsters. It absorbs quickly and effectively, composts easily, and has very little odour of it's own. The downside is that you have to buy it in large quantities, as it's intended for a much larger animal.
Carefresh, which is a wood pulp bedding material is available, can be purchased in small quantities, but can be more expensive than normal bedding.
Fineacard, which is a shredded cardboard material that has been dust extracted is also available. It absorbs readily and is ideal for hamster burrowing.
Aspen wood shavings ard commonly heralded as the holy grail of hamster bedding. The shavings don't cause health problems in rodents, as they don't omit harmful phenols. Aspen is only available in certain countries, such as Canada though, so the availability depends on the country that you live in.
These bedding types are available at your local pet store, but if you wish to save money they can be made from materials around the house using cardboard containers, unused paper that has not been printed on or dyed (don't use newspapers or magazines) as well as discarded cloth material.