Wood Stove fuel pellets as litter for Rabbits [Updated on: 04/23/17 09:46]

        Wood stove fuel pellets can be a cheap alternative to pet store litter pellets.

        You just need to make sure they are safe for your rabbit. Most of the 'major brands' are safe, but you should always check the bag. If you do have questions a reputable manufacture will always answer your e-mails.

        Things to check for:

Wood Pellets Notes:

Premiun Blazer wood pellet fuel by West Oregon Wood Products, Inc.

       Some Home Depots sell "Premiun Blazer wood pellet fuel" for pellet stoves. The brand will depend on what region of the country you live in. In warmer regions these will only be available in colder times of the year. On the west coast they get their first shipments in around October. There are 22 pallets per 53' truck and most stores only get 2-4 trucks per season. The last order is placed around mid January to early February. In the California (Bay Area) people will drive down from colder regions (100s of miles) to buy 2 or 3 pallets at the 'cheap' Bay Area price.

Here is some information on the Blazer pellets (information current as of Oct. 17th 2015.)

  • The "Premiun Blazer wood pellet fuel" is made by West Oregon Wood Products, Inc.
  • They are made mostly of Doug Fir (a harder wood.)
  • Cost range from $3.98 to $5.98 for 40lb bag (depending on region.)
  • Home Depot Info
    • 1 Bag - SKU 623-182 {SKU=Stock-Keeping Unit}
      • 2016: $4.98
      • 2015: $4.98
      • 2014: $4.98 - After 11/15: $5.19
      • 2013: $4.98
    • 1 Pallet - SKU 278-448 {50 bags}
      • 2016: $249 [$4.98 per bag]
      • 2015: $249 [$4.98 per bag]
      • 2014: $239 [$4.78 per bag] - After 11/15: $249 [$4.98 per bag]
      • 2013: $242 [$4.84 per bag]
  • "Fuel pellets are manufactured from 100% clean, native wood products, without the use of plastic binders or additives of any kind!" - source
  • Some Home Depots carry: Freedom Fuel Pellets, Maine Woods Pellet Company, LLC Pellets [MSDS], Pres-to-Log Premium Wood Pellet Fuel. These will all have different components in them compared to the Blazer.

I emailed West Oregon Wood Products and asked for a few more details on their pellets. They were kind enough to send back the following information:
  • Raw material = sawdust & shavings @ a moisture content typically in the 45-60% range
  • Dried down to approximately 8% through the use of a rotary dryer (if it's not @ 8% a pellet will not form)
  • Majority of material is Douglas Fir (time to time they get amounts [10-15%] of cedar)
  • Blaze Pellets MSDS {Materials Safety Data Sheet}
Thank you to the people at West Oregon Wood Products for answering my questions. There are one of the few that took the time for a customer.

Maine Woods Pellet Company

Maine Woods Pellets made by Maine Woods Pellet Company, LLC and sold at some home depot's.

Information: "Our pellets are made with 100% wood - no additives, no oils, no plastics, no polystyrene."

  • Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
  • Uses Softwoods & Hardwoods
  • rotary dyer used (5% moisture)
  • What binds our pellets together? Wood. We don't add any ingredients to our wood. Not oil. Not plastic. We use massive amounts of pressure and heat to force dried wood through small holes. This pressure and heat squeezes the natural lignin out of the wood and melts it. When it is cooled and hardened, the lignin forms that nice shiny surface on the pellets and binds them together.

I emailed the Maine Woods Pellet Company and they were kind enough to email back a responce:
"We have an animal bedding pellet that is 100 percent softwood. There is nothing in our Hardwood pellet that would be harmful to your rabbits. We have 100 percent wood in and 100 percent wood out. If other manufactures use additive or recycled material to manufacture their pellets there would possible be a problem. NO MSDS is required on our pellets."
I emailed back asking for the types of tree species that they use. Once again they kindly, the plant manager this time, emailed back with the information.
"There are several species blended together which can change slightly throughout the year. The softwood portion is a mixture of pine, spruce, and fir. Mostly pine and spruce. The hardwood portion is a lot of white birch with mostly maples and beech mixed in. There is sometimes a small amount of oak and ash. Some hemlock is added on the hardwood because it pelletizes more like a hardwood than a softwood. Some examples of the wood we DON'T use are poplar and cedar."
Thank you to the people at Maine Woods Pellet Company for answering my questions. There are one of the few that took the time for a customer.

Freedom Fuel Premium Grade Pellets Fuel

Freedom Fuel Premium Grade Pellets Fuel made by Nature's Earth Pellet Energy, LLC. and sold at some Home Depot's.

This is one of the very few pellet makers that tell you not to use their products for litter/bedding:

Q&A - Can fuel pellets be used as animal litter/bedding?

Due to the presence of tannins (compounds that interfere with iron absorption, leading to anemia), wood fuel pellets can be dangerous for animals with repeated contact. While products of similar appearance exist as cat litter and cage bedding for small pets, fuel pellets are made from a variety of waste woods, unlike pine for litter/bedding. However, there are no airborne concerns regarding tannins when burned as fuel pellets.
- Source

Basic info from their webpage:
  • less than 6% moisture
  • produced from recycled sawdust
  • Low chloride levels and fines (dust levels)
  • hardwood vs softwood; once pelletized, there is negligible difference in the benefits of one over the other.
  • Grades of pellets per Freedom Fuel webpage
    • Standard grade fuel is usually up to 3% ash content and is derived from materials that produce more residual ash, such as tree bark or agricultural residues. Standard pellets should only be burned in appliances designed to burn the higher ash content pellets.
    • Premium grade is less than 1% and the pellets are usually produced from hardwood or softwood sawdust containing no tree bark.
    • Super premium has less than 0.5% ash content. That's a big deal to a stove owner because you're cleaning your stove half as often compared to premium grade pellets.

I emailed Nature's Earth Pellet Energy, LLC. a number of times, they did not respond. To busy making pellets.

Canwick Hardwood Pellets

Canwick Hardwood Pellets made by Canwick and sold at Canadian Tire.

Information: "Made from all-natural residues of hardwood processing by Groupe Savoie Inc. Fewer polluting and hazardous emissions than ordinary cord wood (debarked). No additives or chemicals of any kind. Environmentally friendly and carbon neutral". $5.99 for a 40-pound bag. [November 28th, 2013]

I emailed Canwick twice, and ask a few questions about their pellets. The never responded. To busy making pellets.

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[Updated on: 04/23/17 09:46]
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