Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fleece Bedding For Guinea Pigs - Update

Well, humans, it turns out the fleece bedding had some unanticipated problems that we encountered by the third day. While the fleece bedding turned out to do a good job of keeping the cage neat, it did start to smell by day 3. The humans will try to add baking soda in between the layers of fleece next week, so we will let you know if that helps.
Our cage is messy! The air is not as smelly up here.
The other problem is that the humans bought a cheap dust buster from Target to clean stray poops and hay pieces from the floor of our cage, but Target forgot to include a wall charger! So we have not been happy piggies this week since that meant that we had to have baths. Go back to Target and return that dust buster humans! We expect daily vacuuming in our cage.

Finally, because the fleece needed to be washed twice weekly (instead of once a week, like the humans initially thought), that brings the weekly cost of bedding from $3.50 to $7.00. At that price, it's been just as expensive as buying Carefresh (which cost about $15 per 60L bag, which lasts two weeks, when bought online in bulk).

Still, we think the benefit of having a neater cage and plush fleece is better than Carefresh overall, so we will stick with it for a while. More updates soon.

19 comments:

  1. I thought I posted on the prior post, but I guess it didn't stick.

    We use u-haul blankets as the underlayer of the fleece and it works amazingly well. The blanket was about $15 if I can remember that far back. We have two guinea pigs and can go a week, sometimes a little more between changes. However, they do have a dedicated kitchen/litter box where they are fed and have their hay. This part has mostly wood stove pellets from Sears with a thin layer of carefresh on top. The kitchen is changed about every 4-5 days.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Lilyheart! We have a hay ball that we use (see pic) and it tends to do a good job of keeping most of the hay off the cage floor, but piggies in our cage go to the bathroom anywhere and everywhere, so it's hard to know where putting Carefresh down would do the most good. Do you use anything for odor control? Urine seems to cause the most amount of trouble with the fleece.

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    2. The undercover is most important imo. This is what we use (http://www.uhaul.com/MovingSupplies/Protective-stuff/Furniture-Pad?id=2670). It was recommend on the caveycages forum. I'd read several people switched to the blanket and had much better odor control then towels. We went straight to the uhaul blanket and haven't had any trouble. We use two layers under the fleece. VERY IMPORTANT however is to wash the uhaul blankets a time or two before washing. THEY SHRINK.

      The benefit to the kitchen (it was a litter box, but on the last cage rebuild we attached their old cage to the end and now they have a full size kitchen) is that then tend to do their "business" while eating. So some of our mess ends up in the kitchen saving the fleece. However I KNOW they do mess on the fleece constantly. There is a corner that HAS to be dustbusted daily, if not twice as it's the most common sleep spot.

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  2. Did you wash then dry the fleece at least three times, without using fabric softener, before using it? I saw that tip online and it seemed to help. Also, I found that if you use thin fleece it pills and stays a little bit damp, which makes things smell sooner, and also hurts piggies' foot pads. I found anti pill fleece online at Your Fleece, good prices and nice quality. And finally, I use Zorb under the fleece. It's material that people use in cloth diapers, and it really seemed to cut down on the smell. So I dust a little baking soda, put Zorb down, then fleece. Good luck!
    Oh, and my guys poop all over their cage. I tried to get a kitchen area going, but for us it never worked! I scoop it out once a day, and change the fleece once a week.

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  3. We did not have luck with the fleece when we tried it (we had six piggies in a HUGE pen at the time. I did not care for handling the "icky" fleece, so we switched back to Carefresh!

    Happy New Year, I haven't stopped by in a very long time!

    Oliver and Reese are still loving life!

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  4. Six piggies! We can't even imagine. It must have been very noisy at feeding times :)

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  5. We have two piggies on fleece in our 2x5 c&c. We also have a 1x2 loft that is full of carefresh and houses the "kitchen" area with hay, pellets, and water. We change the fleece weekly and the loft every other day. They tend to use the carefresh as the potty and that's the only part that gets soiled/smelly. We still, of course, sweep (with a handbroom and dustpan) the poops off the fleece up to 2 times daily.

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  6. Gorgeous pigs, however I do have to post a couple of things that worry me.

    The hay ball is quite dangerous. I know of at least two pigs who have become trapped in one, one had to be cut free because he was tangled in it. (had managed to open the slot and his head and one paw were trapped in that and a back paw was trapped in the part that attaches to that cage).

    The 'hut' is quite unhealthy for them, it's basically sawdust mashed together with molasses.

    You also need something absorbent under the fleece, whether it be towels or puppy pee pads (I use towels) to cut down the smell. I use about 3 layers of towels under the fleece (4 if the towels are thinner).

    Using a litter tray is a great idea, I have two girls in a 2x5 C+C and I use paper based kitty litter (less dusty that carefresh IMO) in a 1x2 section that is the 'kitchen'. It catches all the hay and I can just scoop soiled hay out of it daily rather than let is sit around and start to smell.

    You can see my cage here
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v715/VanDiemins/DSCN4986.jpg

    The fleece stays nice and clean (hardly any hay gets onto the fleece) and it's easy to sweep up any stray pieces along with the poop on a daily basis.

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    1. I am new to piggies and i've been trying fleece but I cannot get the little hay pieces out with out having to pick out each little thing. they are imbedded in it. Do I have the wronge fleece?

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    2. Fleece can be particularly difficult to keep clean. When you wash it, usually the hay gets dislodged and it's okay.

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  7. LadyPenrhyn- Thank you for your reply!

    Our first pig, Annie, had a flexible wooden/woven ball that I would stuff with hay, and she did manage to wedge her whole body through the spaces between the wood, so I can see that happening. The main reason we have been using it has been to reduce floor hay, but now that you bring up this concern, we'll look into hay troughs.

    I had the same concern about the hut, and discussed it with our exotic vet. He said that as long as the pigs aren't consuming large pieces of the hut, it shouldn't be an issue. He said that he's never treated a pig who suffered from eating the huts before, so I decided to keep it. If you can suggest an alternative chewable hut though, I would feel better about using a safer one.

    We use towels under the fleece (two layers of fleece, three towels), which helps.

    Cute cage! Do your piggies ever interact/chew on the hanging mobiles?

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    1. Fizzy loves ringing the bell if she believes I'm late with breakfast...it's so much fun being woken up at 6am by a pig bashing a bell against their toilet :/

      I actually use a product from http://www.jenscustomcrafts.com/ourshop/cat_503536-Hay-Trough.html

      There is a lot less mess using this than using a normal hay rack for me.

      I like Fiddlesticks, you can get natural ones too (though they are really hard to find in my country) or even using rabbit huts (they tend to use willow which pigs can also chew as well).

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  8. I love your blog! We just moved to a new apartment and finally have room for a great C&C cage for our one piggie. We put in the fleece last week and boy does it smell! I saw that you were planning on using baking soda between the towels -- did you end up doing that and did it work? I was thinking of incorporating baking soda but I wasn't sure a good/safe way to do it.

    Thanks! :)

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  9. Thank you, ScarJo! Fleece really does smell and so far the only way we've found to control odor is to put at least 2 cotton towels below the double layered fleece and wash it often (every 4-7 days). It's almost better to use Carefresh, but in the end, fleece is less expensive and less messy than Carefresh. We'll update the blog if we find a better solution. Thanks for reading!

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  10. Since we only have one, the smell isn't too bad if I clean up the poop every 1-2 days and wash the fleece once a week. :)

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  11. I have 3 piggies in a very large c&c cage. i use one layer of fleece that i pre-washed 3 times, then i sewed a layer of towel and then a layer of waterproof fabric and it works perfect. i made 2 sets so i can change them out and wash them. i can go a week without having to change it. every 3 days i shake everything out, brush the fleece down and scoop out the cage. then i wash the cage down with a vinegar/water mix and its perfect. i have even gone a week without doing this and i still barely notice a smell. i have also heard good things about the uhaul pads and i was thinking of trying them myself but for now this work perfectly, and is WAY more cost effective. if i could now only potty train my piggies to only go in their kitchen! good luck

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  12. I have 3 piggies in a very large c&c cage. i use one layer of fleece that i pre-washed 3 times, then i sewed a layer of towel and then a layer of waterproof fabric and it works perfect. i made 2 sets so i can change them out and wash them. i can go a week without having to change it. every 3 days i shake everything out, brush the fleece down and scoop out the cage. then i wash the cage down with a vinegar/water mix and its perfect. i have even gone a week without doing this and i still barely notice a smell. i have also heard good things about the uhaul pads and i was thinking of trying them myself but for now this work perfectly, and is WAY more cost effective. if i could now only potty train my piggies to only go in their kitchen! good luck

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have 3 piggies in a very large c&c cage. i use one layer of fleece that i pre-washed 3 times, then i sewed a layer of towel and then a layer of waterproof fabric and it works perfect. i made 2 sets so i can change them out and wash them. i can go a week without having to change it. every 3 days i shake everything out, brush the fleece down and scoop out the cage. then i wash the cage down with a vinegar/water mix and its perfect. i have even gone a week without doing this and i still barely notice a smell. i have also heard good things about the uhaul pads and i was thinking of trying them myself but for now this work perfectly, and is WAY more cost effective. if i could now only potty train my piggies to only go in their kitchen! good luck

    ReplyDelete