Guinea Pigs: questions on fleece bedding and more............ - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 4 Old 09-20-2010, 04:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi!

We are considering getting ds (age almost-12) a couple of guinea pigs. I did some searching on the net and found lots of general info. But, as always, it is nice to hear from people that actually have these as pets!

I read about the C&C enclosures, they look easy to make and I know I can handle the construction with no problems (I have a close friend in the sign-making business and can get the base material at little or no cost ).

I saw a link about fleece bedding (they look like thick blankets for the enclosure floor), "litter boxes" and hidey holes. Does anyone here use this fleece bedding?

I can sew just about anything, these look pretty basic. Would it be possible to make my own? I assume it is regular polar fleece and not sweatshirt fleece (is this correct?). What is the "fillling" material, what type of batting? Can regular poly quilt batting be used? One website (piggybedspreads.com) mentions their filling product is "medical grade" (I'm not sure just what that means, do you?).

If I use the fleece bedding (which looks pretty cool, economical and makes cleaning easier), do I still need to load up the cage with grass, etc?? I like the less-stuff-to-be-kicked-&-scattered-around idea.

I also like the idea of not having to constantly be purchasing shredded bedding material (which doesn't seem to be a very eco-friendly an idea).

Also, with fleece, I am wondering about washing it. We have a real concern with water usage and kind of hate the idea of washing just one or two items at a time (these being the fleece bedding pieces), not to mention the front loading washer needs more than that in a load.. Can these things be washed in hot water with, say, a load of jeans?? Or, are there health hazards connected with washing the gp bedding with our clothing? Can I soak them in a vinegar/water mixture first (to kill bacteria) and then add them to the rest of the load? We use 7th Generation to wash our clothes, would this be okay to clean the fleece bedding?

Okay, to a couple of other questions: How often to clean the enclosure if we use the fleece bedding? I would plan on having back-up fleece, so no waiting wash & dry, I could simply wipe-out the enclosure and add new padding.

The fleece bedding website mentions curtains, litter boxes and pads and other cozy hidey-holes. Good ideas? Needless expenses? I realize the site is trying to sell their products, so hearing from actual users would be much nicer!

With the fleece "flooring" do the little critters still need something shredded (grass, paper)to hide in, or would one of the hidey-holes do the trick? We plan on keeping them in our living room which is temperate and in which we think they would be comfortable. They'll be located in the same space where we have had cockatiels for many years (and the birds did beautifully).

Finally (!!), HONESTLY, how messy are guinea pigs?? I can't take the same kind of mess the cockatiels made (their powder was more than we ever expected ). I'd rather disuade ds now than have everyone put up with my dislike for the guinea pigs later.

I understand that I will probably be the one to do most of the clean-up, but a realistic projection of this will help with our decision to take these animals into our lives. I don't want a repeat of the cockatiels.

That's it for now. I'll probably be back with more ?? if we follow-thru on this idea!
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#2 of 4 Old 09-20-2010, 05:04 PM
 
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I had guinea pigs a while back - they are great little pets imho.

I never used the fleece bedding myself, by a good friend does. I don't know that she even uses batting - just big pieces of polar fleece cut to size and anchored on the edges so they don't bunch up. You'll need to have a designated potty area if using fleece - most people use a litter box so that you can change the messy bedding out every few days without messing with the fleece.

My friend emptied her litter box every other day and vacuumed the fleece daily. She changed the fleece once a week. She had two pigs.

When I had pigs (also just 2), the bedding we used was aspen pellets so we could compost them. I changed the cage out weekly and the litter box twice/week usually.

Gpig urine is strong smelling (though not as much as the smaller critters like mice and hamsters) and kind of thick, so I'd not want to wash it with regular clothes; if you rinsed the worst off you might be able to throw them in with clothes but you might still have to contend with bits of hay.

It's advisable to have some hidey spots for the pigs - we used towels to make little tents in the corners, pvc piping for tunnels, and old cardboard boxes for houses.

All pigs will need hay and pellets daily (I really like Oxbow for both), along with some sort of fresh fruit and/or veggie. Mine also drank a ton of water, so make sure you have room for a bottle - the bowls just get dirty way too fast ime.

ETA:

My pigs were only messy because I used bedding pellets throughout the cage and when they started racing about the kicked it all over - fleece bedding should minimize that.

They do have really cute noises, but they can be loud and demanding around dinner time, so be prepared for that.

I did not use curtains, though I did line the cube panels with petsafe screening to contain hay and bedding better. I also made sure they were up on a higher table since I had a dog at the same time. No cats, but if there are any in the home, make sure you plan for a sturdy top.

HTH

Erin
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#3 of 4 Old 09-26-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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I fostered for a local guinea pig rescue and i used fleece, this was after of course spending tons of money on bedding and realizing that i had to figure something else out. I would put down two layers of towels, then i put the padding which was just a mattress pad (the kind that was absorbent material not the kind that is plastic on one side) , then on top of that fleece. As far as washing i dont advise washing it with any of your clothes, as there will be hair all over it and you dont want it in your jeans,lol. Get a few sets so that you can put them aside then after a few weeks do a load of wash. Be careful you will become addicted to finding different neat colors, and patterns, and then you will have to get the holiday ones,lol. I use to make guinea pig sacks, they were kind of like bags that they could crawl up into and get all cozy, out of all the rescues that i had only one used it, the others would just sit on top of them,lol. They love igloos, just know that where ever you put the igloo, is where the most of the pee and poo will be. As far as litter pans, to me potty training a guinea pig is like nailing jello to the wall,lol, but i did have a litter box where i would put their food, hay and water by to help with the poop control.

Food- i used Oxbow, and use it now for my rabbits and they love it. Hay i get local farmers hay by the bale and it saves so much money, or if you can get a hold of local hay that is the best route to go. For bedding for the litter box you can use equine pine, or equine fresh, you get it at your local tractor supply company. Hay rack- i use to just dump the hay right in there litter pan, they wont eat anything they have pottied on, but you will go through alot more so i suggest only to do it if you get hay by the bale, i think hay racks are ssssoooooo messy , so place it above the litter pan if you can.


Toys, well i spent alot of money on toys, most of which they never played with,lol. Things they liked are a lunch bag with hay stuffed in it, a small box for them to run in and eat, i use to put baby toys in there for them to move around and chew on, even baby wooden blocks, baby toys are suppose to be painted and treated with non toxic substances, and pretty sturdy with parts.

good luck when getting them,I would stay away from the petstores because alot of times you get the wrong sex, or pregnant females, so you could quickly go from a few guinea piggies to alot,lol.
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#4 of 4 Old 10-01-2010, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for you replies!

We have decided to hold off getting any new pet(s) for awhile.

We are in the process of getting rid of our two cockatiels (to a licensed bird rescue place, no worries!). The new owners have an entire room dedicated to their birds, including a screened porch for them to have outdoor access when it is warm! The birds will not be adopted out, the rescue owners want to keep them.

The birds are both 8 years old (we've had them since they first became fully-feathered). I can't take another 8 or 16 years of their care. Too much powder, too loud and I am the only one cleaning up and interacting with them. I have too many things on my plate as it is, including escalating eldercare issues, and the birds have become a very low priority.

My guess is that new pets will be a long way into the future as we want to be able to travel overseas (after our parents have died) and long-term boarding doesn't seem fair to a pet (we plan to be gone for 3-4 months at a time).

But, we'll keep the cavies in mind for future reference.

Thanks, again!
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