Fleece’s Dirty Little Secret
I’ve recently read several posts from guinea pig owners who are confused and dismayed with their fleece bedding: “What on earth am I doing wrong with my fleece?” They’ve seen the photos online of pristine cages decked out in this wonderful stuff. They’re beautiful! Who wouldn’t want to have a cage like that?
Alas, their guinea pigs’ cage didn’t look at all like the photographs online. Their cage was a mess. Poo all over the place. They found themselves cleaning constantly, much more than a cage with shavings or Carefresh. How embarrassing to fail so dismally in keeping a cage cleaned properly. Why didn’t their cage look like everyone’s photos?
Well, let me tell you, unless you and your pigs are compulsive cleaners, your cage is probably pretty normal. All of those wonderful, clean fleeced-lined cages you see online? There is a dirty little secret: photos are usually taken of a freshly cleaned cage, minutes after the pigs were plopped back in. If the owner is good with a camera or computer-savvy, any offending mess is magically cropped or Photoshopped out of the shot. I admit to electronically removing a stray poo or two. Who wouldn’t?So let me put your mind at ease with a few typical halfway-between-cleaning photos from my girls’ cages. Be horrified. Be disgusted. My sows could really care less about some poo in the corner and hay or shavings spread across the floor. As long as the fleece is dry, doesn’t smell and I can see at least a little spot of clutter-free fleece, we’re good to go.
The top photo is of Willow’s cage and is a prime example of a half-fleece half-shaving setup. I have a low threshold between the two sections, so the bedding gets tracked all over the fleece if she’s been particularly active. Willow is not usually this sloppy, but it’s a great photo to illustrate my point.
The bottom photo of the Newbie’s upper deck is relatively clean. It is fleece only – no wood shavings to complicate matters. The hay tube is somewhat contained. However, I swear that Pinni spreads the hay out on purpose, just to make me clean it up. Even the fleece that is far away from hay or shavings can get pretty messy: the second level gets poo and whatever hay Pinni has tracked through. The first level, which is a combination of fleece and shavings, makes Willow’s cage look immaculate. Bertie loves doing donuts around the cage, so there’s no chance the shavings will remain on that side of the cage.
My cages would probably be cleaner if I did a full swap to fleece bedding. But no one seems to put off by the clutter. I don’t have quite the amount of laundry to do as I would with a full-fleece setup and I’m going through half the amount of shavings than I used to. The girls like both types of bedding, so the current setup works for all of us.
And that’s the dirt on clean fleece.
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