Monday, February 17, 2014

Bedding for Your Guinea Pigs' Kingdom / Why I Love Fleece:

I'm a fan of fleece bedding myself, but what about other bedding options? Guinea pigs sit low to the ground, as anyone who's ever seen one could tell, but that also means that their little noses are close to the ground. They're sensitive to strong fragrances and dust. Cedar and pine should be avoided for this reason. Aspen flake bedding is ok. There's also fluffy recycled paper bedding like Carefresh, but I found that to be really expensive for the square footage we have to cover. Recycled paper pellets are very hard. That's what brings me back to fleece. Plus, it just looks so cute! You can find a pattern to match any style.
About the pen we have - Chewy, Chunky, and Dan live in a coroplast and cube (C&C) cage that I made. I love these cages! You can find many designs by searching online. I bought the coroplast from a sign store locally and the cubes from K-mart. It's important to get the cubes that have 9x9 grids with equal spacing to be safe for your pig. Like these:
Back to what I put in the cage - fleece.  I find to be so much easier than buying litter and scooping it out to replace every few days. I also double-layer U-haul furniture moving pads underneath the fleece for absorbency like these:  They are made of recycled denim. I also use cloth diapers under the areas they sit most, extra absorbency.
I have discovered there are 3 rules to making fleece successful:

  1. All fleece is not created equal.  Spending a little bit more for a higher quality fleece will work better.  I used anti pill fleece and am very happy with it.  It is strong, soft, and not prone to snagging little nails.  Anti pill fleece is easy to find at any fabric store. (Helpful tip:  dark colored and "patterny" fleece will hide droppings better)

  2. Wash and dry the fleece at least 3 times before cutting and using it.  This will break in the cloth so it wicks through moisture like you want it to.  DO NOT use fabric softener or scented detergent.  Fabric softener will coat the fabric so urine will puddle, and not soak through to the absorbent material away from your piggies.  The fragrance is hard on their sensitive respiratory systems.  White vinegar, fragrance free detergent, and/or OxyClean are all acceptable solutions.  I wash on the longest warm/cold cycle my washer has, and they come out nice and fresh.  (It isn't necessary to use any detergent for the triple wash to break in the new material.)

  3. Wait to cut the fabric after it has been triple washed and dried.  It will likely have shrunk at bit, and you won't be as likely to trim it to short.   However, if you fold your fabric how I'll show you below, you won't be cutting it to size anyway.
I take my fleece and lay it out, then put the two layers of padding on it, and fold the fleece over it.  I then flip it over to place it in the cage, so it fits perfectly. Like this:

First I lay out the fleece.
Then I set two layers of uhaul pad on top of the fleece.
Then I fold the fleece over the uhaul pads.
Then I flip it over and it's ready to go in cage!
How often you need to change your cage will depend on the size and how many guinea pigs you have.  When I clean this fleece, I take it outside and give it a really good shake to remove everything before washing.  A stiff brush will help get hay off.  You'll notice in the below picture I use a kitty litter pan to keep hay in with a cloth diaper in the bottom.  The guinea pigs hop in the pan to eat the hay, which keeps most of the hay off of the fleece.  Hay isn't too easy to clean off fleece, so if you can keep it separated, maintenance will be easier.
I hope this makes your cage look great and easy to maintain!  :)

This is the "L shape" C&C cage I have for my 3 boars.


  1. Omg that is the most awesome cage I have seen. I need another bedroom for my fur babies Peppy and Squeekers. If it wasn't for your information you post I would have got rid of my guinea pigs. But I found you on Facebook and have learned so much. Thank you from me and them. :-)

    1. I'm so happy to hear that the this page has helped!! If space is an issue, there are many neat cage designs where you can add a level or two, rather than a cage like mine where it takes up so much floor space. (I've pinned a bunch of cage designs on Pinterest for ideas too.) Your welcome to you and your piggies. =)

  2. I found you on Pintrest, I love to read everyones guinea pig stories and tips and such. I never knew So many people had piggys as pets. I'm learning so much.
    I use fleece but put old towels under it and puppy pads under those. Are the moving pads washable or disposable?

    1. Hi Robin, so happy you've found this helpful. The U-haul moving pads are washable. I have been using them for a year now and they are holding up well. Just remember the first few times you wash them, they will shrink, so plan accordingly before cutting. :) They are made from recycled denim.