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what do you line your guinea pig hutch with?

(30 Posts)
Matildathebrave Wed 18-May-11 20:23:11

Have tried wood shavings, aubiose and megazorb. Don't like any.

Does anyone just use newspaper and hay?

HerMajestiesSecretCervix Mon 23-May-11 07:47:01

I use a pink fleece blanket with an old towel underneath to soak up the wee. Poos get hoovered out once a day or twice if we can't have them in the outdoor run. Fleece and towel get changed once a week. They love it. Although being boys I do worry that I am offending their masculinity with the lurid pink;)

UnSerpentQuiCourt Wed 25-May-11 23:14:48

I usually use newspaper and hay. Sometimes with a layer of sawdust. They seem to thrive and I compost the sawdust and newsparer. Dog dispses of as much poo as she can snatch when I clean them out.

Stillchuckingit Fri 27-May-11 12:42:24

I use a cat litter called Cat's best (I'm abroad so not sure if that exact brand available in UK but imagine something similar is) in their indoor cage (lined with newspaper too). It's pellets of compressed wood shavings with something added to keep down odour. They have been fine on it for years. Add a bit of hay for softness from time to time. Heavy to lug about and not exactly cheap but worth it as they don't whiff at all. I clean out the cage once a week in summer (when they are outdoors running free in the garden most of the day) and perhaps every four/five days in the winter.

deepdarkwood Fri 27-May-11 12:47:39

Fleece blanket, like HerMajesties - works really well & less mess.

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 12:50:01

You aren't supposed to use wood shavings/wood chip with GP's in case of splinters (but as you can see, Still has and they've been fine), I wouldn't take the risk. Same with shredded paper, they can get paper cuts (although we used this when I was a child and ours seemed fine - but once you know....).

We used newspaper & loads of hay for our indoor GP's, but I got fed up of the smell & the mess, so we went to towels/fleece but it needed changing every day (I have no idea how HerMaj gets away with once a week??) ours would make far too much mess to leave it more than a day. I would have been fine with that but I hated putting all that wee & squished poo in the washing machine and I wasn't going to pick it off, rinsing it off was vile.... so we reluctantly went back to paper & hay (bought a large plastic wrapped thing which lasted a good while). Once again though, cleaned out daily/every second day. Maybe we just had very wee'ey & poo'ey GP's (two boys?!).

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 12:51:30

DeepDarkWood - how often did you need to change yours and what you do both (HerMaj!!) do about washing them? I just hated putting our clothes in after a GP wash but it's so wasteful running an empty wash?!

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 12:51:57

I did also try soaking them in napisan and only doing it every few days but hated that too sad

Stillchuckingit Fri 27-May-11 13:20:17

No I wouldn't ever use loose wood shavings - agree, too much risk of eye damage - the ones I use are compressed in to pellets

Stillchuckingit Fri 27-May-11 13:29:48

sorry - not describing this very well - the pellets are very hard ...not discernable as wood shavings at all ...imagine a round ended neurofen capsule but twice or three times the size made of glued-together sawdust.

I find them a very good solution - easy to clean out - just roll up in the newspaper and put on compost heap

They absorb damp and odours

Very few crumble and if they do it goes in to a sort of sand texture.

Gps don't chew on them

A bit hard and 'knobbly' perhaps to sleep on but my girls don't seem to mind it. They make a shallow indent in it and sleep. And in comparison to conditions in the wild - it's probably fairly comfortable.

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 13:49:03

Still - they sound interesting... I don't have any GP's at the moment sad but will look into those when we do in the future.

I would also have another go at 'potty training' them - these boys didn't get the hang of it, but some do.

Stillchuckingit Fri 27-May-11 14:29:18


Forgot that it is actually recommended for "rongeurs" (super furry animals) as well as cats

Chipping I've managed to train mine (just about) not to pee or poo on us (they squeak or jerk their heads suddenly in the air when they "have to go")

Is it possible to train them to use one bit of a cage though? I'd be interested in that ...although probably too late for my girls now

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 14:43:36

Yes - it's possible to train them to go in one place, but rabbits are easier to train than GP's. I would think, given it's hard to do anyway, that yours are probably past being able to be trained.... if you have the time/patience it wouldn't hurt to try? You may have some success if you place them on the toilet stuff, in the right place in their cage when you are handling them and they let you know they need to go....

Stillchuckingit Fri 27-May-11 17:15:38

Thanks Chipping - will have a go as they do already favour one corner as it were ...

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 17:59:56

They like to eat & poo at the same time (mad little things) so it works quite well if you put a hay dispenser above the area you want them to use and feed them near their toilet area too (ick I know).

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 18:00:26

Oh and if you put hay down where you want them to go, that's supposed to help too.

deepdarkwood Fri 27-May-11 21:23:42

Hello - sorry, went offline smile

We change the fleece about every 5 days I reckon (2 guineas, but still babies) - but I clean out the poo daily.
Ours had sort of trained themselves to poo only in their tunnels when they first came to us (presumably because they felt safer eating in there) but seem to have lost it over the last few weeks, so will try your hay trick, chipping. We had a house bunny & she trained herself in a day <sign>

I possibly have low standards, but my guinea blankets go in with ds's wee-d on bedding, and I just reckon it's all coming out in the wash - all poo & stray hay shaken/beaten off first over the compost heap.

ChippingIn Fri 27-May-11 22:12:06

Deep - really? 5 days? I guess ours were little wee'ing machines then?! The wee & poo would mix in and get all mushed... <grim>

Everyone's different - but as I said, even with all the poo shook or scraped off I hated putting washing in the machine after... let alone with. I am sure it's me being anal though, I'm pretty sure most people would agree with you.

Yes - bunnies are much easier to house train (well, with the 'potty' anyway) I hear they can be a nightmare with wires etc! I love the idea of a house rabbit grin

deepdarkwood Fri 27-May-11 23:36:08

<looks round house> I do have low standards of household cleanliness!

I do clear poo out at least once a day, so it's 'only' the wee the hanging around - and actually a lot of that is in their 'pods' (lined with kitchen paper & cleaned out again every day) or in the tunnels (we use old carpet shop tubes & just chuck 'em once they're manky).

Our house bunny was lovely - she had free run of bits of the house & was just like a dog - would rush to us when we came in and run round us until we lay down to be licked. OK, dogs don't do that, but you know what I mean grin But she cost us a bloody fortune in vets bills - & trashed a lot of wires, doors, sofas.... Very high maintenance sort of a girl.

HerMajestiesSecretCervix Sat 28-May-11 07:19:11

Our GPs are still babies so I guess that is how we get away with changing the fleece blanket only once a week and the fact that most days they are outside from 9.30 in the morning until 7 in the evening. As a basic rule of thumb, I change them when they start to get a bit whiffy.

As I said we Hoover out the poops every day, sometimes twice a day. The fleece and towel are shaken off in the garden then cold rinsed in the washing machine and then washed at 60. I wash them separately as I can't quite bring myself to put them in with the regular wash.

I'm going to try to toilet train them - I've seen some plastic corner toilet things so will give that a go.

LauraIngallsWilder Sat 28-May-11 07:51:25

we had a cubes and correx cage (so big enough for gps which commercial cages aren't imho)
lined with fleece and towels, swept out daily with dustpan and a load of new hay put in, swopped for clean blankets twice a week.
My boys loved it smile

ChippingIn Sat 28-May-11 11:32:44

Deep - she sounds lovely - if a little ummm naughty challenging. I bet you miss her a lot.

HerMaj - ours were babies when we tried the fleece too. I think maybe I am too fussy! Ours weren't going outside either so I think that's probably where the major difference lies that and my super sensitive nose!.

We tried with the plastic corner toilet thingy - tried being the operative word! It would have been better if I'd had a bit more time to focus on them but with two small kids wanting to 'help' it wasn't easy! I also didn't know about the food at the time so tried to keep the food/toilet area at opposite ends of the cage - worst thing you can do! <typical>

issynoko Sat 28-May-11 11:49:44

We are new to guinea pigs and got them 6 weeks ago - all are thriving at the moment but we haven't handled them (been heaving with pregnancy sickness and couldn't face anything but the minimum of anything) - have we left it too late? They are much more confident now - don't scarper when we open the hutch etc. Sounds silly but have never had anything but fish before! We clean ours out thoroughly once a week but do minor cleaning more often. They are on newspaper and sawdust which we compost although have doubts about the sawdust now. They also have hay and straw. Should we have them out in a run during the day through the summer?

UnSerpentQuiCourt Sun 29-May-11 22:45:40

They would love to be out in a run!

Stillchuckingit Mon 30-May-11 08:35:09

Chipping sorry for late reply (mad w/e)

Thanks for simultaneous pooing/eating + hay tip + - didn't know that - doesn't surprise me as very little stops my pigs from eating grin

Agree with you about their bedding in washing machine (ugh). Bad enough that I rinse out bottom of their cage in utility room sink ...still get odd bit of straw in the washing piles

Issynoko how old were your pigs when you bought them?

It's probably not too late for them to get used to you. (It's not a bad thing for them to be left in peace when they first arrive actually.) The fact that they don't run away when you open the hutch is a good sign. Just start slowly - no loud noises - gentle, slow, deliberate movements - stroke them behind the ears (not their rear ends - they don't like it) - and always have a treat (piece of veg they like) in your hand when you do, so they get to associate your presence with something pleasurable. Start picking them up gently ( always supporting them underneath) and putting them on your lap for a few moments. Be sensitive to their squeaks and if they jerk up their heads suddenly then put them back in their cage (it's a sign they need to pee or poo). They may pee on you when they are little but if you always put them back in the cage when they do, they usually get the message.)

Definitely, definitely put them out in a caged run during the summer. It should always have some shade and a closed area where they can escape (from cats??) and access to water. Good luck!

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