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Cage Advice with water bottles

inks88

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Aug 4, 2021
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We are just setting up our cage and are wondering what type of water bottle to get, glass or plastic. Plus my 9 year old is saying that water bowl would be better for their backs. But we don't know if the ones we would adopt know how to drink from a bowl.

I also want to sew our own fleece liners and just saw the other thread questioning the U Haul pads. I saw felt rug pad at the store and am wondering if that would work. Or why not just another layer of fleece?

Any help to a newbie would be greatly appreciated!
 

teambenji543

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Mar 28, 2021
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149
I prefer water bottles over water bowls. Some guinea pigs don’t know how to drink from bowls and they like to poo in them. For me personally when I tried water bowls, my guinea pigs decided to go swimming. :) If you do opt for bowls, then make sure to get heavy bowls that can’t tip over.

As for glass or plastic water bottles, glass is always better. Guinea pigs can’t chew threw glass, it’s also easier to see when water is running low.

for the fleece liners, I use U haul pads but some people use towels or puppy potty pads. I think felt rugs are absorbent, but I’m not really sure. Also, adding another layer of fleece won’t really help. The water and pee will go straight through however many layer of fleece you add. Then the pee will just pool at the bottom if you don’t have an absorbent layer.
 

inks88

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Aug 4, 2021
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Thanks teambenji543 ! I will get one plastic and one glass water bottle. I will try the water bowl too, but sounds it is not very hygienic. I am just horrified reading the Amazon reviews where people are saying their pets nearly died because they failed to check if the bottles were flowing twice a day. But if water bowl will become gross in mere hours then that is not a solution either.

I was trying to stay away from puppy pads, I would hate to create so much non biodegradable waste. But it's good to know that just adding fleece will not work, you saved me from a pointless experiment. Maybe I will purchase the rug pad and test the corner with a drop of water, so I could still return it if it does not absorb or the drop just goes through.

And I guess the key to a less smelly cage would be to try to contain the pee and poop to certain areas and change those frequently. I realize if I can't handle the fleece maintenance I will just switch to wood shavings.
 

teambenji543

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I have two water bottles in my guinea pig cage. This way if one water bottle breaks, then they always have the other one. It also minimizes fights over them.

i totally agree with you, puppy pads create a lot of waste. Its a great idea to test the rug pad. Update if it works! I would love to know.
 

inks88

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Aug 4, 2021
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Trying to use a felt rug pad instead of a U Haul pad is probably not a good idea. While it did soak up water nicely when I tested it, when I washed it, it came out of the washer nearly dry and dried in the dryer very quickly. It separated into 2 layers also. I have never seen or felt a U Haul pad but I think it may contain more cotton, because I keep reading on this forum that it takes a while to dry. My rug pad must have been mostly polyester. It did not shrink either. I was hoping I was going to avoid a long drive to the U Haul but no such luck. DSCF2604 DSCF2605
 

Smileandnod

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Another absorbent material you can use is called Zorb. It can be sewn between two layers of fleece and works great.

When making large pads (2x5 or 2x6) I think the Zorb is easier on my washing machine too because my U-Haul pads sewn between fleece become quite heavy when wet in the machine which can make it unbalanced.

As far as bottle or bowl, I would suggest a bottle. Checking the bottle twice a day shouldn't be a problem since guinea pigs, as cute as they are, are messy little creatures. They make a lot of poop every day which requires frequent spot cleaning. They prefer to go where they eat, sleep, and just about everywhere they walk... that's normal.
 

4boipigs

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I use glass All Living Things bottles for my guinea pigs and my hamster, and none of them leak. The plastic ones always leaked endlessly, and I went thru about 4 of them I think. I did have water bowls for a time (pigs weren't used to a bottle or I was looking for a new one), and while the pigs did drink easily from the bowl, they also made a mess of it, and it'd have to be changed daily or more often.
 

inks88

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Aug 4, 2021
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Thanks Smileandnod ! I saw Zorb mentioned when I looked up what they use in cloth diapers, but I never looked it up until after you mentioned it. I am a semi professional sewer LOL so I know what properties rayon/tencel has, and combined with polyester and nylon it sounds like an ideal material. And I was thinking how many loads of laundry each cage cleanout would be. When I prewashed my carpet pad I realized that there was no way I could fit both fleece and U Haul pads in there at the same time. The cage is 2x4 and I want to make 1x2 kitchen and have flippers in the rest of the area. I just don't think it would be easy to sweep up the poops when the fleece is not tight . But looking back it might have been easier and cheaper just to purchase the fleece. But again the 9yo child wanted to pick out the fleece so here we are. And now I realized buying fleece at the fabric store was a rip off, I saw way cuter and nicer fleece throws and blankets at the home store. I may just order the Zorb, If the rescue gets back to us about the adoption sooner before I get the flippers made I may just use towels and fleece throws. I just learned from here about the different fleece and how the hay sticks more to some.

I got the Living World glass bottle and the Lixit plastic bottle, and I may try to put the water bowl in the corner to avoid them stepping in it. I personally am more worried about the bottle not dispensing water than it leaking , but they really are equally bad and dangerous. I don't even have the pigs but this stuff is pretty involved.
 

Smileandnod

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The most current fleece I got that wicks great from JoAnn's is antipill PLUSH fleece (not to be confused with regular anti-pill). It keeps it's thickness after many washes so there is a nice cushy dry layer between pig and absorbent material inside. And yeah, you definitely have to wait until they have a sale (and use a coupon) because the regular price is ridiculous.

I used to love the blizzard, but it seems over the past couple years it just doesn't wick very well no matter how many washes and no matter what absorbent material you use. It also seems to thin out more with washing which is frustrating.

So, I guess the key is to use any fleece you like and from anywhere you want to get it, BUT most importantly just make sure it is wicking properly. Wash it, then put your absorbent material under it, dribble some water on the fleece and check to make sure the water is pulled through the fleece and into the absorbent material underneath, rather than just puddling on top of the fleece.

If you like to sew and you are good at it, then you will definitely save yourself some money! Make enough cage size pads for two changes and LOTS of smaller pads to change out frequently from beds, under bottles (& bowls if using those), near the hay pile, and wherever else their favorite spot ends up being. Those areas get gross fairly quickly (usually change these pads twice a day). I use a 12 and 15 inch quilting square ruler to cut out fabric for these smaller pads.

I use a handheld vacuum to quickly clean poops twice a day. I use a silicone dishwashing glove to brush off hay from my pads over a trashcan before throwing in the wash. Hay comes off fairly easily.

If you get the guinea pigs before you get all your pads made, put down towels or incontinence pads and then put a large piece of fleece that is wicking over top. Use binder clips to clip the fleece all the way around the side of the coroplast (this will prevent your pigs from burrowing under the fleece). This is a nice temporary solution. The towels tend to smell more once wet, so you may have to change things out more frequently.
 

inks88

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Aug 4, 2021
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Oh jeez, we got the Blizzard because daughter wanted coral color. I just did the test and it did wick very well but I can totally see what you mean how it thins out, it is very cheap feeling. We got something with very short Minky like pile , that fabric does not wick the small droplets but wicks a teaspoonful just fine. I think I will not sew that one up until I have tested it out with large piece and the binder clips.

Thanks Smileandnod for the sizes of the smaller pads, I was wondering what size to make those.

Can the pigs stay in the cage during vacuuming with the handheld? And I was wondering about the best way to get all the hair and hay off before I stick it in the washing machine. I remember they used to sell a special mitt for pet hair that looks very similar to the silicone dishwashing gloves you mentioned.

We did get approved by the rescue this morning, so just need to arrange the pick up time with the person who is fostering them.
 

Smileandnod

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Excellent on getting approved for the new pigs! I'm sure your daughter is very excited! Can't wait for pigtures and updates!

Hey, if the fleece wicks that's great! You are doing terrific! You can always make more pads with new fabric...you have years now to experiment with fabric and colors ;-)

Also, guinea pigs LOVE to hide and play under pieces of extra fleece in the cage. They also love what is called fleece forests which are just strips of fleece pulled through an overhanging grid...they hide & zoom through it!

As far as the vacuuming, it depends on the pigs. As long as you are using a simple handheld and not an industrial shopvac which can suck them up, they'll be ok (yeah, I've heard everything on these forums). Mine totally ignore me vacuuming around them, but guinea pigs are skittish prey animals so you may want to clean up one side first, like the kitchen area, then give them hay to distract them while you do the other side. They'll get used to it...but of course go easy at first since they're already having to get used to you & their new home.

Good luck! Can't wait to hear all about them! Any questions...feel free to ask & we'll help you out. Welcome to the world of guinea pigs!
 

Smileandnod

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Oh, by the way...how old are they? If they are a few week old babies, you should babyproof the cage.

Just put some cardboard or extra coroplast up the sides to block little bodies from getting stuck or getting out. They grow very quickly so this is temporary just for the little ones.

Also leave out wire hay bins to prevent heads getting stuck or broken legs from jumping in.
 

ItsaZoo

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I use washable bed pads that are waterproof as the bottom absorbent layer. They last for years. For the top I use Joann Fabric anti-pill plush, as Smileandnod recommended. It washes better, is thicker, and has a smoother surface so the hay doesn’t stick as much. But I think the blizzard fleece will be okay. It comes in more colors and patterns, but it’s not as thick and will pill eventually.

I don’t sew the pads and fleece together. They wash better when they’re separate. Check your washer instructions for waterproof items - mine recommends putting them in first so they’re on the bottom and using delicate wash.

I sew reversible wee pads for the corners of the cage, which usually becomes a bathroom. They are just fleece on top, a thin absorbent middle like a microfiber or kitchen towel, and then on the bottom I use woven fabric like quilt fabric. I make these about the size of a placemat. Place fleece side up for the corners of the cage and woven side up for a hay pile. The hay doesn’t stick to the woven side so it’s easier to clean up. I throw these in the wash each day and the cage doesn’t need a full cleaning as often.

For bargain fleece check the remnants at Joann Fabric. Many times they have large pieces. The price is 50% off the current price of fleece. So if plush is on sale at 40% off, they take 40% off the remnant price and and additional 50% off because it’s a remnant.

This is the reason my guinea pig has so many coordinated cage accessories.
 

inks88

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Aug 4, 2021
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The pigs were listed as adult and I did not ask exactly how old they are. It seems most people get tired of them after a year or two so that's how old they probably are. My daughter already asked for fleece forest and the Kavee cage we got does have a loft with lid so I may have to put one there, although they can't run in the loft.

Daughter wants a hammock too. Would the pigs actually use it? I was looking at ones with the stand, but maybe that would be a christmas present for pigs since the initial set up is pretty costly.

I read all sorts of stuff about the hay racks too and pigs getting stuck in them. But I am kinda OCD so I think I will not like hay strewn about. I got kleenex boxes I intend to stuff with hay. And one wooden hidey has a rack on the side, but that does not seem to be enough hay.

ItsaZoo I did consider washable bed pads since everyone seems to love the Guinea Dad liners and they are backed by waterproof fabric. But I know they will make my washer imbalanced and I sometimes have to run the spin cycle several times (when the washer senses the imbalanced load it stops). I did get those pads for their floor time , so maybe if manage the washing of those I will use them in the cage too. I was going to make flippers and do not want to sew the layers together because I read here that they would dry faster. I did see on cloth diaper sites where they said to use microfiber, so it's good to know it works for guinea pigs also. I love the microfiber rags for cleaning.
 

teambenji543

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My guinea pigs LOVE the hammock! Sometimes they like to sleep on-top or sometimes they like to sleep under! About the hay, no matter what you do it will ALWAYS go everywhere. I’ve tried boxes, and all kinds of hay racks and I’ve kind of accepted the fact that hay will always cover my guinea pig cage. :p
 

Smileandnod

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About the hay, no matter what you do it will ALWAYS go everywhere. I’ve tried boxes, and all kinds of hay racks and I’ve kind of accepted the fact that hay will always cover my guinea pig cage. :p

Yep, couldn't have said it better!

When you have guinea pigs you eventually have to embrace the hay mess within the cage. You can try to contain it, but they will do what they will with it and to avoid health and dental issues you can't restrict it as a means to keep things clean.

But I can empathize with you [MENTION=46595]inks88[/MENTION]...I also hate the hay everywhere, but it motivates me to clean their cage twice a day which means illness never goes undetected with me always poking around.
 

Smileandnod

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The pigs were listed as adult and I did not ask exactly how old they are. It seems most people get tired of them after a year or two so that's how old they probably are.

Yes, unfortunately that is very true.

Honestly though if these are your first guinea pigs, and with your 9 year old daughter being involved, I would recommend adult pigs anyways.

Babies are so skittish and more difficult to handle. Babies also go through the whole puberty and fighting to reestablish dominance routine which generally confuses people who think they had bonded babies and are new to guinea pig care.

Adults are generally calmer and their personalities are more established.
 

ItsaZoo

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Yes, hay is eventually everywhere and they like to burrow into it. At some point the hay pile will also be a toilet. So cardboard boxes of any kind will be soiled. A woven piece of fabric lying flat in the middle of the cage works well. Most of the hay stays there, it’s easy to shake and clean, and they stay dry to a certain extent. Or place it in a corner with the edges turned up a couple of inches. That kind of contains the hay.
 

Kelsie

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The Cavy Cafe which is sold at the Guinea Pig Cages Store also works very well for helping to keep your hay confined. They will pull out some of it and drag it around but the Cafe really helps keep your cage cleaner. If you look to the top of this forum you will see Cagetopia C&C Cages Store. If you go to that you will be able to see what the Cafe looks like. I know they don't list it for hay storage but I have one and it works very well. I line it with a small little bathroom rug from Ikea and on top of that I use a fleece liner and then just pile the hay on top. I do have to change it frequently and waste a little hay but that's not a problem for me. My girls easily jump in and out of it and it's roomy enough for two or three pigs to share the hay.
 

inks88

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Aug 4, 2021
Messages
15
Oh well, at least the mess with guinea pigs contained in the cage. I did cut and fold coroplast "kitchen tray" , have to get glue for the corners. I know some don't like them but I will at least try if it keeps the pee and poop contained. I have seen those bath mats on Youtube, they don't use anything on top, poop must get wedged between the pile.

The rescue described the pigs as "love attention and treats" so we hope that at least we can feed them lettuce through the cage and interact that way. We did see babies on craigslist and at the rescue too, but I figured it was more responsible to get a "pre owned" pig. The Craigslist listings are just heartbreaking.

Now another question. How much will they shed and does the hair get caught in the washing machine. We have a dog and on the couch she is on a fleece blanket. I wash her blanket separate but the next load will always have some hair on it. I saw there are hair catchers on Amazon, some people love them, but I never figured out if they are only for top loaders.
 
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