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Pine bedding

JBarton

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What is wrong with plain old pine bedding? In the wild, cavies live in rocks and dirt. Scrambling over rocks helps keep their nails filed down without having to trim them so often. As much as we like to think so, our piggies are not babies to be caudled and cuddled in fleece. Why not provide them with as natureal a habitat as possible?
 

Percy's Mom

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Because your pigs are not the same pigs that live in the wild. The guinea pigs we adopt as pets have been domesticated and have life spans averaging 5-8 years. Wild guinea pigs have a life span of maybe a year or two if they are lucky.

You could just as easily say why should humans have air conditioning, or clothing, or furniture. Why shop in a grocery store for your food. There are people who live in the wild with just a cave to live in and whatever food they can capture or pick from the woods.

But since you asked specifically about pine, regular pine bedding, as well as cedar, contains phenols. Phenols are chemicals in soft woods that your guinea pig would breathe in that could cause them to have an upper respiratory infection (URI) or possibly die if they are exposed to them for long enough periods. Kiln-dried pine, aspen, CareFresh (or the generic equivalent), or fleece do not have these phenols.
 

aqh88

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Pine is not what a guinea pig would live on in the wild. It is actually quite toxic to animals and people causing respiratory infections and liver damage. Kiln dried pine is usually considered safe but still gives off some phenols causing allergy symptoms in those that are sensitive and in a few studies still caused increase liver enzymes in rats. Personally I use spruce which contains much less phenols than even the best dried pine but absorbs better and doesn't get scattered all over the house like aspen.

Also in the wild a guinea pig would only live a couple years, often come down with all sorts of illnesses, and are attacked by predators fairly frequently. Now if you want to watch your guinea pigs get sick and die then you can keep them like they would live in the wild. Otherwise most of us prefer to keep healthy, happy guinea pigs in domestic conditions.
 

PiggieMom

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I agree with what everyone else has said, our pigs are just not wild pigs.

I would also like to add that I have switched to kiln dried pine for their litter trays just recently. I hate it. It stinks when it gets wet and my whole study smells like rotting wood. Before I was using a mixture of 2/3 aspen shavings and 1/3 ultra carefresh. When I use up the rest of this crappy pine bedding I will be switching back. The stink and the coarsness of it is just not worth saving a couple bucks.
 

JBarton

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Whoa there, aqh88! A bit harsh don't you think? I never said I keep my pigs as they would live in the wild.The pine I use IS kiln-dried and does not have the smell of pine at all. It is soft and fluffy and very absorbant. It is not a matter of expense, it is a matter of availability. I have trouble finding anything but red cedar and I know not to use that so I use pine. My pigs are happy and healthy. I keep their pen (a 5 foot diameter wading pool) very clean, they get lots of fresh food and water, plenty of different grasses, and lots of love.
I have only been a piggie mom for about 8 months. I am trying to learn all I can to be sure that Marylin, Bette, and Audrey live long happy lives. I guess if I understood more about the fleece/towel idea I would be willing to try it but I'm not sure how it works. I've read other posts about it but maybe I'm dense... how does it stay dry? What about the smell? How in the world do you get a pig to use a litter box? They would poop all over it. I just don't get it! PLEASE! Someone explain it to me nicely, without jumping all over me about sick and dying pigs. I am only trying to learn!
 

Percy's Mom

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People answered your questions the way you presented them which was indicating that you didn't understand why we would coddle their animals.
JBarton said:
As much as we like to think so, our piggies are not babies to be caudled and cuddled in fleece.
If you wanted a concise explanation of how to use fleece, that's what you should have asked.
 

Ly&Pigs

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My advice would be to use the search feature on the forum and do searches for "fleece". There are tons of informative threads already on the forum that tell you exactly how to use fleece.
 

aqh88

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In your post you asked about providing them with a natural habitat. In a natural habitat they would be running over several acres of land being eaten by predators and suffering from all sorts of illnesses due to the stress of their environment. You also seemed to be saying fleece is not as natural as pine because fleece babies them. Pine is toxic and most definitely not anymore natural or healthy than fleece. Even kiln dried pine smells. It most definitely smells. Some people don't notice it but if you have any allergies or sensitivity to pine you will notice it if you walk within 20ft of a closed bag of the best kiln dried pine. The phenols are still there and being released there's just less of it so those that are less sensitive don't notice it. You cannot provide a guinea pig with a safe, healthy 100% natural habitat unless you plan to spend a fortune on a huge temperature controlled building planted with what they would browse on in nature and completely sealed off from any chance of predators. Instead of the most natural environment you should concentrate on giving them the healthiest and most satisfying environment possible. Don't discount fleece just because it seems odd to you. I'm sure keeping animals on shavings was once considered strange and not likely to work. There are tons of threads and posts on here about how to use fleece as well as many other types of bedding.
 
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JBarton

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I bought the Carefresh and aspen as you suggested. I am wondering tho... why the combo of the two? I did as you directed, carefresh on the bottom and the aspen on top. They seem to like it just fine but Audrey, the youngest, yelled and yelled for a bit because it was different than what she is used to! After a few moments, she waded right in and has been fine with it ever since. Marilyn seems to prefer no bedding under her pigloo. Bette doesn't care either way. I think I saw in another post something about putting wash cloths under the pigloos. Is this a good idea? It does seem like something they would like.
 
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PiggieMom

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I actually use aspen on the bottom, carefresh on the top. I do this because I perfer carefresh. It is softer and it absorbs the best. But I cannot afford to use just carefresh, so I put aspen on the bottom. I use Ultra Carefresh because it is less dusty. I also like the fact that it is white because it makes it easier to spot clean (easier to see poo and dirty carefresh).
 

JBarton

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I would like to know why in the world there is a link for "Frozen Guinea Pigs" on the site.
 
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