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Cleaning Question regarding A clean (smell free) cage for piggies.

thebigpiggie

New Member
Cavy Gazer
Joined
Apr 6, 2024
Messages
1
I don't have any guinea pigs yet, but am currently in the process of adopting two boys. The enclosure is a 5x2 c c with a lofted 2x2. I'm aware that it doesn't account for overall space and they might not use it. I WOULD like some advice regarding their cage smelling because they're animals and that's just a possibility. I plan to use fleece, and aside from spot cleaning do you think changing the fleece out everyday would eliminate that? Or would it potentially stress them out to have me reconstructing their home each morning. I'd be more than happy to do it each day because their enclosure would be in my room with me, which I am on top of keeping clean. Thanks in advance!
 
I don't have any guinea pigs yet, but am currently in the process of adopting two boys. The enclosure is a 5x2 c c with a lofted 2x2. I'm aware that it doesn't account for overall space and they might not use it. I WOULD like some advice regarding their cage smelling because they're animals and that's just a possibility. I plan to use fleece, and aside from spot cleaning do you think changing the fleece out everyday would eliminate that? Or would it potentially stress them out to have me reconstructing their home each morning. I'd be more than happy to do it each day because their enclosure would be in my room with me, which I am on top of keeping clean. Thanks in advance!
Hi, there! I see that you have done your research and although I'm quite busy, I wanted to share my thoughts/ideas. I made my own cage--a 5x2 main level with a 2x2 offset overhang loft. It was constructed for two littermate males who were about two months old when they came to live with me (Rafi,the eldest) and Rascal, the runt of the litter) I disagree with the widely perpetuated "rule" that a loft doesn't count toward overall space........especially a 2x2 which can accommodate two adult cavies plus litterbox, house, pellet bowl and water bottle. Yes, all that can be a bit cramped, but nevertheless it is extra usuable space. My guys probably got more exercise with running up and down the stairs than they did running laps.

You'll notice that I use both past and present tense when referring to "the boys" Rascal crossed the Rainbow Bridge about a year ago (respiratory issues). I now understand that is not uncommon for the "runt" of a litter to have such problems due to lack of space inutero and and everything not having room to develop.

I made all my cage liners, cozies, and most anything else I could fashion. I have repurposed some items rather than buy from higher-priced pet stores. I have some duplicates on the main level and in the loft--pellet dish, water bottle, house and litterbox.

Not a lot of people use litter boxes, but I'm a firm believer in them! I use what is called a "kitten" litterpan which should be of a size that an adult cavy can comfortably stretch out. I put a light layer of bedding to cover the bottom+ a layer of hay over that. My boys absolutely adore their litterbox and sometimes sleep in it. 😞The cage stays cleaner and the hay is somewhat contained. If that visual bothers you, yes, they will poop where they sleep and eat, but consider that cavies sometimes eat their own excrement in order to consume lost nutrients (sorta' like recycling).

A word about hay. The most-commonly used hay is timothy, but it is the MOST allergy-provoking. People often think that they are allergic to Gpigs, but it is really the spores from the hay. Substitutes are bluegrass (difficult to find) or orchard grass hay (I order online).

I realize that you really didn't ask me for all of the aforementioned information, but since you are apparently new to this world, I thought you might find it helpful. You'll have to forgive me for assuming that I need to build a foundation for this story......among other things, I'm also a university professor so I am one who provides the basics first........and then build on that.

On the subject of housekeeping, here's a condensed version. My cage liners are incontinence pads (sewn to cage size) which last a long time; then comes liners which are fleece encasing a middle absorptive layer (I use UHaul moving blankets) plus I make a good number of pads about 8x10 for high-traffic areas to extend the life of the liners and to avoid the necessity to have to do a complete cage change twice a week (highly variable). I often spray a cavy-safe deodorizer on the soiled areas, and turn the liners over during the week to get more time before the cage change is necessary. It is said that a single cavy is usually more neat and clean vs multiples. I find that to be true of Rafi as I sometimes totally clean his cage every two weeks, and weekly in the summer. Daily cage hygiene is to do a quick vac in the morning, and the basic hygiene when I/we go to bed. The evening tidy is to vacuum the entire cage, dump and refill litter box, replenish pellets if needed, fresh ice-cold water, and anything else that needs attention.

Now the key secret to keep the room smelling normal so that one wouldn't know that there is a cavy cage with sometimes smelly occupants--an air freshener/deodorizer. I have had one running 24/7 for about 10 years. :giggle:Probably one of the best investments I ever made. This is essential, especially in warmer weather. The cage sits alongside my desk in my small home office, and I don't want to breathe bad air most of the time.

If you haven't done so as yet, go back through the archives and you will probably find answers to most of your questions. Otherwise, the veterans on the
Forum are quite knowledgable and will offer their best advice as is convenient. We all have busy lives but also enjoy helping newbies, and will get to your questions ASAP.

Welcome to the Foum!
 

Attachments

Kitten litter pan.jpg Offset loft design.jpg Big cage - small space.jpg Offset loft design - altered.jpg Loft - overhang.jpg
Last edited:
Hi, there! I see that you have done your research and although I'm quite busy, I wanted to share my thoughts/ideas. I made my own cage--a 5x2 main level with a 2x2 offset overhang loft. It was constructed for two littermate males who were about two months old when they came to live with me (Rafi,the eldest) and Rascal, the runt of the litter) I disagree with the widely perpetuated "rule" that a loft doesn't count toward overall space........especially a 2x2 which can accommodate two adult cavies plus litterbox, house, pellet bowl and water bottle. Yes, all that can be a bit cramped, but nevertheless it is extra usuable space. My guys probably got more exercise with running up and down the stairs than they did running laps.

You'll notice that I use both past and present tense when referring to "the boys" Rascal crossed the Rainbow Bridge about a year ago (respiratory issues). I now understand that is not uncommon for the "runt" of a litter to have such problems due to lack of space inutero and and everything not having room to develop.

I made all my cage liners, cozies, and most anything else I could fashion. I have repurposed some items rather than buy from higher-priced pet stores. I have some duplicates on the main level and in the loft--pellet dish, water bottle, house and litterbox.

Not a lot of people use litter boxes, but I'm a firm believer in them! I use what is called a "kitten" litterpan which should be of a size that an adult cavy can comfortably stretch out. I put a light layer of bedding to cover the bottom+ a layer of hay over that. My boys absolutely adore their litterbox and sometimes sleep in it. 😞The cage stays cleaner and the hay is somewhat contained. If that visual bothers you, yes, they will poop where they sleep and eat, but consider that cavies sometimes eat their own excrement in order to consume lost nutrients (sorta' like recycling).

A word about hay. The most-commonly used hay is timothy, but it is the MOST allergy-provoking. People often think that they are allergic to Gpigs, but it is really the spores from the hay. Substitutes are bluegrass (difficult to find) or orchard grass hay (I order online).

I realize that you really didn't ask me for all of the aforementioned information, but since you are apparently new to this world, I thought you might find it helpful. You'll have to forgive me for assuming that I need to build a foundation for this story......among other things, I'm also a university professor so I am one who provides the basics first........and then build on that.

On the subject of housekeeping, here's a condensed version. My cage liners are incontinence pads (sewn to cage size) which last a long time; then comes liners which are fleece encasing a middle absorptive layer (I use UHaul moving blankets) plus I make a good number of pads about 8x10 for high-traffic areas to extend the life of the liners and to avoid the necessity to have to do a complete cage change twice a week (highly variable). I often spray a cavy-safe deodorizer on the soiled areas, and turn the liners over during the week to get more time before the cage change is necessary. It is said that a single cavy is usually more neat and clean vs multiples. I find that to be true of Rafi as I sometimes totally clean his cage every two weeks, and weekly in the summer. Daily cage hygiene is to do a quick vac in the morning, and the basic hygiene when I/we go to bed. The evening tidy is to vacuum the entire cage, dump and refill litter box, replenish pellets if needed, fresh ice-cold water, and anything else that needs attention.

Now the key secret to keep the room smelling normal so that one wouldn't know that there is a cavy cage with sometimes smelly occupants--an air freshener/deodorizer. I have had one running 24/7 for about 10 years. :giggle:Probably one of the best investments I ever made. This is essential, especially in warmer weather. The cage sits alongside my desk in my small home office, and I don't want to breathe bad air most of the time.

If you haven't done so as yet, go back through the archives and you will probably find answers to most of your questions. Otherwise, the veterans on the
Forum are quite knowledgable and will offer their best advice as is convenient. We all have busy lives but also enjoy helping newbies, and will get to your questions ASAP.

Welcome to the Foum!


















One additional comment. You said "Or would it potentially stress them out to have me reconstructing their home each morning.

That would get old really fast! We had one cavy who would glare at us during cage change as if "They're messing with our "stuff" again!" 😦

Rofi's reaction is to examine every inch of the cage to check it out and ensure that it is the same as when he last was there. He will sometimes make this careful examination a couple of times before his approval.
 
I only have one pig and a 3x2 CC cage which is homemade. I use fleece cage liners that I sew and I change them out daily. I make 3 liners that are about 18”x32”. I make the top fleece, the inside a piece of cotton beach towel, and the bottom woven cotton fabric like quilt fabric. The fleece is great for bedding, and you can flip it over for a smooth surface to use for a hay pile. The hay doesn’t stick to the cotton. Having three sections is nice because they wash and dry better and it’s easier to make up the cage.

Another floor cover I like is chenille bath mats. I have several from IKEA and Target and they wash and wear well.

I like the microfiber plush polishing cloths from Dollar Tree for bedding in the corners and under hideys. They are soft and absorbent and my pigs have always snuggled into them. They wash well and last for years.
 
The absolute best bedding for odor control, as well as being by far the cheapest. Is wood pellets. If you like, you can put a layer of thin fleece over it -- it allows you to sweep the poops out, but it's not necessary.

You have to make sure to get pellets that are not intended for pellet stoves, as they usually have an accelerant added. You also want to make sure there's no strong pine odor.

I put 3-4 40 pound bags in a 16 square foot cage, for less than $35. They lasted 10 months, and would have lasted longer but I had to move the cage. You just stir them when necessary.
 
Changing the fleece out daily would definitely eliminate any smell and I agree with @spy9doc that it would get old really fast. Plus that is a lot of laundry which also gets old fast.

I have a 2x5 C&C for my two girls. My current favorite method is use reusable pet pee pads as the bottom layer, chenille bath mats on top, then fleece pee pads along the edge of the cage and under tunnels/hideys. The chenille bath mats get swapped out twice a week and pee pads under the tunnels/hideys are changed morning and night daily. You should not have to change the pee pads daily. My oldest piggy, Lily, at 7 years old doesn't move much and pees in the same spots thereby requiring the twice daily pad changes. With this method I go to the laundromat twice a week.

The girls each have a plastic bunk bed and I've bought reusable diaper inserts (5 layers) through Temu and put a loose piece of fleece on top. Both the loose fleece and diaper insert get switched out 2x day.

I also have an air purifier running 24x7, which is an absolute necessity for you, since the pigs will be in your bedroom. My living room where the pigs live only smells of hay. Also, it would be best to throw away the poop bag in your outside trash can daily. The amount of poop generated by the guinea pigs was a big surprise after I got my girls.

If you know how to sew and can make the pee pads, that will save you a lot of money. If not, wrapping the absorbent layer(s) in fleece also works.
 
That’s what I do, change fleece each day, change the bath mat every other day, and wash a lot of laundry! I swear Millie has friends over when I’m not around. How can one piggie generate so much poo?
 

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