Friday, June 29, 2007

Vet Bedding, Weeks 1 & 2

When I cleaned the cage on June 15th, I couldn't wait to begin this "experiment." The bedding is much thicker than I thought it would be, and fluffier. I knew it wouldn't cover the length of the cage, but some newspaper took care of that and ended up working in our favor.

After setting it up, I placed them in. They walked around carefully. Bobby repeatedly sniffed and bumped his nose to it. I guess he was testing how plush his new floor was.

Phin, however, was more concerned with the new bathroom arrangements and immediately sought out a corner of the cage to make into a toilet. Of course it had to be by the hay rack, which has now been moved a few inches over to keep his huge behind from knocking it over.

Aside from a bit of debris left after maintenance (bits of Timothy grass that are easy to collect by hand or lint roller, or just plain shaken off), it was nice and clean. I did administer a blot test throughout the whole bed. Nothing. Not one damp spot. This thing is just amazing. Friday rolled around, and not a hint of odor was in the cage.

I left it in for another six days, constantly monitoring for odor and moisture. Nothing was wet or smelly (except for the newspapered area to the right). I couldn't believe it.
Now came the next part of the test -- washing the bedding. I was a bit afraid at how difficult this might be. It's a pretty large piece of thick material, so I wanted to be sure that it would fit in the washing machine.

After a bit of maneuvering, I managed to position it perfectly in the machine. I washed it on a regular cycle in warm water with the rest of the pig laundry (which included Bobby's lounge chair).
When I removed it from the washer, I noticed that the boys' brick colored towels left nice layer of red lint all over the bedding and lounge chair. Luckily, the dryer took care of some of the problem, while a sticky lint brush and a quick vacuuming took care of the rest. If it weren't for my own ignorance, cleaning would have required less steps.

And finally, to the right is the final product. It looks almost as good as new! The boys, of course, went to work getting their varying stinks back into their fresh cage.

After two weeks, here are my findings:
Cost: The size we purchased was about $35. This means that it will pay for itself before the month is over.

Odor: There was no smell even after thirteen days of use. The bedding literally pulled any urine beneath itself and away from the boys.

Maintenance: There is some maintenance required. The corner with the newspaper needs to be changed every 1-2 days depending on how active they boys were. We drag poops to the newspapered area, which made for a nice quick clean up. The bedding should to be washed and dried every week, but it is able to go about a good two weeks without causing any harm to them, or our noses. Bits of hay were the only real pain to be honest, but most of them shook off without an issue.

Convenience: It's a bit more maintenance than dumping litter in and out, but it's worth it. The cage is more hygienic, and there's no need to worry about soiled litter getting on the carpet. The boys seem to enjoy the soft, cushy feel beneath their little toes.

Verdict: I will be ordering a few more in different colors. As for the length issue, I'm not sure if I will order a bigger one and cut it to size, or order several smaller ones and cut them into sections to make it easier for cleaning. Whatever I decide, I'll be writing about. But one thing is for sure, so far I am happy with our bedding change and so are the boys.

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