It has been several months now since I first began using fleece bedding in place of pine shavings. If you would like to read why I switched, read my earlier post here. There have definitely been some adjustments made to my usual routine. Even now, I’m learning what works best for my two pigs, but it has been interesting to compare the old ways to this new invention. And with so much hype over this stuff, I couldn’t resist trying it. So let me share with you some of the pros and cons of using fleece bedding.
One of the biggest advantages to using fleece bedding is that it is reusable, making this a great money saver. No longer do I have to rush out to the store to spend anywhere from $6-13 on a single bag of pine bedding. Of course there will be the initial cost of purchasing the fleece and some type of absorbent pad to place underneath. Try to purchase the fleece from a craft store, either big box or local. One of the chain craft stores will probably give you the best deal however. I originally tried to buy my fleece from Walmart as a form of convenience…hahaha. After standing in the fabric department for around 10 minutes and no one coming to help me, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Not to mention I noticed that the fleece was discolored and poor quality. Hhmm…so I went to Joann’s instead. Now the great thing about going to Joann’s or Hobby Lobby is the coupons. You can usually get about 40-50% off your item. Joann’s will almost always have a 50% off sale on fleece it seems like, so between either having the coupon or the sale your fleece should only be around $5 per yard. (And this is the anti-pill fleece we’re talking about. Make sure this is what you get.)
For the absorbent pad, you have several options, but the best option will be the U-Haul Furniture Pads. They’re made out of recycled denim and they work great and are super absorbent. And, might I also add that they’re just under $8 a piece. Considering that you’ll be reusing these, they’re going to give you the best deal for your money. The combination of the fleece and the furniture pads allows you to easily change out both and throw them in the wash. A quick run through the washer and dryer and they’re good to go. So far I have bought two furniture pads and two separate yards of fleece for even quicker and easier cleanups.
So how does fleece compare with pine bedding, i.e., traditional bedding? It is way more absorbent. With pine shavings, I needed to clean out the cage on a daily basis. By the end of the day, the bedding was wet, meaning anything touching it might also get wet. The reason that fleece was chosen, instead of any other type of fabric, was due to its ability to wick away moisture. Before using your fleece you will need to run it through the washer for a few cycles. This breaks down the fleece’s ability to leave moisture sitting on top. You will know the fleece is ready for use once the moisture seeps through, leaving the fleece dry and absorbing into the furniture pad. Pretty neat, right?
So here’s where some people may run into a problem. Some people may find the fleece to have less odor control. And to a certain extent, yes, this is correct. You really can’t beat the smell of fresh pine bedding, or even the paper bedding with added baking soda. But what it comes down to is how willing are you to keep the cage clean? No matter what type of bedding you use, there can be an odor buildup if the cage is not cleaned properly/regularly. For the pine bedding, I had to clean it out on a daily basis because of the absorbency issue, so I never had a chance to let it sit for several days to check the odor. I also had to wash the cage on a weekly basis due to the wetness making its way down to the cage floor. With the fleece bedding, you may need to find a way to get some of the waste and any food off of the bedding to keep things clean; however, you may be able to go 2-3 days depending on how dirty it becomes. You may also be able to go longer without washing the cage itself because there will not be any wetness seeping through. I will usually change out the fleece and the furniture pad twice a week (as in every 3-4 days). This helps to keep the cage clean as well as the odor down. By following this method, I normally do not notice any odors with the fleece bedding.
After having used pine bedding for so long, fleece bedding seemed to be so much easier. I no longer have pieces of pine shavings all over the floor (or house). It is also much easier when it comes time to change out the bedding. Cleaning the cage is much easier without having all the little bits of shavings and wetness on the cage floor. There are so many advantages to using fleece over pine. From my experience so far, my house and the cage have been much cleaner since I switched. For those of you who have long-haired guinea pigs, you may also appreciate fleece bedding. My first guinea pig (who happened to have long hair) used to have a hard time keeping pine shavings from getting tangled in his fur, even with hair trimmings.
In case you haven’t noticed, fleece bedding will work best if you own a washer and dryer. At my old house, I did not have this luxury, which partially contributed to my hesitating to make the switch. If you make as few trips to the coin laundry as possible, you may not want to use fleece. That is, unless you buy a huge stock of fleece and furniture pads and let the dirty ones stack up in the corner. Eeww…. So as you can see, you’ll probably want to have access to your own washer instead. Other than that, there’s really nothing difficult about using fleece. Many people enjoy buying several pieces of fleece so they can have various patterns and colors, such as holiday themes and so forth. And overall, my piggies seem to love it. They seem to enjoy the soft texture and haven’t showed any issues. The only thing I have noticed is that they used to enjoy chewing on/eating the pine shavings. Now that they no longer have that in their cage, I have tried to give them plenty of other options to chew on.
So how do I like fleece bedding overall? I love it! This is really the best type of bedding on the “market” right now. Besides a few minor issues, such as less odor control, I have found fleece to be functional and helpful. After using fleece for the past several months, I really have no complaints and have every intention of continuing to use this stuff. So how about you? Have you ever tried it? What did you think? Feel free to share in the comment section below!