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I wanted to thank you so much for the providing the step by step pictures and descriptions. I know it cleared up the confusion I had.
We use double fleece. The fleece shrinks over time so I use old shrunken ones under larger ones and tuck the larger ones under the grids to keep it in place. When it won't stretch under the grids it gets retired to the under fleece. A small square of fleece goes under the pigloo where he sleeps. We use an extra large adult bed pad on the very bottom under everything.
We change all the fleece every day. Toby has always had digestive issues that cause him to be very stinky. The family room isn't tolerable after 24 hours. The bed pad gets changed every couple of weeks. We turn it after one week because it primarily gets wet under the pigloo.
We have been lazy this winter and the dirty fleece bundles pile up in the hall until we run out. Then someone takes them and shakes them outside. In the summer it's easy to run them directly outside. We only have enough sets for five days so we pray for a warm day at least once a week.
Toby loves his fleece and he loves it every night when he gets a clean cage. As soon as it is clean he runs around squeaking and pop-corning.
P.S. It is critically important to get every bit of grass of the fleece before washing if you have one of the new HE washers. We got one and after a few months the pump broke because it was clogged with grass. It has a very small filter. We never had a problem with the old style washer.
It's so fun to see what everyone else does with their cages!
- Supporter in '10
I know it's a bit off topic of fleeces, but I do have some questions though. Where do you find those bricks to put under the water bottles? And what are your opinions of 2 story pig homes? I'm definitely going to make the new home 2x5 (currently 2x4), but I don't really have the space to make it any longer than that... unless I rearranged the entire room, but since I live alone and there's heavy furniture I dunno how that would work... so I'd like to add height.
- Still supporting in 2014
Amysanimals, I use vetbed (or profleece, actually) and I love it. You have to shake it really good before washing to get the hay out, though. We wash once a week. The litterboxes are what smell and we change those more often. I would recommend choosing light colours. They're better for photos and you can see their output better.
- Supporter in '09
I love using fleece, but am frustrated with their kitchen. I sweep poop 4x a day and changing the towel in their kitchen daily (folded into 4 layers and it is soaked through every day), but the hay makes such a mess and I have a hard time getting it off the fleece and I don't want to break my HE frontloader. I was hoping to copy scozy and still keep fabric in their kitchen, but have it more clean-up friendly. Scozy reminded me that her fabric frays, so I used a serger to finish the edges (of both fabrics I tried below )before I washed it.
I've tried "Casa Sheer" which kind of looks like glitter organza, but it is 100% poly and machine washable. Very thin, I put it right onto of my towels/fleece layers (tucked in the sides) and I can still totally see the fleece patterns/colors. I loved it at first, but it didn't wear well, it looked dirty after a few days and I found one small pull/snag after a couple of days of use. The hay did sweep easily off the fabric, but the fabric seems kind of delicate and I'm not sure how long it would stand up to my twice a week washing.
Next I've tried cling-free lining, 100% poly and machine washable. It is still thin, slippery, but thicker than the Casa Sheer. I thought it looked more durable and had high hopes for it, but I got a nasty snag & hole from the brick that was sitting directly on this fabric (to help catch drips from my leaky water bottles). I put it directly on top of the towel layer (no fleece) and I'm not sure if the pigs had a party or what, but they somehow managed to untuck 2 of the side edges and the cage was a mess. Sweeping hay was wonderful though, but I'm pretty disappointed about the hole.
Has anyone else tried any thin poly fabrics?
At first I used two layers of towels and an extra layer where the hideys are, then fleece on top. I would have to change the extra layer of towel under the hideys daily or it would start to smell. Then after a few days the fleece it self would start to stink from pee. There were stains from the veggies and crumbles from the pellets. I could go for max 4 days before I would have to change the whole cage. Also the hay from the kitchen/haybox would go everywhere. I would sweep the poo and try to get some of the hay everyday, but it took some time and the fleece would always get caught in the brush.
Now I use one layer of towel and one layer of fleece (my girls only pee under their hideys and in the haybox so I saw no use for a double layer of towel in the whole cage) I used to fold the fleece under the towel like WEAVER but now I just fold the fleece so it fits the cage, I find it easier. I cut down fleece pieces that fit under the hideys and old towels. I don't have a sewing machine so I can't make a pad, but what I do is fold the towel pieces in several layers (depends how thick the towel is) and then fold the fleece over it and place it under the hidey. I change those daily. That way the fleece and towel under the hideys are dry and pee free => less stink. I put a small hand towel under the haybox that catches most of the hay so it's not strewn across the cage. I put their veggies there so less mess on the fleece. I also put a small fleece piece under the pellet bowls to catch the crumbles, I shake that and the hay towel daily. I gave up on the brush and bought a cheap dustbuster, it's not powerful so it doesn't suck up the fleece but manages to suck up all the poo and stray hay.
So my daily routine when I come home from work:
Change hay in haybox and pee soaked carefresh. Shake the hay of the towel. Take the pee soaked pads from under the hideys. Shake the poo of into the cage. Vacuum cage and cozy beds, smell cozy beds, if they smell like pee change them. Put new towels/fleece pads under hideys. Give fresh pellets, hay and water. This takes me 15 min, but I'm not in a hurry and this is a bit of quality time with my girls. They like to investigate what I'm doing.
My next step is to make a second floor 2x1 and put the kitchen area there. That way, hopefully I won't have any hay on the fleece. Hopefully...
I think the trick to having a stinkless fleece cage is to remove the pee soaked towels. Find a way to do that easily. Personally I think that fleece bedding is more hygienically sound than loose bedding. With fleece you remove the poop and pee daily but with loose bedding the poo just gets hidden away and even if it doesn't smell it's still there.
OK I'm done :)
I have 2 pigs that live in a 10.5 sq ft C&C cage. The first thing I did was go to Jo-ann's fabrics, and bought enough fleece to cover the bottom four times back and forth. I then cut it in half, so that I had two double layered fleece liners. I then went to Walmart and bought 8 inexpensive bath towels ($2.50 each or so).
Since the towels are a bit smaller than the cage, I have to stack them offset from each other so that I can cover all four corners of the cage. I use four towels, then on top of that I put the double layer fleece. On one end of the cage I have their two hidey homes. On the other side, I have two food bowls. The food bowls are the kind with a 2-3 inch arm that clamps onto the bars. I drilled two holes in the cloroplast, one for each bowl. I then threaded the screw thru the whole, so that the arm is in the inside of the cage, and just high enough to tuck the blankets and fleece underneath. Finally, I twist the arm so that the food bowls are tilted enough for my boys to be able to reach the food. I have found that by doing this, not only do I have a way to keep the fleece down, but I also prevent them from spilling or spoiling their dry food (they don't sit in the bowl).
I clean up the poops every day to every other day. I wash everything and rotate with my other set once a week. This whole set up cost less than one large bag of carefresh. That makes me happy. And I have never seen my boys happier than to have a nice clean warm fleece under them.
Maybe I'm doing it right, maybe I'm not, but its worked well so far.
And be warned... Hay can clog up a vaccuum hose... If you plan on using a vaccuum, make sure you pick up the large pieces of hay first, or you may find yourself taking apart your vaccuum to pull hay out of the hose... Trust me, its a pain in the you know what...