Hay: While hay is not a good bedding material when used alone, it works well when combined with other absorbent bedding material like Carefresh. The hay itself is not absorbent and should be removed and replaced daily.
Cedar Shavings: It is widely believed that cedar shavings negatively affect the health of animals. Reportedly, the phenols (aromatic oils) which so effectively kill insects, harm the respiratory tracts of our pets and may cause liver damage.
Given the availability of better bedding materials, never use cedar. Choose a safer bedding for your pet instead.
A lot of people are using this bedding material in their C&C cages. Fleece can be a great material but there are a few things people don't know that can cause it to become a frustration.
Are you on a budget? So are most of us, so when you are first starting out we suggest buying end of the roll fleece from fabric stores or even better check out your local thrift stores, check out the fabric sections as well as kids bedding sections to find some. As time goes on you may find that you really don't care about the price and you want to make themes, like holidays and so on. This is ok too and the best part about fleece is you can do this because there are many patterns.
Okay you went out bought some fleece, now what? Well before you put it into your cage you'll need to wash it. You see the reason fleece is so nice is the fact that its soft and if wash properly it will wick pee downwards and away from your guinea pig. For the first time you will need to wash it 3 or more times. Why is this? Well the factories that make this add a type of water barer and if you get it at a thrift store it was probably washed with fabric softener with causes a water barer. So remember NO fabric softener. We suggest washing in warm to hot water, this will cause it to shrink, and the faster you can get that over with the less of a headache you will have later. Try to use a combination of Vinegar and a light smelling or non scented laundry soap, remember these little guys have sensitive little noses.
When you go to dry remember they dry fast, it again on warm to hot to help shrink. NO dryer sheets, these are just fabric softeners.
Daily Cage Care:
There is three different ways to do a daily clean of your fleece. First is picking up the whole thing and shaking it outside, this is not suggested for everyone. Second is buying a little hand broom and sweeping the poops up and dumping into the garbage, most people do this. Third is vacuuming the poops up, this is a quick way to get rid of those little brown beans.
Cleaning poops out daily not only helps the fleece keep longer and is nice for your guinea pigs, it also helps when it comes time for those weekly washes.
This is very important for both you and your wallet. IF you DO NOT clean off your fleece, be it shaking, sweeping or vacuuming, you will clog and possible break your washer and/or dryer.
After cleaning off the poop, hay and as much of the hair as possible, put your fleece in the washer on warm. Add in the soap and vinegar, the vinegar will help with calcium build up for your guinea pigs pee. Once done put it in the dryer or if you area able to air dry outside go for it. The difference between the two is air drying adds a more fresh smell then a dryer does. Either works well.
(REMEMBER: No fabric softeners/dryer sheets.)
We recommend that you leave 3 or more inches more then you need to allow for shrinkage as over time this will happen. Some people will use twice the size they need and fold it to the right size, this has been found to be the best. Another thing to add is that binder clips or bricks can be used to weigh down the fleece so your guinea pigs do not move it or hide under it. If using the clips, you clip it to the side of the cage, you will need a lot of these. If using bricks place them in the corners of the cage.
If you sew, making a liner is a great idea. Uhaul pads work well for liners but maker sure you add a little extra as uhaul pads tend to shrink over time. Making them larger helps keep it covering the whole cage for years to come.