Hay Solutions: Litter box

Hay is an essential staple of every guinea pig's diet, and should be available for your piggy to munch on freely at all times. One of the things an owner has to decide is how to give hay to their guinea pig. Whee here at the Cali Cavy Collective have experimented with many different methods of hay dispensing and would like to share our experiences with each method.

Litter boxes are one common method used by many guinea pig owners. Typically associated with cats and rabbits, these plastic tubs readily available at pet stores in varying sizes. When choosing a tub, remember to keep the height and sides of the box in mind so it is not too high for your piggy to climb in!

Litter boxes can be lined with bedding, then filled with fresh hay. This contains the hay in one area and keeps the cage more clean. As many piggies like to munch hay and poop at the same time, this works out well because poops tend to be more concentrated in the litter box. Many enjoy relaxing while eating in their box, you may even chance upon your pig sleeping in it. Some piggies can even be litter box trained, but this of course depends on your pig! Like people, every piggy is different and not all pigs can be trained so don't be too upset with your piggy if he or she doesn't want to cooperate!

There are a few downsides to the litter box hay dispensing method. Litter boxes need to be changed often - at least daily, especially if there is more than one piggy sharing the box! Bedding and hay becomes soiled rather quickly even in a large tub, and as such needs to be replaced. Our humans also found that urine tends to build up quickly inside the plastic tub, although this was easily remedied by drilling a few holes through the bottom of the container for drainage. However, this did not fix the problem of wet smelly hay. Another drawback was that litter boxes can be tipped over, especially by piggies on the heftier side! Revy in particular had a habit of upturning her box so she could hide and eat at the same time.

Even with several litter boxes, this method was not very practical with four piggies running around in one cage, or Revy happily dumping junk on herself every chance she got. The litter box hay dispensing method did not work out too well for us, so our humans started looking for other solutions.. stay tuned for more!

Sleeping Belka, munching Truffle

"What do you MEAN, my butt is too big for this thing?!"

Peaches prepares to tip the litter box over

One of Revy's favorite pastimes, flipping her litter box

Litter Box - Pros

  • neater because hay is kept in one area
  • easier to spot clean, poops tend to be more concentrated
  • pigs enjoy sleeping in it
  • some pigs can be litter box trained (but not all)

Litter Box - Cons

  • needs to be emptied quite often, especially if being shared by more than one pig
  • uses more bedding due to being changed frequently
  • urine builds up quickly in plastic tub (must drill holes in the bottom)
  • wet hay odor
  • can be tipped over, especially by heavier/lazier piggies

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