2.15.2014

9 Simple Solutions to Stop Fleece Burrowing

Article 7 of 7 from Guinea Pig 101: Fleece Bedding Guide.

9 Simple Solutions to Stop Guinea Pig Fleece Burrowing

Your pig has vanished. The only clue: a telltale gap at the edge of the fleece. Could it be aliens? A pignapping? The IRS? Seconds later, a moving, squeaking lump makes its presence known in a corner of the cage. "Darn it," you think, "not again!"

An unexpected drawback to fleece bedding is burrowing - a common source of annoyance to more than a few guinea pig owners. Our very own Belka was a habitual burrower, pulling her disappearing act every chance she got. Aside from eating, her favorite recreational pastime was diving under the fleece to conduct reconnaissance. This proved to be both aggravating and amusing, especially when she'd run into aboveground obstacles (such as pigloos and other pigs).

WHAT IS BURROWING

It's what happens when your pig discovers that fleece bedding has multiple layers and tunnels underneath them instead of staying on the surface.

WHY GUINEA PIGS BURROW

Shy cavies feel more secure when they're hidden. This is especially true for pigs adjusting to a new home or an unfamiliar environment. Others, like Belka, are mischievous and simply enjoy tunneling beneath the fabric. Boredom is another possible reason.

WHY IT MATTERS

The number one reason why cavy slaves find burrowing a pain is because of the resulting mess. Poops left behind get stuck to the layers underneath, making it more difficult to clean. More importantly, your cavy could become trapped underneath if they can't make their way back out. It's also unhygienic for them to be wandering around on damp bedding.

C&C fleece bedding set up to deter digging

PREVENTION
  1. Binder clips or clothespins. Use them to fasten fleece in place, clipping a few extras into problem areas. 

  2. Change your cage configuration, setting the grids on top of the bedding like in the image above. This allows you to tuck the ends of the fleece underneath the coroplast, giving them no leeway for digging. This is the method we use. Nothing else would deter Belka, burrowing expert. 

  3. Try a larger swath of fleece. A single continuous length of fabric will prevent your guinea pig from squeezing through overlapping edges. 

  4. Place a heavy object over the edge. Food bowls, bricks, or even their hay rack will do.

  5. Distract your pigs with a tent. Make one by draping a towel, spare piece of fleece, or other cloth scrap over a corner of the cage. Secure with binder clips (see how handy they are?).

  6. Provide additional hideaways to make them feel secure. Pigloos, cozies, cuddle pouches, etc.

  7. Appease their need to retreat somewhere sheltered by making a fleece forest. Those hanging panels provide excellent camouflage! Or so they believe.

  8. Make a PVC pipe frame. I haven't tried this myself but it's a pretty nifty idea. 

  9. Single-layered cage liners may discourage cavies who don't like walking directly on top of the coroplast. 

Do your pigs have a burrowing problem?

10 comments:

  1. Could you post how to clean a c and c cage?

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  2. Now that I have a fully fleeced cage, I am so grateful that neither of my girls are burrowers! Willow and Pippin were probably the worst - they chewed holes in the fleece in an effort to pull it out from the binder clips (and succeeded in getting underneath!).

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  3. Thanks Emma! Glad you found us :)

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  4. You are so funny! I just found your blog!! I am a big fan after reading this article!

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  5. How do you clean the fleece with the c and c on top? We have tried this but it is so obnoxious to lift the big bulky cage up and down and it seems like one of the zip ties always breaks.

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  6. I use a small handheld pet vacuum daily to get rid of all the pig beans. That way you don't need to lift the grids out of the way every day - only when doing a full clean every 3-6 days or so (depending on your cage size, conditions, odor, and # of pigs).


    It also helps to break up the C&C grids by section/wall so it is easier to lift when you're doing a full cage change.

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  7. Yes you certainly can. I've heard good things about it but haven't tried it myself personally.

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  8. I have a question. Could you use a puppy pad underneath the fleece for the absorbent barrier??

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  9. My pigs have a traditional cage, and they are always pulling the fleece up to rip up the newspaper underneath. I tried not using newspaper, but the bottom of their cage is ridged and the poop got stuck everywhere and it was a mess! How do you use clips to hold the fleece down when their cage base is about a foot deep? Thanks!

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  10. You can try using towels instead of newspaper or fastening them in place with binder clips. Though as a general rule, fleece really doesn't work well in traditional pet store cages due to the limited space.


    I'd highly recommend switching to a C&C cage if you can - they're easy and fairly inexpensive to DIY. Plus it makes it easier to prevent burrowing!

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