How to make guinea pig care easier for my husband while I'm away for 6 nights?

swaller

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Hi folks, I have a last minute essential trip next week across the country and will be gone for 6 nights. Can't take any pets with me. Normally I would get a pet sitter for our dog and my 3 precious piggies but due to lockdown can't so my husband will be responsible for their care. He will have his hands pretty full with our children, homeschool, cooking, shopping, laundry and pets so I want to ensure looking after the piggies is as easy on him as possible. I currently use fleece but the fleece routine I do will be time consuming for him and I worry about damp fleece and piggy health.

So would it be easier I replace the enclosure with a lower maintenance bedding like wood pellets and wood shavings? For a 2x6 C&C how often does it need to be fully changed out or can it just be spot cleaned during the 6 days I'm away? I suppose I need to layer the base layer of wood pellets down on something rather than directly on the correx: Puppy pads (which we use now under fleece)? Or is newspaper better? Cardboard? And will the piggies 'mind' the transition for a week? Wood shavings are so much harder than fleece.

For daily feeding I'm sure he will manage fine and my eldest child is great helping me replenishing hay, morning pellets and evening veg so can help him. Nevertheless will leave husband overly detailed instructions and bombard him with reminder messages daily (sorry husband).

Any other tips to help simplify the piggy care maintenance gratefully received - I'm several years into my OCD recovery so these things really weigh on me. Pics of my sweet Ted, Coco and Frida just for fun.

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Piggies&buns

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Gorgeous piggies!

Whatever bedding you use, it will need to be spot cleaned daily.
If you were to use shavings, then any very wet areas would need to be removed daily and topped up with fresh. Mine are bedded on a base layer of aubiose or shavings and then all completely covered with hay. I spot clean/remove wet areas every day but only do a full cage clean once a week.
You woud want to put something down on the correx such as newspaper or puppy pads because shavings directly on correx will just slide around.

Your piggies are unlikely to mind it.
My piggies live in my shed and while their hutch is aubiose/shavings and hay year round, I use fleece on their shed floor in summer (it’s newspaper/puppy pads and hay in winter). They don’t mind the change from one to the other but I do find they prefer being bedded fully on hay than on fleece because they can forage through the hay all day!
 

swaller

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Gorgeous piggies!

Whatever bedding you use, it will need to be spot cleaned daily.
If you were to use shavings, then any very wet areas would need to be removed daily and topped up with fresh. Mine are bedded on a base layer of aubiose or shavings and then all completely covered with hay. I spot clean/remove wet areas every day but only do a full cage clean once a week.
You woud want to put something down on the correx such as newspaper or puppy pads because shavings directly on correx will just slide around.

Your piggies are unlikely to mind it.
My piggies live in my shed and while their hutch is aubiose/shavings and hay year round, I use fleece on their shed floor in summer (it’s newspaper/puppy pads and hay in winter). They don’t mind the change from one to the other but I do find they prefer being bedded fully on hay than on fleece because they can forage through the hay all day!
Thank you Piggies&buns - your advice and expertise is always so appreciated. Daily spot cleaning will be fine for him especially if the soiled bedding just needs to be scooped out, binned and replaced daily. With fleece it's a longer process isn't it involving daily shaking out, brushing, regular special laundry and drying and replacing with clean - assuming there is clean!

Hubby can definitely manage this. And I'm relieved to learn the pigs don't mind the transition between fleece and shavings.
 

Guineapigfeet

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I have the same issue when I go away each autumn for a week and leave OH in charge of pigs (though no children to juggle) mine are on auboise and he just has to spot clean and replace/refresh hay. I make sure they have a full clean the day before I go and they get a full clean the day after I get back, so it’s 9 days instead of every 5, and I suspect he only spot cleans once per day, rather than my twice, but he is allergic to hay and my pigs don’t seem to mind!
 

swaller

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I have the same issue when I go away each autumn for a week and leave OH in charge of pigs (though no children to juggle) mine are on auboise and he just has to spot clean and replace/refresh hay. I make sure they have a full clean the day before I go and they get a full clean the day after I get back, so it’s 9 days instead of every 5, and I suspect he only spot cleans once per day, rather than my twice, but he is allergic to hay and my pigs don’t seem to mind!
Reassuring, thank you for the reply. OK so I will do the big clean out on my way out the door ha :)
 

Free Ranger

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We use back-to-nature bedding everywhere when we go away for a week
Disadvantages: It's 'nobbly' compared to fleece and one older piggy used to get a sensitive foot (she had arthritis) and it's pricey compared to shavings
If you're on corex you might need a deeper layer to stop them skidding around at first
Advantages: It's massively absorbent so with hay change on top even heavy use areas are fine for days w/o scooping (and the pee softens it up!) If he gets desperate he can just chuck another handful on the wettest bits - that works too
It controls odour very well - mine are in the kitchen
The lumps are the same size as the poops which just drop through the hay into the bottom and dry out
They sell it in pets at home in 10, 20 or 30L bags

My lady changes the hay layer but not the B2N and it does for the week
I was able to train my hubs to do a cage blitz and he got very good at it so there is a precedent! And he fell in love with the pigs while doing it ❤
Unfortunately, our set up is now more complicated as we have 2x2 that can't go in together whereas the last lot when they saw him with the bag and scoop would just all clear off our of the way until he'd done (except Ivy would keep returning to investigate and keep a critical eye on proceedings!)
 

Claire W

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I would also like to add that you can chop your veg up in advance and place in freezer bags or Tupperware boxes in the fridge for the 6 days. That way, your husband doesn’t have to faff around chopping up veg.

But they should be fine transitioning from fleece to shavings for the time that you’re away :)
 

Siikibam

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Your ideas to make it easier for him are absolutely fine :) With regards feeding, are they fed once or twice a day? As in, is the veg portion split into two or do they get it once? And do they get their pellets at a different time to the veg? What you could do is have him feed them both at one time. Another thing could be to have him feed them nearer to the time so he knows the portions. You could even leave a schedule for what they can have on the days you'll be away. That could make it even easier for him.

I'm sure he will manage with your guidance :) I once went out of the country for about 1.5 weeks and my husband looked after the piggies. They were indoors at that time but they were absolutely fine. This included a pair of sows that had only been with us for around 3 months! He sent me some photos and videos of them. And apparently when I was on the phone to him, one of the boys was looking around for me :love:
 

swaller

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You are all amazing thank you.

Free Ranger - have just managed to order a bag of this miracle bedding on amazon.de which arrives just in time

Claire W - great idea, he will probably manage the chopping and I can allocate a bag/box of guinea pig veg and tell him to divide it up over the days I am away then perfect solution and the kids still get theirs too. Win win

Siikibam - that is sooo endearing they reacted to your voice on the phone. I hope to receive unsolicited pics and videos too but will be lucky if I get just one blurry pic of our children ha. The piggies get their herb sprig +pellets in the morning and some veg for dinner. Hay round the clock. I bought two coriander plants today thinking I will leave that in the pigs room next to the pellets to make it TOO easy for him! Lucky they live next to our study and wheek like mad when we pass so he will be constantly reminded of their needs
 

KathT

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When I go away for a week with my sisters and leave my OH in charge, I take mine off fleece and put them on deep paper bedding. He will give them hay and chop veggies for them but won’t clean them out. I find the paper bedding really good and they’re okay for the week - I wouldn’t leave them any longer though. I sometimes chop a few days veggies and box them up so he has a few days grace before the veg chopping onslaught begins - which he appreciates! Eight pigs means a lot of chopping!
 

David Piggie Lover

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You can ring using . . Whatspp video link. .OH then put camera to show you piggies etc . Be nice to see them and course see if he's doing a good job. :clap: :lol!:
 

swaller

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When I go away for a week with my sisters and leave my OH in charge, I take mine off fleece and put them on deep paper bedding. He will give them hay and chop veggies for them but won’t clean them out. I find the paper bedding really good and they’re okay for the week - I wouldn’t leave them any longer though. I sometimes chop a few days veggies and box them up so he has a few days grace before the veg chopping onslaught begins - which he appreciates! Eight pigs means a lot of chopping!
Thanks for your reply - wow 8 pigs! Sounds like your OH takes good care of them in your absence and great tip to make a head start on first few days veg chopping. Definitely convinced to shifting to non-fleece bedding for the week.
 
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