Journal Entry

Guinea Pig Bedding
Sat 28 Apr 2007

I was making extra newspaper shreds for Tegan the guinea pig today. Plenty of thinking-time. I was thinking about the shredder.

The shredder is starting to slow down, and I was trying to figure out how old it is... the first shredder only lasted a year. I do some pretty heavy shredding, and for a 35$ shredder, I figured it was an excellent investment.

But this second shredder, I guess I've learned how to coddle it. It is probably about three years old! And it's the exact same model as the first shredder... a cross-shredder from WalMart.

I clean out the blades after every single bucket filled. It takes a few minutes, but apparently it's paying off.

It's been many years since I've done store-bought bedding. When I built the bigger house for the girls (July 2003: Guinea Pig Birthday), store bedding was no longer economically feasible. I would have been going through a 20$ bag of CareFresh (pulp based bedding) in less than a week. Yikes!

Guinea pigs just drink a lot of water. It's normal for a single piggy to drink 8 ounces of water a day (a cup or 250ml). At that time, I had both Tegan and Tess, so just imagine dumping two cups of water on the bedding every day... That's a lot of cleanup, scooping out the wet and adding fresh.

And so I started shredding the newspaper for bedding instead. Time consuming, indeed, but much less expensive since we were getting the paper anyway.

I'm just shredding for Tegan, these days. I rarely have to do daily clean up, since the house is so big; I just dump it all and start fresh every week or so.

Unfortunately, our local paper isn't quite big enough to provide shreds on a weekly basis. But if I stretch it to 8 or 10 days, it's fine. Or I get lazy and stretch it to 12 days and we start building up a reserve of newspapers.

The process of making shreds takes about 45 minutes. I clean out the old bedding. Unfortunately, it goes to the landfill. :( Shreds cannot be recycled and newspaper that has animal waste cannot be recycled. (Which is why I was so excited about our worms.) (And a little disappointed that they are not going to eat very many shreds.) (eh.)

The house needs two full buckets of newspaper shreds to make a nice thick flooring. Each bucket takes 10 minutes to fill. And it takes a few minutes to empty and clean out the blades. When I'm done, Tegan gets a treat and a new tent, the trash gets taken out, and I vacuum up all the shred escapees.

Tegan loves getting fresh flooring! She is running around while I'm shredding, going in and out of her house, walking all around me and the shredder, getting pets, watching me, checking out the new pile of shreds. And when we're done, she takes a little piggy nap and sleeps like she's put in a long hard day of work. ha.

Tegan, looking out from her tent

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