Monday, December 9, 2013

The Downside of Fleece

I have done a mix of fleece and shavings in the pigs' cage for several years.  I've dabbled with all fleece bedding a few times but had not yet switched to it full time.

I decided to take the plunge for all fleece a month ago.  I have to say, it's been working great and the pigs really like it.  It will be interesting to see how well it fairs in warmer, more humid weather, but right now, the cage lasts at least a week between full cleanings.  I swap out the old fleece every week more from habit than because of any smell or dampness.  The daily maintenance is quick and easy; pulling out the damp hay takes the most time.  I'm impressed that there's less smell and surface dampness than with the shavings, even with two pigs in this sized cage.

The one serious drawback?  Cost.  I know one of the great things about fleece is that it's an initial investment, but then the fleece lasts forever, so there's no recurring cost.  Unfortunately, our washer doesn't deal with debris very well and can't handle a large load of laundry.  The fleece came out smelling nice and clean, but after a few washings, it looked dirty all the time.  Very disappointing.  The washer at our old place did a much better job.

My solution has been to take the pig laundry to our local laundromat.  I wait until I have a big load so I can stuff a single washer.  Even though I bring it home wet, it still costs a few dollars every two weeks.  Not much, but compared to a $6 bale of shavings that lasted two to three months, it's quite a bit more expensive.  Bummer.  This was an unforeseen consequence in switching bedding.

For now, I'm happy to stick with it.  The time it takes to maintain a fully fleeced cage is no more than what I had with half-and-half.  The lack of smell is great, too, since Pinniped and Cannoli now reside in the living room/office.  For now, the pros outweigh the cons.  If we're lucky enough to get a better washer in the future, it will all be good.


  1. Have you tried putting in a bit of vinegar in with your bedding wash? That always helps my piggie fleece and toweling to get cleaner in our home washing machine! If you run the load with hot water, you can't smell the vinegar at all afterwards.

    1. Absolutely! I use 1-2 cups of vinegar per load. It's why the laundry done with this washer still smelled clean, it just didn't look clean.

  2. I've been using oxy wash along with detergent with my fleece and it seems to work well. Also found fairly cheap fleece in the bedding department at a major retailer that begins with "W". (Not sure if you want their actual name placed here.)

  3. I switched from carefresh to fllece a few months ago. Its been great. If you want to save some money while getting good fleece, go to your local thrift shops, they have cute blankets at very low prices. I have stocked up on those. Also, I have befriended a lady at my local laundromat and every month I collect my babies laundry and Vanessa does a great job for about $10.00,plus tip.

  4. I swapped to fleece 3 years ago and haven't looked back. I only have the laundromat. I take my pet laundry there & do personal laundry at my mom's home. The downside is that while the dirty fleece waits for laundry day, it really starts to smell. (Then again, I have a boar.) Solution: Odoban. No more odor. I found that that thrift store fleece blankets weren't quite large enough in the 2x4 C&C cage, so I get 1.5 yds of fleece at Jo Ann's.

    As for the summer, I have a couple sheets of lighter fleece, and I swear he loves it just the same. The biggest change: no more cold ears in the winter. Bijou likes to pee in a certain spot, so I put thrift store hand towels in those spots under the fleece. It's a wonderful alternative that I recommend when I counsel for rescues! Stephanie aka Bijou's Mama

  5. I use flannel sheets and towels. It was a happy accident. I thought I had a bag of bedding and didn't. I take the sheet out and dump the "stuff", hang it over the fence to spray it off (washer seems to like when I do that) and throw the whole lot in the wash.


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