The disposable bedding you see featured in our Emerald City theme is HEMP!
Long story very short, we've been researching beddings for over a year now. We'll be publishing a comprehensive, scientific study with some incredibly interesting findings later this year. But we wanted to let you know ahead of time about a great disposable bedding combination you can use in your kitchen areas (Cavy Cafes, Cavy Bistros, Cavy Grazers, Midwest Diners).
Hemp has some great characteristics, but by itself, it's not ideal as it's not absorbent enough. But with a nice layer of hemp on top a layer of wood pellets (plain wood pellets, no additives), it's a superior combination that will give you a longer time between cleanings and provides a super nice smelling and healthy topping for cavy comfort and happiness.
Where and How Much?
Trouble is, hemp isn't readily available at decent prices locally nor online yet. But, those days are right around the corner as more and more farmers and distributors get into the hemp hurd business. But for now, we've identified just one good retail source of affordable hemp available online (New Country Organics Hemp). Forget Amazon. There you will get small bags at big prices. As most of you are aware, affordably shipping big boxes, let alone big and heavy boxes is an expensive challenge. And that's the problem with trying to buy bedding online. Local suppliers are more economical. At my referenced source, it's about $20 a bag and about $25 to ship to me in CA (from Virginia); my cost is about $45 for a HUGE compressed bale of hemp hurd. It goes a long way. I buy a bale (big bag) about once every 6 months. And wood pellets maybe once every 4 months for two very well-fed guinea pigs. So, the cost works out to be about $9/month.
Hemp + Wood Pellets
Wood pellets you can pick up at local home improvement or such stores for around $5 for a 40 pound bag. They also go a long way. I do not recommend doing this in an entire cage. The wood pellets are very heavy to deal with. They are manageable in a kitchen area but can be overwhelming when used in an entire cage. Best when used in our Hybrid solution with part disposable, part fleece.
Oh, and of course, when we are talking about hemp hurd, it is absolutely non-psycho-active with no detectable THC. It is highly regulated. The odor of hemp shavings, unlike every other bedding product out there, contains no astringent phenols, no chemical or paper-processed odors, nothing like that. Just a gentle, grassy, farm-fresh smell. It's soft on the piggies feet and belly and doesn't excessively track around. Hemp is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial. Hemp on top does a great job of masking the phenols of the wood pellets below. And while straight wood pellets have multiple downsides, they are extremely absorbent and naturally suppress ammonia development, as does hemp. This combination uses both to their advantage while mitigating their disadvantages to a top score for a great disposable bedding solution!
Put down about a two wood-pellet thick layer of wood pellets (light layer). Then cover with a good layer of Hemp Shavings (also referred to as Hemp Hurd). Time to refresh? Use gloves and with your fingers, loosen up the wood pellets below looking for wet clumps. Grab them and remove them. Stir it up a bit. Add some pellets to the bottom if needed. Top with some fresh Hemp Hurd as needed. You'll find your groove with it.
Happy noses to you!