Over the Rainbow over Hemp!

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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 of 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!

Instructions

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!

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1 comment(s)
Tiffany L July 3, 2019 7:16 PM (reply)
What kind of wood pellets do you use for this? I have only been able to find kiln dried pine wood pellets as well as apple, cherry, and hickory for the price and size you mention above. I heard pine is bad for piggies, so I'm iffy on trying that one.

36 comment(s)
TeresaM (Store Admin) July 3, 2019 8:03 PM (reply)
Kiln-dried pine is fine for guinea pigs. But, the whole point of this combination is that you cover the pellets. The guinea pigs are smelling the hemp -- which is great -- not the wood pellets. ALL wood pellets have a wood smell to them. Kiln-dried pine is better. The perpetually repeated pine scare info is exaggerated and misleading. You need to worry 10 times more about suppressing ammonia production in bedding which is a real health issue for guinea pigs. Ammonia levels in cages can quickly become toxic to them. I hope to be publishing a study later this year. I have personally tested -- with a scientific meter -- the typical ammonia levels generated by various types of bedding in a short amount of time. Mitigating ammonia production is very important. This combo wins that battle hands down. :) And the hemp does a demonstrably and measurably great job in keeping the odors and gasses of what's below from percolating up. The wood pellets are superior at suppressing ammonia production in the first place -- a winning combination! :)

1 comment(s)
Sara E. December 12, 2019 1:51 PM (reply)
Hello TeresaM! We've purchased all the materials to make a kitchen using the wood pellets and hemp. We'll be setting it up tonight. What do we do about the poops in between changing out the wood pellets and hemp? Scoop them with a kitty litter scoop? Or do they sink to the bottom?

36 comment(s)
TeresaM (Store Admin) December 12, 2019 2:07 PM (reply)
Oh, they'll mix in. That's the primary reason to use disposable bedding in the kitchen. The poops have somewhere to go! :) They don't stay sitting on top of fleece. As they walk around on the bedding, they naturally get mixed in and dried out pretty much by the bedding. You'll figure out your refresh process soon enough. Stirring it up a bit with a light top off of hemp as needed is good for a while. Then you may need to scoop out some wet clumps and re-stir. Then finally a bigger cleaning as needed. Let me know how it goes after a while. :)

1 comment(s)
January 21, 2020 12:25 PM (reply)
we are currently using this hemp/pellets setup and it works great. However, my piggies are eating the hemp, is that anything to worry about?

36 comment(s)
TeresaM (Store Admin) January 21, 2020 12:56 PM (reply)
Well, if they are eating the hemp, then I think there are potentially other issues going on. Why are they eating the hemp is the bigger question? Guinea pigs are grazers and need access to food pretty much all the time. There should be an abundance of hay in the kitchen, as in always a TON of hay. Guinea pigs want to eat hay. If you aren't providing that, I can see how they might turn to the only other similar item in the cage. They should be fed greens and veggies twice a day and always have access to pellets. Can you provide a picture of your setup so we can advise further? But, I would say if they have easy access to unlimited hay in the Cafe and they are still eating the hemp out of choice, I would switch to something else. It's not created nor intended to be food. I doubt it's overtly harmful, but it's not tested for that.

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