Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The next best thing-more poop patrol

Okay staying on the same wavelength with poop, now on to puppies. Talked to a lot of breeders over the years and well, we all have that stash of newspapers, spent hours on our hands and knees scrubbing yesterday’s news off the floor and have bags of garbage to prove we have puppies.

I do use papers under the whelping pads for extra absorbency. It also gives the mom something to due-shred papers, while I’m tearing up sheets and boiling water-ha. But that’s it. I have a 30 gal tub full of papers, it’ll last me years and I have stopped accepting papers from people.

First off, we live out in timbuktoo. That means no rural garbage pick up. I hate burning-it’s not good for the environment and it’s a lazy person’s way to dispose of garbage. We recycle, a lot. So what to do with those waste papers? I do have a compost pile for the horses and we will dump the puppy papers in there, but over the course of 10 weeks, that’s a lot of papers. Instead, we decided a couple of years ago to do a litter pan. What a brilliant idea!

As soon as the pups move to the xpen at about 3 weeks, I lay down a remenent of vinyl floor. Throw down some whelping pads and introduce the litter pan. There are tons of things you can use – commercial recycled paper pellets, actual litter or what I prefer and since we have the stuff handy for the horses-wood shavings and alfalfa pellets.

I’m super concerned about the pups eating the recycled pellets-expanding, choking etc. Actual cat litter is also not a great thing for them to eat either. But the wood shavings/alfalfa mix is great. First the wood shavings can track through out the house. I live with that considering the hubby and his coat of hay he comes in with after chores. The wood shavings have a clean smell and can be thrown out in the field, the floor beds or on the driveway when used up. The alfalfa pellets absorb the odor, can be eaten and cause no harm and degrade very nicely. The other reason, I can send a bagging home of shavings and pellets, the new owners can spread it out in the yard where they want the pup to piddle and it helps in house breaking. And they don’t have to clean it up, it just degrades into the yard. Alfalfa meal is used as an organic fertilizer on yards anyway.

As far as the device for the litter pan, I’ve tried several. Made my own box, commercial puppy litter pan or the best one for me is a plastic pan used under rabbit cages. It’s the right height for short stubby legs, big enough that the pup can get in and turn around. Holds enough product that I don’t have clean it out hourly and it’s easy to clean and disinfect between litters and storage. I haven’t had any chewing on it, some sleeping in it and the only going concern is that the boys walk in and start peeing before they actually are in the pan—that’s simple logistics and typical boy behavior. I do put a few newspapers around the edge of the pan, just for those cases.

So here's my question, what has everyone else done or used that works?

Later gators....

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