Setting Up Your Playpen for Your Joey is as Easy as 1, 2, 3
by: Chris Thompson
1 - The Playpen Itself

The best type of playpen to buy is one where the sides can go down or up. The playpen I use is a Graco brand Pack-N-Play playpen, which I bought for $69.00 from The Burlington Coat Factory. You can also find these at other retail stores, or from used baby stores, thrift stores and garage sales. This is a good way to save some money.

Keep 3 or 4 quilt cotton blankets on the bottom of the playpen. Why so many blankets? Because so much extra padding is softer for your joey to stand on and lay on - very similar feeling to mom's pouch, nice and soft. Put an absorbent pad under the top blanket so when the joey urinates it will not go thru all the layers of blankets. This way you only need to change one blanket at a time. You should easily be able to find quilt cotton blankets at thrift stores or garage sales too.

Notice I say to use cotton blankets. NEVER USE TERRY CLOTH OR FLEECE. THE JOEY CAN, AND WILL, CHEW TERRY CLOTH THREADS AND SUCK THE FLEECE FIBERS WHICH IN TURN CAN CAUSE A BLOCKAGE IN THEIR THROAT, STOMACH OR INTESTINES, WHICH COULD LEAD TO DEATH! FLEECE IS A MAN-MADE PRODUCT AND IS NON-DIGESTIBLE. COTTON IS A NATURAL FIBER.

2 - The Hanging Pouch

Place your Hanging Pouches (that you bought from Peewee's Pampered Pet Products) to the backside so the front of the playpen can be let down when needed.

The Hanging Pouch is made of quilted material (once again, I use only cotton) and has an elastic opening. The joey can hang out securely and also get down in it and hide. This elastic opening is much like mom's pouch. As they grow the elastic opening expands, much like mom's pouch does.

The Hanging Pouch is made so you can place a heating pad under the pouch. Place half the heating pad against the back half of the pouch (between the playpen & the pouch) and the other half of the heating pad under the Hanging Pouch, leaving the pouch about 1 inch off heat the heat. The heat will absorb into the filling of the pouch and distribute the heat better.

ALWAYS KEEP THE HEATING PAD ON LOW SO AS TO NOT BURN YOUR JOEY. MAKE SURE THE HEATING PAD IS COVERED AND SEALED SECURELY ACROSS THE TOP. THE JOEY WILL TRY TO GET INSIDE IT AND EAT THE PLASTIC OR POSSIBLY GET BURNED. Make sure the control for the heating pad is outside the pen. Don't take a chance for the little joey to accidentally turn the heating pad to a higher setting.

Inside your Hanging Pouch (or any type of pouch or tote you use for any occasion - I call this an Outer Pouch) it should be lined with an Inner Security Pouch, (which you also bought from Peewee's Pampered Pet Products). The Inner Security Pouch has a long flap that can be brought up out the top of the Hanging or Outer Pouch and gently laid over the opening of the Outer Pouch. This gives the joey extra security, making it dark & cozy inside his pouch just like mom's real pouch would be. (You can see the flap hanging over the playpen edge in the picture to the left).

When you need to remove the joey from it's Hanging or Outer Pouch - such as to clean the playpen or at feeding time - all you need to do is to grab the long flap of the inner security pouch and lift the joey and the Inner Security Pouch out together. There is no need to scare the joey by reaching in the pouch with your bare hands trying to grab their body and pull them out of their pouch. They can get quite scared, they may kick, and they may get away from you, or you may accidentally drop them. If you lift them out while they are still in their Inner Security Pouch, they feel safer and do not get scared. Joeys are very susceptible to stress - that is to say - they stress very easily and this is very dangerous for them. Do whatever is possible to keep their stress levels down. Don't feel like you can never touch them with you bare hands, you most certainly can. The idea is to keep them feeling safe and secure at all times and TO KEEP THEIR STRESS LEVEL DOWN. When you are finished cleaning the pen or feeding them their bottle, just lift them and their Inner Security Pouch back into their Hanging Pouch or into some other type of Pouch or tote to carrying them.

3 - Food & Cover

Always keep a bowl of fresh water and a bowl of food in the playpen so they can eat whenever they want to - dayor night. Be sure to put a handful of hay in their too.

At night, or when you are gone, you will need to cover the playpen so they do not escape. Use a cotton cover or cotton sheet (remember what I said earlier about cotton only) to cover the playpen. Cotton is also very breathable and will allow good airflow. Pull the cover tight (you never want loose material hanging where they could get an arm or leg wound up in it) and clamp the corners. NEVER USE NETTING.

Other Info…

- The Pack-N-Play is a good playpen to use to when traveling. I take mine with me almost everywhere I go. For long trips I put it behind the seat in my mini-van and have it set-up just as I do at home. Be sure to put a cover on it while traveling. If stopping at motel, set the playpen up in the room for the night and set it up back into the car the next day. The joeys will feel like they never left home. They do not stress this way. Remember, it is all for their comfort and security.

- When at home, you can have one side of the playpen down and the joeys will hop in & out of the playpen & back into their pouches whenever they need to feel secure.

- Remember to always use bottled water when traveling. Or bring water from your home that they are used to. Do not change their diet by using strange water. Just because you can safely drink water from another house or motel, does not mean your joey's system can handle the change.

- Use lots of layers of blankets in bottom of Pen for cushion. Use pee pads to absorb urine. DO NOT use any plastic or plastuc dog training pads because joeys will chew this causeing stomach problems or impaction. This could be DEADLY.







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