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Autumn (and winter) are approaching. How to keep Super Furry Animals cosy...

(35 Posts)
70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 06-Sep-12 21:27:53

Indoor animals will be at house temperature

But what do you do to keep the outdoor critters in comfort? (Mainly rabbits and guinea-pigs. I don't know if any others stay out. )

My boars are already getting thicker coats confused.

So, idea-pooling here....

NotInMyDay Thu 06-Sep-12 21:43:39

Well I just got my baby GPs last Saturday. They won't be coming in the house as DH not keen so they'll be going in the kids' playhouse with loads of bedding, a snuggle pad and insulating the hutch with an old duvet.

Does that sound ok!

NotInMyDay Thu 06-Sep-12 21:43:57

Oops ? not !

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 06-Sep-12 22:33:21

I got my boars last October and it wasn't a bad winter here (Essex) but a few times their water bowl froze in the Pighouse overnight (they were indoors at night from early Dec till Easter).

I gave mine Snugglepads and hotwater bottles in fleece covers buried in their deep hay but the fleeces stink after the little ratbags pee on them. Trying to get the hay and fur off to go in the washing machine was a Herculean task.

This year I'm going to buy them Hottie Pet Pads (they go in the microwave but aren't gel or water) without the fleeces.
I'm planning to put Bio Catolet in the Haybox with the heatpads embedded in.Then newspaper and hay (so they are not directly on the pads).

Hay is very insulating, when it gets warmed up it stays snuggly. (When I lift the boys out they are like little broody chickens grin ) all snuggled up, but not together.

Duvet over is good to insulate, we put old carpet at the back of the haybox.
And rubber carmats under the bedding.

I did think of making some little fleece bags with waterproof felt bedding (from my DC toilet training night bedding) but I want to get away from too much washing.They can have a fleece in their 'houses'.

If it works then everything can go in the compost bin.

They will still have their hot air fan to warm up the Pighouse before they go out. I try to keep the temperature from dining room to Pighouse as constant as possible.

Make sure your pigs have enough food (hay,pellets) for energy. The water room temperature and vegetables not straight from the fridge- too chilled.

sleepingbunnies Thu 06-Sep-12 23:15:50

We've got a big enough kitchen this year that their 6 foot hutch is coming in if it gets really really cold - otherwise lots of extra hay and fleeces!

guineapiglet Fri 07-Sep-12 09:27:23

Hi all, these guineas all sound like they are very much looked after - it is a tricky time for them, - ie here ( Hants) it has been boiling during the day, but v cold at night, so it is the extremes which are a problem. No high winds here ( yet!) but cold winds, draughts and damp are another problem. We had the space to bring ours in in inside hutches, where they had old carpet on the floor and old duvets over them at night, plus a massive amount of hay. We kept the hay bale ( friend who is a farmer used to bring sweet meadow hay for £5 a bale!!!) in the shed where the guineas were during the day. They free ranged over the bottom of the shed, grazing on the grass and dandelions I collected over the week. Would go an check them and all 5 of them would be 'embedded' in the hay bale, literally inside it, so warm and cosy, their little 'nests' - very reluctant to be plucked out and put to bed. In our frosty, north facing garden in winter, they would probably have frozen, so we had to bring them in really, they are just not hardy enough to cope otherwise.

HmmThinkingAboutIt Fri 07-Sep-12 19:11:21

Even piggies who are indoors can be affected by it being cold. Radiators going on/off affect humidity. We had a young boar who developed the snuffles and we were told by the vets that its to do with radiators. And you still get draughts indoors which can bother pigs if they aren't used to it. Not to mention even with central heating it can still get very cold indoors.

In short just cos a piggie is indoors doesn't mean you shouldn't be thinking of how to keep them cosy.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 07-Sep-12 21:49:15

Mine do their winter overnights in the dining room (kitchen/diner/family room).
I'm going to put them at the French doors so that they can wistfully gaze at the lawn and think "If Only" to keep them from over heating. They have deep hay in their cage to play Haunted Hay in and keep cosy.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 23-Sep-12 03:14:15

I've bought 4 Pet Hotties (£7.99 each if you buy two) so I'll trial them against the SnugglePad and compare.
The boys have got a deep hay and straw bed. Soft barley straw doesn't compress like hay and this years hay is really coarse.
They don't eat it (they've got hay) and I bank it at the back and sides.
They've got a little heater on the wall on a timer.(Tubular; like a radiator. It's for greenhouses or sheds)

Today they were catching some afternoon sun in their run. (Moved onto nice grass but that's going now)

GP1 fell asleep smile Aaaah, Sweet!

TheBonkeyMollocks Sun 23-Sep-12 14:16:31

Its funny indoor pigs got mentioned on this thread.

I am worrying a little about trying to keep them cosy and temp regular.

Their night cage is next to a big window which despite being double glazed can be drafty and also next to a radiator. Their day underneath the window and backs on to the radiator. All of this fine in the summer, probably pretty good for keeping them cool.

I have turned that radiator off for the moment but its a big room and sooner or later the other radiator won't be able to give enough heat.

Only started with heating in the last few days so its been getting quite chilly at night. They have had a blanket over their cage and some carpet mats on top to prevent any drafts and keep them cosy.
They actually lov e being covered, I think it makes them feel.more secure!

They have plenty of bedding and hay to snuggle in so for now its fine.

What's best to do when it gets colder?
I can't move them. No where else for them to go.

Will the radiator on half heat be ok do you think?

I could possibly pull their pen out so they are not right next to it. Ds will be at school so if they are in the middle of the room it doesn't matter too much if they are in the way...but then what at weekends and holidays confused

I think I have some thinking and shifting to do!

Gay40 Sun 23-Sep-12 21:27:31

Today I covered the roof in sheets and blankets and a tarpaulin on 3 sides, leaving the front open for ventilation. I can already feel the difference in their living space. I've been advised not to go overboard with the insulation hmm as they need to build up their winter coats

I'd be interested in knowing how the heat pads work, though

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 23-Sep-12 21:51:46

Struuuuuuuuuuuuuuth (I can't really swear on SFA)

I went down to the Pighouse at 7.30pm to give the little chaps supper. They'd been in for a cuddle in the afternoon.
Found a puddle on the floor (by the window.Not the open that opens, but it's below the power point).
Definately not GP puddle.
DH tried an emergency mend with 'Duck Tape' but it didn't work.

So 2 choices:
bring the hogs inside, into their 2x4 cage, house is warm even though the heating isn't on (or maybe that's my hot flushes blush )
But what to do tommorrow? They won't be happy in a small space and it's tipping down, so their house won't be usable.
we've got a garage/shed (no car in it, concrete floor but it's dry and fairly light.

So, DH and I (in the pouring rain BTW) moved their 7'x4' rabbit run into the garage. Loads of cardboard on the floor to insulate. Hay, straw, fleeces, pet bed, little housie box and a duvet on top.

So they'll live there until we get their Pighouse repaired.
They seemed quite happy, I don't think they'll explore much TBH, probably huddle together (it has a corrugated roof, so the rain is quite noisy).

Gah. I'm soaked. Cold. Wet hair.
But at least the little boars can sleep sound, bless wink

TheBonkeyMollocks Sun 23-Sep-12 21:58:06

Oh 70 what a nightmare!!

At least you have somewhere else for them otherwise I suspect they would be free ranging round your kitchen wink

TheBonkeyMollocks Sun 23-Sep-12 22:00:23

70 I can honestly say I to be one of your pigs!! grin

Trizelda Sun 23-Sep-12 22:02:50

We used to put our guinea pigs in the (big) shed from November until March every year.Very boring for them but they all lived 6 - 7 years.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sun 23-Sep-12 22:03:49

grin they are spoilt rotten. Completely taken over our lives.

Free Range Kitchen is a NoNo.

My washing machine is an 8kg Bosch (one of the big old ones).
If GP2 got behind that, I'd have to demolish a wall!

Gay40 Sun 23-Sep-12 23:10:25

DP who professes to be no great lover of animals hmm is buying a shed for our rabbits to live in over the winter.

guineapiglet Mon 24-Sep-12 12:16:13

hi - we kept our guineas in the unused garage for one winter when the shed became so frozen and we hadnt done our basement conversion - as long as the garage is draught free and dry, I think they will be happy - it sounds like they are well cared for and snuggly, so as long as there is plenty of insulation, they may like it better than a shed!! - Our garage was integral to the house and I think they liked it better as people were constantly in and out of it and the fridge was in there so they could hear it opening - we actually got a huge hay bale delivered and stored it as a kind of barrier in the garage so they were protected - we had a horrible North Facing garden which used to ice up permanently for about 3 months ( NW) so the trek to the shed every night was horrible for us humans, much nicer to nip into the garage to feed them, and we put the run on the floor, just like you have done, so they could explore during the day. Mostly they liked coming in to perch on my shoulders and watch television before the kids got home from school!!!

Gay40 Mon 24-Sep-12 13:47:12

Just popped home for lunch to find the hutch is leaking at their little door. Nothing I can do till later so I'm hoping they have the sense to stay in the dry bit until teatime. They seem happy enough.
I have a feeling they are going to be in the dining room overnight until the monsoon is over and everything dries out.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 24-Sep-12 21:15:02

The pigs are pretending to be wild- I've literally filled the rabbit run with straw and hay to let them burrow.
I put their haybox from the Pighouse in tonight for them to hop into. They've got a tunnel and another box.

I kept waking up last night thinking "I hope they;'re ok" it was tipping down all night and most of today.

GP1 did that funny animal thing where they want the food but they don't want to come too near.So they streeeetch their forelegs forward and don't move their bum, for a quick escape hmm

We gave them a cuddle, they seemed fine. Suppertime they were playing like little toddlers grin

I really want them back in the Pighouse- much easier to clean and a plug in heater. But that won't be till the weekend at earliest.

livismum Tue 25-Sep-12 10:46:41

Hi all we have 2 lovely girl "Binnie" Pigs called Nibbles (the one who doesn't nibble you!) and Fluffy/Black & White (the one who does like a nibble and has name changes depending on DD2)
Managed to have a sensible discussion with DH about winter arrangements and told him all about some of your set ups grin So he has decided best course of action is to knock a massive hole on the side of garage to put in patio doors so we can have easy access from patio/decking, a big run, some fencing and carpet tiles also featured in his (getting more and more elaborate) plans, I'll just leave him and his sledgehammer to it! So just wanted to thank you all really, competitive DH is very excited and motivated! I brought the girls in last night, used the dogs travel crate, put a big box of hay in, newspaper etc and they seem happy there for nights for the moment, they even put most of their poops last night in a nice little pile on the tissue next to the dripping water bottle! Bless!
We had tried mice and gerbils but the whole family love our Binnies they really are the best little pets (see's spotty dog eyeing me up from conservatory) I did say little pets, different altogether to doggy members of family!

Gay40 Tue 25-Sep-12 13:24:47

One massive tarpaulin and bag of grips later .....

Dry but boring for them, in this weather. Can't wait to get them in their lovely new shed!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 25-Sep-12 17:18:21

livismum your DH will be making plans and pretending it's all his idea (like my DH did. He was a bit hmm spending his birthday last year sorting out the Pighouse)

Carpet tiles will soak up everything and stink. In your Guinea Residence what about ceramic floor tiles or heavy lino? Then you can put cardboard and newspaper which is insulating, absorbant and disposable.
I've got some kitchen and bathroom tiles in my garage which I'm going to get DH to fit in their Pighouse (in the sleeping box) then in summer they'll have the cool tiles to lie on.

Mine are larding about in the garage still, they seem to be making themselves at home grin.
They'll have to cope with being in at night for winter but at the moment they're dry and insulated.

livismum Tue 25-Sep-12 21:34:16

Yeah you are probably right about carpeting their new pad, Lino a better idea, although we have a rather large pile of rescued carpet tiles so they could be disposable option in the short term! smile

ByTheWay1 Wed 26-Sep-12 11:09:59

will be our first piggy free winter..... sad but, from past experience - our piggies thrived on gentle neglect - their hutch was outside all winter - against a sheltered wall, we covered the front with an old builder's rubble sack if it was wet or windy. We filled the bed side to the top with hay and put an insulated cover on their water bottle.

Just don't keep taking them in and out if it is cold... they don't like the change in temperature.

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