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SOme ideas please for looking after guineapigs in the winter.

(8 Posts)
plum100 Mon 29-Oct-12 08:45:05

We have 4 piggies and now its getting cold again its time to start worrying about them again as they are outside piggies.

We started off with three in a nice large hutch, then one was left out and picked on, so we got him another hutch and he had to live by himself. We then took another pig who's owner couldnt look after him anymore and he lives with the 3rd little piggy. They dont fight , but they dont snuggle.

Both hutches have a blanket and waterproof cover over them, and they have towels and lots of hay.They were outside last year and were fine. But I always worry that they dont get enough exercise at this time of year. We have two big runs in the garden which are now on the patio so that as long as its not raining they can go out, as the grass is permanently muddy and wet now. I do put them out unless its raining or bitterly cold. I have read you shoudld't put them out in cold weather, but then they do have a warm hidey to sit in and i feel its their choice then if they want to tun around.

I could bring them in but our indoor cage isnt huge - prob about a metre long. I dont see how they can stay in that - isnt it far too small? People have suggested putting them in the garage in the winter but we dont have any windows so I think thats a bit mean? They can come in for floor time but we are renovating so too many wires/ holes to be left to run around freely. And we dont have a shed.

How do you keep your piggies warm,. with lots of space and time for exercise in winter?. I worry about them so much. thanks

quirrelquarrel Mon 29-Oct-12 13:56:13

They don't need to be in a hutch- if you get two big boxes from Barnitts and film them with hay/chippers etc, they're very happy and cosy in there, and if the walls aren't too high they jump in and out of the two (they never get out onto the floor unless we say "run?" in the morning when they go outside- very cute).

Honestly, exercise doesn't have to be a huge priority in the winter (although temp at the moment, not chilly but not warmish, is fine for them)- if you put them outside with a hay box they'll just spend all day in there anyway.

Indoor cages always seem to be far too small for any guinea pig- heightwise especially. Just DIY it with open top boxes.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 29-Oct-12 14:09:05

Hi plum I've got 2 boars (I've had them a year and they are now 2 years old)

Last winter I brought them in at night from about December til Easter. My indoor cage is 4'x2' but they were very hmm and only slept in it (had loads of hay and a dish of veg)

Their outdoor Pighouse (my DC old Playhouse) is 5'7" x 5'5". They've got a 84" x 45" rabbit run (approx).

I know they walk round their house (they pooh in every corner) so they get some excercise.

I'm planning to let them have our garage for the rabbit run for excercise in winter .It'll need lots of cardboard ,it's a concrete floor.
I've put ours in the run on a dry day with a rubber mat and boxes but they were a bit meh.

If you put them in the garage would that be inside the hutches in the garage or in a run?
Could you open the door for a while to give them light or would that be too cold or unsafe?
My garage windows are very dark (probably dirt) and there's a tree and a fence at the side.

I'm putting off bringing mine in as long as I can but I'll have to.Kept waking up worrying when we had frost on Saturday. They were warm in their hay grin

Could you get another cage ? Ebay? Gumtree? One that is a metre sounds too small for 4 pigs (my 2 get very arsey in theirs)

I find with mine the best way to keep them busy and interested is to move things round. They've got a wooden haybox (about 3' square) I put a couple of boxes in that and at the moment it's full of hay, they have 2 garden trugs made into 'houses' and a wooden house.
As long as it's their smell, they seem to like the familiarity and it gives them confidence to explore .

damppatchnot Wed 31-Oct-12 20:47:43

Mine live in big runs and when they are mating up or with young in big hutches. They are in an insulated shed and have tons of hay and wooden bed boxes in runs. On snowy nights I put an oil heated rad in on a timer and they do fine

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 31-Oct-12 21:41:49

oooh damppatchnot the heaters-

what time do you set yours for?
I've got a little heater on in the hogs house but TBH it just keeps the chill off doesn't heat as such. I've got a fan heater that I put in for a blast (before they go out in winter) but it's a bit noisy.

I can appreciate as a breeder you've got baby hogs to keep warm, and as you've got a larger area to heat your heater will be more powerful than I'd put in my hogs house.

I think the oil heater would give a more constant gentle heat than a fan (and quieter)
At the moment mine have a snugglepad and a 2litre hot water bottle in a waterproof pillow protector (to stop them boiling their bits and also to protect them in the unlikely event of it leaking. Its a brand new for the year hottie) .That's for night (+ loads hay)

For day, Pet Hotties.

damppatchnot Wed 31-Oct-12 22:19:34

It comes on at 3am till 8am that way when temp drops it keeps it warm. The shed is insulated with loft ins in the Walls so holds heat well

If I have babies in there I also put hot water bottles I'm too just in case x

MimsyBorogroves Wed 31-Oct-12 22:40:38

I firmly believe that guinea pigs are better all round as indoor pets - healthier, happier, more receptive to human attention. I had pigs as a child who lived in a hutch in the shed - they were lovely, but I was shocked by how different my 5 as an adult were because they were in the house and part of the family's day to day activities, watching from the cage.

It was also easier to spot health issues such as respiratory infections.

So yes, personally I would bring them in. You don't have to use an indoor cage though. I did at first, and paid an extortionate amount for a cage that was still too small. Eventually I found the Cavy Cages website (on phone and can't link, but if you google it will come up) which had instructions to make cages out of cubes and coroplast - very cheap (I got my coroplast from a local sign maker for free) and then the cage could be as big as I needed.

Apologies for the waffle grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 31-Oct-12 22:42:56

thanks

my little boys don't cuddle together so I do worry about them being warm enough though their ears and paws are always fine and their hay nests are snuggley.

I give them 2 seperate boxes within their haybox as they seem to like their own space.

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