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Guineas- in/out/both? Help!!

(6 Posts)
legoscene Tue 14-Oct-14 14:59:05

Very overwhelmed with all the advice online regarding guinea-pigs living inside/outside or a combination of the two. If I tell you our set-up, please could experienced owners tell me what you would do??

- We are looking into getting two female guinea pigs (adults) very shortly.

- We would want them to be outside (in a sheltered spot very near the house) for at least the warmest time of the year but am happy to bring inside when cold. Planning to buy a large hutch, large indoor cage and separate run for the grass.

-We could keep in DD's bedroom when cold (large room). The only other suitable place would be a small store room (with a window) just off the kitchen. In winter, we obviously have to make DD's bedroom is warm enough but the store room isn't given extra heat but is obviously a lot better than outside and isn't such a big leap in terms of temperature change. We don't have an outbuilding.

- What I am confused about is the amount of time guinea pigs can spend outside when living inside at least some of the time. For example, could the guinea pigs spend the night inside but go outside in the day for extra space if not freezing? Or does this mess with their 'thermostat'? Is it better to keep them out as long as they can and then come in full-time after that?

-Lastly, for when they are indoors, what is the holy grail of bedding to use to avoid too much smell?

Thank you!!

fortifiedwithtea Wed 15-Oct-14 09:28:30

Provided the store room isn't damp, I would say that is your best bet. You can always cover the hutch with a blanket at night for extra warmth. I expect owners that use heat pads will come along and explain those.

When I kept guinea pigs in our brick built garage, which has 2 big windows and a glazed door; I covered the front of the hutch with a towel. I stopped using the garage when I found a mouse in there with them.

Sleeping with guinea pigs isn't ideal if they are noisy at night. I once had a boar in with DD1 when he was recovering from having a lump removed and moved about all night. Also we don't have a spare bedroom and when my DM stays she has to sleep in the lounge with the piggies. Our Old Boy was pretty noisy from dawn. He was awake, someone was in the room so why wasn't he let out his hutch was probably his thinking. He didn't like being shut in.

If you find the holy grail of bedding, let me knowwink Wet hay produces a horrible pong, I just change it regularly.

legoscene Wed 15-Oct-14 09:56:38

Thank you! I don't think the store room is damp- it is literally like a little pantry just off the kitchen (we don't use as a pantry) so should be ok. It's not particularly warm (is not centrally heated)but is inside the house.

Is it ok for guinea pigs to be put outside for a few hours (either in large hutch or run depending on weather) in the daytime but bought in at night?

70isaLimitNotaTarget Wed 15-Oct-14 10:24:01

Hi lego mine are in and out pigs.
I bring them inside for Guy Fawkes weekend because of the noise. They have a wooden playhouse for outdoor living.

We put ours in the dining room on the first winter but my (at the time) two boars got very arsey in their cage, we had to divide them. I put them in the Pighouse by day with a little heater or Snugglepads and fresh hay.
Important thing is to keep them dry and the temperature constant.

Now ours have winter nights in the small bedroom. There's no door, we can switch the radiator off and open the window a cm to give ventilation.

I like them to go out in the Pighhouse as they can forage about in hay and their playtunnels. Indoors they have hay in a trug or a rack to keep it from travelling . They have fleece or towels but it seems a bit un-natural.

With the storeroom, can you leave the kitchen door open so they can get a bit of residual heat - and be prepared for them being noisy when they hear you open the fridge or rustle paper grin

There's lots of ways to insulate them. Fresh hay is warm, I put soft straw at the back in some newspaper (not for piglets but I fond the straw is softer than alot of the hay and it doesn't flatten).
An old duvet over the cage
Cardboard over the cage.

There is no holy grail of bedding grin it's a case of trial and error and sometimes making do with what you have, You need hay though- I buy some of those hay cookies for winter time indoors. Flat discs of hay that they can't cuddle in but they have soft cloths. They DO need to eat hay.

When my boar was neutered we gave him fleece to sleep in and hay packed in loo-roll tubes which kept him busy and meant he couldn't sleep in it (because of his stitches)

Ours go in the run if it's dry but once they get to the stage they don't want to, they'll tell you. Ours sit judgily at the bars glaring as we go by.

Bramshott Wed 15-Oct-14 10:29:03

Your store room sounds ideal for winter.

Our GPs live in an old chicken house with attached run during the summer (moved around the lawn regularly so they get fresh grass). In the winter they have a hutch in our garage (we also use a heat pad when it gets really cold). I think we'll probably move them into the garage this weekend as they really haven't been out much this week and I think its getting a bit damp and cold for them.

fortifiedwithtea Wed 15-Oct-14 10:33:57

Guinea pigs can have fresh air in winter provided the ground isn't wet/damp. Damp is a major killer of guins.

Secondly eating a lot of wet grass can give them bloat, again fatal without fast intervention and even then not guaranteed recovery. When I pick a bunch of wet grass, I wrap it in kitchen roll for a second to get the worse of the water off.

Bring piggies back in well before it starts to get dark and they will be fine. You are right, don't play hokey cokey with their temperature. Their internal thermostats are not very good.

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