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Can rabbits or GPs live outside all year?

(15 Posts)
Dancergirl Tue 18-Nov-14 08:19:26

We are thinking of getting a small pet for my animal mad dd3 (7). We already have a cat who we love to bits.

Dh doesn't 'do' pets at all, he reluctantly agreed to the cat as long as he doesn't have to do anything. I don't think we'd get away with another pet inside the house!

From redwing threads of here, I understand that GPs tend to make better pets but rabbits are hardier and can live outside all year?

We really have nowhere to put a hutch in the winter, we don't have a garage, shed is at the end of a long garden and is falling apart, we actually need to get rid of it. Obviously the house is out.

I don't know if it's doable or not. Can rabbits or GPs stay outside if the hutch is well insulated and they have plenty of protection?

sanfairyanne Tue 18-Nov-14 08:56:55

if you built a new shed for winter it might be ok. i bring our gpigs in for winter though, they die younger if they are out over winter as they are prone to respiratory infections. i know someone whose gpigs froze to death sad sad sad

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 18-Nov-14 17:46:42

<<Disclaimer>> I know nothing about rabbits but I do know they aren't good childrens pets in the majority of cases.

Guinea-Pigs can stay outside but you need to make some pretty big allowances for them.
They don't tolerate damp, draughts or extremes of temperature.
They also go downhill very quickly so you need to check them several times a day ( I feed morning and evening and ours have an evening cuddle and chat)

A 7yo would not really manage all the cleaning and maintenance in winter (my DD helps but I've always done the cages )

Ours are in at night at the moment, the live in a wooden shed.
I don't think I could leave mine in a traditional 'hutch' TBH, not enough protection against the elements for me (including foxes)

So if you really wanted piggies you'd need a shed (preferably near the house) but they do get horribly hot in summer. Which is another thing they don't cope with well.

And you need at least 2. Come and read our pig threads grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 18-Nov-14 17:51:53

If my husband didn't love tolerate the guinea-pigs, we would struggle.
He does all the work on their house. They have a heater, a light, a fan, removeable frame windows with re-inforced areas to keep out flies and vermin.

And if the DC and I are away and when I had surgery, he's on Pig Duty.

You might need to rehome your DH your powers of persuasion.
And bear in mind - it falls on you, no matter how much your DD wants them.

You don't want to be the 'kids lost interest' one on Gumtree sad

dietcokeandwine Tue 18-Nov-14 20:13:37

My very first guineas were kept in an outside hutch, with an insulated cover. But the hutch was under a kind of verandah thing (sorry to sound vague but I was only 4 at the time!) outside the back door, and the verandah protected the hutch from the worst of the elements (ie rain, frost, snow and very hot sun).

It's doable. Not ideal, but it's doable.

But y y to you being the one who'll do all the work. No matter how animal mad your lovely dd is, you have to be prepared for her to lose interest tbh. I think one pig rescue site quotes a statistic of 8 weeks being the average amount of time it takes for the novelty to wear off and interest to wane sad. Of course your dd may be the exception to that rule (I was, and so is 70's dd) but you have to be prepared for her not to be. If that makes sense!

Good luck with whatever you decide.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Tue 18-Nov-14 20:37:51

When I put ours are in at the moment at night - they have taken over the small bedroom grin

They have a wooden Playhouse/ Shed outside which is their permenant residence.(And they go out to the Pighouse by day)

So 2 manky piggie accomodations to clean.

Have we told you how much they pee and pooh?
Nothing is a match for my sows' bladders grin (I have 2 sows and a neutered boar)

agnesf Tue 18-Nov-14 22:16:16

My old girl used to live outside all year round with her old owners. Since she came to live with us she and my old boy have spent a winter inside and a winter in a garden shed. But this year DH has insisted that they come inside as they are both 6+ and he feels guilty about them being outside. (He wanted them outside)

They are now installed in luxury in our old playroom & are loving all the warmth and attention. DCs haven't taken much notice of them for the past few years but have fallen in love with them all over again. In the winter they never saw them and it was down to me to venture outside in wind and rain to visit the shed in the gloomy mornings and evenings. Now we just walk downstairs and hear them excitedly squeeking to remind us that they haven't had any food ALL NIGHT!!!!

They are a bit smelly but the cuteness makes up for the smell.

Dancergirl Tue 18-Nov-14 22:24:38

Thanks all.

Sorry I should have said I fully realise I will be doing all the work and am prepared for that. The question is do I want to go down the GP/bunny route knowing dh has no interest at all.....?

And I'd be worried about them if it's very cold. We haven't even really got a covered bit of the garden.

Maybe this isn't such a good idea. This is why I want to consider everything carefully before getting them and being one of 'those' on Gumtree!

Maybe a hamster in the spare bedroom (well out of dh's way) is a better idea...

agnesf Tue 18-Nov-14 22:30:23

Hamster in spare room could be ok. We have a hamster too who is cute but asleep all the time that DD is awake (and she is 10 so doesn't go to bed that early). The GPs are much more fun but agree that if you haven't got a good place keep them it might be tricky.

Whatever you do, do not get fish. They are hard work and die at the drop of a hat. DS tropical fish tank was one of the most stressful periods of my pet keeping life ....

Dancergirl Tue 18-Nov-14 22:34:54

Fish are very boring imo. And you can't cuddle them grin

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 18-Nov-14 22:57:16

Is your cat a hunter? If she is, you would have to be careful with small caged pets.

One advantage of hamsters is their lifespan isn't as long- guinea pigs usually live for 6+ years, and rabbits can live for up to 10 years. How would you feel when your DD is 14/15 and has maybe lost a bit of interest and your husband isn't keen either?

I think any pets you buy that are going to live that long have to be something you want, that your daughter is also interested in, rather than specifically "for" her.

Dancergirl Tue 18-Nov-14 22:59:03

Oh God she is! I'm forever getting rid of the mice she brings me in. Would a hamster cage be cat-proof??

Shallishanti Tue 18-Nov-14 23:04:59

I had a gp as a girl, it lived outside, no problem, the hutch was against the wall of the house and on legs, in the winter we put a bit of carpet over the front at night, and it had bran mixed with hot water in the morning.
Is this not the current way?

cherubimandseraphim Tue 18-Nov-14 23:15:25

I've had several sets of gpigs, and sadly I don't think it's feasible for them to live outside all year round (especially if you live in the north or east where it can get regularly v cold at night) - they really need to be indoors in extreme weather. They can manage the odd cold night or so, but what happens if we get another of those cold winters like in 2012-13 when it was cold for weeks with lots of snow?

Ours ended up living in the boxroom when it got very cold, but yes they are noisy, smelly and need a LOT of care (gpigs are quite time-intensive in terms of cleaning out and so on). I do love them but I probably wouldn't get another pair knowing how much looking after they require. FWIW we had rabbits too and yes they are a bit hardier, but they are not very child-friendly (rabbits are not very cuddly or obliging creatures, bless them!) and I personally have come to feel that it's cruel to keep domestic rabbits. They really need so much space and freedom that they aren't good pets for small spaces. (We had a house rabbit once, but I'm not convinced that's a good thing either....) We brought the outside rabbits in too when it got v cold, but less often than the pigs.

Icantwaituntilxmas Tue 18-Nov-14 23:22:27

Yes. Have had 2gp's in the past. They survived the winter of 2010! grin Ensure the rabbit/gp's have plenty of hay and have a plastic house in sleeping compartment. (Though they should have the house all year round.) we bought an insulated cover from Pets At Home - think it was called a Hutch Snuggle, and had a spare waterproof sheet to put over if needed. Make sure you fill water bottles with warm-ish water if going to be v cold, so that they don't freeze in the night. Also, turn the hutch towards fence - or turn it towards and up against house/windows that look out into the garden - useful if you have french doors as you can see inside the cage when it is pressed up against it.

The insulated cover and putting up against the window meant that the hutch was warm inside, even when very cold outside.

It is doable. Good luck if you decide to get them. smile

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