Jings, it's parky. And nearly September. Thoughts turn to winterproofing The Super Furry Animals(43 Posts)
I nearly bought soft barley straw today to bank up round the piggies haybox.
Going to dig out the SnugglePad (and buy a new one. Three sets of guinea bum cheeks won't share one pad)
It's getting darker earlier now but I'm hoping they can have some more grazing time (the grass is long. If they don't mow, I have to scissor cut)
The shredder has shrugged off it's mortal coil, I was shredding loads of looroll tubes, I think it has gone on strike. <<sigh>>
I was wondering today what people do when piggies can't get in the run? It's rained all day here so they've been in their hutch all day which isn't too bad right now as they are still little and they use both levels, but when they get bigger they'll definitely need some time to run!
Ours have their Pighouse so they have the space to potter about.
When it's Winter and they come inside to sleep they have a 4'x2' cage (which was ok for GP1/GP2 but not GP1/GP3.
We made a run inside for GP3/GP4/GP5 but ended up giving them the cage again, full of hay)
If they want they can have a run on tarpaulin with cardboard and newspaper (I have some C&C style grids)
The cage is easier in terms of keeping all the hay tidier.
Last year we gave them an old washing basket full of hay in the run and the 3 just sat in there
This year we have GP4/GP5/GP6 so our first winter with him.
We are planning on putting them in a shed when it gets colder but will have to fashion something for them to run about in! Love the idea of the washing basket!
Our Pighouse is the old Playhouse (adapted by DH to have removable windows for summer- metal grid and mesh lined on the inner frame for fox'n'fly proofing and power point from the garage for light and heater and fan. They are spoiled )
It makes it much easier in the dark to have a good light and it means DD can go to the Pighouse and chat to them .So Win-Win, they are cosy and she can potter off to spend time (they also come up each evening to the house for a cuddle)
It also means they can spread their pooh far and wide <<sigh>>
Mine are going into the shed as well once it's been emptied of all it's junk! I need to get a snuggle safe as well. It's my first winter with pigs, any tips?
They have a hutch which I was going to put in the shed but fill with straw and cover with duvet.
My indoor boys just have a pootle about the kitchen on some old towels. In reality this means they lie down and squeak at me until I open the fridge door and fetch them a treat.
Just mind you don't leave the fridge door open too long though. Don't want those boys to get a chill.
Maybe organise a platter of snacks while they're snoozing or annoying CurrantBun?
Then it;s just open fridge-select-offer-they clamour to eat it or agree to suffer it to stops their bums sealing up-close fridge.
Repeat as needed.
My girls will literally lard about the hutch. Every morning I open the hutch door. They make no attempt at exploring the lounge. Recently they have sent the nugget bowl crashing to the floor a few times. They just sit and look at me sending subliminal messages to pick it up and re-fill it. The other day Coco fell out the hutch and sat waiting to be picked up and put back. We are talking a massive drop of about 3 inches
I don't think I'll be doing food treasure hunts for them any time soon. I'm doing a lot of sewing at the moment and the floor is bobby trapped with pins.
My furbabies have a haybox made from one of those plastic trunk/storage thingies (for garden cushions and the like)
Every morning, GP6 (our noisy boar) wheeks when he hears me.
The girls wait until he;s sussed out the food then they trundle out. They are too blinking lazy to hunt down and kill the veg plate so they send him
I treated the hogs to a new shredder and made a nice bagful of shreddings from looroll tubes (unbelieveably soft to the touch and free byproduct).
I'm going to be keeping a close eye on this topic. This is my first time owning guinea pigs in years and I'm a bit concerned about the winter months.
We kept guinea pigs outside all year round when I was a child and never had a problem so I know it can be done but I also know that advice regarding care, etc has changed over the years.
I already have one of those plastic rain covers that are made specially for hutches although it's not on yet and I will be getting one of the insulation ones when it gets colder and a microwaveable heat pad. Apart from those things and lots of extra hay in the hutch I can't really think of anything else to get them through the winter months.
We bought our Snugglepad in IIRC 2011 (Amazon, much cheaper than instore)
I removed the cover and wrapped it in fresh newspaper each time otherwise I ended up washing the cover too much (they are manky animals )
I bought PetHotties which are a squashy cushion in a petsafe cover but they don't stay warm for more than 4 hours.
Plenty of hay and newspaper. I use soft barley straw which I know some GP owners say not to use, but it is softer than the hay I've found.
I sometimes roll up a sausage of straw in newspaper to make cushions to insulate.
I'll put old carpet down the gap between the haybox and the wall ( need to make sure the pigs don't gnaw it )
It's the damp that harms them , they can insulate themselves pretty well, especially if they snuggle up. But respiratory problems affect them more.
I put a small oil filled radiator in the Pighouse on a low setting - yes because mine are utterly spoiled
Storage of their bedding too.
We keep ours in the garage which is concrete so I have industrial strength plastic bags and those huge Kwik Clips to seal (for newspaper)
And clean plastic dustbins for loose bedding (if I buy Megazorb, or for my new homegrown shreddings) Last year I bought Ecobale (chopped cardboard horsebedding) but I CBA driving up to the Saddlery .
My pigs insisted that today was nice enough and not Autumn ,no matter what the BBC weatherman said, so they should go out in their run.
The grass was higher than their ears their was a huge patch of dandeliony clover so they trundled through it leaving GuineaCornCircles in the grass
Then insisted their feet were cold and they had to go into their clean house when they saw the supper being delivered.
Fortified Pigs went out in the garden for a bit of lawn mowing duties too . DD1 sat with them eating a bowl of fruit. Despite all the grass Millie declared she was starving and stood on her back legs front paws up the sides of the run. She was rewarded with strawberries and banana.
Also DD1 managed to put her hand
briefly on a frog, eurgh! Frog wasn't harmed and we watched for awhile until it hopped off under a shrub. Told DH he wasn't allowed to mow the lawn as its the time of year the frogs are on the move. He didn't put up any protest
I have now relented and bought the soft barley straw (which is much much nicer and bouncy than hay )
They have a layer in their sleeping box and a large wire box for hay (like a cube shaped cage) that they will hopefully twig they need to pull the strands through.
Other guineas manage racks and those balls or little hanging cubes.
I'm aiming that they hay might survive more than 24 hours without being flattened and peed on.
Hay and straw are about the same price so no economic advantage to the straw, it just feels bouncier and softer.
They didn't twig. They were meant to pull the hay through the bars and keep it nice and fresh.
When I gave them breakfast there were a couple of droppings in the hay..........
When we gave them supper GP5 and GP6 were parked in the hay rack side by side and they'd peed it thoroughly.
Back to the original. Hay and straw on the floor.
Guinea pigs: not the sharpest tools in the box
<<sigh>> I know
If I gave them a teeny box to sleep in they'd be What The Jeff .
I had thought they were too lardy to climb into the hay cage
GP4 is haha but I didn't anticipate the evil mind of my little piggie . Obviously our boar is easily lead.
I don't bother with hay racks now. My boys completely ignore them - apparently 'reaching' and 'pulling' are not appropriate activities for pigs. Hay is for trampling, peeing on and then eating, in that order normally, so it needs to be on the floor.
Mine have had a couple of hours outside for the last two afternoons. I've been putting pig towels down in part of the run so they a really dry bit to lard about on. They just move their igloos to the grass and try to burrow under the towels (spend too much time talking to Current Bun - he must have told them about burrowing).
Inside, they live in the utility which is the coolest room in the house except when the dryer's on! Its a fairly constant temperature year round but I do put pieces of fleece and carpet under their cage to insulate it and raise it off the cold floor. And they have a couple of blankets over the top at night.
We did another weigh in (especially coming into the colder weather. Our boar is shedding fur in readiness for his winter coat.)
They've all put on a few grams , my little hog has put on 34g in two weeks (which is whirr an ounce and a quarter )
She was 680g when we first got her , now she;s 1035g .
The pigs had a couple of hours midday, supervising DH in the gardens (aka eating grass and shouting encouragement to DH when he was bagging the garden waste)
Then last night, I gave them their Pet Hotties under their newspaper.It turned suddenly chilled.
The lid on the summer house part of the run has broken. DH is in the process of making a new one. DIY can not be rushed <taps nose>
The girls had very supervised time on the grass sans run. They had their large pigloo for a hidey. But its still a bit snug with both my 2 fatties inside. It moved across the grass like some weird headless tortoise
Then I ruined their day by giving them a bath and claw clip Millie gave me her best 'how could you' face and Naughty Girl pooed for England and whinged a lot about her claws and having the hair dryer on her. DH cleaned their hutch again and they are now fragrant free Millie had forgiven me once veggies were served, Naughty Girl not so much <sigh>
Oh how could you wash indeed. (Claw clip is different, Needs Must)
If Oreo had a string of pearls she'd be clutching them in her little Himalayan gloved paw.
Millie and Naughty are still in Official Mourning.
That excludes Baths/Being told "No" /Having to wait for breakfast/
Your piggies will be writing a sternly worded letter to Blackberry Patch as we speak....
Though the spooky moving igloo sounds adorable
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