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Creating and maintaining a guinea pig paradise

(8 Posts)
ClarkL Wed 17-Aug-16 09:06:55

My daughter has 3 guinea pigs who go out daily to run around on the grass, they absolutely destroy the grass in the patch they are in and need moving every day, also I insist on my daughter being with them incase any cats come in the garden
I want to create a guinea pig paradise, a really secure large run with their hutch in and the ability for them to go in and out as they please in the summer. So whilst building it is straight forward my concern is maintaining.
If its grass, will it quickly become a mud match? How large would it need to be for 3 pigs to NOT eat all the grass?
If I put it down on slabs and put plenty of fresh food and hay in will they mind the slabs/concrete base?
If you have a large area for them, how do you keep it clean??
Im thinking something like this, but with a wire roof:

70isaLimitNotaTarget Sat 20-Aug-16 00:58:59

Hi Clark

We have 5 piggies (a neutered boar+ 2 sows group and another 2 sows in a group) so we have 2 runs/hutches for the garden and their Pighouse for night time (wooden playhouse)

Ours wreck the lawn, no doubts about it. Their runs are moved every 3-4 days and they manage to strip the grass (except the buttercups, thankfully they leave them).
When we move them, there are rectangles of ground like locusts have been there.
It doesn't get muddy at the moment , just shorn.

We have an 84" x 48" rabbit run with boxes and a wooden house inside (it does attatch to the side door but getting the ramp at the right angle was a pain so it's easier just to put it inside. It's one of those little hideaway boxes). The 2 sows use this run.

Our trio have a 4'x4' run with a rabbit hutch (4'x2') attatched to hide away. One of my sows doesn;t like sun (ruby eyed Himmy) so she sleeps there in the daytime and grazes at dusk.

We put fitted sheets over the runs and peg them down.

We don't leavbe ours out during the day if no-one is in the house, too many foxes , even during the day they are brazen angry

My pigs wouldn't walk about on paving, I've tried the run on the patio, they just sit like blancmanges and whitter.
If you give them cardboard/newspaper and hay they'll sit happily and eat it.

All the tunnels and houses are good fun for them and keeps them active but you need to hose them out (they pee'n'pooh then sit in it <sigh> )
We have Hop In tunnels (scrubbable) cardboard boxes (throw out) and rubber trugs with a cutout door in the runs.

I've always fancied a door and tunnel (like a catdoor and one of those Runaround tunnels) to connect the Pighouse to the run, but it would need to be secure against predators and how d'you get them out of the tunnel and into their beds?

If I had rabbits, they could have the big concrete area at the end of our garden ,fenced off with a Bunny Shed , and a tunnel to go to the grass run.
But it wouldn't be suitable for the Piggies.
So we have a wrecked garden.
But a small price to pay for sharing our home with these little ratbags grin

ClarkL Mon 22-Aug-16 08:31:56

70isa Thank you for the reply, I think I am coming round to the idea of sacrificing an area of lawn for them! I did contemplate seed trays filled with grass seed to rotate, but figure with enough hay, fruit and veg they shouldn't really need the grass and it's more because it looks pretty to me?
So tunnels and tubes scrubbed out regularly and potentially a regular sweep to clear up any old hay etc.

I work from home so there is pretty much always someone here, We already have a catio built for our bengals so they can have outside time, with a tunnel and door from the house to it so they can come and go as they please so I was going to get the same builder in to make my piggy paradise, especially as he already thinks i'm nuts and just nods and goes along with my plans so security against predators isn't a huge concern.

I hadn't thought of bedtime though, my chooks used to pop themselves to bed but if the piggys don't and have a huge run to run away and hide from me in getting them to bed could be a small daily nightmare.
Realistically they only have another 6 weeks or so outside before they come in for the winter so i've loads of time to plan and design ready for spring.
I didn't anticipate piggys being so involved when we got them, gone are the days when we'd put them in a hutch/run combo and pop a few carrots in each day!

SuburbanRhonda Mon 22-Aug-16 08:39:36

Just interested - how do people's piggies wreck the grass?

I had pigs for ten years and they always went out in the run on the grass in good weather. They ate the grass, of course, and you could tell where they'd been, but it was just like it had been closely mown! We always had sows - could that have been it?

I look at the devastation next door's rabbits have wreaked on the lawn and feel glad we chose guinea pigs!

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 22-Aug-16 18:25:07

What piggies do to grass:

We have rectangular areas (like a swarm of locusts have done some crop circling grin ) The flattened bits are where the Hutch was , the scalped bit is where the piggies were.
We have to move ours 2 runs every 3-4 days

Alan Titchmarsh would throw his toys right out the pram if he saw our garden.
We haven't had any proper rain for a while, it'll flourish when it does (and all those piggy Thank You's on the lawn will help grin )

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 22-Aug-16 18:26:31

Luckily our garden is near 100' mainly grassed so we can rotate the Pig Grazing (or else they'd Staaaaaarve )

SuburbanRhonda Tue 23-Aug-16 10:37:05

Blimey, 70, looks like you've had a plague of locusts on your lawn! Maybe ours were just delicate eaters grin

ClarkL Tue 23-Aug-16 12:57:28

Yep my grass looks just like that after the piggies have been on it - I do have three little girlies, maybe grass is their equivalent of wine to a Mum??

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