You might not think it yet, but soon we'll need to Summer-Proof the SuperFurry Animals(27 Posts)
Much as we love Summer, it causes untold hair pulling out for the owners of Little Furry Animals. With their real fur coats, their love of sleeping in hay (one of the best insulators) , their refusal to drink water.
When I'm sweating cobs at work or in the car , I'm hoping they're not heat stroked.
So: how to make their living quarters nicer.
Mine are oudoors (in a wooden Playhouse- aka The Pighouse).
We have two windows that lift out (side and front) which are re-inforced inside with metal wires, heavy bars and fly mesh (predator and insect )
We give them ceramic floortiles (left over from the kitchen and bathroom) to lie on if they want to.
Fill lemonade bottles with water, tightly cap and freeze. Then I wrap in newspaper and lie them in the beds.
Nice fresh veg (cucumber, watermelon, celery)
Grazing in the evening. The pigs are cooler in the Pighouse (in the shade) than their runs.
I used a couple of fitted sheets stretched over the top last year (navy and black)
You can soak a towel , wring it out and drape it over the run to cool the area (as long as the animals are dry)
Boxes and tunnels for shade
Keep a close eye out for cats and foxes that like to prowl after dusk, looking for an easy meal.
Move the run to fresh grass ( with our heavy clay soil that goes like cement , great fun to peg down )
Old, young, overweight and black/dark furries especially are at risk of over heating and heatstroke . they literally 'pancake' to get their bellies to the cooler floor. It can be fatal if you don't get them cooled.
Bedding needs changed more regularly to stop flies.
Look out for Flystrike especially with older or chubby ones that can;t groom.
Look out for loose bowels with rich grass.
Bloat after grass (build up grazing time slowly)
Poisonous weeds that crop up on lawns.
Mine won't use a hack rack , so if its really warm, they have hay in loo roll tubes to pull at and shredded card bedding on top of newspaper and wood based litter. Softer but not heating and they don't bury themselves.
Mine don't like 'open' sleeping areas, even in Summer , they like a secure covered area to sleep.
I have a fan but TBH, its not wafting the air ( but its good for me and my hot flushes when I'm cleaning the Pighouse )
One of our sows is longer haired - last year we trimmed the fur round her rump a bit so that she didn't get pee soaked (she was fine with it, she's not a show-pig so it didn't cramp her style)
And if they get really arsey......................... bath !
Oh and little ruby eyed Himalayan GP5 really didn't like sunlight. She sat judgily covered up until dusk then she pranced about like a phantom.
My indoor pigs live in the cooler bit of the house (utility room) so are cool indoors. Unfortunately they can see the window from their cage and so know if it's good weather and then want to go out. They get very excited when I've put them in their tray (cat litter tray) to carry them outside to their run.
I keep them cool by letting them out in the morning or evening when it's cooler. I shade their run if necessary, although we have lots of shady spots in the garden for their run. Gingerpig has his rear end clipped as he has a few longer strands of hair there (bit of a mullet going on). One thing we have to watch for is birds of prey that have occasionally visited our garden. I don't think they'd take a pig but mine are always fully protected - I don't leave them uncovered even for a second because those birds are incredibly fast and accurate.
Current Bun is mid-moult at the moment. He hates the outdoors but was forced out yesterday for a thorough brushing. As he's an indoor boy, he stays cool by lying on the kitchen floor, although he often chooses to sunbathe and has to be shifted sometimes before he cooks himself.
Aww Fernie I have an image of CurrentBun sparked out on a blanket in the full glare of the sun and you picking up the edge and drag-sliding the whole thing into the shade without waking the bunny
The pigs will sagely nod while they trough grass and reassure themselves, as always , that piggies are the superior Small Furry
Previous bun was much worse. In our old house we had ancient floor vents which heated the living room - she'd lie across them in winter and roast herself.
We're facing 26c/79F this weekend- think of the SFA.
Lots of cucumber, bottle of fresh water (for them to ignore) nice wafty breeze through the Pighouse.
It was 29 degrees here yesterday and looks to be warmer today. My pigs have spent the morning outside (from 7:30am) and I brought them in at 11am. They'll go back out again later. Their run is under trees at the moment - so lots of shade and delicious dead leaves for them. They weren't happy at being brought in '^whilst it's still lovely grazing weather'^, but a parsley bribe sorted them out.
I follow the local guinea pig rescue on facebook and they had a link to www.snooziescozies.co.uk who make and sell lovely fleece items for guinea pigs. They are now making bottle covers for iced water filled bottles that piggy have to lean against and keep themselves cool.
They're very cute - lovely idea. Not sure my pigs would be able to work out what they were supposed to do! They'd probably just stare at it - '^oooo, very pretty - bit hot today though'^. I like the tip proof bowls as Madampig is a 'tipper', much to Gingers disgust.
The toothy ones managed a few hours well deserved grazing today (after a week of rain) , there were toadstools on the lawn !
Bleedin' toadstools . I had to hoik them out , don't care how many pesky fairies I killed , my pigs matter more.
Weirdly enough, our boar uses a corner of his run to pooh in, all neat'n'tidy. Pity he can't be tidy in his hutch
we're set for 30c this weekend , keep a close eye on the furries.
How have all the furries coped with the heat today? My pigs went out this morning and then spent the afternoon back inside in the cool of their cage (utility room). I took them back out about 7pm and they're still grazing now. Although they are starting to give me worried looks as it's beginning to get dark!
I moved there 2 runs to the end bit of the garden (near the Pighouse so its under shade) they went out a 8am and in to bed at 10pm.
Covers to shade the tops and a wafty breeze from 4 sides (they have tunnels/hidey boxes too)
So 14 hours loafing while DH was on garden/pig watch.
They happily accepted some ReadiGrass and cucumber though so always room for a teeny bit more food .
I drew the short straw and had to take DD shopping <sigh>
Out from 8 only came in when next door's karaoke party really took hold.
They munched through an impressive amount of grass, we've a spectacular rectangle where they were. Although for some reason they will not eat the mansions, will only eat them if picked and hand fed to them
DH is just moving their run and then it's out side for the day again. ( Although they will be getting a bath later as they smell very guinea piggy)
Mansions???? That was dandelion when I read the preview
My poor girls, stir crazy and developing webbed feet!!
After our worries of heat exhaustion and the promise of heat waves galore, we've had rain everyday for what seems like weeks
Yes we gave lush grass, but the piggies are lucky if they get out for an hour a day. Their favourite part of the garden is a boggy no go area.
Mollie is XL especially on her hips and Sadie is beyond naughty as she's full of energy! The utility room floor is a poor substitute for mooching about in the fresh air - regardless of how much grass the human slaves cut.
My RatMagnets have been judgily ogling the lush green grass through torrents of rain (their side window has a waperproof clear plastic cover/drape) this week.
So today , the grass was dry enough to go out but with the proviso of they must have their covers on the runs (waterproof tarpaulins pegged into grass)
They have shelter off the ground if they choose (I know I'm taking a huge gamble on them making the Right Choices ).
So far they've been dancing about happily , glad to have some grazing time after a week of being Stir Crazy.
If it pi**es down though, they're going inside.
Our grass needs mowing so the wet never dried up today.
Millie was treated to hand picked grass and cuddle time on a blanket. She ate, slept, woke up and gave me a serious nattering.
Put her back in her hutch and she went straight to the water bottle. Guess she woke up thirsty.
Just picked up my crew from their luxury holiday accommodation. They weren't pleased to see me but after a week of indoor pampering (as it was too wet on their holiday to play out) they were so excited I'd brought some dry weather back from my holiday and have been in their run today.
Current Bun is sulking under a chair and will only speak to me if I offer him biscuits. He does not like holidays.
Seeee Fernie I keep on telling yah..............piggies are lovely, happy little peeps that welcome you home with chatter and will now popcorn round to display their pleasure (Only once though , GingerPig can't risk twanging something)
Whereas Current Bun ...........................................................he's voting with his paws and he'll make you suffer majorly for having the sheer audacity to enjoy yourself without him.
I was loving the welcome home chatter from the pigs and we took them onto the sofa to watch tv with us. Unfortunately they chatted away loudly through the programme and only fell silent to gaze in awe at the adverts. Apparently they really need a new car/perfume/vacuum cleaner! They were returned to their cage and Current Bun was allowed to watch instead - he's the strong silent type.
No worry about them vapourising at the moment , we've had flash floods and heavy downpours (usually overnight) but the grass is boggy , but they think it perfectly acceptable to be scissor cut by a caring PigSlave and presented for their no-effort-scoffing.
But THE SLUGS..................... Gah .
I've tried coppertape.
I've filled every crevice with salt.
They are relentless
Current Bun has a slug friend who regularly appears on the utility floor outside his cage at supper Time! I turf him out only for him to reappear a couple of nights later. No idea how he's getting in, unless the pigs are smuggling him in from their run. Current Bun seems to like him though.
Currently between jobs, and having decided to take August 'off' the girls have been out to play every dry day available.
Last week they managed a long time out everyday and now think this is how life should be!
Out yesterday when it started to rain, they should have been fine, it was only drizzle, they have covered space and the top of their run was covered. But, Sadie had found the one bit of run where the cover had blown up and stood in the rain, lookin at me to take them in - wuss
Apparently we are to have a 'heatwave' at some point this week ... we won't be holding our breaths.
I am not sure I can bring myself to tell them it's only 9 weeks til we turn the clocks back (thanks DH for reminding me )
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