You might not think it yet, but soon we'll need to Summer-Proof the SuperFurry Animals(5 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.
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