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Small pets

Low maintenance pet that lives outside - Is there such a thing?

29 replies

celticclan · 04/08/2013 00:47

I would love to get a pet for my little boys but don't know if we live in the right environment. We live in a very small house, too little space indoors but we could probably manage a small hutch in the garden.

In the summer we travel to Cornwall (from London) for at least one weekend every month and the whole of the summer holidays.

Is a Guinea pig or rabbit a good choice? Is it cruel to travel with pets and keep them outside?

OP posts:
Floralnomad · 04/08/2013 00:49

There is IMO no low maintenance pet , and nothing wants to live in a small hutch .

celticclan · 04/08/2013 00:56

I thought that might be the case. We do have room for a run as well as a hutch. I'm concerned that frequent travel and living outside is probably not the right environment for animals.

I think a dog could suit our lifestyle but I can't make that commitment it would be like having another child and I don't think I have the energy!

OP posts:
Floralnomad · 04/08/2013 01:03

Guinea pigs don't do well outside all year and rabbits ,when looked after properly are lots of work and often not that good with small children .

celticclan · 04/08/2013 01:08

Thinking about it, the travel
wouldn't be that frequent. We could feed them on Friday and then again on Sunday and leave food in the hutch. Is that sufficient? They would only travel with us 3-4 times a year.

When I said small hutch I didn't mean tiny. We could accommodate the hutches/runs that are for sale in Pets at home. We don't have room for a shed. I have a friend with pet rabbits and the shed they live in is wider than my garden, we don't have room for something on that scale!

OP posts:
celticclan · 04/08/2013 01:11

Thanks for advice. Are rabbits more suitable?

I don't think I could cope with hamsters as they are too small for my liking.

Perhaps it isn't a good idea. I don't want to get into something that I can't cope with.

OP posts:
Floralnomad · 04/08/2013 01:25

Both rabbits and GPs need ideally to live as a pair so you'd need a substantial hutch and you can't really leave them food to last 2 days as they don't realise so don't self regulate .Im sure if you did it they wouldn't die but its just not right .TBH it doesn't sound like your lifestyle can accommodate a pet at the moment ,at least you've given it some thought rather than just buying something and then finding its unworkable .

celticclan · 04/08/2013 01:26

Thanks. Smile

OP posts:
Madratlady · 04/08/2013 01:40

Rabbits ideally need a 6 foot hutch with a decent sized attached run. They do not like being picked up and often kick when picked up, although some tolerate being handled. If they get ill they can go downhill very quickly and cost a fortune in vet bills.

They are also lovely pets and I have two that I am very attached to, but if looked after properly hey aren't low maintenance at all.

Why would the pet have to live outside? If indoors was an option then you could have a fish tank which would be much less work and easier to leave when you went away.

Madratlady · 04/08/2013 01:41

Sorry just re read your OP and see that it's space that would be a problem.

Madratlady · 04/08/2013 01:42

Have you considered a hamster? A dwarf hamster doesn't need an enormous cage and they could go away for the weekend with you.

justanuthermanicmumsday · 04/08/2013 01:48

Why don't u set up a tiny pond nothing too deep. We have a tiny one was there when we moved in. We filled it up as we thought it would be dangerous for small kids, but not good enough it gets enough water to produce frogs. There you go low maintenance pets. The kids love it every spring and summer they hunt for frogs and spend their time trying to make them jump. Just the other day we all watched as a frog stamped o. A huge earthworm with its hind legs then proceeding to gulp it down whole alive with its front legs it made me cringe my kids thought it was the most amazing this since deadly60 animal programme lol.

No cleaning out, no feeding nature does it all. This is supposing they're small kids. If they're 8 and above I don't think they'll be interested.

justanuthermanicmumsday · 04/08/2013 01:49

Proceeded not proceeding I need to ditch this device get a normal laptop. I can't spell with it.

Primrose123 · 04/08/2013 01:53

A cat? Many cats prefer to be outside, and just come in for food. You could try a rescue centre and tell them you want a cat that prefers to stay outdoors most of the time. You could ask neighbours to feed it while you are away.

ArtVandelay · 06/08/2013 10:47

I think if you left guinea pigs home alone for a weekend you would stand a really good chance of coming home to dead pets. Temperature variables, water bottle getting blocked, running out of food, anything could happen. When I go away I have 1 neighbour that does morning care and another neighbour that does early evening care. They are also left in the inside cage so they can't get suddenly hot or cold. Have you considered an insect or invertebrate or fish? If you can't give loads of time and love then you should not get a guinea pig or a rabbit. Do you think your boys would like stick insects? I loved mine and you just need a plastic tank and a privet hedge to raid. Super easy and fun :)

SoupDragon · 06/08/2013 10:50

Cats are pretty independent and can be left with an automatic pet feeder for the weekends you mention. Longer stays would require a neighbour, cattery or pet sitter though.

georgedawes · 06/08/2013 10:52

How about a bird feeder outside? If you put the right food out you will probably get a wide range of birds every day, especially over winter. Sunflower hearts are a favourite. We have so many beautiful birds at ours every day and my dd loves watching them.

celticclan · 06/08/2013 16:19

I have decided to get...

No pet. I couldn't clear up after a cat. I think that most pets are more high maintenance than I was prepared for so I think it's best that we remain a pet free household.

OP posts:
gamerchick · 06/08/2013 16:26

What about a snake? You can get some lovely placid ones.. they eat once a week or so (if you don't mind frozen mice in the freezer).. they can be handled ok and you only need to change the water daily/every couple of days.

All you need is a viv set up but obviously it's not an outside pet and the only low maintenance pet I can think of.

I did chuckle at the thought that fish were easy.. they are not easy Grin

Madratlady · 06/08/2013 16:53

gamer it was me who said that fish were easy, by easy I meant that they didn't need handling and that level of attention, and could be left for a few days with that slow release food (I think, I've never really looked into how that food actually works). I'm well aware of the level of care needed to look after fish properly.

georgedawes · 06/08/2013 17:58

I really would recommend a bird feeder, we have sparrows, robins, blackbirds, blue tits, great tits, Coal tits, goldfinch, dunnocks, jackdaws,'s lovely to watch.

celticclan · 06/08/2013 21:48

Snakes and mice in the freezer! I am somebody who cries at the sight of daddy long legs!

We had fish (gold fish) but they didn't last long. We will definitely get the birdfeeder there are some lovely birds around and it would be great to encourage them in the garden.

I was looking for a pet that the children could hold and look after but I think the reality is too much like hard work and it would be down to me as Dh doesn't see the point of pets and had already stated that he would not be involved at all.

OP posts:
ArtVandelay · 07/08/2013 08:37

So its a 'no' to stick insects then :)

Have you got a neighbour who would appreciate you and DCs walking their dog for them? Might be a good way to have a regular dog experience and make some good neighbourly relations. But again you'd have to be prepared to bag up poo, which can be an unpleasant sensation tbh...

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway · 07/08/2013 11:05

Fish are the answer, we have some tiger barbs that you just cannot kill, they have been going for years, we call them the immortals.

FernieB · 07/08/2013 19:03

Could you pet sit for friends/neighbours? That way your children have the experience of a pet but it's only for a week or so, so shouldn't annoy your DH too much. And they'd get different pets.

Empress77 · 07/08/2013 19:11

I agree its sensible not to get a pet unless you have a lot of time for it. rabbits are the most neglected pets in the UK-they have it pretty bad. And defo need alot more cleaning up after than a cat so its good youve decided against them. What about regular visits to your local rescue/rspca centre - they always need volunteers for dog walking, cat 'cuddling' and generally helping socialisation of the rabbits & guineas?

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