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How cold is too cold?

Discussion in 'Housing and Enrichment' started by claire8234, Mar 15, 2011.

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  1. claire8234
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    claire8234 Teenage Guinea Pig

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    I have two baby guinea pigs outside in a hutch. They have plenty of hay and bedding in their nesting area and a hutch hugger cover.

    I think we are due a few cold nights - around -1 to -2 and wonder if they will be ok outside? It was mildy frosty when I checked on them this morning and they absolutely fine and nibbling on the hay

    I don't have an indoor cage as I don't have the room and if they did come in they'd have to be in a box or carrier.

    Will they be ok outside?
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  2. JoBo
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    JoBo Adult Guinea Pig

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    Hi If they are babies and there is only 2 of them i would bring them in overnight at the moment as its still freezing overnight. Being in a carrier overnight will be fine for a short measure. As soon as the overnight frost goes away and it gets a bit milder it should be ok for them to be outside.

    I have outdoor pigs but i never left them outside as babies, i usually brought them into the lobby so it was a bit warmer for them.

    I do feel that if you bring outdoor pigs into a centrally heated house then they adjust to the warm, therefore making it more risky when they do move outdoors, so if you have a porch or somewhere like that i would suggest putting them in there in their carrier (off the ground) so they stay out of the frost.

    Hope this helps, good luck xx
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  3. flintstones
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    flintstones Forum Donator 2013/14

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    Baby piggies, can't be brought in and then put out they have to be in until it hots up around April. Realistically speaking they shouldn't be outside as it's to cold.

    The Outdoor Guinea's generally don't go until April.

    How old are they?
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  4. claire8234
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    claire8234 Teenage Guinea Pig

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    they are seven weeks old.

    We could put them in our downstairs bathroom as this is fairly cold, howevever I had thought it would be more stressful for them to be shooed into a strange carrier every evening and bought in somewhere different for the night only to be put back in the hutch in the morning?

    When I was younger my guinea pigs were kept outside and were fine but husbandry seems to have changed since then!

    I would love to have them indoors somewhere but we just don't have the space
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  5. flintstones
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    flintstones Forum Donator 2013/14

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    How long have you had them? Were they outdoors when you got them? Were did they come from?

    Generally speaking things change for a reason I know this winter and last there were lots of outdoor guineas passing to the bridge, bearing in mind years ago the winters weren't as bad as they are now.

    URI's are caused by drafts and sudden temperature chances. If you decide to bring the pigs in you really have to keep them in till April.

    Surely there's somewhere to keep them? My friend had 60 in her house, and her house isn't huge, she runs a rescue. Her house isn't big all you need is somewhere to put a temp cage.

    If this winter is anything to go by, they will have to be coming in next winter. I know lots of people that did keep there pigs outside and said there was no were to put them. When there pigs started losing weight and the cold really hit they found space. The outdoor pigs certainly haven't coped well this winter or perhaps its the owners paranoia but I know adleast 3 people who"s pigs started having big weight losses due to the cold. They regained once inside.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
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  6. claire8234
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    claire8234 Teenage Guinea Pig

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    I have had them two days and they came from a lady who's guinea pigs had had babies, they were kept indoors in a cold room.

    We have two young children and apart from the kitchen there is just one very small downstairs room where we just cannot keep them. The only option would be to have them in my daughters bedroom.

    My OH does not want them inside and while I understand him not wanting pets in the house I don't want my baby guineas to get too cold. Neither do I want to be bringing them in every night and putting them back out in the morning - that can't be good for them either?

    He suggested putting them in the garage but as that is not heated its not really going to be much warmer than outside in the garden.
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  7. flintstones
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    flintstones Forum Donator 2013/14

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    I'm sorry they need brought in, they should never have been put out so early.

    I have mine, In my bedroom and they are fine.
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  8. JoBo
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    JoBo Adult Guinea Pig

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    Hi again, the garage could be a option, you could always buy a heat lamp for in there to keep them warm, but they do need some light, does your garage have windows? is it connected to your house, but if you have no option to keep your pigs outside it is definately worth seeing what you can do with your garage over winter period.
    As i said i do keep pigs outdoors but their are nine of them and although i was extremley paranoid about the cold weather they did all stay healthy and none of them lost any weight, in fact they are the healthiest bunch out of all my pigs, including my inddor ones. But i totally agree that it is not fair for them to have to suffer the winter that we have had and although pigs normal body temprature is higher then ours, they do still suffer in the cols, so i cant wait for my heated shed.
    Please also bear in mind that it works the other way and guinea pigs can really suffer in hot tempratures so i would make sure they are shaded in the summer months, (wishful thinking that we will have a nice summer lol).
    I know its not the best option of mine bringing them in and out every night but if these are going to be outdoor pigs then its just a temporary measure while we are still having overnight frosts, which hopefully will not be for much longer.
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  9. Suzygpr
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    Suzygpr Senior Guinea Pig

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    Hi There

    These poor babies are going to need more warmth than you are providing. All my pigs - over 60 this winter - move indoors. I have a small home, but as I have made the decision to have them I have to provide the best for them - and making room for them in my life and my home is part of that. Surely finding the space for one cage isn't beyond you?

    Snugglesafe heat pads will help if they have to go into a cold room - they warm up in the microwave and give out heat for several hours. Wrap them in a towel too as they are too hot to lay directly on.

    Please reconsider where you are keeping these tiny babies.

    suzy x
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  10. flintstones
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    flintstones Forum Donator 2013/14

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    Sudden temperature changes are not good and are more likely to cause URIs which can be deadly.
    There is a huge difference between pigs that have been kept out all year, and indoor 7 wheekers that have just been put outside. There body won't be fit enough to cope! X
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  11. JoBo
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    JoBo Adult Guinea Pig

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    I do appreciate that which is why i suggested that if she has no option of them being outdoor pigs then she needs to bring them out of the frost and put them in a porch or a lobby that has no heating but is frost free and a few degrees warmer.
    Dont get me wrong i have found out through expereince that indoor is better than outdoor for 2 pigs living together and i have never kept baby pigs outside. I am trying to suggest options as she clearly has no means of keeping her pigs in the house so she needs to find the best solution for them.

    I like many others brought my first 2 pigs from PAH for my daughter and was not totally prepared and the information i recieved from staff was all a load of rubbish. i have learnt (and am still learning thanks to you guys) with expereince and research on the best living conditions to do with my G.Pigs and this owner is obviously concerned enough to get straight on the forum and ask for advice.
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  12. claire8234
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    claire8234 Teenage Guinea Pig

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    I posted this thread to get a bit of advice, and feel I have now been criticised and made to feel like a terrible person for keeping my guinea pigs outside :(

    Thank you all for your comments, I shall bring them in at night while it is still cold

    x
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  13. lauralucy
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    lauralucy Adult Guinea Pig

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    we dont mean to critisise. we just care and have seen piggies die because of being kept outside and not being properly looked after.

    moving them in and out is not an option the change in temprature could kill them. i would suggest if you are keeping them outside to stuff the bedding area of the hutch completely full of hay and cover the front with an old duvet and then plastic sheeting over the front.

    or keep them indoors until end of april begining of may.

    really they are too young to be outside as they haven't had time to grow a winter coat.
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  14. flintstones
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    flintstones Forum Donator 2013/14

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    I'm sorry I didn't mean to come across as harsh I type on my mobile and I suppose I come across as quite blunt I don't mean it. I do think it's important you bring them in but please don't bring them in at night and then put them back out this could cause more harm than good. As I have said the sudden temperature change could cause URI's.

    As Suzy suggested bringing them into the cold room and giving them snugglesafes will help.
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  15. Sodapops
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    Sodapops Adult Guinea Pig

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    I don't think anyone on these forums wanted to make you feel like you were being criticized and i think the general advice is that at the moment your piggies are very young and with the weather being the way it is, that it's probably better for you to look in to alternative accommodation for the next few coming weeks.

    Guinea pigs don't handle extreme temperature changes too well either - and because yours are so young, it's even more of a risk if you keep bringing them in and then taking them back out. You either have to leave their hutch where it is (and do all you can to make sure they are warm) or bring them inside to live for the next few weeks.

    If you really don't have room in your home for a temporary 120cm cage, then i would consider putting their hutch inside a shed or garage until it's warm enough and they are a little older to handle the typical british weather.

    Guinea pigs are not as robust as other animal types and they are quite fragile when it comes to them standing the ever changing weather conditions - as someone has already mentioned, as well as the colder weather, you'll need to make provisions for the warmer months also.

    Everyone on this forum is here to help - there is a lot of good advice to be taken - i was a first time guinea pig owner 12 months ago and just like you i had to learn loads of new things - you will get there though :))

    Just take every new reply as it's intended - as 'advice' ultimately your pigs are your responsibility, it's up to you how you look after them! I think general advice given has been really good and was given with the sole intention of helping you to look after your piggies - after all an ill piggie can be an expensive one! after just personally spending £180 within 4wks on one of my girls i know how expensive it can become if they do fall ill...

    Good luck with your piggies - and please don't feel put off, there are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum who are here for offering advice whenever you need it - use it to your advantage! :))
    #15
  16. Claire W
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    Claire W Forum Donator 2013/14

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    Hi there and welcome to the forum :) Please do not be put off. This is a friendly forum and everyone is here to help you.

    I have 4 guinea pigs who live outdoors. My 2 newest additions who came to me as babies last year went to living outside straight away but Erin came at the end of March and Ena at the beginning of June. I new they would be OK as my elder 2 Eleanor and Eliza were there to help keep them warm.

    My girls usually live outdoors all year round with the exception of this winter where I had no choice but to bring them in when the temperature dropped way below -10. The situation wasn't ideal at all as they had to live in a plastic storage box (a very large one) but they were happy enough and at least they were out of the cold.

    I understand where you are coming from regarding your hubby as mine is allergic to the piggies and we have no room for them to live indoors.

    For the last 3 winters (with the exception of this one), mine have been fine outdoors. However, you need more than a hutch hugger and plenty of hay. My girls had mountains of fresh hay in their sleeping area, plenty of cosy beds to cuddle up in, a thick fleece blanket to cover the hutch front at night, silver loft insulation around the hutch and snugglesafe heat pads http://www.viovet.co.uk/p3602/Snugg...ct_info.html?gclid=CO65rfDG0KcCFYEc4QodaWZuDw The heat pads are great as you just pop them in the microwave for 6 minutes ish and they stay warm for up to 8 hours. I also provided them with a large fleece so they could bury themselves in it if need be.

    Here is my set up overnight during the colder weather

    [​IMG]

    In my opinion, piggies can be perfectly happy outdoors but you must take steps to make sure they are warm enough and be prepared to bring them indoors if necessary.

    When mine came indoors, they stayed in the back bedroom with no heating and the window slightly open so they didn't get to warm.

    xx
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
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  17. claire8234
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    claire8234 Teenage Guinea Pig

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    Thank you for all your replies.

    I am very sorry for being so over sensitive, my cat died yesterday so I am still feeling out of sorts. 8...

    I am keeping a very close eye on the weather and they have snugglesafe pads, a hutch cover, plenty of hay & bedding and a big blanket over the top. If it gets too cold I can put them in the garage and leave a small heater on which will help.
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  18. JoBo
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    JoBo Adult Guinea Pig

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    Really sorry about your cat xxx
    This forum is here to help each other out and sometimes they can come up with suggestions that we have not even considered. I cant wait to see some pics of your piggies xxx
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  19. claire8234
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    claire8234 Teenage Guinea Pig

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    Thanks

    everyone has provided some really good ideas :)
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  20. Liane
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    Liane Teenage Guinea Pig

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    All of this has already been said, but the babies should be indoors :). Young babies cannot cope with such cold temperatures, and they need to be very carefully introduced to the colder weather if they're to live outside.

    April is the recommended time to put them outside (but you will still have to watch the temperature and bring them in when its cold). My new piggies, which are also young, are being introduced to the temperatures on milder days just now. They've been spending time in the run so that they can get used to it, but they still have to come in again.

    Once they've adjusted, they will be happy enough outdoors if you have the proper set up :) Also, while you're introducing them to the new environment, keep a close eye on their health :)
    #20
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