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Cold Weather Care For Guinea Pigs

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Rocky96

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One thing I liked to do when I had piggies indoors (no heating in our old house) is sacrifice an old towel or blanket and just let them have it in their bed area, mine loved snuggling under it and making tunnels in it, and chewing it to bits of course. But the blanket area was always much warmer and cosier than the rest of the cage
 

gillarms

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Hi, I'm completely new to guinea pigs, so new I don't even have any yet. But my son (9) is getting two next month for his birthday. I have every intention of keeping them indoors in a big cage but I've bought an outside hutch with attached run. I was going to put them outside to exercise during the day while my son is at school and I'm sleeping after nightshift. My thoughts were that as long as I took them inside again at night it would be ok. However, after reading this thread, I'm not so sure. We live in the north of Scotland (BRRR!) and so it gets really cold, even during the day. Should I not bother putting them out during the day until summer or should I just put loads of bedding and two of those microwavable pads in the hutch (the "house area" is raised off the ground). Thanks!
 

Bekki

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With the cold weather I thought I would give this thread a quick bump :D My pigs are living outdoors a combination of household allergies and them keeping us awake has meant they've been kicked out. My hutch is a 5ft double but its split into two hutches, the bottom is used for storage so the pigs are away from the cold concrete floor, the hutch is surrounded by a 2 story house on two sides and a 8 ft wall on the third so its quite sheltered it is also south facing so they have the sun all day to keep them warm, and its literally outside the kitchen so I can watch them when washing the pots and nip out to do their snuggle safes even in horrendous weather without getting soaked. They're getting their silver foil all over and some clear coroplast on the hutch this weekend over the large mesh door this weekend.
 

sianysian_

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This is a great thread, and I was going to start a similar thread for advice. I have had guinea pigs most of my life, but these two I have now my husband reads up on the internet, and because he has read that if you bring piggies in they will lose their "thermal system", so when they are returned to outside they wont be able to survive even in summer. Is this true?

We have two piggies, lots of hay in the bedding area, and bought a thermal cover from pets at home, I am now really paranoid about the piggies, is the shed going to be a better place for them especially now as the winter sets in, or as there is two will they snuggle up together?

We always check for dampness (cage is dry) so they seem happy. but husband is so paranoid that we we clean them out we put them in their temporary pen he leaves patio door open so they dont get used to the heating?

i forgot to say that we have carpet between the cage roof and the thermal cover, plus under the cage on its wooden table that the cage sits on... for extra warmth.

help
 

Sid and Henry

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My two boars have a hutch with undefloor heating everywhere except for the feeding area, is that ok? It also has a hutch cover..
 

Kay

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For outdoor pigs, I'd recommend stuffing the bedroom of the hutch with hay, as much as possible. Check it every night before bed, to make sure it's dry. If it's damp, replace it or top it up. The pigs will tunnel into it and hopefully be really cosy.

For indoor pigs, a big cardboard box filled with hay would be good.

If you only have one pig, then remember they won't have anyone to cuddle up to to keep warm.

Snugglesafe heat pads are microwavable and meant to stay warm almost all night. I can't say if they're good or not but I'm going to get them this year and try. I'm only going to use them at night during the winter. Because someone said not to use them during the day, or the pigs won't get used to the cold, and won't be able to handle it as well.

Wooden hidey houses are better than plastic I think, because the plastic won't be as insulating, and might get condensation inside and be damp. Some people say plastic ones hold in heat better, but I'm not sure, I'd use wooden ones, or a cardboard box, and stuff the hidey house with hay too, but with enough room for the pigs to get in. :)

If you have a few pigs, and if they'll share a hidey house, I think it'd be a good idea to have a house big enough for all of them to get in so they can cuddle together. But have a spare one too in case one pig gets kicked out. And if they're in a hutch, be careful that one pig isn't being kicked out of the bedroom and sleeping in the open part. Mine have been sleeping out there in the summer sometimes, but in the winter they'd be freezing.

Also animals need more food in the winter, so make sure they have lots of high energy food to build up a good layer of fat! :) Corn would probably be good if they're not too fat already :)) and mine will be getting lots of pellets, maybe unlimited cos I know I'll get worried about the cold. (They're still mostly under a year.)

I'm going to have my pigs in the shed for the winter. It won't have any heating and isn't insulated or anything, but hopefully they'll be ok and it'll keep the wind and rain out. I live in the south of Ireland and it's quite mild here, but remember that different parts of the UK can get quite extreme temperatures, so if you live somewhere it gets really cold then it'd definitely be best to bring the piggies inside. I couldn't believe it got to temperatures like -14 where my grandmother lived in reading . . .
Mine have one of the wicket type houses, stuffed full of Hay that I change daily. They also have a micro heated pad for really cold nights. They snuggle onto it!
 

Joy&Anna Babies

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I love in a 85 year old old drafty house where there's 2 feetu of snow outside and it's -15F but thankfully my girls are on the warmest floor with fleece cozies(:
 

Minne&george

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Hi am I right in thinking it's ok for my girls to come in end of autumn as it's turning cooler then go back out towards end of spring when it's warmed up a bit more?
 

Poppy21

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Hi. I'm just wondering if it's ok for my pigs to be out at night yet. They've been indoors all winter and I've prepared their summer hutch ready for the warmer weather. Not sure when to leave them overnight. It's meant to be 2 degrees tonight. I have a friend who leaves hers out all year round except if it snows! I've put mine out but I'm thinking of bringing them back in.
 

Claire W

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I am glad you have brought them back indoors.

Generally guinea pigs who have been indoors over the winter shouldn't go back outside until night time temperatures are a steady 10 degrees or so. Here in Manchester temperatures are due to fall to -1 tomorrow night
 

katali

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Hi, I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to keep guinea pigs in my greenhouse. We do have a shed, but it has 2 key problems, one is being full of stuff that we have nowhere else to keep, and the other is having no windows, which would make it unsuitable even if it was empty! on the other hand, we have an empty 4x6' greenhouse made of polycarbonate. If I put the hutch in there, and a run (or netted all around more like so the whole floor was a run) and I was thinking on the floor put some insulation of some kind, some thick mdf (which I happen to have) and one of those thick table protectors I saw on here from argos to provide a nice warm floor. I could therefore leave the door open so they wouldn't get baked, or close it up in the winter (it's by no means airtight), and if it was hot they would be out on the grass anyway. Is it a terrible plan?
 

Wiebke

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Hi, I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to keep guinea pigs in my greenhouse. We do have a shed, but it has 2 key problems, one is being full of stuff that we have nowhere else to keep, and the other is having no windows, which would make it unsuitable even if it was empty! on the other hand, we have an empty 4x6' greenhouse made of polycarbonate. If I put the hutch in there, and a run (or netted all around more like so the whole floor was a run) and I was thinking on the floor put some insulation of some kind, some thick mdf (which I happen to have) and one of those thick table protectors I saw on here from argos to provide a nice warm floor. I could therefore leave the door open so they wouldn't get baked, or close it up in the winter (it's by no means airtight), and if it was hot they would be out on the grass anyway. Is it a terrible plan?
A greenhouse is basically a large car.

You'd need additional heating for the winter and be extremely aware that it will heat up very quickly in sunlight; not just in summer! Piggies have died in greenhouses because their owners have underestimated the effects and the fact that guinea pigs are very exposed in a green house that is not well insulated and temperatur controlled.
 

katali

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They would be in the hutch as well, not just in the greenhouse. It's pretty sturdy, made of 2x2" posts and old pallet wood, not thin plywood. I was just thinking it would be extra protection from wind and rain, like a shed. Also should have a thermometer.
 

sazmatazz

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I wouldn't keep piggies in a greenhouse because of the potential temperature range & changes - you also couldn't leave the door open to allow heat to escape if the floor is used as a run.
Having said that I don't think I'd keep piggies outdoors over winter anyway even in a shed or garage as the freezing temps are so dangerous for them, as well as it being an isolated experience for them, for a number of months.
 

petslave

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Great ideas! My girls are all outside, and i think i have them well prepped for winter. But got a few great tips from reading this thread.
 

Sbhawkes

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My piggies live inside, and although I have heating. My house is an old Victorian house so even we get cold so I make sure they always have a good supply of hay in their hidey hole and a cool playform if needed. I personally think it's far too cold outside for little animals, I have one very long haired pig and one very short haired so you also have to work around them. Hope all your pigs are warm this winter x
 

Wiebke

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What month would you bring outdoor piggies inside then take them out again? :)
It depends on where in the world you live, but a good rule of thumb is to treat guinea pigs the same as tender plants - they need acclimatisation and should not be out during frosty/cold nights and big day/nighttime temperature swings. They also need protection during heat waves. ;)
 
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