Housing Outdoors in Winter

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piggywiggies

I am thinking of buying my two children a pair of guinea pigs but I do not have the room to keep them indoors and I do not have a shed or outhouse to bring them into in the winter.

I am thinking of getting them Thistle Hall from Pets at Home and one of those hutch snuggle things. I would be putting the cage up against a fence to protect it from the wind. Do you think they would be warm enough in winter or shall I put in a microwave pack as well.

How do you go on letting them out for exercise on the grass in winter especially if the ground is damp or full of snow?

Sorry to go on a bit, but I just want to get it right.
 
B

Beaney

Is there no way you could get a small shed? The cost of a 6x4 shed is probably cheaper than the cost of Thistle Hall plus snuggle and is better for you as well as the piggys. Cleaning out and playing with piggys when it is pouring with rain and blowing a gale is no fun at all. With a shed you can get in there with them :) This is really important if you do want your children to play a part in their ownership as the pigs will need lots of social interaction to become tame and friendly.

My personal opinion would be not to get piggys to go out in a hutch at this time of year. As you have said buy I am assuming you plan to go to a pet shop? (I am not going to mention the pet shop Vs Rescue debate in this thread :-X ;)) Something to bear in mind is that any pet shop piggys are likely to be very young and will also be used to being housed inside. They would be at risk if suddenly put outside as the change in temperature would be a shock on their systems. Coupled with the fact you won't know much about their health record and combined with the stress of the moving - you may end up with a couple of poorly piggys on your hands.

I do know people who have pigs in covered hutches, change the bedding daily and use the snugglesafe (microwave) pads to help keep them warm and they are fine but these are pigs who have been outside all year and therefore have adjusted as the temperature has dropped.

Your question about coming out on grass - mine don't at this time of year. The damp and cold is not good for them so mine stay in their shed with plenty of hay. The shed floor they have to run on is the same size as their run anyway so the exercise bit is not an issue in my case. I have started to grow them some grass in trays so they don't miss out completley! I do spoil them ;D
 

daftscotslass

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I don't think that guineas can possibly be warm enough outside in winter. Bear in mind that in the winter the temperature can vary from 10 degrees above zero to 10 below in 24 hours - piggies are resilient but not resilient enough to survive such a big temperature fluctuation. I'm sure people may beg to differ but I've experienced the loss of a pig due to the cold (a long time ago) and he was in an insulated outbuilding with a covered hutch and a big pile of hay.

Please do not give Pets at Home your money, they are absolutely dire. There are plenty rescues with many homeless piggies just waiting for a new home!
 
P

piggywiggies

Beaney said:
Is there no way you could get a small shed? The cost of a 6x4 shed is probably cheaper than the cost of Thistle Hall plus snuggle and is better for you as well as the piggys. Cleaning out and playing with piggys when it is pouring with rain and blowing a gale is no fun at all. With a shed you can get in there with them :) This is really important if you do want your children to play a part in their ownership as the pigs will need lots of social interaction to become tame and friendly.

My personal opinion would be not to get piggys to go out in a hutch at this time of year. As you have said buy I am assuming you plan to go to a pet shop? (I am not going to mention the pet shop Vs Rescue debate in this thread :-X ;)) Something to bear in mind is that any pet shop piggys are likely to be very young and will also be used to being housed inside. They would be at risk if suddenly put outside as the change in temperature would be a shock on their systems. Coupled with the fact you won't know much about their health record and combined with the stress of the moving - you may end up with a couple of poorly piggys on your hands.

I do know people who have pigs in covered hutches, change the bedding daily and use the snugglesafe (microwave) pads to help keep them warm and they are fine but these are pigs who have been outside all year and therefore have adjusted as the temperature has dropped.

Your question about coming out on grass - mine don't at this time of year. The damp and cold is not good for them so mine stay in their shed with plenty of hay. The shed floor they have to run on is the same size as their run anyway so the exercise bit is not an issue in my case. I have started to grow them some grass in trays so they don't miss out completley! I do spoil them ;D
Hi Many thanks for your info. Unfortunately I do not have the space for a shed otherwise this would have been perfect I know for the piggies. I think I will wait for the warmer weather before I get the piggies so that I can acclimatise them and I will definitely buy them a snuggle safe and a cuddle cup for the winter months.
 
M

minky

Hiya

Pets at Home SHOULD tell you that it is cold to keep them outside at this time of year because they have not had time for their winter coats to grow, my boys have really thick fur and are housed in the shed now which is now being done up to be more insulated and will be free range and obviously separated from the girls by a divider ! yes i am concerned about them being out during the winter but as long as they are protected and you make sure they have plenty of bedding they should be fine.

Personally i would not put the babies outside (i say babies because i know that most at PAH are only around 6-8 weeks old) or you could bring them in on an evening and out during the day

At the end of the day its your choice and there are options but obviously space permits !
 
B

blondecat

daftscotslass said:
Please do not give Pets at Home your money, they are absolutely dire. There are plenty rescues with many homeless piggies just waiting for a new home!
Please do consider getting from a rescue. My first two were from Pets at Home. I was told they were twelve weeks old and Sophie was in fact around five weeks old according to my vet. I went to get a girl and a boy and when I took Scruffy to be neutered was told "he" was a girl. Scruffy also came with conjunctivitis and a bad cold which, thankfully, we managed to get her over. My next two came from a rescue! and although Jake has health problems left over from his horrid past, I was informed about these and was willing and prepared to accept them and whatever bills come with them. There are loads of needy piggies out there and I personally got such a buzz knowing I had given two very unfortunate boys a good, loving forever home. :D
 
P

piggywiggies

minky said:
Hiya

Pets at Home SHOULD tell you that it is cold to keep them outside at this time of year because they have not had time for their winter coats to grow, my boys have really thick fur and are housed in the shed now which is now being done up to be more insulated and will be free range and obviously separated from the girls by a divider ! yes i am concerned about them being out during the winter but as long as they are protected and you make sure they have plenty of bedding they should be fine.

Personally i would not put the babies outside (i say babies because i know that most at PAH are only around 6-8 weeks old) or you could bring them in on an evening and out during the day

At the end of the day its your choice and there are options but obviously space permits !
Thanks for the advice Pets at Home never mentioned about it being too cold for the piggies. Once they have acclimatised next year can they be exercised outside if it is dry during the winter.
 
P

piggywiggies

I have now decided to wait until the better weather before I get the piggies as it is far too cold at the moment, I have now found a rescue centre in Tameside which I am going to probably get them from.
 
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blondecat

Good for you! :D If you get them in the summer you'll (hopefully) have lots of nice weather to play with them and get to know them. It really is rewarding getting them from a rescue - although I wouldn't be without my two pet shop babies now, lol! My four are in the garage now and I cover their hutches with blankets at night. They seem ok - the two boys have always been left outside so they're probably warmer than they've been used to in previous winters! It's the girls' first winter but they seem ok, and they snuggle up to their boy partners! xx
 
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