Hutch using advice please

Qualcast&Flymo

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Today I finally got my hutch set up sufficiently to put my 3 in it for the first time. Being all new to hutches I want to make sure I get it right first time and everything is all right for my furry masters!
Owing to lockdown this probably isn't the final 'version', I hope to make some improvements in due course. I couldn't get lino, so I cut up my old C&C base to line the floors - not perfect, but it will do for now. I also hope to be able to get some insulation and a handyman to fit it on the walls and roof, once tradesmen etc are working normally. That will help to keep the piggies snugly warm especially in winter, and also I hope stop all the spiders which currently live all over the roof beams.
I'm using my old cage liners folded in 2 as liners for the lower floor, and some vetbed and towels upstairs. Planning to get some lined liners made to fit, in the sleeping area and around the ramp exit, as soon as I can, instead of the towels etc.
I have a few questions if any one can advise me please...
1) At what temperature is it necessary to give them snugglesafes etc in addition to hayboxes and fleecy hides? It was 14degrees and falling at 9pm, but after I put the plastic screen over the front by 10:30 it was starting to rise again. I have one 'Cosy Pod' available already, can buy more if necessary.
2) Are Chartwell hutches safe from mice and rats? There were mice in the outbuilding before we cleaned it out, and I regularly see rats outside, do I need to worry about them getting in the hutch and harming the piggies?
3) Is a 6ft hutch big enough for 3 guinea pigs? I don't really have any choice, there isn't space indoors in our new house for a 5x3 or 6x2 C&C, as they had previously. I think 6ft is the biggest hutch available ( actually 170x56cm inside measurements).

TIA for any help! x
 

Betsy

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I have the same hutch as you. I have Dennis and Betsy the top and Christian and Meg at the bottom. When Velvet was still here she lived with Christian and Meg. There is plenty space. I haven't worried about lining my hutch with lino. I use washable puppy pads instead. The man at Scratch and Newton where I bought my hutch said not to use lino cos if wee got underneath it, the floor would never dry out properly and would rot.

i give my lot snuggles if the temperature drops below 10 degrees.

can't help with the rat or mice question as not had a problem with either of them. Can you put rat poison outside? Obviously well out of reach of your Piggies.
 

Piggies&buns

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I look to when It’s 10 degrees in the shed for when they need their snugglesafes but within my shed is always warmer than the outside air temp by around 6-8 degrees. They haven’t needed their snugglesafes at all for the last few weeks.

I’ve not had mice and rat problems either, but the mesh on the hutch looks to be a good gauge. The makers of these good quality hutches take mice/rats into account so while of course nobody could guarantee they wouldn’t find a way to get through, it is a lot safer than a wider gauge mesh

The hutch is a great size! Don’t worry about that! The inside measurements are obviously a little less than six foot, but I wouldn’t worry about it, it’s a lovely hutch.

My hutch is lined with a piece of plastic sheeting off the roll from a garden centre!
 

KathT

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Please don’t use poison to kill rats and mice - humane traps can be bought and the creatures disposed of after (either killing humanely or releasing in the wild). When poisoning rodents it ends up killing animals further up the food chain - no-one wants to see a poisoned owl, falcon or fox - or your cat!
 

GuineaPigsPipPumpandJG

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In the winter my pigs have a heater for the nights, and have a fleecy tepee to snuggle in. I've never had any rat/mice get into the hutches, even though they are straight on the concrete. :)
 

KHBz

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I have the Kendal hutch which is pretty much of the same build and the mesh is certainly identical. Please put a second layer of mesh on. I bought some galvanised mesh in which there are squares rather than rectangles. These are the same height as the manufacturer's rectangles but half the length. Around the outside of the run, I attached this second layer of the smaller squares - so the manufacturer's mesh was on the inside and my second layer attached to the outside. In the long thin panels of the hutch, I placed the closer-squared mesh directly against theirs, weaving them together around the edges with garden wire, so that the water bottles can still go there. I have placed acrylic over the door, but if I need to take it off because too hot, I will put a second layer of wire on the outside. I have done all this because we have had a big problem with rats getting into the house. If you can put your thumb through a space, a juvenile rat can get in. Really. They can get through impossibly small spaces. I will take a photo of how I have done it. I am actually shocked that hutches with far bigger holes than this are sold at all. The ones of this type that I have seen are undoubtedly not rat-proof.
 

KHBz

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This is where the water bottles go. The hutch I have is considerably smaller than yours so there is less wire to contend with. I know it isn't elegant and it is a fiddle to position the water bottles, but I'm not chancing it where rats are concerned. It is firmly in place. Initially I only had the wire woven in multiple times at the top but have now also done so down both sides (marginally more discrete) as it was beginning to bow out with all the taking in and out of the water bottles.

water bottle.jpg

This is what it looks like when the second layer is attached to the outside of the frame - thus a double layer with a gap in the middle.. Again, it would be more attractive without and easier to see them. But again, I'm not taking the risk.
run.jpg

Because of all the modifications I have made to the hutch, I had to make a new cover for the run. This, therefore, has the galvanised square mesh on its own. I'll weigh it down with bricks at all times because that lid is removable.
lid.jpg

Many might think this is OTT, but as soon as we acquired piggies and put them in the hutch outside, the rats we hadn't seen for ages were back.
My reasoning is, since I can get my thumb through the rectangle wire it's not worth the risk.
 

amy104

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Its unlikely that Rats will get through mesh of that size, whilst wildies are much more determined young pet rats would not get through that small a guage. But certainly double meshing is an excellent idea if you are worried.

A determined rat is more likely to chew through the wood but as long as you are feeding your piggies properly so that there is not food left about I think they will leave them alone.

The correx idea is great. Having some protection on the floor really helps prolonge the life of your hutch - some of mine are over 10 years old and still going strong thanks to lino protecting the floor.
 

KHBz

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A determined rat is more likely to chew through the wood but as long as you are feeding your piggies properly so that there is not food left about I think they will leave them alone.
Yes -- that was my other reasoning with the double mesh, space in between, around the run. With the wire attached firmly to the wood on the outside (in addition to the manufacturer's on the inside, which presumably would be to stop the piggies from chewing it), there is nothing exposed for the rats to chew at. The acrylic on the *outside* of the main door also stops that possibility. Seeing the rats outside again, I just need to be totally and utterly sure that there is no way at all into the piggy's fortress.
 

KHBz

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Yes -- that was my other reasoning with the double mesh, space in between, around the run. With the wire attached firmly to the wood on the outside (in addition to the manufacturer's on the inside, which presumably would be to stop the piggies from chewing it), there is nothing exposed for the rats to chew at. The acrylic on the *outside* of the main door also stops that possibility. Seeing the rats outside again, I just need to be totally and utterly sure that there is no way at all into the piggy's fortress.
Which makes me think, perhaps I should put another layer of mesh on the cover to the run, so that there is wire both sides …. ! I think I will. (Ok, so I am constant high alert.)

When we were blocking every single possible opening through which the rats could have been entering the house, the vermin-specialist who advised us said that the concrete had to be mixed with broken glass, to stop them getting through even that. They had eaten their way into the house, albeit only through plaster board and wood, and were making themselves very comfortable, nesting under the kitchen sink. I would have thought a hutch would be a lovely home.
 

amy104

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I can completely understand that. As an aside if you find the water bottle tricky have you thought about putting a holder inside the hutch? It also shades it a bit and stops it goes green so quickly from the sunlight.
 

KHBz

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I can completely understand that. As an aside if you find the water bottle tricky have you thought about putting a holder inside the hutch? It also shades it a bit and stops it goes green so quickly from the sunlight.
I periodically look on the web to see if there is a way to do this without extra space being taken up by a chunky wooden holder (all that I have found). The hutch, as it was, was just too small to have even the slightest bit of space taken away from the inside, but now that I have built an extension there is plenty of room for one. I also need to have one in the run itself. (The hutch has been in the shed over the winter, within a large C&C run, so I haven't needed to sort this out until now. We have only just begun, very gradually, to move them back outside.) Could you point me to what you use, please? That would be really helpful.
 

Lazw

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I periodically look on the web to see if there is a way to do this without extra space being taken up by a chunky wooden holder (all that I have found). The hutch, as it was, was just too small to have even the slightest bit of space taken away from the inside, but now that I have built an extension there is plenty of room for one. I also need to have one in the run itself. (The hutch has been in the shed over the winter, within a large C&C run, so I haven't needed to sort this out until now. We have only just begun, very gradually, to move them back outside.) Could you point me to what you use, please? That would be really helpful.
Hi there, my piggies are moving to a hutch soon and I didn't want to put the water bottle on the outside as I too will be doing my best to rat proof it when it arrives. I've attached a pic of the water bottle holder I've just received from eBay, it is a chunky wooden one but would be easy to attach inside a hutch with solid panel walls 15901682375598989634459413084241.jpg
 

KHBz

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Hi there, my piggies are moving to a hutch soon and I didn't want to put the water bottle on the outside as I too will be doing my best to rat proof it when it arrives. I've attached a pic of the water bottle holder I've just received from eBay, it is a chunky wooden one but would be easy to attach inside a hutch with solid panel walls View attachment 143205
Thank you very much for this! I still hadn't decided how to go about fixing a bottle to the wall and although I had seen these on ebay, I wasn't sure of the quality. Your photo shows it to be nicely made though, and so I went back to ebay, thinking I would get it after all … and these particular ones aren't there anymore! I would have thought that that seller will come back on with another batch so will keep checking. Thank you.
 
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