Outdoor shelter in winter

Giggle Piggle

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I’m new to owning guinea pigs and would be grateful for some advice.

My piggies live outside in a well insulated hutch (insulated 50mm Kingspan boards) They have heat pads for the cooler nights and plenty of fleece bedding which will be supplemented by lots of hay as it gets colder.
I’ve read that piggies should live in a temp range of 15 - 23C. Overnight temps are already below that but they seem fine with the above mentioned bedding.
I’d very much appreciate comments from experienced owners who keep their piggies outdoors during the winter as to how low they allow it to get before taking measures to bring them indoors. Many thanks.
 

Siikibam

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I think most don’t use fleece during the colder periods because it won’t dry as well. And they also have a thermometer in there. But I’m not entirely sure how low the temperature has to drop to bring them in. I guess if you can’t keep them very warm.
 

Lady Kelly

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I stopped using fleece as I just found that, even in summer, it seemed to absorb all the moisture in the air and always felt damp so I personally didn't get on with it as a bedding. I keep my hutch in a very sheltered part of the garden, I have insulating and weatherproof covers, hay, hay and more hay, fleece cosies (because they can be swapped out more easily), and snugglesafes. If we get a particularly bad spell I can move them into our garage but moving them into the home isn't an option for me
 

Piggies&buns

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Do you have a thermometer on the hutch itself so you can see the temperature within the hutch?

Mine live permanently in my shed (they have a hutch in there). I would not recommend having fleece in the hutch in winter. I use it in summer but being within the shed I don’t find any problems with fleece during the summer months. In winter though I use fleece tunnels and cosies and they are changed/washed/dried every day. They have a thick layer of hay, snugglesafe heat pads, blankets over the hutch and a thermal hutch cover (I obviously don’t need waterproof covers as they aren’t exposed to wind and rain). Luckily for me the shed provides a lot of protection and it barely gets below 10 degrees in there (it usually remains around 5 degrees warmer in the shed than outside) if I found I couldn’t keep the shed at that temperature then I’d bring them indoors.
 

Piggylove82

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My pigs are in a double storey outdoor hutch. 20mm log lap walls and solid doors, 6 inch legs so it's well off the ground and I have perspex windows that I put in to cover the mesh windows when it's cold, or very windy or rainy. I have thermometers on each floor to see the temperature and humidity. The floors are heavy duty plastic and have a good covering of wood shavings. They have an enclosed bedroom section with plenty of hay, although they often choose to lay in a log tunnel with a layer of hay, or in their carrot cottage, again with a layer of hay. They have fleece open pet beds and I put their snuggle safes under them when it's very cold, like in single figures. I heat them for overnight and then again the next day, morning and mid afternoon when it's very cold. Water bottles have thermal covers to stop the water from freezing. I have never brought my pigs in the house, shed, or garage. My three pigs are all in good health, two have long hair, and they are around 18 months old.
 

eileen

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i use aubiose/bliss bedding in the colder months,vet bed/fleece in some areas in the warmer weather.stuff hay everywhere.use heat pods in weather below 5 degrees.it takes alittle more effort but can be done !
 

Giggle Piggle

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Do you have a thermometer on the hutch itself so you can see the temperature within the hutch?

Mine live permanently in my shed (they have a hutch in there). I would not recommend having fleece in the hutch in winter. I use it in summer but being within the shed I don’t find any problems with fleece during the summer months. In winter though I use fleece tunnels and cosies and they are changed/washed/dried every day. They have a thick layer of hay, snugglesafe heat pads, blankets over the hutch and a thermal hutch cover (I obviously don’t need waterproof covers as they aren’t exposed to wind and rain). Luckily for me the shed provides a lot of protection and it barely gets below 10 degrees in there (it usually remains around 5 degrees warmer in the shed than outside) if I found I couldn’t keep the shed at that temperature then I’d bring them indoors.
Thanks for all the comments and advice. I do have a thermometer in the hutch so have been able to keep a watchful eye on how cool it gets.

I am also considering a low wattage tubular heater which will be positioned high on the wall within the hutch so that they can’t reach it.
 

Piggies&buns

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Thanks for all the comments and advice. I do have a thermometer in the hutch so have been able to keep a watchful eye on how cool it gets.

I am also considering a low wattage tubular heater which will be positioned high on the wall within the hutch so that they can’t reach it.
I personally use microwaveable snugglesafe heat pads as they are entirely rodent safe as there is no risk of any injury, cable chewing etc.
 

Piggylove82

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I personally use microwaveable snugglesafe heat pads as they are entirely rodent safe as there is no risk of any injury, cable chewing etc.
The other benefit with the snugglepads is that a pig can CHOOSE whether or not they want to use it. Some of mine have prefered to lay in a pile of hay than sit on a snugglepad. Also, some have refused to move from a now cold snugglepad when I need to remove it and reheat it! 🙄
 

Piggies&buns

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:agr: Yes!

I put mine under some hideys but also under some hay. They then have the option to either be in a hidey with a heat pad or one without
 

amy104

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If you have access to electricity I prefer Flexiguard Heatpads over tubular heaters. They are cheaper to run, I'm less paranoid about the fire risk, and they can choose whether they use them or not. Make sure to buy the version with the fully metal cord as its then completely chew proof.
 
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