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Some Piggies Are Very Pampered, But This Is A Tad Over The Top...

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Ruby Inferno

Teenage Guinea Pig
Sep 18, 2014
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England, UK
There's another guinea pig forum I sometimes read which I will not name but some of you may guess which one I am talking about. Anyway, everyone there is absolutely against outdoor housing and they all seem to think piggies should never live outdoors no matter where you live or what the weather is like, and neither should rabbits. I really don't think that's right. Rabbits, for example, need a huge amount of space which most people can only really provide in their garden. The RSPCA minimum standards are a 6x2 ft hutch or cage (180 cm by 60), attached to an 8x4 ft run (240 cm by 120). Not many people can provide all of that indoors.

I suppose I can sort of understand why they would think that? As it's an American forum, most of the members are from the US, and the temperature fluctuates much more there than it does here in the UK, so that may not be the best place to house piggies outdoors all year round. In November I went to New York and I can't tell you how cold it was, definitely not the sort of temperature for a hutch outside without ample insulation. Also, I've noticed American houses tend to be much more spacious as the whole of America is very big and there is more land, so they might not realise some people can actually have tiny houses and therefore not enough space for piggy or rabbit accomodation.

Everyone there also thinks if it gets a little colder at night, the hutch also gets colder even if it's an insulated warm hutch that you close up while it's still daytime, and predators can apparently get in hutches even if you padlock the doors. Lots of logic there. Personally I barricade my hutch every night using a bench and a couple of chairs, also the hutch has a waterproof cover, and it's in a sheltered area of my garden right by the windows and the back door in a place where cats and foxes are always too scared to go.

They're obviously trying to do what they believe is right for the piggies, which is fine, but it's a bit of an overreaction in my opinion. I don't think they realise piggies aren't as fragile as they may seem!

If I joined the forum and posted about the outdoor hutch my boars live in, I wonder what sort of reactions I would get. I'm so terrible, haha. :))
Interesting topic :) I guess it does depend on locality as to attitudes to housing and weather, you raised some excellent points there.. I never thought about the house size in the UK before too, a lot of people in the UK for sure do struggle to fit cages in there homes especially bigger ones as houses are so much smaller here it seems than what you often see in the US and abroad.

People who have there piggies outdoors love them as much as those who have them out, it is different strokes for different folks

Some forum's can be a little too preachy too... but that is the nature of the internet for you. Overall we normally get the balance right here I hope most of the time :)
Coming from Canada, I had to say that I was surprised when I found out so many pigs live outdoors on the forum! It's simply because my 'norm' is our temperature here, which would be fatal to guinea pigs for much of the year. We've had several humans freeze to death in my area this winter (including a small child who wandered out at night when his family was asleep.) Not much that didn't evolve to live in this climate would survive in this climate outside all year, and certainly not something that was bred as a pet. The climate of other places is often not much discussed and is definitely not taught in school or anything like that. I was honestly surprised to hear that the climate in Britain is moderate enough to keep small animals outdoors, simply because I thought you were more similar to us in terms of climate (again, geography is not my strong suit, and my impression of UK weather trends was largely based on the fact that sometimes it snows at Hogwarts in Harry Potter movies. But I'm betting that most people are equally ignorant in other places about the climate in other parts of the world and are making the kind of sweeping generalizations that I'm making- i.e. "Equator hot, other places cold at least part of the time.") So in short, I don't think people are necessarily meaning to be judgmental. We are just all defined by our own norms. Where I live (Ontario) we tend to have minimal moderate climate. We have about three months of the year where it's very hot (to the point where I sometimes have to keep the pigs in until evening because they could get heatstroke), about six or seven months where it is COLD (as in too cold for kids to go out for recess, so cold that it's -35 C with wind chill and your face hurts and the hair in your nostrils freeze if you're out for five minutes) and the rest of the time it is kind of moderate, but often raining or a big mess of mud due to the runoff from all the snow melting. It's not a climate conducive to keeping guinea pigs outdoors, and large parts of Canada and the US are similar in climate to where I am. Although I've been to places with different climates and know that they are out there, this is my 'norm' when I think of weather, and it's a hard habit to break, especially when talking to people who live in places that I've never even visited! Don't take it personally... we're just still all freezing in Canada and the Northern US right now!
Agreed, it's okay to have an opinion but some forums really do preach far too much and they won't even take time to consider other peoples' points of view.

Sometimes, especially in tropical countries, the weather is just too hot for outdoor housing unless you have some sort of reliable air conditioning system in your piggies' (or rabbits') shed or hutch. Some places can get up to 40 or even 50 celsius, in which case it's probably a better idea for them to be indoors. That doesn't mean outdoors is impossible though, you just have to put an absolute load of effort into taking plenty of measures to ensure their hutch/shed doesn't get too hot. Keep their hutch and/or shed out of the sun, have fans running during the day (maybe even during the night if it's severe), put ice cubes in their water bottles or bowls, give them one or two cool stone slabs to sit on if they're hot, etc... I mean, if it's really that hot it might be more hassle than it's worth and indoor housing is probably easier, but if it's the only option you can still do it.

And if it's freezing cold? Indoor housing is definitely going to be much simpler but you can still house them outdoors as long as you do it correctly. Insulate their hutch (putting their hutch inside an insulated shed is better though, maybe insulate both the hutch and the shed if the weather is really harsh), heat some snugglesafes, use thick bubblewrap to stop their water bottles freezing, give them plenty of bedding or hay to snuggle in.

Freela, that weather does sound very harsh and not really ideal for piggies to be out in all year round, but I'm sure if someone has enough insulation and heating in their shed they might manage, also if they have fans etc. during the summer. It would take a lot though to make it warm/cool enough in those temperature extremes, but if someone is really determined and has no space indoors then it's still possible. :)

And of course there is always the problem of predators. If you have some predators around that are extremely dangerous to piggies, it would be wise to simply have the hutches in a padlocked shed and have some sturdy, fine mesh on the windows so they can be on vent with no risk of anything getting in. Fly-proof nets are good for putting on windows too.

I personally think indoor housing is more ideal, but outdoors is perfectly all right as long as you are responsible about it. My problem with that forum is everyone says they can't live outdoors even if the temperature outside is actually fine and you might not even get any predators around.

Sorry if I've gone on a bit of a rant...
I admit mine only go out in the garden when I'm at home, and the temp is over 17c.
I wouldn't dare leave them outside in a hutch as you don't know what's lurking out there at night. I know people who have had pets taken at night by fox or someone has stolen them.
@BonBon2010 That's fine if you don't feel comfortable with housing them outdoors, but people on the forum I mentioned say things like "a hutch outdoors is no place for a rabbit or guinea pig" and believe no one should ever house them outdoors.
I have to say I 100% prefer indoor and think maybe the issue is not only weather but other things such as predators, level of interaction, thefts etc. For me personally, my guinea pigs are my pets and part of the family. Most people don't keep a dog or cat outside so why do it with piggies. Not saying it is wrong or people don't care but I genuinely am of the opinion the level of interaction and how much you get to know your pigs is greater if they are housed indoors in a family room. My lot live in the living room and I know to a t their routine at different times and what's normal and what's not. Just my opinion and I do not judge those who do differently and in fact know a lot of fabolous piggy owners who have them outside. I just like turning my head to the side and see what they are up to ( and I only like spending time in the garden when it's warm, light and sunny).

Edit: forgot to say sometimes the issue is dampness. UK weather seems to be very damp which is not great for pigs. I work in a rescue where all pigs are outside and even with daily clean outs they get quite damp in winter/ when it rains.
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Again, @MrsSuzy that is perfectly fine. It's your opinion, you are entitled to it and you also respect others' opinions. As you are from the US, it's probably easier for you to house them indoors because American houses are significantly more spacious than British ones.
Again, @MrsSuzy that is perfectly fine. It's your opinion, you are entitled to it and you also respect others' opinions. As you are from the US, it's probably easier for you to house them indoors because American houses are significantly more spacious than British ones.

I'm not from US, I live in Milton Keynes, UK :)
I do think, that some guinea pigs kept in outdoor hutches do seem more timid than indoor kept, due to not being in the same busy environment as a lounge or bedroom. How many of you admit to enjoying them being with you in the warmth and find yourselves holding them more? I know if the choice came between going out in the cold and spending time with piggy, or being indoors with them, a lot of people would say indoors is better. But, it's down to individual choice, you can't force anyone to choose indoors or outdoors, it's up to them.
Every piggy I've known that have been hutch kept, have been nervous of humans, and that's just down to the fact they don't get treated the same.
An indoors pet might be more pampered, but if they're fit, healthy and active. what is the problem?
It's true indoor piggies tend to get more interaction and I think indoor housing is usually preferable, but some people simply don't have the space, or some of their house members could be allergic to hay and/or the piggies' fur. And If they have no space indoors but plenty outdoors, the piggies could live in a huge hutch with a load of space which results in happy piggies. More room for popcorning!
I live in the UK and I live I'm the valleys where it is colder, and my group of 5 have wintered out so far, in rain, snow, sleet etc. However they have a large hutch, undercover run etc, and they have a flap that comes down over the barred door of their cage. Their run can also be closed off so all doors closed to keep them warm, and I have gone through hundred of pounds of hay. But they have been fine, no problems, illnesses etc :) obviously if we had 6ft of snow I would have moves them indoors, but they have been fine :) they are friendly, and 4 out of 5 of them come to me, one is quite timid. They always used to winter indoors but this year as they had a new marge hutch, they stayed out :)
I used to stuff my rabbits house to the top with hay in the winter, and he'd make a cosy nest in the middle. Excellent insulation, but needs to be topped up twice a day. Also a good layer of shavings underneath, just removing the poop and leaving the wee and topping up with fresh shavings allowed for the base to warm up providing extra warmth in the winter. Obviously I would do a full muck out once a fortnight. Still wouldn't leave my piggies out if i'm not there, or at night. They're too precious to me.
@Freela " my impression of UK weather trends was largely based on the fact that sometimes it snows at Hogwarts in Harry Potter movies" LOL! That was brilliant.
That really made me giggle too!

Though to be fair isn't Hogwarts supposed to be in Scotland or something? They technically do get a bit more snow up there!
That really made me giggle too!

Though to be fair isn't Hogwarts supposed to be in Scotland or something? They technically do get a bit more snow up there!
Haha. Nah, it's London. We don't have anywhere near such posh accents. Especially if your glaswegian, haha.
But don't they get the train from London? We need a Potter fan to clarify!
I'm a mega potter fan! (I hate the film's though) haha. it's all set in london, a few of the actor's are Scottish, like hagrid (the sexy one) lolz
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