UK weather change: Time to bring your piggies indoors/under cover for the winter NOW!

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
74,241
Reaction score
49,171
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
With temperatures plummeting and some very cold nights in the offing, please bring your piggies indoors/under cover now or start insulating any shed and hutches in order to prevent illnesses relating to cold or a lowered immune system.

Guinea pigs are NOT hardy and need to be treated like tender plants.

Here are plenty of tips if you need practical help: Cold Weather Care For Guinea Pigs
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
We decided to bring our guinea pigs in two weeks ago now. However they seem a bit lethargic and I'm not sure if it's too hot for them at times. We have had the heating on occasionally but I always turn it off when I think it's a bit too warm and open a window. I'm sure they were much more energetic outside. Also we have recently started giving 50mg of Vitamin C, I'm not sure if they seem lethargic after this or the heat.
Many thanks,
Tara
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
9,677
Reaction score
11,700
Points
1,925
Location
Cambridgeshire
We decided to bring our guinea pigs in two weeks ago now. However they seem a bit lethargic and I'm not sure if it's too hot for them at times. We have had the heating on occasionally but I always turn it off when I think it's a bit too warm and open a window. I'm sure they were much more energetic outside. Also we have recently started giving 50mg of Vitamin C, I'm not sure if they seem lethargic after this or the heat.
Many thanks,
Tara

what temperature is the room?

you don’t need to give additional vitamin c (unless they are ill). They get all the vit c they need via hay, grass and veg. giving additional Vit c when there isn’t a need can be waste of money because excess Vit c is excreted in the urine but also because consistently giving extra vitamin c means that their bodies get used to it and then if levels drop below that which they become accustomed to, you can actually cause health issues (Even if the levels are considered within the normal range for a piggy not being given extra Vit c).
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
I've just been reading a lot of things online that suggest guinea pigs need extra vitamin C and have noticed that mine do not eat lot of vegetables. This may be because they're fairly young and it may take time to make that adjustment from grass to veg. They do have their favourites like carrots, melon and sweetcorn and will always eat these (not staples) but aren't very keen on staple food such as Romain lettuce and parsley which should make up the bulk of their diet. Sometimes they barely eat their hay also. This may be because they're used to having a large portion of grass brought to them daily and since we've reduced it (in order to encourage them to eat their hay which hasn't worked) They might have an odd stand here and there. They look healthy though.
and I'm not sure of the exact temperature of the room I need to purchase a thermometer, but it's standard room temperature I'd say 20 degrees. but perhaps it's more humid than they're used too as they're used to a cool breeze.
Many thanks,
Tara
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
9,677
Reaction score
11,700
Points
1,925
Location
Cambridgeshire
I've just been reading a lot of things online that suggest guinea pigs need extra vitamin C and have noticed that mine do not eat lot of vegetables. This may be because they're fairly young and it may take time to make that adjustment from grass to veg. They do have their favourites like carrots, melon and sweetcorn and will always eat these (not staples) but aren't very keen on staple food such as Romain lettuce and parsley which should make up the bulk of their diet. Sometimes they barely eat their hay also. This may be because they're used to having a large portion of grass brought to them daily and since we've reduced it (in order to encourage them to eat their hay which hasn't worked) They might have an odd stand here and there. They look healthy though.
and I'm not sure of the exact temperature of the room I need to purchase a thermometer, but it's standard room temperature I'd say 20 degrees. but perhaps it's more humid than they're used too as they're used to a cool breeze.
Many thanks,
Tara
They do need vitamin c but it comes from hay and grass with a Vit c rich veg added such as coriander or bell pepper. Their pellets also contain vitamin c, so they don’t need extra Vit c given by way of supplements on top of a normal diet.

The bulk of their diet needs to be hay and grass not lettuce and parsley, so if they will eat grass then that is great! the issue is not being able to provide enough grass once it gets to winter hence why they need hay.

Veg should only be 50 grams per day and pellets about 5g per day. Veg and pellets are merely snacks And not a meal. Parsley should not be considered as a bulk food - it’s too high in calcium and should be fed very sparingly, not more than once per week. Too much calcium can lead to bladder problems. Melon, carrots and sweetcorn are incredibly sweet and too high in sugar to form any part of their diet - consider them as a very occasional treat so they will favour them due to their nicer flavour.

it could be humidity. A thermometer is a good idea, just to be sure but if you are comfortable then they are likely to be too. Do you have fleece items in their cage such as fleece tunnels and hides? i find that If I leave mine with their cosy items during the day then they do tend to be much more lazy - I remove such items during the day to make sure they don’t sit about and are instead getting some exercise. They do tend to be more active during dusk and dawn though so it may be that you are just more aware of their movements (of lack thereof!) now youve moved them indoors
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
Thank you and yes we recently switched to fleece 4 days ago for the first time! so fleece is everywhere, the floor, hides, snuggle cups etc. and I think I'm probably more aware how lazy they are since they've moved inside. They do popcorn a lot and run around occasionally but not to the extent I remember when they were outside, although I'm sure if they were outside in the rain they would be exercising much less! They do go mad for grass and until recently it was the bulk of their diet. My partner has been saying they shouldn't be eating the amount of grass they're eating and instead should have hay, which they barely eat in comparison. (Probably because he needs to go out a few times a day to pick big bags of grass) I can't see how hay would be much better for them apart from it grinding down their teeth especially as they have been reared on grass since birth(well 3 of them have) it seems a bit unfair to take it away because it's supposedly "bad for them".
 

Piggies&buns

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Aug 2, 2018
Messages
9,677
Reaction score
11,700
Points
1,925
Location
Cambridgeshire
Thank you and yes we recently switched to fleece 4 days ago for the first time! so fleece is everywhere, the floor, hides, snuggle cups etc. and I think I'm probably more aware how lazy they are since they've moved inside. They do popcorn a lot and run around occasionally but not to the extent I remember when they were outside, although I'm sure if they were outside in the rain they would be exercising much less! They do go mad for grass and until recently it was the bulk of their diet. My partner has been saying they shouldn't be eating the amount of grass they're eating and instead should have hay, which they barely eat in comparison. (Probably because he needs to go out a few times a day to pick big bags of grass) I can't see how hay would be much better for them apart from it grinding down their teeth especially as they have been reared on grass since birth(well 3 of them have) it seems a bit unfair to take it away because it's supposedly "bad for them".
Grass doesn’t need to be taken away - it isn’t bad for them - it’s the perfect food for the,. it also wears down their teeth just as hay does. Provide as much grass as you always have done if you can alongside giving them hay. The issue is giving them enough grass, particularly once winter hits and it doesnt grow as much which is why hay is also provided.
its veg which needs to be limited not grass
 

Siikibam

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
11,370
Reaction score
13,767
Points
2,125
Location
Home
How is their weight, and how old are they?
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
Okay thank you, they will continue having their grass! Luckily we live close to a meadow with an endless supply of fresh grass. It's just worrying how they don't eat much hay even when grass is reduced if we were to go away for a week I can't garentee the person looking after them would go out picking large bags of grass! This might explain why they have been a bit more lethargic than usual. There are some websites that he's looked at that state hay is much better than grass. There's alot of misinformation out there. Thank you for your help!
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
How is their weight, and how old are they?
3 are 5 weeks old, were 4 weeks when purchased from a farm and two are very big for their age (smaller litter) and have been reared on grass, very healthy looking. the 3rd farm litter I wouldn't say she's unhealthy but appears much smaller than the other two, she's also short haired and the other two are teddies and feel quite fat on the bellies..
My other two girls are 15 weeks old and one of them has just come into heat yesterday. They were from pets at home when they were 8 weeks old and I would say the size difference between the 5 weeks and the 14 weeks isn't dramatic although it's noticeable I've always felt that they were small for their age but never looked unhealthy.
Thanks, Tara
 

YvonneBlue

Rescue Buddy
Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Dec 14, 2017
Messages
2,618
Reaction score
4,183
Points
1,225
Location
Manchester
With temperatures plummeting and some very cold nights in the offing, please bring your piggies indoors/under cover now or start insulating any shed and hutches in order to prevent illnesses relating to cold or a lowered immune system.

Guinea pigs are NOT hardy and need to be treated like tender plants.

Here are plenty of tips if you need practical help: Cold Weather Care For Guinea Pigs
Hi @Wiebke, great information for those with outdoor piggies. Is there any chance something about bringing piggies indoors could be shared on the GPF Facebook page as I would like to share this information more widely.x
 

Siikibam

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
11,370
Reaction score
13,767
Points
2,125
Location
Home
Some are just small but the important thing is their heft - because there’s no ‘right’ weight for piggies as a group. How much did they weigh last week and have they put on weight?

PS try a different type of hay. Yes, they can be picky 🙄
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
Will do and I will try and weigh them later on or tomorrow and let you know. I haven't been concerned to the point that I'm weighing them as they look healthy but it will be good to know if they're considered over/under. Many thanks,
Tara
 

Siikibam

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Jul 31, 2017
Messages
11,370
Reaction score
13,767
Points
2,125
Location
Home
Will do and I will try and weigh them later on or tomorrow and let you know. I haven't been concerned to the point that I'm weighing them as they look healthy but it will be good to know if they're considered over/under. Many thanks,
Tara
You should be weighing them weekly as part of lifelong regular health check. If you do become worried then you weigh them daily. Sometimes it may not show in behaviour immediately as they're born to hide illnesses.
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
You should be weighing them weekly as part of lifelong regular health check. If you do become worried then you weigh them daily. Sometimes it may not show in behaviour immediately as they're born to hide illnesses.
Will do from now on!
 

flowerfairy

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Jul 17, 2013
Messages
4,861
Reaction score
4,910
Points
1,200
Location
Hampshire
Great reminder re cold weather. Mine are currently in an insulated shed but I am hoping to bring them indoors in the next few days as having them outside has been too stressful for me!
 

Tara95

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
162
Reaction score
91
Points
225
Location
peterborough
Some are just small but the important thing is their heft - because there’s no ‘right’ weight for piggies as a group. How much did they weigh last week and have they put on weight?

PS try a different type of hay. Yes, they can be picky 🙄
Like I said I will weigh them tomorrow, this is the only decent picture I have of them as a herd and there's not a dramatic difference at the time the black and cream teddy and the white guinea pig were 5 and a half weeks old. Whilst the other two females are nearly 16 weeks old. I would expect more of a difference. Thanks 👍
 

Attachments

Qualcast&Flymo

Forum Donator 2020/21
Joined
Jun 7, 2017
Messages
2,668
Reaction score
4,859
Points
1,225
Location
Solihull, West Midlands, UK
Great reminder re cold weather. Mine are currently in an insulated shed but I am hoping to bring them indoors in the next few days as having them outside has been too stressful for me!
:agr:
I wish I could have mine indoors as they used to be, I don't really enjoy going out after dark in the cold to give them their veggies and 'tuck them in'.
Their hutch is keeping to about 15° during the day at the moment, I'm hoping to get the outbuilding insulated very soon to keep it warmer for them, but I'd still rather they were indoors.
 
Top