When it gets cold can I........?

Cala

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Very new to guinea pigs winter advice needed please....
I introduced myself a little while ago as an excited & nervous adopter of two Teddy Bear boys.
The boys, Sweetcorn & Tuna, seem to be settling in nicely & even let me tickle under their chins if I’m really lucky....Amazing how gratifying that feeling is!
Anyhow, Winter is fast approaching and I have to admit I’m getting nervous.... at the moment our set up is 5ft Chartwell hutch inside a 6x8ft playhouse. The boys have an outdoor run which at the moment I facilitate their access too. They have mastered the art of climbing into their cat carrier for transportation!
Anyhow, every morning & every night they are ‘transported‘ the 6 inches via cat carrier into their hutch for safe keeping. (They’ve only be going in the outdoor run when it’s not too damp or cold)
Long story even longer....
I just got the boys a ramp which I hope will allow them a bit more freedom so that in the daytime they can choose to access both playhouse floor & hutch. In their hutch they have two Hop Inn hideouts and lots of hay. This hay will increase as the days get colder & I have four snuggle safe heat pads (will probably get more) to keep in their hutch & playhouse hideouts. The playhouse will be insulated before the real cold weather starts but is it ok to allow the guinea pigs to roam about from hutch to playhouse floor?
Will the temperature fluctuations be too much?
Attached is a pic of our set up & new ramp.
Any advice is gratefully received.
Thanks 😊
 

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Piggies&buns

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My boys have a hutch in a shed (in winter loads of hay and snugglesafes etc). They are allowed free daytime access between hutch and shed floor pretty much year round (definitely locked in hutch at night during the winter, although they do sometimes have free access during very warm summer nights) . There were only a few days in the whole of last winter when it was too cold and they didn’t get let out of the hutch. The vast majority of the time the hutch door was open and they had the choice to come out whenever they want and If it felt too cold for them in the shed, then they would take themselves back into bed!
 

Cala

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My boys have a hutch in a shed (in winter loads of hay and snugglesafes etc). They are allowed free daytime access between hutch and shed floor pretty much year round (definitely locked in hutch at night during the winter, although they do sometimes have free access during very warm summer nights) . There were only a few days in the whole of last winter when it was too cold and they didn’t get let out of the hutch. The vast majority of the time the hutch door was open and they had the choice to come out whenever they want and If it felt too cold for them in the shed, then they would take themselves back into bed!
Thank you...that’s made me feel a whole lot better!
Is your shed heated at all?
🙏
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you...that’s made me feel a whole lot better!
Is your shed heated at all?
🙏
Sadly the current one is not heated but luckily though it is south facing so even on the coldest winter days and with even the tiniest bit of sunshine (a 2-3 degree sunny day can mean my shed is 20 degrees in mid winter and then doesn’t drop below 12 degrees overnight even if it’s freezing outside) , it stays warm and the warmth is held within there nicely. I don’t think I’d get away ŵith it otherwise and they’d have to come indoors throughout winter. (I was supposed to get a new shed this summer which was planned to be better insulated and i was slowly talking hubby into taking electric down there but Coronavirus disrupted all my plans so ive now got to wait until next spring 😞)
 
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Cala

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Sadly the current one is not heated but luckily though it is south facing so even on the coldest winter days and with even the tiniest bit of sunshine (a 2-3 degree sunny day can mean my shed is 20 degrees in mid winter and then doesn’t drop below 12 degrees overnight even if it’s freezing outside) , it stays warm and the warmth is held within there nicely. I don’t think I’d get away ŵith it otherwise and they’d have to come indoors throughout winter. (I was supposed to get a new shed this summer which was planned to be better insulated and i was slowly talking hubby into taking electric down there but Coronavirus disrupted all my plans so ive now for go wait until best spring 😞)
Wow! What a lovely warm shed.
My temperature has already been down to 10 degrees....I really must insulate.
I was looking at c&c set ups just incase.
Thanks for your help & I hope you get your lovely new shed soon. Sounds like your Guinea Pigs are going to be toastie anyhow this winter.
 

Piggies&buns

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Wow! What a lovely warm shed.
My temperature has already been down to 10 degrees....I really must insulate.
I was looking at c&c set ups just incase.
Thanks for your help & I hope you get your lovely new shed soon. Sounds like your Guinea Pigs are going to be toastie anyhow this winter.
I always have a plan b for bringing them indoors. I have c&c grids, plastic sheeting at the ready to bring them inside should I not be able to keep them warm. I also use those grids in summer when it is too hot to keep them in the shed (it hit a whopping 41 degrees in the shed this summer which is where the fact it’s south facing comes back to bite me!)
 

Cala

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I always have a plan b for bringing them indoors. I have c&c grids, plastic sheeting at the ready to bring them inside should I not be able to keep them warm. I also use those grids in summer when it is too hot to keep them in the shed (it hit a whopping 41 degrees in the shed this summer which is where the fact it’s south facing comes back to bite me!)
Seriously hot 🥵!
I’ve got all that to come...
plastic sheeting is now on my radar...thank you.
There is SO much to think about. 🙀
 

Giddy2020

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Hi I’m a new piggie owner. Had them since mid June and they are currently in an outdoor hutch which I'm now packing more with hay and I’ve given them a snuggle sack sleep in with plenty of hay piles and a couple of other hides around the hutch again with lots of hay to keep them warm. There is a hutch cover on as well but I’m starting to worry as it’s getting colder by the day here in Scotland! I am planning to move them into our garage over the next week and just wanted some info on how to keep them warm as the weather gets colder. Our garage is not heated so I'm looking for an insulated cover unless you have any other advice on how to keep them snug. Ive lots of vet bed which I'm wondering may be a good thing to use? I’ve ordered a couple of snuggle safe pads. What temperature do they ideally need to be kept in? I’m going to invest in a thermometer as well. Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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I think the ideal range is 15-22c. Be careful with using vet bee that it dries properly in colder times.
 

Cala

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Hi I’m a new piggie owner. Had them since mid June and they are currently in an outdoor hutch which I'm now packing more with hay and I’ve given them a snuggle sack sleep in with plenty of hay piles and a couple of other hides around the hutch again with lots of hay to keep them warm. There is a hutch cover on as well but I’m starting to worry as it’s getting colder by the day here in Scotland! I am planning to move them into our garage over the next week and just wanted some info on how to keep them warm as the weather gets colder. Our garage is not heated so I'm looking for an insulated cover unless you have any other advice on how to keep them snug. Ive lots of vet bed which I'm wondering may be a good thing to use? I’ve ordered a couple of snuggle safe pads. What temperature do they ideally need to be kept in? I’m going to invest in a thermometer as well. Thanks in advance for any advice!
There are some really helpful threads on this forum about housing & guinea pig care. I’m going to get some blankets & a duvet to wrap around & on top of my hutches insulated cover.
Guess condensation & damp needs to be monitored really carefully.
I’m learning too!
Good luck with winter planning.
 

Piggies&buns

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Hi I’m a new piggie owner. Had them since mid June and they are currently in an outdoor hutch which I'm now packing more with hay and I’ve given them a snuggle sack sleep in with plenty of hay piles and a couple of other hides around the hutch again with lots of hay to keep them warm. There is a hutch cover on as well but I’m starting to worry as it’s getting colder by the day here in Scotland! I am planning to move them into our garage over the next week and just wanted some info on how to keep them warm as the weather gets colder. Our garage is not heated so I'm looking for an insulated cover unless you have any other advice on how to keep them snug. Ive lots of vet bed which I'm wondering may be a good thing to use? I’ve ordered a couple of snuggle safe pads. What temperature do they ideally need to be kept in? I’m going to invest in a thermometer as well. Thanks in advance for any advice!
Having any kind of fabric as bedding with outdoor piggies in winter usually doesn’t work as it tends to remain damp and not be able to dry properly. You are better off using puppy pads, lots of hay and heat pads. Cardboard boxes stuffed with hay and then with a heat pad popped underneath are useful as they tend to be quite insulating. A thermal hutch cover or insulating the hutch is essential - wrapping the hutch with some bubble wrap, foil insulation - and ensuring the hutch is out to damp and wind will help.
Mine do get fleece tunnels for over night during winter but they are removed and dried each morning before being given to them again the next night

And yes, as @Cala has said, ensuring ventilation is important
 

Giddy2020

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I think the ideal range is 15-22c. Be careful with using vet bee that it dries properly in colder times.
Thank you hadn’t thought of that. Do you think maybe stick to the shavings and hay but alternate a bit of vet bed in the bedroom area? Any other suggestions of floor coverings?
 

Giddy2020

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Having any kind of fabric as bedding with outdoor piggies in winter usually doesn’t work as it tends to remain damp and not be able to dry properly. You are better off using puppy pads, lots of hay and heat pads. Cardboard boxes stuffed with hay and then with a heat pad popped underneath are useful as they tend to be quite insulating. A thermal hutch cover or insulating the hutch is essential - wrapping the hutch with some bubble wrap, foil insulation - and ensuring the hutch is out to damp and wind will help.
Mine do get fleece tunnels for over night during winter but they are removed and dried each morning before being given to them again the next night

And yes, as @Cala has said, ensuring ventilation is important
Thank you. I’ve been taking the snuggle sacks out in the morning and drying them for the next night. I’ll ditch the vet bed idea and stick with puppy pads and shavings(?) and hay. The garage is going to help with the elements but I’m still concerned about the cold. Do you buy special cardboard boxes for them or just use what you have? Also any recommendation on insulated covers and where to source them? I have seen the scratch and newton but my hutch size is very different
 

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As mentioned above you could use puppy pads and hay. Newspapers is another one you can use on the base.
 

Piggies&buns

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Thank you. I’ve been taking the snuggle sacks out in the morning and drying them for the next night. I’ll ditch the vet bed idea and stick with puppy pads and shavings(?) and hay. The garage is going to help with the elements but I’m still concerned about the cold. Do you buy special cardboard boxes for them or just use what you have? Also any recommendation on insulated covers and where to source them? I have seen the scratch and newton but my hutch size is very different
I don’t use shavings at all. Just puppy pads and hay. I do occasionally put back2nature litter in high traffic areas though.

Just normal cardboard boxes are fine.

I was looking into getting a new Scratch and newton thermal cover for one of my rabbit hutches and the piggy hutch (piggies had a thermal cover on their old hutch but we’ve had a big hutch swap and now they’ve got a new hutch so need a new cover) . My hutches aren’t standard size either but if you look on scratch and newton website directly they do customised sizes for both thermal and waterproof covers (I don’t have waterproof covers for my piggies because they live permanently in a shed). It was £90 per cover for a custom thermal and takes a month to arrive. I decided to make one myself (given I’ve left it a bit late and a month is a long time to wait at this time of year) using the foil insulation (foil covered bubble wrap).
so in the piggy hutch I have loads of hay, heat pads and fleece hideouts but if I do have cardboard boxes I pop one in as well and stuff it with hay. I then have the thermal cover on the hutch and then throw over blankets and an old duvet as well. This has always been enough to keep them warm.
 

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I insulated my outdoor rabbit hutch by getting polystyrene tiles and lightly gluing them on around the back and the sides of the hutch. Then I wrapped the whole thing in insulating foil (from the DIY store) which i held in place with fencing staples. It is undercover so didn't need to be waterproof - just wind proof and draft free.
The best cardboard boxes to use are the thicker corrugated cardboard ones rather than a single layer cardboard. Wine boxes are usually pretty good :whistle:
 
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