Winter For Outdoor Guinea Pigs

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hoffy1971

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Hi

I'm a new guinea pig owner, having gotten a pair of boy pigs over the lovely warm summer, but am now apprehensive about winter, as we want to keep them as 'outdoor pigs'. So after some tips about keeping them a good temperature when it gets really cold.

They are in a double story hutch in the garden - we don't have a shed and our garage has no windows so I don't want to put the hutch in there. We have lined the bedroom with VetBed and have bought Snuggle Safes for when it really dips. Their hutch has a waterproof cover.

In particular I'm thinking about added insulation and bedding to keep in the heat. Many on here say lots of hay, except my pigs would eat it straightaway if past behaviour is anything to go by! Are there suitable cloths/wadding or something material to use as bedding that is recommended?

Also, in terms of insulating the hutch itself, any recommendations, beyond the waterproof cover?

Thanks for any suggestions
 

Lady Kelly

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I don't know what hutch you have but I have the scratch and newton insulating cover and the waterproof hutch hugger on top of that. The plus side with the insulation layer is it keeps the hutch a reasonable temperature in the summer too and comes with a removable fly screen. Plenty of hay, if your boys are eating it all then more than you have been doing lol. Also I have the snuggle pads which I heat up around 9-10pm or sometimes later to keep them going (I put these in the bedding area's so that they stay in the warmest part with all the hay as well.

Forgot to say I generally go through twice as much hay in the colder months than I do in summer.
 

hoffy1971

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I don't know what hutch you have but I have the scratch and newton insulating cover and the waterproof hutch hugger on top of that. The plus side with the insulation layer is it keeps the hutch a reasonable temperature in the summer too and comes with a removable fly screen. Plenty of hay, if your boys are eating it all then more than you have been doing lol. Also I have the snuggle pads which I heat up around 9-10pm or sometimes later to keep them going (I put these in the bedding area's so that they stay in the warmest part with all the hay as well.

Forgot to say I generally go through twice as much hay in the colder months than I do in summer.
Thanks!
 

theoretikos

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It will also depend on where you live too. I wouldn't advise outdoors without a heated shed in Scotland! It's already too cold up here :)
 

hoffy1971

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Fortunately (from that point of view) in sunny, sheltered Essex. But still...
 

Kiara

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If i put any piggles out i always stuff there hay in the bedding aria right to the top to keep them warm and feeling safe also putting the hutch against walls or in the best aria you can find to stop wind or drafts blowing into the cage a corner is usually good i find also makeing sure the veg i feed them is out of the house so its not at a cold temprature.
 

Jojessgaz

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I'm in the very same boat except I live a little further up Liverpool way, I have a thermometer both showing the outside temp and inside the
hutch to compare, I have also put over the hutch a portable greenhouse with cover to help keep the rain and wind off a little more, the temp
is normally another 8deg f warmer in the hutch, I tried a double duvet over them one night but didn't seem to make any difference in the
temp comparison ? but will do it again when its colder, blanket over the front at night with just a small gap for ventilation and I have snuggle pads, I am actually thinking if my hubby doesn't give in soon and allow them in the house I am thinking of putting them in the garage just at night to keep the frost ( and hopefully not snow ) off and like you I have no light so was going to put them back outside in the day in their hutch..... does anyone see an issue with that ?
 

Kiara

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Not really jo Though like you I cant stand the idea of piggies outside I recently took in a lot of piggies but because they where left outside year round the owner said she had deaths every winter and my first piggy domino died in winter no matter how hard I tried to keep him indoors and cuddle him all day and no matter how much hay I used he got cold and its the one thing that made me hate my mother was that he died because she wouldn't let him inside for a week.
Sorry I got emotional there hope that does not make you worry.
 

Jojessgaz

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Not really jo Though like you I cant stand the idea of piggies outside I recently took in a lot of piggies but because they where left outside year round the owner said she had deaths every winter and my first piggy domino died in winter no matter how hard I tried to keep him indoors and cuddle him all day and no matter how much hay I used he got cold and its the one thing that made me hate my mother was that he died because she wouldn't let him inside for a week.
Sorry I got emotional there hope that does not make you worry.
do you know what though Kiara it has made me feel i can fall out with my hubby more than feel that i didn't do all i could to get them in the house ! was it a particular bad winter ? my daughter is only 7 and would not forgive me if anything happened to them but my hubby is so anti pets that he just says they are guinea pigs that live outside with big coats on, they will be fine ! maybe he should try in sometime ! :td:
 

hoffy1971

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Not really jo Though like you I cant stand the idea of piggies outside I recently took in a lot of piggies but because they where left outside year round the owner said she had deaths every winter and my first piggy domino died in winter no matter how hard I tried to keep him indoors and cuddle him all day and no matter how much hay I used he got cold and its the one thing that made me hate my mother was that he died because she wouldn't let him inside for a week.
Sorry I got emotional there hope that does not make you worry.
Thanks for sharing, Kiara. I must admit it has concerned me more and more, despite the fact the Guinea Pigs were not my idea - they've quite gotten under my skin! I've got a sheltered part of the garden and have stuffed the bedroom with hay, as well as the VetBed and cover. Will investigate additional insulation this weekend!
 

*kate*

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Personally, I would put them in the garage despite not having any windows in there. At least you could then put a heater in there during the coldest weather.
 

Lady Kelly

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Mine have been outside for 3 and a half years all year round now without any problems. Though that said our garden is sheltered and we are in the middle of the land (and rather protected from snow by the peaks just above us). Before I had the insulating layer of the hutch cover we did use some insulation board attached to the top of the hutch. My pigs seem to struggle more when its hot than the winter (they now have ice pods etc for summer use and snuggle safes for the winter)
 
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