Guinea Pig care and boarding in Worthing Sussex from Cavy Haven
   
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ACCOMMODATION

Guinea Pigs can live quite happily either indoors or out as long as they have adequate shelter from draughts and damp.

OUTDOORS

Outdoor housing for guinea pigs must provide protection from direct strong sunlight, strong winds, draughts, damp, extremes of temperature, predators, smoke & fumes and harmful plants or other substances.

A good quality wooden hutch is the most common form of outdoor accommodation for cavies. The hutch should be as large as possible, and should include all of the following features:

  • a sloping roof to allow rain to drain off
  • an enclosed 'bedroom' area
  • an area with a mesh door for ventilation
  • legs or some other means of raising it off the ground

The hutch should be placed in such a way as to satisfy the above criteria and preferably somewhere away from noisy areas but where there is ready access by family members to allow for feeding, cleaning, petting etc.

Cold weather

Ideally, the hutch should be placed in a shed or outbuilding in the winter. This provides extra shelter from extremes of temperature, driving rain, frost & snow.. It also provides a much more pleasant environment for owners when feeding, cleaning out etc.

If the hutch is placed in a garage, it is essential that this is not used for a car as the exhaust fumes would be extremely harmful to the animals. It is also important that there is a source of light - preferably natural.

If the hutch remains outside in winter then it needs to be protected in some way from our cold wet climate. People find all sorts of inventive ways of achieving this by using bubble wrap, carpet, tarpaulin, blankets etc to wrap and insulate the hutch and sometimes the run as well. This is a very good idea as long as air circulation is maintained and the animals can't chew on any plastic or other potentially harmful coverings. Alternatively, there are some ready made hutch covers available at pet shops

During cold weather it is especially important to keep the bedding clean and dry so very regular and thorough cleaning out is essential. Please don't be tempted to use extra hay, as this is not good for snuggling into, because it harbours fungal spores and mites - plus they trample on it and use it as a toilet, so they end up with damp bedding. Instead, you could use scrunched up newspaper or shredded paper for added warmth, but the best warmth that guinea pigs gain is from snuggling together - another reason why more than one is essential.

It is imperative that water bottles are protected from freezing. This can be achieved by very regular emptying and refilling (ensuring that the metal spout is not blocked with ice), and/or by insulating the bottle using a commercially available bottle cover or by wrapping it in some form of insulating material. As with hutch wrapping materials, it is imperative that the animals cannot chew the bottle insulation -especially if it is plastic.

Guinea pigs, like many other animals, will tend to eat more during colder weather so it is very important to ensure they have a constant supply of good quality food and hay.

     
Cavy Haven • 37 Rectory Farm Road • Sompting • Lancing • West Sussex • BN15 0ED
rodentology@cavyhaven.org.uk
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