Guinea Pigs - Winter Care
Guinea pigs can really struggle with the cold weather, so it is important to offer them plenty of protection.
Housing your guinea pigs outdoors
- If you choose to keep your guinea pigs outdoors, the hutch should be moved into a shed or outbuilding, a damp hutch can cause serious health issues to your guinea pigs. If you don't have a building you could move into a more sheltered area from wind.
- Provide warm, dry hiding places in their hutch and run such as wooden boxes, tunnels and cat carriers. Fill all hides with soft hay to allow the guinea pigs areas to retreat to if the temperature is cold.
- During freezing weather, you can use microwavable pet safe snuggle pads to keep them warm.
- Cover drinking bottles with bubble wrap then top with socks, this keeps them from freezing, check bowls regularly to make sure they have not frozen over.
- Cover hutches with a fitted hutch cover or blankets & tarpaulin to keep the frost and wind out, particularly around the doors and windows.
- If it is a dry day your guinea pigs can still go out onto the grass. Ensure that the run has a cover such as tarpaulin in case of sudden showers.
Housing your guinea pigs indoors
Guinea pigs love to come indoors and can be easily accommodated.
- The hutch and run can be set up on the floor of a garage or outbuilding that isn’t being used by cars etc. Outbuildings can still get chilly so provide a pet safe heat pad at night.
- Provide hiding places in their run like boxes and carriers, drape blankets over them and fill with hay for snug places to cuddle up.
- If you have the space, a C&C cage can be set up in your home for your guinea pigs to move into during the winter. This should still be the same size as the space they have outdoors to prevent behaviour problems.
- Fresh forage can be grown in trays for them to graze on or you can fill trays with good quality hay & dried forage.
Do not move your guinea pigs from warm to cold each day, this will make them unwell. If moving pig indoors do so in autumn before its too cold, move them back out in the spring after the worst of the frosts and winter cold.