Winter care

winterImagine you are living in a bedsit, you have everything that you need food, water and a comfy bed in the corner. The windows are open and in the lovely late summer a gentle breeze blows through the windows and keeps you cool and comfortable. It’s quite a pleasant place to be but then the autumn arrives and it starts to get cooler, wetter and windier.You can’t get up to shut the windows, you have no extra bedding and life begins to feel a bit miserable.The damp air feels horrible and you spend much of your time on your own. Then the winter arrives, it’s getting really, really cold now and still you have no extra bedding or heat source, no extra food. Much of the day is in darkness and you’re lonely. The windows let in a howling gale and it’s absolutely freezing, you’re so cold, you simply can’t get warm and wherever you go to cuddle up just feels cold and damp.The draughts are coming in from all directions now, it’s dark and miserable and you’re feeling poorly. Your life is bleak, your future looks bleak too. If only you could shut the windows, if only you had more bedding, if only you could stop those icy draughts coming in, if only someone cared enough about you to do something, soon, very soon, before you become really poorly or worse.

So how would you feel if that was your life? ……..Well let’s hope it’s not your guinea pigs’.

In an ideal world all guinea pigs would be looked after in the comfort of an indoor home but realistically the majority spend their lives living outside, possibly in a snowmanshed/outbuilding/garage (without the car). As responsible pet owners everything possible must be done to provide adequate comfort throughout the cold and winter months.

Guinea pigs find it difficult to cope with draughts and damp and every effort should be made to put their home into a sheltered enclosed area. By doing this you will be making life easier for yourself too, you won’t want to be cleaning the hutch out if you are battling the elements and getting soaked through. Move it nearer to your house. Use your common sense and think about how the weather/air temperature will affect your pets. They are your responsibility, you need to take action to ensure they are warm and dry. If you bought a flimsy, cheap, plywood hutch and it seemed ok in the summer then shame on you, as this will prove to be totally inadequate by now. These must be taken indoors as your guinea pigs will not survive outside in one of these. Consider investing in a better and more suitable, substantial hutch.

Here in the South West we enjoy a mild climate and rarely experience the sub zero temperatures that other areas do, however, it is really damp here (that’s why it’s so green everywhere) and damp air can be just as much of a problem to guinea pigs as the cold. Our rescue strongly advises that all hutches are moved inside a weatherproof area throughout the winter months. However, for those of you who simply have no other choice there are some tips for you to consider when thinking about Winter Care. Be creative, think guinea pig! Beg/borrow off granny/aunty/neighbour, you don’t have to spend a fortune but you DO have to look after your piggies.

Please note that if you adopt a guinea pig or two from Little Brambles provision must be made for them to be inside a weatherproof area during the winter months. The advice here is for people who already have pigs living outside during the winter but it is not a practice that we can condone as we know it is detrimental to guinea pigs’ welbeing.

Gallery

DSCN5351_1___400_x_300_ 053__400_x_300_ cinnamon-and-clove lindsay2__400_x_300_ One Big Ginger Family DSC06663__500_x_375_ DSC05665 DSC05562