Setting up your guinea pigs for winter can help prevent a wide range of health problems from occurring, and ensures they are cosy, warm and happy. Here are a few tips that will set your guinea pigs up for when the colder weather arrives.
- A companion. If you’re considering buying a guinea pig as a pet, please remember that they need a companion. Never house them on their own as they are social creatures that rely on each other for comfort and socialising. Buy either two males, a female or two with a castrate male, or two or more females together. If you have a single guinea pig it’s best to visit your local rehousing centre to discuss and get advice on pairing.
- Give your guinea pigs as much space as you possibly can. Fighting increases during the winter as they are often confined in a small area and spend more time in the hutch than the run. A large hutch helps to reduce territorial issues and allows them to run around more, an action that they naturally perform in the wild. A large hutch is essential if you house your guinea pigs indoors too. Many indoor cages are far too small; the minimum size should be 5/6ft.
- Add more tunnels in the hutch and run, guinea pigs love to run through tunnels and it helps to keep them active and warm. Add some straw or hay into the tunnels and create fun runs, they’ll love it!
- Use an insulating cover during the winter to help increase the insulation of the hutch, but remember to ensure there is some ventilation. Add some extra houses inside the hutch too so your guinea pigs can snuggle down and get warm.
- Heat pads provide a pleasant space to sleep at night and helps to prevent damp conditions (provided you keep up with the hutch house work too).
Remember that exposed hutches that don’t have enough bedding can lead to serious problems for your guinea pigs, including death. Take the necessary precautions to protect your pets and provide them with a happy life as part of your family.