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View Full Version : Summer is coming. Should you house your GP outside?



VoodooJoint
03-07-07, 11:01 pm
The answer, plain and simple, is NO.

While you may think that the weather is pleasant, it is not pleasant 100% of the time, or even 50% of the time.

When you are out in the summer and it gets hot you have to option of going inside.
Your pets cannot

When the temperature drops in the evening and it gets cold you can go and put on a sweater.
Your pets cannot.

When the mosquitoes and other bugs get bad you can put on insect repellent or leave the area.
Your pets cannot.

When it gets windy and storms and thunders you can seek shelter away from the rain and noise.
Your pets cannot.

When predators, human or animal, come into your yard you can run, scream and defend yourself.
Your pets cannot.

If you are home alone and you get sick or injured you can call for help.
Your pets cannot.

I hope you get the idea but if not consider what it would be like to be locked in a cage, outside, all day and night. Someone comes to bring you food, play with you and check on you once or twice a day, but when the weather is bad and it has been raining for several days straight, and you are at your most scared and miserable you are lucky if your caregiver comes out to check on you once every 24 hours. If you get sick or injured you have no way to call for help until someone comes to check on you.

Imagine sleeping out in the open. The day is so very hot but finally evening comes and the temperature drops. At first it seems like a blessed relief until the dew falls and you are damp and chilled. You start to feel achy and awful. The sun rises and it get hot again. You feel better for a while but when evening comes it starts all over again. After several days of this you finally succumb to illness. It takes your caregiver several days, even weeks, to figure out you are ill. By then it may be too late to save you.

Imagine wearing a fur coat during the summer. It gets so hot that your body starts to overheat. Your brain cells start to die and you are so weak and disoriented you cannot move. Heat stroke is a terrible way to die and you are experiencing it.

Don't risk your pets' lives and well being. Keep them inside during the summer, with you, the person that loves them. If you take them out to graze stay with them at all times. It only takes a second for disaster to strike.


Don't think any of that could happen to you? Neither did the people in the following links.

Dangers of Outdoor Housing
UK GP housed outside dies of heatstroke (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cavycages.com%2Fforum%2 Fshowthread.php%3Fp%3D226480%26posted%3D1%23post22 6480%3C%2Fp)
GPs stolen from outdoor cage (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/about-guinea-pigs/10797-i-have-sad-news.html)
2 GPs in outdoor cage killed by dog (on Animal Precinct) (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cavycages.com%2Fforum%2 Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D4584)
HAWK, drops guinea pig in someone's yard (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cavycages.com%2Fforum%2 Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D3755)
Violent thugs batter family pets to death (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/outdoor-environments/17268-uk-pet-violence-another-reason-keep-them-indoors.html)
Thread about people breaking into outdoor hutches and sheds (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26529)
2 guinea pigs stolen from outdoor shed (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26659)
Guinea pig attacked by rats in shed (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26661)
Magpies attacking GPs in their outdoor hutches (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26307)
4 GPs dead. Cause is a suspected mouse infestation in shed and garden (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25906)
Ant infested yard and hutches (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25999)
Warning for those keeping animals outside (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25676)
Guinea pigs stolen from "Cavy Sanctuary" (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25120)

CavyLove
03-08-07, 07:43 pm
What about Just having a run outside for them. That's what I do during the summer. My run has both a mister in one corner, a fan blowing into the cage in another corner, and a wooden house with a door flap in the third corner. The remainder of the run is sunlight, hay racks, and food cups. During the summer, I put several waterbottles out in case one of them leaks, and I leave my guinea pigs out in it during the day. Checking on them frequently and often spraying them with spray bottles. They really seem to like their run. (I wont put them out if I'm gone all day, Or if no one is available to check on them). But I mean, it's safe for the most part. The run is covered and deeply grounded as well... But I bring them inside at dusk. Is this acceptable, or in any way an exception to the below?:confused:

VoodooJoint
03-08-07, 08:29 pm
As long as you check on them often. A dog, cat, large bird or person can kill, harm of steal your pets quickly and, as I said, you never think it would or could happen to you.

In fact a member on this forum just had a large bird swoop down and threaten her GPs and she was right outside with them watching them!

CavyLove
03-08-07, 08:51 pm
As long as you check on them often. A dog, cat, large bird or person can kill, harm of steal your pets quickly and, as I said, you never think it would or could happen to you.

In fact a member on this forum just had a large bird swoop down and threaten her GPs and she was right outside with them watching them!


I understand what you're saying, but I think the only threat to what I have set up outside would be humans. Because the run is built for rabits, and made of wood. Looks similar to the picture below: And in addition to that, It's in a high-fenced yard, and it's bolted into the ground on all four corners. I'll be wary though, like you say. Just to be safe :)

Ramon
07-15-07, 07:38 pm
Is letting my pigs run around for a while on a porch/deck okay?

CavyFanatic13
08-02-07, 08:29 pm
It should be fine, but you are watching them right? I let my two guinea pigs on my deck during the summer. I have an area on my deck that blocks the sun, so my guinea pigs stay cool and calm.

piggychic
03-22-08, 08:19 am
I personally believe that the benefits far outweigh the risks, not just for us but for the piggies. They are pets but first and foremost they are animals that are designed by nature to survive outdoors. It's our responsibility as pet owners to ensure their safety and security, and to give them love and attention and make them part of the family. If done right, it can be just as effective outdoors as indoors. To say otherwise is just a matter of opinion. And you could cite just as many stories of piggy neglect and harm on the indoors as the outdoors.

CavyLove I like your run and it looks very safe.

We're building a shed that will be in a fenced yard and I'm currently designing a piggy house that will fit against the outside of the shed. And I'm thinking I would like it off the ground. I would appreciate any advice about plans for a hutch, maybe a two tier or one tier run. If you have plans, please PM me.

VoodooJoint
03-22-08, 09:10 am
I They are pets but first and foremost they are animals that are designed by nature to survive outdoors.
I have to ask you if you happened to notice what the name of this website is and if you have read the homepage or other information pages of this site because somehow you seem to have missed exactly what this website is all about.

So you think all animals are designed to live outside? I'm quite certain that is true for wild animals but what you are talking about housing outside is a domesticated animal.

Domestic animals are not wild animals. They have been changed by humans through specialized breeding to be tame and accepting of humans by removing much of their natural survival instincts. This makes them unsuitable for living outside.

True, wild cavies and rabbits have an average lifespan of 1-2 years. That is why they are capable of reproducing at such a young age and in great numbers, They are prey animals thus are quickly killed off by predators, disease and accident.

Do you believe Skinny and Baldwin pigs, Sphinx cats and Mexican Hairless dogs are designed to live outside? They are animals right? Therefore, by your standards, they are perfectly capable of living outside.

I cannot see any benefits for the animal to live outside. All of the benefits are on the human side. It may make you feel better to think they prefer it but you would be wrong. Humans are animals too. Would you prefer to live outside in a shed while your parents lived in the house. On rainy, cold or hot days wouldn't you like to be comfortable too? Do you really want the company of bugs, spiders, roaming animals trying to get at you? If as an animal you don't want that then why would you subject a guinea pig to it?

Once again here are some threads about the wonder of outdoor housing. Maybe you can get some ideas there as I doubt you will get much help on this forum.
UK GP housed outside dies of heatstroke (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cavycages.com%2Fforum%2 Fshowthread.php%3Fp%3D226480%26posted%3D1%23post22 6480%3C%2Fp)
GPs stolen from outdoor cage (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/about-guinea-pigs/10797-i-have-sad-news.html)
2 GPs in outdoor cage killed by dog (on Animal Precinct) (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cavycages.com%2Fforum%2 Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D4584)
HAWK, drops guinea pig in someone's yard (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/redirect-to/?redirect=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cavycages.com%2Fforum%2 Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D3755)
Violent thugs batter family pets to death (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/outdoor-environments/17268-uk-pet-violence-another-reason-keep-them-indoors.html)
Thread about people breaking into outdoor hutches and sheds (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26529)
2 guinea pigs stolen from outdoor shed (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26659)
Guinea pig attacked by rats in shed (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26661)
Magpies attacking GPs in their outdoor hutches (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=26307)
4 GPs dead. Cause is a suspected mouse infestation in shed and garden (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25906)
Ant infested yard and hutches (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25999)
Warning for those keeping animals outside (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25676)
Guinea pigs stolen from "Cavy Sanctuary" (http://www.pimms-pages.co.uk/forums/forum_posts.asp?TID=25120)
GPs stolen from outdoor garden (http://www.midsussextoday.co.uk/mid-sussex-news?articleid=2857705)
More Guinea pigs die of heatstroke (http://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/introductions/27081-whats-up.html)

MissGinger
03-22-08, 11:16 am
My Pig's have always Loved Hanging out Outside i'm Very picky with the weather.
If i Sweat even a drop they stay inside.
We do not leave them alone for a Second & We don't even have to worry About Any Prey Animal's, i just don't feel Safe leaving them Alone.
In the Shade Only with a Corner of sun.
This is Ginger's First Summer I'm Excited to see if she like's it Outside.
I Don't Think any Animal Beside's Farm Animal's should live Outside & even They have Barn's.

Sammys Mum
08-16-08, 05:02 am
I live in the UK and have two pairs of GP's. My set up for them is based outside.
In the winter (or cold) they live in stacked 5ft x 2ft hutches. In an insulated & padlocked shed in my garden. In there they have a 5 x 2 C&C cage for play time, a cuddle chair and they are really happy. I have bottle snugs for their bottle to keep them from not (although it never gets that cold) freezing. And they get a warm thing to lie on.
In the summer they live in 4ft x 2ft fox-proof padlocked hutches. The hutches are sheltered by two walls to protect them from the occasional wind. And it is shady there constantly. I put them out in fox proof runs with a water bottle, houses and some hay, dry food and veggies.

I AND they prefer living outside in the summer because of many things. In my house it gets quite stuffy (even with windows open) whereas in the garden it is fresh and cool. In the summer the temperature doesn't drop a lot at night. It is still warm. Even if it isn't they always have plenty of hay to snuggle up with. We have no insects of really any sort in the garden. We have bees but thats really it. We don't often get storms here but when we do I house them in the shed or I bring them indoors for a few hours. My hutches, shed and everything are always padlocked. I can't do anything to prevent somebody coming to do harm to my animals apart from that. People break into locked houses as well as sheds. I am always out with my GP's and they go in the run for long periods of time relaxing and they get at least 1 hour of cuddles each.

I personally find it offensive for you to say:
locked in a cage, outside, all day and night. Someone comes to bring you food, play with you and check on you once or twice a day, but when the weather is bad and it has been raining for several days straight, and you are at your most scared and miserable you are lucky if your caregiver comes out to check on you once every 24 hours. If an animal is outside it doesn't necesarily mean that they are neglected in bad weather. Mine are normally in the shed when it is bad weather and I go out there and give them lots of hugs and everything. As I have electric I have a TV and often I am out there for 2-3 hours. If you keep your animals in the shade then they won't overheat unless it's REALLY hot, which in England it never is. When I bring my GP's inside they like it for about an hour but after that they become panicky because of all the loud noises. If I were there size I don't think it would be nice to be surrounded by really loud noises, big people and strange smells.

I have a few questions about living inside. Being inside they are used to central heating, air conditioning and everything similar to that. My animals are happiest when they are eating grass in the run and relaxing, often in the summer they will be out there every day. When you take them outside the weather conditions have to be PERFECT otherwise there is a chance your GP might catch an illness seeing as they are used to 'conditioned' surroundings. Also, GP's are naturally shy, scared animals and they prefer the quiet and peaceful. So, unless they are inside from a baby they will find it hard to adjust to the noise.

I personally prefer my animals being outside though some may have different views. I think that if properly cared for the animal outside will have a healthier life as they have a hardier immune system. Either way I think that nobody can judge someone and be offensive to them because of their choice. Every GP is different and my animals prefer it outside whereas others may prefer it inside.

VoodooJoint
08-16-08, 08:34 am
Sammy'sMum - Keep on rationalizing it if it makes you feel better. The fact remains that you are wrong. I suggest you reread all of the posts here as well as all of the links. You may also like to consider that studies have proven that rabbits and guinea pigs housed indoors tent to live nearly twice as long as those housed outdoors.

Can I hazard to guess that you breed your guinea pigs?

Sammys Mum
08-17-08, 03:08 am
No Voodoo Joint. I do not breed my GP's I think it is very irresponsible to do so when there are so many rescues out there. I have had my boys for 7 years and they have never been to the vet. Not because we haven't noticed they were ill, as I am always worrying about them, but because they haven't been ill. Just after my boys turned 7 we adopted to 18 month old girls. The girls which we have had for a week are over 5 weeks pregnant. As they are too old for their first litter we are very worried about them.

About the age, so Voodoo joint is it common for guinea pigs to live to 14 years old indoors? If so, it would be very interesting.

I am not 'rationalizing' it Voodoo Joint. Maybe in America where the temperature fluxuates greatly there may be some problems but where I live it is either warm/hottish in the spring/summer in which my GP's live outside at peak temperatures or inside when it's cooler. Or in the winter when it is cold they live in an insulated shed.

I find it rather odd that putting my views forward is 'rationalizing' whereas you doing so isn't.

My GP's are really happy and healthy. I would appreciate it if you respected that my GP's live outside, as it is very common for them to do so where I live.

VoodooJoint
08-17-08, 07:26 am
My GP's are really happy and healthy. I would appreciate it if you respected that my GP's live outside, as it is very common for them to do so where I live.
Sorry, but I can't respect outdoor housing. I've pointed it out in this thread before but I'll do it again; Have you noticed the name of this site and what it's all about? This site is about creating pets large indoor housing. Why would you expect people to respect someone housing animals outside on a forum like this?

House you animals however you like. No one here can stop you but don't expect respect and acceptance for a situation that goes against the very nature of the forum.

Sammys Mum
08-17-08, 08:19 am
Surely a shed is inside? In a way. If it is insulated and will eventually have electric

VoodooJoint
08-17-08, 08:25 am
If it's so acceptable why not give the pigs your room and you move to the shed?

At the very least go and live in the shed for a month. Eat, sleep and spend every free moment there. After that month please come back and share your experiences and tell us all about how pleasant it is.

Sammys Mum
08-17-08, 09:32 am
I'm really sorry if I have offended you in any way but I would really appreciate it if you would talk in a less rude manner. All I want is the best for my piggies. Can you think of any way I could have them in an outdoor enviroment and them still be happy and healthy? If I did have them indoors my main concern would be that they get very nervous with loud noises. Especially because we have pregnant guinea pigs. When we bring them inside for cuddles they are fine for a while but then become panicky with the loud. Is this normal at the start. My 7 year olds are better but still are a bit nervy. All I want is the best for them so can you please help or stop being so rude. :)

VoodooJoint
08-17-08, 12:12 pm
I'm not being rude at all. I'm simply pointing out that if the location is suitable for the animals it should be suitable for humans too. If it isn't then it's time to reconsider your housing.

I have an insulated shed that has windows and locks but the only thing I keep in there are tools, hay and bedding. I would not even consider it for housing any type of animal.

Sammys Mum
08-17-08, 03:01 pm
Voodoo Joint you were being rude and on several occasions I have read posts where others have accused you of it too. Seeing as a forum helps people can you please help me in making my shed fit for 'humans to live in'. Can you give examples of how I can make my shed suit my GP's needs?

AnimalHouse36
08-17-08, 07:08 pm
Voodoo Joint you were being rude and on several occasions I have read posts where others have accused you of it too.

Voodoo Joint is not being rude in the least way. ANd have you noticed that the peoplewho claimed she was being rude were usualy wrong in what they were doing?

Sammys Mum
08-18-08, 06:51 am
I came on this forum to ask a few questions regarding my shed, I said what my set up is and read the arguments against keeping them outside. I still think my GP's prefer it outside but I do want some help and have asked in previous posts what do you think I should do to help my GP's. Instead none of those have been answered. All I want is for my GP's to be happy. So once again. Can anyone help me to make my shed better for my GP's? :)

VoodooJoint
08-18-08, 09:19 am
I just looked over all of your posts and I really don't see where you ask for any advice on helping your GPs except in posts #18 and #20 of this thread. In that post you ask "Can you give examples of how I can make my shed suit my GP's needs?".

That question was, basically, already answered. Don't bother making your shed suitable for your pigs-Make room in your home for your pigs.

In post #16 you vaguely ask for help but it is unclear what you want help with.

I don't think anyone here is going to help you make your shed a better place for them to live since few people here think they should be housed in any type of shed in the first place.

Moving them indoors will not overly stress them. There are plenty of people who rescue or buy GPs from owners and breeders that house animals outdoors and the new owner houses them inside when they get them home. The GPs tend not to drop dead from stress.

Find room, build large housing and make the move.

Sammys Mum
08-18-08, 10:51 am
I know they won't 'drop dead' but I have 2 7 year olds and 2 pregnant Guinea Pigs. I don't think the move would do either of them any good.

crazywiggy
08-18-08, 11:06 am
Sammys mum: (opinion of another UKer)

There was a time when I also beleved that guinea pigs could be housed (happily and heathily) outdoors, so long as they had a shed for protection in bad weather.
I have since changed my mind for a number of reasons...

One of these is actually sleeping inside a shed. (Honestly!) I was at an event a couple of years ago staying in the "indoor accomodation" at a campsite. This "indoors" turned out to be insulated sheds, with camping bunk beds inside. I slept fully clothed, inside a sleeping bag, with a double duvet and a fleece blanket on top - and I can not tell you how cold I was! I literally could not sleep because I was shivering so hard and could not get warm. There was also a permanent cold draft. And this was only autumn - not in the depths of winter.

Insulation istelf does not actually provide any heat. If you were to heat the shed, the insulation would help to retain this heat - so the pigs would not get too cold. But without heating the shed simply retains its ambient temperature - which may well be freezing!

Guinea pigs are not the hardiest of animals. Being small, they have a high surface area to volume ratio, so it is harder for them to maintain their body temperature in cold weather (they lose heat more quicxkly than larger animals). Piggies also have thin coats, and exposed areas with no fur at all such as feet and ears. They really aren't equipped to dealing with British weather (especially when you consider they originate in South America!) They are also highly susceptible to damp and drafts - both of which are very likely in a shed.

I'm surprised at your comment about UK weather not fluctuating much! I had to laugh at this! I don't really know how we compare to the USA, but we certainly get some lovely storms, plenty of rain, freezing winters, and roasting summers (although not necessarily at the right time of year!)

I'm not sure how you can ensure your pigs are in the right place at the right time, unless you are home all day.
The weather at the moment is all over the place. It has been going from beautiful warm sunny day, to cold, and pouring down with rain in a thunderstorm in the same afternoon! What happens if you put your piggies in their run and we have a deluge of rain? Are they supposed to sit there in the cold and wet until you get home to put them into their shed?


About the age, so Voodoo joint is it common for guinea pigs to live to 14 years old indoors? If so, it would be very interesting.


I think you missed the point here. No one is saying that outside animals can't ever live full lifespans, or that inside animals never die young.
But the evidence shows that on average animals housed outdoors tend to live much shorter lifespans than those housed inside.

I personally wouldn't want to take that risk. When my first rabbit died of pneumonia at only 2 years old I vowed I would never house an animal outdoors again.

Just wanted to add - although the hutches you use sound big enough, I assume they also have wooden floors? If this is the case this is an added risk as wood absorbs urine. It is difficult to clean and impossible to disinfect - increasing the risk of bacteria etc which can cause disease.

Please don't think any of us are trying to be rude or nasty - we are just trying to make you realise how dangerous it is housing guinea pigs outdoors. Honestly, the best place for them to be is inside with you.

I would say now is the best time to move them! The piggies most susceptible to illness etc are just like with humans - the very old, the very young, and the pregnant / new mums.
Bringing them in sooner rather than later could make all the difference.
I don't think the "stress" of moving the pregnant ones is anywhere near as risky as allowing them to give birth to their babies out in a shed!

Sammys Mum
08-18-08, 11:15 am
Thanks, your post has given me another perspective to think about. We are infact planning on putting electricity or a free standing heater into the shed.
We were thinking of putting the pregnant GP's in the house for their birth but decided against it when they got really stressed. We will probably put them in for their birth especially as it will be a difficult one.
We are going to make changes to the shed. Adding an alarm and putting in electricity.
We put cloroplast in the bottom of the hutch which is ontop of lino so the wood isn't a problem.