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C&C Alternatives am i a bad guinea pig owner?

GP Obsessed

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Mar 1, 2012
I live in a small rural town in NSW Australia, here i've yet to meet someone who uses c&c cages or even have their guinea pigs inside. I adopted two adult girl guinea pigs who i am completely in love with, I live in a small house with parents who do not like pets, my piggies live in a 2.2metre by 1metre outdoor cage with tunnels, hidey houses and a large "nest box" filled with soft hay that they curl up in, it doesn't too cold or too hot here and i give my pigs plenty of attention they get plain non-lucerne based pellets lots of vegies and unlimited hay. from what i've read on here everyone seems to pick on anyone who keeps their guinea pigs outside but really, i am doing so much better than anyone else i can find. as soon as i move out i am getting a c&c cage and will have them inside but until then am i really a horrible pet owner?
There are many reasons that people on here might "have suggestions" for those who keep their pigs outside.

1. Although the weather might be mild most of the time, there is no predicting a sudden change in the weather like a cold snap or a temp spike. Inside is climate controlled.

2. There is no way to monitor piggy behavior for signs of illness if they are outside most of the time. It's difficult to tell what is "normal" for them if you aren't around them all the time. And if you aren't there to notice it, signs of illness could be missed until it's almost too late.

3. There is no way to protect them from spiders or crawling/flying pests if they are outside all the time. Other predators are a danger as well. From stray dogs or cats to people who wish to steal or harm your pigs.

4. You don't know the lengths that animals will go to if they are hungry enough. How about snakes? They can slither right through the holes in a wire cage.
thank you for your reply i have thought about these things, and cant wait till i can have them inside but for now is here anything i can do to make the guinea pigs life happier? we live in town with bar spacing smaller than 1cm so snakes shouldn't be a problem the cage is absolutely completely dog proof with not a single gap anywhere and we have high fences all around our yard as well, we do have a cat but the guinea pigs aren't at all scared of her so hopefully they wouldn't be bothered by strays. sadly i don't think our house would be much more temp controlled than outside ;) because we have thin walls and a wood fire that only keeps one room warm sometimes. i tend to be a worry wort with the guinea pigs i have taken them to the vet for nothing because i thought piper was limping turns out she was completely fine, but i do agree that it is hard to monitor them outside i have tried many times convincing my mum and step dad to let me take them inside but they refuse. do you have any suggestions on how to improve their situation without the option of taking them inside? please
It's far more common in Australia and the UK than it is in the U.S. to keep guinea pigs outside rather than inside. And while we can recommend that you keep them in, you're not in a position to make that decision. You're to be commended for trying to keep them as healthy and safe as possible.

The main thing you can do is spend as much time with your pigs as possible. Pigs are prey animals, which means that they don't display illness until they're very ill. The more you're around them, the more you'll pick up on subtle symptoms that say they need medication and/or vet attention. So handle them daily, several times a day if you can, and just spend time watching how they interact with each other.

Protecting them from heat and cold is very important. They can tolerate cold easier than they can heat -- anything above 85 degrees Fahrenheit can be fatal to them. Make sure they have plenty of water and food, particularly long strand grass hay which will keep their teeth ground down.

The other worry is predators -- is your cage safe from being knocked over and torn apart by a large dog, for example? If it's snake-proof, then the main worry is small insects and spiders. Keep the area as clean of possible nesting places as you can -- look under their bedding, in the corners of the roof, etc.

Good luck to you -- we'd love to see pictures of your piggies.
As long as you are getting a c and c and moving them inside. no your not a bad owner.
Hmm... I recently spent a semester abroad in QLD. Compared to United States weather fluctuations, from my time there, Australian weather was amazing, but it did rain quite a bit while I was there. Does their cage have protection from the rain? Also what does your cage look like? Pictures would be helpful, plus we always love pictures of adorable piggies. As for cats its not the guinea pigs getting along with the cat, it's how the cat perceives the guinea pig. My mom has three cats with extremely high prey drives and I would be worried that a stray might wonder through your yard and see them. Is your cage completely inclosed?
So far I've been a worrier with my girls, but I would rather worry and notice something is wrong rather than not notice at all, right? My advice is make sure their cage is absolutely 100 % safe from predators and inclement weather, and make sure you get to know your piggies really well. The better you know them the easier it will be to notice something is wrong.
Thank you guys so much for your responses! i will put a picture up soon if i can figure out how :p the cage is definantly 100% large predator safe with dug in edges, hard wood, no gaps and strong small wire but spiders are the main worry i have a large plastic storage bin with a hole cut in it for as their main nest box and that gets fully cleaned every 2 days i've never seen a creepy crawly in there, and the whole cage gets cleaned every week, i have seen a couple spiders living in the top corners but i clean those out straight away, i hope they don't come near my girls :O the cage is about 1/2 metre tall so the spiders shouldn't. i usually try to spend an hour everyday with them sometimes just cuddling and sometimes 'popcorn' time out of the cage. i have what i like to call my petting zoo its a large approximatly 5 by 5 metre circle type fence built between all my animals (1 lovely rabbit Tipsy, 6 funny chickens, 2 male guinea pigs-i am their RSPCA foster carer and 2 female guinea pigs my own, and my cat Zimba who doesn't touch the guinea pigs when i'm around even if they're having free time, but i have a feeling if i wasn't there it could be different). in summer i give them frozen water bottles to lay against. oh yeah and they get a bath once a month with "gorgeous guineas manuka and neem shampoo" piper loves baths and becomes totally relaxed but Acorn doesn't the boys Popcorn and Zibby both dislike bathing. thank you again especially bpatters and cavy mama!
I put my boys outside during the day if I or someone else is home (my parents are great and I came home from work today to find the boys outside enjoying the sun and grass).... but they sleep inside at nite...
One thing I like to do is peg the cover down using tent pegs or similar....just provides that little bit more security to the cage too
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from top to bottom: Acorn, Piper, Acorn, Piper, Zibby(front) and Popcorn, the cage photo didn't come up so i'll try again in a minute.
Cage now has plastic back on far side and is in a more sheltered area
The main changes I'd make to that cage are to provide much better shelter from rain, and to double the wire as that is in no way snake-proof.

Also, I hope you're not housing the males and females together unless one gender or the other is neutered. Otherwise the RSPCA is going to need more foster families, and deliberately breeding guinea pigs isn't a good idea.
Your piggies are adorable! I don't like the idea that they are on the ground. The damp and humidity after rain can't be good for them, and animals can dig under that fairly quick. Maybe google rabbit hutches to get a better idea of what an outdoor cage should look like; they usually have a roof that looks like the one on a house to protect from the elements.
Regarding you bathing your piggies. If the one likes it I wouldnt change that :) But there is alot of debate on whether you need to bathe your piggies. I have never bathed my piggies and they are fine. It depends on how you feel. It could be different since they live outside? That they get more dirty? All I wanted was to make sure you know that they dont need to be bathed, expecially if they dont like it.
no, the males are in a seperate cage that i haven't got a picture of yet, i know breeding guinea pigs is not a good i've heard the percentage of deaths of mothers can be as high as 1/5, that scares me. and i'm thinking of covering the cage with mosquito netting so it could stop mossies as well as snakes, do you think this would work? i think its fine that they are on the ground (they have the plastic box if they want a break) i used to have a small second level with a ramp so they could get off the ground if they liked but they never went up there. an animal couldn't dig under because the wire goes out about 25cm and under the surface soil there is carpeting that the previous owner had dug under ground to keep weeds out, its very tough even my rabbit can't dig through it! i don't think i can change the roof to become like a house but i may be able to find some clear corrugated plastic on the other side of the roof and maybe on some of the walls too so it still allows light in but not rain. thank you for all your advice! it's very helpful and may help to convince my stepdad that i'm not the only one obsessed about cavy's :)
Being on the ground is definitely not a good idea. The ground can become damp and muddy from rain. Not to mention ants and other insects can get into their food and bite their skin.
how can i change their cage to make it off the ground?
If you have a spare table lying around, maybe you could put the cage on there.
its too big :(
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