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Building an outdoor run

hainesmama

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
3
Hello- I'm new to this forum but I've read through lots of posts about outdoor time for piggies. We have three girls (Nibbles, Lola and Lady Gaga) who live inside with us in a cubes structure (5 cubes by 2 cubes with an upstairs loft). Now that there are lots of greens to feast on outside, however, we'd like to build them an outdoor run for daytime play. Currently we've zip-tied together our extra cubes and old cage parts into a big circle, but I want something that is covered from the top as well. Even though we plan to be outside when our pigs are outside, we can't watch them every minute, and we live in an area where eagles and other birds could swoop down into the yard. Okay, so my question is, we're thinking of building a run attached to a small covered area- the run would be lined in chicken wire on all sides, including the bottom. Do you think chicken wire will hurt their feet? It's going to be on top of ample grass so there should be plenty of cush coming through the holes.
 
Will the chicken wire be over grass or is the idea to have the pigs walk directly on the chicken wire?
 
It was a good idea, but I need to give you a warning. I had my guinea pig in a structure and sadly it died in a raccoon attack yesterday. I am very upset and would not want that to happen to you. My structure was made of chicken wire, and the raccoon got through. Please be careful and take all the precautions. About the chicken wire- please do not use it because chicken wire will give guinea pigs bumblefoot. Bumblefoot is permanent and leaves red bumbly sweeping around the feet. Could you use wood instead? Make sure the wood is NOT pine and cedar.
 
There's a difference between housing permanently a guinea pig outside and letting a guinea pig have outside time that's supervised. I think what the OP is considering is the latter, and that's fine. Housing a guinea pig outside where it's vulnerable to attacks by animals like raccoons is not.

If the chicken wire is on the ground, level ground, where grass is coming through it, it might be okay. However, I'd be very careful that they don't get their feet stuck in or under the wire. That would be my big concern. If the chicken wire is the only flooring and it's lifted off the ground (not on level ground) I wouldn't recommend it, it's too hard for them to walk on and too likely to cause injuries.

Do remember to always supervise your animals, especially prey animals, while they are outside and do not leave them unattended.
 
Thanks for the quick replies. The run will sit directly on the ground with the grass poking through. We would never leave them outside overnight as there are way too many potential predators around here (weasels, dogs, and bears, oh my!). We could leave the bottom open to the grass, but it just feels more secure to have something that is fully enclosed. Given the concerns with the chicken wire, I'll try an open bottom first. Thanks for your help!
 
I recently checked out a children's book on guinea pig care that had a nice-looking outdoor "ark" that would be easy to build. It was actually a triangle, kind of like an A-frame house. It was designed to be moved easily around your yard. One end had solid roof to give the pigs shade/shelter. It was one of the few pieces of decent information in the book. But my kids loved the pictures!
 
Yes, that's exactly what we're envisioning- I've seen a bigger version used successfully as a moveable chicken coop.
 
We're building one like this Chicken Coop Plans - Keep Chickens In Style ::: TheGardenCoop.com until I get a permanent one built. It's pretty solid but still movable. Mesh sides and top but no base so they are directly on the grass. It will hopefully be finished in a week. Timber's cut, all the pieces are good to go, just painting and putting together to do.
 
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