Outdoor Living

What are the benefits?

 

Housing guinea pigs outdoors allows them to live more humanely, as they can exhibit more natural behaviours and experience a more natural life. Housing them outdoors is also great for fresh air and Vitamin D from the natural sunlight. If you have lots of outdoor space, this may enable you to provide a larger habitat for your guinea pigs, than you would be able to indoors. When guinea pigs live outdoors, the fresh air definitely helps with the smell and odour is generally not as strong as it is when they are housed indoors. If you want to provide your guinea pigs with a natural lifestyle, housing them outdoors has many benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the negatives?

 

Regardless of weather conditions and temperature, the guinea pigs still require feeding and cleaning. Guinea pigs getting too hot or too cold can be an issue, so the accommodation must not be in direct sunlight in the Summer, and it must also have an insulated hutch for the Winter. To house guinea pigs outdoors all year, you should have a group of them so that they can keep each other warm with their body heat. They also need to be healthy, including a good weight so they have enough Winter fat to stay fit and well over the cold season. Elderly guinea pigs may be better suited to an indoor habitat during the cold season.

 

There are also potential issues of the enclosure becoming too damp, which can be dangerous to their health, so ventilation must be good (but not too much as this may cause a draft). In Winter, outdoor guinea pigs may become more expensive due to increased energy requirement, meaning more food is needed. Not only that, they will also require more straw to maintain their body temperature which increases the amount of waste you will have to dispose of. If guinea pigs become unwell, they may loose weight rapidly and that combined with being outdoors can make matters worse, so be prepared to bring them indoors if they become ill.

 

 

 

Can you move them from indoors to outdoors?

The simple answer to this is yes, you can move them from indoors to outdoors, however only when the outdoor temperature is similar to the indoor temperature. In the UK, you can move them outdoors in late Spring or early Summer. Ensure that the overnight temperature isn't too low. A dramatic change in temperature, from indoors to outdoors, can cause guinea pigs to become unwell. Guinea pigs form a Winter coat which protects them in the cold season, however they need to have been accustomed to the outdoor living prior to the cold season in order for this process to take place. 

What about keeping them out for half of the year?

Another possibility is housing guinea pigs outdoors for just half of the year. This seems to be a more popular option amongst guinea pig owners. You can introduce them to the outdoors in the warm season and then move them back indoors before Winter. The only downside to this is that you will need two separate accommodation in order for this to work, which may not be a possibility for everyone.

Please Note: the following examples are habitats which housed 10 guinea pigs.

You can create something of the same standard on a much smaller scale.

NATURAL INSTINCTS

VIT D

MORE SPACE

KEEP THEM WARM

PREVENT DAMP

SUMMER HABITAT

  • GOOD VENTILATION

  • PROTECTIVE SHELTER

  • EASY TO ACCESS

  • LOTS OF ENRICHMENT

  • HIDE HOUSES (FEELS SAFE)

  • SUNLIGHT FOR VIT D

  • NATURAL FORAGE INSTINCT

  • SAFE FROM PREDATORS

  • RAIN CLEANS BEDDING

  • BUILT IN SHADY AREA

WINTER HABITAT

  • OPTIONAL INSIDE/OUTSIDE

  • PROTECTIVE SHED

  • EASY TO ACCESS

  • LOTS OF ENRICHMENT

  • DRY, DRAFT PROOF AREA

  • INSULATION FOR WARMTH

  • SAFE FROM PREDATORS

  • VARIETY OF HABITATS

  • SHED FOR WINTER STORAGE

  • EASY TO MONITOR THEM