Some guinea pigs and rabbits live outside during the entire year. As long as they are healthy, this is no problem for them. However, some extra measures are very welcome to make sure they stay healthy.
1. Dry and warm
It’s very important that guinea pigs that live outside have a hideout to warm up. The hideout itself does not have to be heated, but it should be:
- Elevated from the ground a little to prevent that the cold can’t rise from the ground
- Have a small entrance to minimalize the amount of cold getting in
- Not too big to make the body heath useful in a small space
- Sheltered. You could use blankets in front of the cage during snow or cold winds
- Isolated. If this is not possible, you could place an extra smaller house inside the hideout
- Filled with a thick layer of bedding which is dry for isolation
Guinea pigs stay warmer when they can huddle: animals sit against each other to maintain each other’s body heat.
3. Plenty of food
Stimulate your piggies to eat well: this provides energy, which means extra warmth. They can eat some extra energy-rich food, such as grains or rolled peas. Always make sure that your guinea pigs eat lots of hay as well. Some extra veggies also support their health a lot.
Check multiples times a day if the drinking bottle isn’t frozen. You could also give some extra vegetables during the day, this also contains moist, which reduces the urge to drink. Provide small amounts at a time to prevent that there are leftovers.
A healthy animal that lives outside won’t have any problems with the cold. However, if your piggy is not completely healthy or even sick, it’s very important to keep it warm. A sick animal can’t maintain it’s heath and may in cold weather.
If you want to take animals inside (when they are not completely healthy or during extreme cold), don’t just put them in your living room at once (unless they are very sick). The temperature difference is too big and animals might get stressed from all the new noises around them. A garage or shed is a better option.