Archive for keeping guinea pigs in a shed

Preparing Guinea Pigs For Winter

I was going to get this out Wednesday, but started feeling flu-ish. Yesterday, I woke up with a fever of 100.0 so I decided to call out from work and just try to rest in bed as much as possible. No fever today, but I do have this yucky cough thing that is/was going around the school I work in.

Anyway, to the guinea pigs! Kaida’s guinea pigs used to live inside in a cage tower that I built with 1.5 levels totaling 13.75 sq ft for each gender group (3 females in one 1.5 level section, 2 males in the other 1.5 level section). After we adopted her new cat, Jingle, the guinea pigs moved to the barn into a slightly renovated 8′ x 4′ stall that I divided in half, so each gender group now gets about 16 sq ft all on one level. The cat decided it was fun to reach her paws through the bars on the door-side of the cage (the entire side could open to make cleaning easier) so the guinea pigs were moved to where no predator could get to them.

With winter coming on fast this week, I wanted to do something that would help them be able to stay warmer without plugging in heat lamps just yet. I’m trying to save the heat lamps for when it’s -15* F wind chill and 4* F without the wind chill, which we’ve had for the past two years in February.

I used dish pans with the sides cut out to make hay boxes for them when they were inside. They are cheap and are pretty easily cut. That’s what we used in the outside stalls and I knew that that would be where they’d be spending most of their time.

I also know that hay can act as a pretty good insulator. The trick was to find an inexpensive way to (1) help hold in their body heat and (2) still make it easy to clean since they’re going to poop and pee in their hay. Enter…the storage bin!

I bought a 3-pack of 45 qt storage bins at Costco (they’re not sold there online, hence the 54 qt linked to the description, the closest that Amazon had that would still be large enough to fit over the dish pans) and turned them upside down to see if they would fit over the dish pans. They do! They’re easy to move and let in all the light. However, they did not cut as easily as I had hoped. I used my jigsaw with a wood blade on it and the plastic ended up breaking several times instead of just cutting. The bin that had been sitting in the barn and was colder actually broke more and ended up with more sharp little corners.

I’m letting them work as-is for now, but may try to file the corners a bit or maybe try to come up with a different solution. Maybe the metal blade would cut the plastic better?

More hay will be added in to help insulate. I just wanted to be able to show the fit with a lower hay level. This is in the girls’ side. The black guinea pig is Indie (Independence), the white one with the multi-colored ear is Freedom, and the red one is Peace. The boys (not pictured) are
Justice and Liberty.

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