The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Other => Topic started by: Orinlooper on November 07, 2021, 01:07:55 pm

Title: Guinea pigs free range over winter
Post by: Orinlooper on November 07, 2021, 01:07:55 pm
We started with a few breading pairs and now have an estimated 50+ and growing colony of guinea pigs

They are all free range living on about a hectare of dense multi foliage land

They have been thriving since the end of last Winter when we started but they have never had to survive a winter in the UK before.

I hear of other colonies of free range guinea pigs surviving for years in the uk if released in purpose or escaped and then thrived on their own

But they do not like the cold weather and always need somewhere to snuggle up together when the temp gets under freezing

Unlike other rodents, guinea pigs donít make their own burrows, preferring to hide from aerial predators under vegetation and within grass tunnels. Guinea pigs that are kept as pets today retain some of this fear of wide open spaces, so it's a good idea to offer them a small enclosed space into which they can run if they feel a little uneasy.

Has anyone got ideas for free range guinea pigs over winter in the uk?
Title: Re: Guinea pigs free range over winter
Post by: Orinlooper on November 07, 2021, 01:13:58 pm
Someone said old car tires are good as they can get in there and snuggle to retain body heat until the sun comes up.
Title: Re: Guinea pigs free range over winter
Post by: macgro7 on November 08, 2021, 11:14:37 pm
You are freeranging guinea pigs over a hectare of land?
Did you mean to say you are free feeding the foxes?
Guinea pigs will freeze over the winter even if they don't get eaten by something - they don't have the same thick fur as rabbits.
Title: Re: Guinea pigs free range over winter
Post by: Penninehillbilly on November 09, 2021, 02:30:52 am
I've seen a brilliant idea for a hedgehog house, red bricks, laid so a concrete flag sits on top of an outside 'wall', a small entrance with an internal passageway inside. With nesting material inside, insulating soil piled on top and around, should be frost free?
Though to be honest, I feel sorry for guinea pigs wintering out, but maybe you are in a milder climate than us.
Title: Re: Guinea pigs free range over winter
Post by: Backinwellies on November 09, 2021, 07:17:59 am
Guinea pigs come from hot dry  climates..... I dont know where you are in UK but I personally would think it animal cruelty to keep Guinea pigs free ranging in a UK wet cold winter.  They need proper insulated housing.... and to be fed proper food (there will be nothing to free range on over winter)
Title: Re: Guinea pigs free range over winter
Post by: Rupert the bear on November 09, 2021, 12:04:06 pm
Reading Orinlooper's previous post I am sure he is a wind up merchant.
Are they for meat ? I would be interested to hear your business plan for free range guinea pig meat, do you have a target market for the meat ?or is it for the fur ? what do they taste like ? ( dont say chicken !! )
 
Title: Re: Guinea pigs free range over winter
Post by: arobwk on November 09, 2021, 04:33:20 pm
We started with a few breading pairs and now have an estimated 50+ and growing colony of guinea pigs

They are all free range living on about a hectare of dense multi foliage land

They have been thriving since the end of last Winter when we started but they have never had to survive a winter in the UK before.

I hear of other colonies of free range guinea pigs surviving for years in the uk if released in purpose or escaped and then thrived on their own


Really Orinlooper ?  How about some real examples then of successful free-range GP "colonies" ?