Guinea Pigs won't come out when in their run!

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Cookieandcream

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 10:05 am


Hi everyone.

I've got 2 happy, healthy males that we've had for 3 months (from pet store) and now that we've started getting warmer weather, we have put their 6ft run outside on the grass for them to run round and exercise in. In their run they have a small plastic house each and an extendable tunnel.
The only problem is- they won't come out! In the house where they live in a large cage, they are fine and come out to see us and are generally very curious, one in particular but put them in their run and they just hide away in their house. Rarely venturing out much, if at all. I've tried inticing them out with their favourite food and I've put a cover over one end to try make them feel more safe but nothing seems to be working so would appreciate any advice please as this is the first time we have had guinea pigs so very much novices in terms of reasons for their behaviour in certain situations!

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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 11:11 am


Guinea pigs are prey animals, and their behaviors reflect a desire to not get eaten.

Obvious solution to hiding in their houses would be to remove the houses. That said, however, NEVER leave them outside unattended, and be mindful of any predators that could attack them -- even if you're with them. Birds of prey, rats, dogs, etc. can be a very real danger, and bad things can happen quickly.

Also be mindful of the temperature (and being stuck in a tunnel or hidey can increase the risk of overheating and dehydration) and the presence of anything potentially poisonous that they might eat or be exposed to. Not only are certain plants dangerous, but consideration must be given to sprays/weed killer used, and areas where wild animals may defecate and contaminate the area.

Cookieandcream

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 12:05 pm


Thank you for your reply. Yes I was thinking maybe remove their houses for a bit so they get more confident that they are ok. I do leave them on their own but always look out the window to make sure they are ok. The run has a lockable roof so I'm quite confident they are safe.

The temperature issue is partly why I have a cover over one end so they have a bit of shade rather than being stuck in direct sunlight and they have a bottle of water on the side.

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ItsaZoo

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 12:17 pm


As Sef said, they are prey animals. Wide open spaces seem like a great idea to us - who wouldn’t like running through a park or playground?

Prey animals don’t like wide open spaces since they have to hide to survive. So I would suggest more hideys with two openings positioned so they can run through them. Coverage at each end would also be a good idea. If they have favorite food besides fresh grass, scatter that so they forage.

I recently watched a video by a guinea pig foster worker at the LA ASPCA and that’s what they do for floor time.

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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 2:54 pm


Absolutely do NOT leave your guinea pigs outside unattended. I've heard of guinea pigs being stolen, to say nothing of being attacked and killed despite being left in what the owner thought was a tamper-proof enclosure. It happens more than you might think, and can happen so quickly that you might not have time to react from inside your home. There are also dangers from spiders, snakes, stinging insects, etc. that you need to be able to keep a watchful eye out for. I would never, ever leave a guinea pig unattended outdoors, same as I wouldn't dream of leaving a human toddler outside by itself. It's just a very bad idea.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 6:36 pm


Some guinea pigs just aren't meant to be outside. The big open sky often scares them. If they won't come out, it's because they're scared. You might have to consider the possibility that they just don't want to be out there and abandon the idea. Two of my boars love being outside and are totally comfortable. They were from the time I got them at 5 months old. My other two were very nervous to the point where they didn't even nibble the grass. I was ready to give up on them going outside when I discovered that they feel secure inside the baby's old playpen turned upside down and very much enjoy grazing on the lawn.

As others have pointed out, I take every precaution to ensure their safety and health. My lawn is all natural. No fertilizer or insecticides. I keep it raked and clean of undergrowth and decomposing organics which are home to parasites and bacteria. I put them down in the middle of the yard and not on the edges where passing dogs do their business. They only go out when the temperature is between 65 and 75 degrees and even then I provide plenty of shade from direct sunlight.

Additionally, I never leave them unattended, even for a second and I take them inside at the first sign of danger. I think I'm more nervous than they are. Bad things can happen very quickly in the outside environment, but if you take the right precautions, your guinea pigs can enjoy the benefits of being outside.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 6:42 pm


Image

Image

Here's how I set them up outside.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Tue May 21, 2019 9:18 pm


They are extremely vulnerable there. We also recommend being outside with them and nearby so you can gauge temperature.

JJGiebz
Make Good Choices

Post   » Wed May 22, 2019 1:14 am


Ditto renonvsparky and sef’s advice. I had a boar who would eat all of the clover within a 2 foot radius of himself and then wait to be carried back inside to pee (they have no real concept of space besides out of cage, at least mine haven’t). He loved being outside while his cagemate would have, I think, injured herself in her effort to get back into the carrier.

After two attempts I gave it up. He had solo outside time and she had solo nap time and I think they both felt like winners. I would never leave them outside alone, though. That is dangerous even for larger animals, including small-medium sized dogs. Coyotes and birds of prey are swift and calculating.

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