Seek advice for temperature concerns

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black_halo

Post   » Sat Feb 24, 2024 3:13 am


Hi folks. I want to adopt piggies, but my weather is very inconsistent, and my house is crappy. I understand that piggies are temp sensitive, but how sensitive? Is it a problem to even move them between two rooms with different temperatures? If you live where temps are an issue what steps do you take for your piggies enclosures and temp exposure? Is 85F ambient temp too much for a piggie?

"Their room" where we will assemble their main enclosure is a weird room (our whole house is weird really, it's very old) without a vent register in it so it remains one of the colder rooms in the winter and hot/stale in the summer. A secondary play area would also be set up in our "Computer room" where we often are and where we would like to have them be able to roam. In summer sometimes it's hot enough that running the central AC is a bad idea, as the compressor could get strained. The heat output from the 2 computers makes this the warmest room in all seasons. We would I suppose to have to get a window AC unit for at least one of the rooms, but aside from that what options are there? I really don't want to have a window unit if it is at all possible. The daily high in general goes up and down constantly, this week it has been 30 and 65.

We also get severe weather, with our cat we just grabbed her and took her in her carrier to the basement with us. Last year I think we did that about 3 times. Is this something that will be too traumatizing for piggies to deal with?

Speaking of cats one other tangential question. How well do adult piggies adapt to other animals? Does their age affect it much? We may want to get more pets in the future, but we wouldn't do it at the expense of the piggies.

As for why we want piggies, which may feel relevant for some people to give opinions, we would be open to getting other small furry pets if it was a better fit for our circumstances. We mostly just want a pet/s that will be happy playing around us and being stroked and scritched. Ideally one that doesn't need to remain cagebound, but with a shorter lifespan commitment than a dog or cat. And one that isn't a bit too exotic for being kept inside (eg Degus). We love animals and miss having a pet, but after losing my precious, 18 year old cat who I love like a person, I'm not ready yet for a long lived pet. My partner really loves ferrets but I think having 2 ferrets is a bigger commitment and expense than 2 piggies, and much more of a mess. Rabbits live a bit longer, rats maybe not long enough, and of course piggies are just as cute as can be. If we decide this week we can apply to adopt a pair of brothers from the rescue, and if that doesn't go through we can (hopefully if they don't sell) buy a pair of the cutest curly sibling babies that I fell in love with immediately at the independent local pet store. If ethicality and rescuing wasn't a concern I would be buying those babies yesterday and worrying about the details later.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sat Feb 24, 2024 10:15 am


You didn't mention the lowest temp in the room in question. Or the humidity when it is highest. I think of a combination of temperature and humidity being what makes a room really uncomfortable. A fan can help circulate the air.

Is this your house? Can you insulate it better? For what it's worth, my guinea pigs were in a room that varied from perhaps 60 degrees to 80 degrees. My focus here in Virginia was to cut down on the humidity - which also promotes mold.

In the cool months, one can also drape a piece of fleece over an inexpensive plastic stool that allows them to go inside/through or even let them partially blanket themselves (at least this was my theory - don't recall if they did it).

I would spend some time with the guinea pigs in a rescue. Not all are as cuddly as is thought. Perhaps meet some guinea pig owners and ask them about how they related to their pets?
https://www.guinealynx.info/selecting.html

I was raised in Wisconsin. If you have to go into your basement during cold snaps, how cold is the house above?

black_halo

Post   » Sat Feb 24, 2024 4:13 pm


Lynx wrote:You didn't mention the lowest temp in the room in question. Or the humidity
You're right, I don't know the answer to how cold it actually got in that room in the blizzard weather. And I didn't know humidity is important. It's not super humid here. For the cold issues, I think it's a little easier to solve than the hot because we can set up heaters, heat lamps, blankets and also just keep them in the warmer room if necessary. That's why I was wondering about moving them around a lot. Are they sensitive, or delicate? To me that's two slightly different things and the difference is important to whether we can make this viable. Are they going to actually die if the ambient temp is 85-90F in the room that we bring them to play with us? We actually own a window AC unit already, the problem with using it is the layout of the rooms. There is nowhere to put it that would be comfortable for both of us humans.
Is this your house? Can you insulate it better?
Yes it's ours, it's a big, old, not well constructed or well insulted house. Unfortunately. We can't afford the huge project of fixing that. Which again, if that means piggies are not right for us then we will not get piggies. I would really love to have them though so I want to make sure all the options are considered. I am going to look into bunnies and see if they have similar concerns.
I would spend some time with the guinea pigs in a rescue. Not all are as cuddly as is thought.
With any pet that's always a risk, less so with some than others, but still always. And it would be disappointing for sure. I'm not sure my partner would care enough about adopting as I do to spend a lot of time going back and forth on long trips. I just at least want to consider the option since there's a lot of piggies that need homes and I know that we would be good parents. I am talking with him about rats also, since he may be happier with something he can hold and handle a lot. It just sounds really hard to lose a pet every 2-3 years.
If you have to go into your basement during cold snaps
That isn't what I meant, I should have been more clear. Thunderstorm/Tornados is what we had to go in the basement for, early spring so it wasn't super warm yet. So not only would they suddenly get yanked into their carrier to go into the cold basement it's also scary noisy.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sat Feb 24, 2024 6:29 pm


What is noisy in the basement? They can move from one space to another. You could set up a second "home" for them in the basement so it is just safe transport and a new space. How cold is the basement?

Most guinea pigs are haired and can tolerate a small range of temperatures. If you can be in the room with them (in heat or cold) and not be terribly uncomfortable, they will probably be fine.

I am guessing there are federal/state programs that might help you insulate the house. Perhaps check that out?
https://dceo.illinois.gov/communityserv ... ation.html

I built my own house over 40 years ago so I know what is in it. Really old houses can have weird electric wiring! How do you heat your home?

Adopting is definitely the way to go if you decide guinea pigs are for you. Ideally the shelter you adopt from have handled them often and have some history so you know something about their personality. My guinea pigs were not really snuggly - but they grew to trust me and we got along okay.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Feb 25, 2024 12:18 am


Eighty-five is too much for pigs. They do much better in cooler temperatures than in hot ones. I wouldn't want to keep haired pigs in anything over about 75 degrees.

black_halo

Post   » Sun Feb 25, 2024 1:22 am


Lynx wrote:What is noisy in the basement? How cold is the basement?
During a thunderstorm/tornado siren everything is noisy and scary. It would not be safe for them to be outside of a carrier. Last one I remember it was cold enough for me to be uncomfortable when I didn't have time to grab a coat. But I was also scared which made it worse.


I am guessing there are federal/state programs that might help you insulate the house. Perhaps check that out?
https://dceo.illinois.gov/communityserv ... ation.html
It doesn't cover replacing plaster with drywall.

Really old houses can have weird electric wiring! How do you heat your home?
The way things flicker when other things are turned on.. I don't even want to think about it lol. We have a natural gas furnace.
bpatters wrote: Eighty-five is too much for pigs. They do much better in cooler temperatures than in hot ones. I wouldn't want to keep haired pigs in anything over about 75 degrees.
Between 75 and 85 will there be clear signs of discomfort and the ability to remove them from the situation, or will they just get sick/die? I am not trying to suggest that I would risk keeping them on the edge of uncomfortable temps constantly. If we decide we can keep them safely there will be one room for sure that is safe for them at all times. I am asking if it would be safe to test taking them into another room with us to see how they feel. This is also something I am planning to ask the vet on Monday.

User avatar
Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sun Feb 25, 2024 7:33 am


I did a duckduckgo search and turned up a variety of recommendations.
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=ideal+temp+fo ... igs&ia=web

This UDA animal welfare pdf describes signs of overheating and has recommendations for high and low temps. They note in heat they will drink more water:
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfa ... g-temp.pdf
Temperatures below 60 °F or over 85 °F need to be addressed right away. These temperatures are outside the appropriate range for your guinea pigs’ health and comfort.
It is a very clear and compact pdf. I recommend printing it out.

Other recommendations on that search page for the highest recommended ambient temperature vary from 72 to 85 degrees. One outlier at "moreguineapigs" - made me read it twice! (do NOT use this recommendation!):
An ideal temperature for your guinea pig falls between 600 F and 750 F, and this will make your guinea pig comfortable and stay healthy.
I suspect the intention was to translate to fahrenheit and should have been 60-75 degrees :-)

p.s. you wrote about the weatherization program, "It doesn't cover replacing plaster with drywall." There are a variety of methods of retrofitting older homes with insulation. Insulation would also have the benefit of saving you money and making your home quieter. If you have not yet contacted them, I am sure they could tell you more concerning the possibility of insulating the exterior walls without removing the plaster.
https://www.thisoldhouse.com/insulation ... -old-house

black_halo

Post   » Sun Feb 25, 2024 5:35 pm


Lynx wrote:I did a duckduckgo search and turned up a variety of recommendations.
I definitely am doing lots of online research outside of asking here, but first hand experience is always the most valuable imo. If one online resource that appears to be trustworthy posts an article saying "X is great" then the next 15 websites will just copy and paste that information as if it's a fact, whether it's correct or not. They are also often recommendations that work to generalize it for a wide audience. They can also be outdated. I also worry too much and it's much more calming to talk to a real person about the situation. So thank you for talking with me about it :-)

you wrote about the weatherization program, "It doesn't cover replacing plaster with drywall." There are a variety of methods of retrofitting older homes with insulation. Insulation would also have the benefit of saving you money and making your home quieter
It definitely doesn't cover the cost of adding siding. I appreciate the thought but this house is a gut job, there's no stop gap fixes that are worth pouring money down the drain for. Believe me I have already been through all of this for our own comfort, unrelated to pets.

I've changed my idea on what room would be the best room for the piggies given that heat is the bigger issue than cold. And it seems like if our computer room gets as hot as it does we simply won't be able to play with them in that room in the summer if the computers are on. At first, without knowing anything, I wanted to give them the biggest room and have a large open pen so they had maximum space but it seems like a raised and more enclosed hutch in a smaller and cooler room will be the more appropriate way to keep them safe and healthy. Aside from their main cage we can still make a playpen but we will probably have to move it around seasonally. The issues presented don't seem insurmountable, which is what I was worried about with my initial plan. I've found multiple prospective pairs of 1-2 yr olds in rescuing range and I'm feeling more confident about this idea and the ability to give them a good life.

User avatar
Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Sun Feb 25, 2024 8:17 pm


I think your decision to rethink your room works. Also keep in mind that having them near you, in a frequently used room, will help incorporate them into your life and make you good piggy slaves ;-)

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