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What i would worry about would be extreme weather conditions? Do they have shelter like a hutch or something that they could retreat into if they wanted to?
 

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my pig is testing me... all these river flies...


i'm about letting him go... the flies are impossible!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
What i would worry about would be extreme weather conditions? Do they have shelter like a hutch or something that they could retreat into if they wanted to?
According to the page there's a hutch the guinea pigs have access to and I from the site I took it that the guinea pigs are shut into the hutch at night
 

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The local foxes must think they are in heaven
 

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I have a completely enclosed garden and most mornings if its not 3ft deep in snow then my Rabbit plays out all day. He can get back into his hutch anytime he wants for water / food and I shut him in the hutch at night. Theres loads of plants etc for him to hide under and eat sometimes ! A shed he runs around and digs under.

It would either be saying in his 4ft hutch all day everyday or running free ..... He loves it. Some nights its nearly impossible to catch him lol
 

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My aunt rescues male piggies and they are all free roamers and share the garden with ex battery hens and 2 rabbits. Its a large space with plenty of hutches full of bedding, shelters and hides. Shes had them years and never had any caught by cats/foxes or the likes. I think its an ace set up!


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When i had my guinea pig him and the rabbit use to have free run of our small garden, its fully walled in and the nabours cat was actualy scaired of the guinea pig, got of fine with the rabbit and the rabbit kept out any other cat daft enought to come in like when new nabours moved in and they cam around to complain our rabbit attacked there cat when it came into our garden. They had there own hutches that was open all day and they were shut in at night with cover over them to help keep them warm. Also had some hides around the garden for them if needed.
Only trouble the guinea pig had was when he tryed to chace the giant crow things we use to get in the garden and one riped his ear but after that he left them alown and they left him alown. He lived to about 5 befor he dies of cancer.
 

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I think it's an excellent idea and something that can work very well, but it is not something I could do. The fox who frequently torments our dog by being very brazen about his use of the garden would be very happy, he's already made quite the impression by taking next doors rabbit while he was out having a bit of a free roam in their garden.

Looking at the website it seems a lovely setup, very well thought out and far more preferable to the small cages/hutches people tend to keep cavies in. A safety pen, shut in their hutch before dusk rolls in/if you're not in the house... it all makes sense and she acknowledges that there's an element of risk involved with allowing them to free roam.

It does look lovely though, I imagine it's quite a sight to see a herd of cavies bustling about the garden.
 

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My rabbit free ranges the garden and is locked away at night.

I only have to shake her food bag and she runs straight home and into the run below the hutch waiting by her bowl.

I can do it with her as she is a lionhead and fairly heavy, my mini rex escaped the same garden as he was able to get on a concreted-in raise flowerbed and have the agility to get over the 3 foot back wall...he came back the same day though, I had to lower a carry box down full of food and airlift him back over.
 

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our two guinea's, the rabbit and the adults torts all used to have the side garden for themselves, they all had their own hutches and shed for the torts and were always shut in at night. Most of the time they'd all gone to bed by teatime themselves, none were ever a problem to the others and I thought were all fit and active due to being able to find their own food and behave far more naturally. They had bushes/trees plus the different grasses and weeds (planted for the torts) and I never had any trouble with predators mind you the plants etc were tall and there were plenty of places to hide. The pigs and rabbit had the torts heated shed floor during the winter when the torts were in hibernation but always had outside access during the day. They weren't really cuddleable pets though and it was a job to catch them if needed.
 

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Absolutely yes.

I used to have some rescued guinea pigs free ranging in my 'side' garden and depending upon the setup it is a superb way to keep them if like me, you HATE hutches.

My side garden was obviously secure and had a shed plus a crate of hay which they used to den under all year round. Cats never bothered them and foxes do not come so close to the house plus we used a motion sensor security light which keeps foxes away.

End of the garden would not be so secure but next to the house works in my experience.

I kept lots of animals communally in this way. The guineas lived among rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese and goats.

The boar, named Star, was the last man standing and I can't tell you how much I miss seeing him pottering about. You could throw veg out of the kitchen window and watch the feeding frenzy of rabbits, birds and guineas running around trying to claim a whole carrot to themselves. Remember it well. A lovely way to keep animals, naturalistically, you get to experience more behaviours and quite frankly they were the healthiest bunch I ever saw despite having poor starts in life.

I can't rescue any more as I have dogs who use the side garden now but would definitely recommend it. People always seem to worry about cats when thinking of having chickens or small furries but all I can say is, I have many cats passing through and they have never tried to hurt my chickens or any other animal.

If you are worried, another way is to build an aviary with small mesh and put a shed in it. You can then just have a small hole in the shed and on sunny days leave the door open but they get a large indoor shed and an outdoor section too without having to sit in a hutch waiting to be let out. They can come in and out as they please and run around freely. A much much better way to keep rabbits and guineas in my opinion. Hutches are so inadequate they make me sad :(
 

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It's a lovely thought, certainly something to consider if i am ever able to relocate to somewhere with a secure, larger garden.

The only thing i perhaps don't agree with is that, that person lets them breed like that, i'd rather have a large group of same sex or mixed with neutered boars.

I like her perspex tunnel idea, i'd perhaps go one step further and open up a greenhouse in winter for the pigs to sit/sleep in as and when they please, and close it up again during the warmer weather and just use it for growing plants :)
 

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The only thing i perhaps don't agree with is that, that person lets them breed like that, i'd rather have a large group of same sex or mixed with neutered boars.
Out of interest, what don't you like about them breeding in this free range setup?

I only ask because I prefer it so wondered what the perceived downside is.
 

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Perhaps uncontrolled breeding getting out of hand?

I love seeing free-range Guinea pigs on a lovely lawn in the sun. :2thumb:
 

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Out of interest, what don't you like about them breeding in this free range setup?

I only ask because I prefer it so wondered what the perceived downside is.
I guess perhaps the thought of getting overrun and then having to relocate some, especially as they're just pick and mix breeds...not indifferent from breeding willy nilly and selling on in any other circumstance, which i don't often agree with either, in any animal.

That's just my preference though :)
 

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Would there not be a lot of inbreeding going on as well? Which a lot of professional breeders would frown upon. I think it's a great set up, but you should be responsible and keep them from overbreeding.
 
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