Outdoor Run Fix: DIY Sunshade Solution

Our zooplus guinea pig pals, Fudge and Fern, had a bit of a fright when their sunshade cover blew off in the high winds last week. We assumed that the sun shade is long gone over the garden fence, but luckily our neighbour from a few doors down found the cover and knocked on our door.

As the weather has been so nice and mild for October, it seems a shame to move our Guinea Pigs indoors. But since the cover was unfortunately quite damaged after becoming caught on a fence there was nothing to keep the sun off until the new sun shade arrives. So, after a bit of thought I came up with my own ‘Blue Peter’ style solution to keep my small pets protected. Sticky-backed plastic at the ready….

Here’s the ripped run cover and the simple repair materials: Scissors, string and an old elasticated sheet:

run coverEquipment

The solution: Put the sheet over the top of the run, making sure to keep trailing ends on the outside, well out of the reach of the guinea pigs, so they don’t get tangled or try to eat things. Securely tie the sheet to the tops of the run anchor pegs using small pieces of string, keeping the sheet fairly taut over the top of the run.

tiesFinished run

Et voila! One home-made run cover. It may not be stylish, but it does the job.

As the nights draw in in Autumn, it’s important to make sure that your outdoor small pets stay warm and safe. Here are our top tips for winter-proofing your small pets:

1. If your small pets are in an outdoor run in the daytime, put them back into their hutch a little earlier each evening so that they stay warm and safe from night-time predators. Don’t be tempted to leave them out overnight unless you are absolutely sure that your run is safe and secure and there is a warm, safe house for them to hide in.

2. If you are keeping your small pets outdoors all winter, you will need to make sure their hutch is warm enough. Consider investing in a hutch cover or an insulated hutch, or if you can’t find a cover or insulation to fit your current hutch, try using an old blanket or tarpaulin to cover the hutch to keep in the warmth.  Remember: always leave some gaps for air to circulate so that your small pets can breathe.

3.Heat pad Provide your small pets with plenty of extra bedding to keep them warm and snug. Hay is best for guinea pigs, as it also provides them with the largest component of their food.

4. Invest in a heat pad to put inside the hutch. The SnuggleSafe heat pad is microwaveable, contains non-toxic material, and stays warm for up to 10 hours – ideal for putting in the hutch overnight for extra comfort.

Do you have any top tips for keeping rabbits and guinea pigs safe and warm in the winter months? We would love to hear your ideas. Please comment below.


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