Celia Haddon - Cat Expert

Understanding animals through their behaviour


on grass

Foxes, cats, dogs, and badgers are a danger. c. Carrie and Simon Evans www.petbehave.co.uk

Both in a house and in a garden guinea pigs need protection from predators.

Foxes. Don’t rely on chicken wire on the run or hutch if you are making your own. A fox can get through this. Use Twilweld aviary netting, preferably 16 gauge, from garden centres or DIY stores.”Chicken wire was designed to keep chickens in, rather than foxes out,” says Trevor Williams of the Fox Project.

Check the hutch locks. Foxes can lift latches and open swivel locks. Foxes can also dig under a run. If your run is static, you should run the Twilweld into the earth to a depth of about 8 inches at an outward angle. The other alternative is to place cheap flagstones round the edge of the run. If it is a moveable run you could move the flagstones with it, but it would probably be easier to buy a hutch on legs and put the animals there at night. If possible put up a solid fence round the garden – foxes are less likely to go for something they can’t see. Artificial tunnels and pipes will also offer protection inside the run.

Badgers. Badgers will eat hutched guinea pigs and once they learn to do so will come back for more. Get rid of latches and put on bolts. Foxes can lift latches, and so do badgers occasionally. “You need to add weldmesh or chain link, with wire that is two and a half milimetres in diameter. Badgers can get through chicken wire.” advises Penny Cresswell Lewns of the Badger Consultancy.  (www.badgerconsultancy.co.uk). “Keep the chicken wire in place because the chain link will be too wide a mesh to keep the guinea pigs inside.”

Cats. Domestic cats can kill guinea pigs so never leave your house guinea pig alone with a cat. Cats are less likely to push through chicken wire like foxes or badgers, but will grab a guinea pig that is just left grazing on the lawn. So you must keep your guinea pig safe in a run. For details of garden fencing to keep out cats look here.

Dogs. Dogs can catch and kill guinea pigs. Never leave a house guinea pig unsupervised with a dog even if you think the dog will not chase it. Something may set off the dog’s predatory instinct.

Buzzards and kites.  Would take guinea pigs that are grazing free in the garden. Therefore to be safe the run should be covered.

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