“Spring” is a changeable and unpredictable season probably best defined by the weather than dates or definte times. For many Spring has sprung when the first full day of sunshine accompanied by birdsong happens, for others it is the day when their guinea pigs can safely go out on the grass.

The latter is the more conditional and unpredictable of the two. Conditions depend on:

1. The ground having warmed and dried up enough, particularly after a snowy season, snow is a great natural insulator- insulating in all that cold and moisture!

2. Guinea pigs must never be put out on frosty grass, for the same reason as chilled food shouldn’t be fed. If it was to be eaten it may cause diarrhoea or other digestive upsets, if not it is likely to get a chill or worse still pneumonia due to the sheer physique of its body- i.e. carried very close to the ground. Towel drying when they come in does not guarantee a chill will “go off” either; why risk it?

3. New grass is very rich (and this includes any grass grown indoors, Planet Guinea advise feeding all “young grass” sparingly/as a treat, and not only grass grown in the Spring), and can result in Diarrhoea, bloat or general digestive discomfort where care isn’t taken. Feed a meal of hay before they go out for the first few times to ensure a full belly and that the gut is moving.  Limit guinea pigs’ time outside on “new grass” or put lots of guinea pigs in a small space for a longer time; with the latter lots of mouths should, in theory, mean less grass for everyone, but know your guinea pigs!

4. Often in early spring there are still some very cold winds blowing, many close to the ground, take this into account when deciding if your guinea pig should go out or not.

5. A popcorning and happy guinea pig might say that its acceptable to be here, or more than that, it’s great. Or is the guinea pig happy to have some exercise and a change of scenery, could this be recreated elsewhere or even planned into the guinea pigs’ current and permanent housing? Isn’t it far better to have a large pen all the time and to be able to choose when you exercise?

6. Damp grass, even when the weather warms up towards the end of Spring, should be avoided for much the same reasons as frosty grass. Whilst their ancestors would’ve chosen what to do and when the climate in which they live is entirely different to ours and is the one to which they are built for, it is our responsibility to recreate the natural environment as much as possible and also to protect them from certain aspects of ours.

Guinea pigs that have been brought indoors because of the cold winter should still be there in early Spring unless moving to a heated shed, whilst the days brighten up considerably the temperature, in most places, still drops a lot overnight.

Whilst it may be too cold to put guinea pigs outside open windows in the shed during the day to allow circulation and ventilation to happen.

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