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I work for an animal rescue centre which specialises in rescuing small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs. When the animals are ill or weak, they are kept inside. If the animals are healthy they are kept outside in wooden hutches (because of space issues and their natural habitat) . Because the cold weather is coming, as well as heavy rain and strong winds, we need to insulate these hutches a little more to keep the animals warm and preventing them becoming sick.
Previously I’ve simply secured bin liners to the structure however they are easily torn and don’t seem to provide much water resistance or warmth. As a rescue centre we operate on a self-funded basis and therefore money is fairly tight. If you could suggest a cost effective option that would be most useful to myself and my colleagues.
Looking forward to hearing from you, Miley
This question really sums up a group of emails I’ve received this week regarding insulating animals this winter. Small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs like you mention can withstand very cold temperatures due to their warm coats however hutches can’t be the cosiest of places in the winter particularly if they are old and prone to leaking.
The best thing to use for this application would be polythene sheeting. I would recommend heavy duty sheeting which is 120 micron thick for your hutches as these provide the insulation you need to keep the animals warm. All types of polythene sheeting is water resistant however heavy duty will be much more effective in terms of general weather proofing and will stay secured to the hutch without tearing or being blown away.
The polythene comes centre-folded on the roll which makes it much easier to store and is 25 metres long, meaning you will be able to cover all the hutches. Many people find that once they use this type of sheeting for one application it also comes in handy for protecting other items. If you have a garden shed or gates that are likely to erode/rust this can be applied in the same way to those items with a hammer tacker (type of staple gun) or nails.
In terms of cost, our polythene rolls are sold separately and are £65 to £81 each depending on how many you buy. This works out to as low as £2.60 per metre and one roll will more than service all your needs. The sheeting is also reusable, simply remove the nails and fold away ready for next winter.
Best Wishes, The Packaging Doctor
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The Packaging Doctor