Wooden Hutch Roofs
Hutches with only a felted roof will tend to crack over time. The felt becomes very brittle in the winter and is prone to splitting in the hot summer sun. These extremes will break down the felt over time. Garden woodcraft was probably the first company to design the timber cladded roof which provides not only a pleasing look but also a robust and durable surface. However as a secondary measure, we also install a waterproof lining which is added to the underside of the cladding.
Buying from the Manufacturer
A hutch design that has a removable roof has to be the most versatile. This will allow you full and easy access to the inside of the hutch for cleaning and re-bedding. Garden Woodcraft is a manufacturer and therefore obtaining any replacement parts to your hutch is easy. If a panel is accidentally damaged, why should you have to re-buy the whole thing again when you can have that part remade for you?
Your wooden guinea pig hutch should be maintained on an annual basis and this is best during the summer months when the least amount of moisture is in the timber. Giving the outside of the hutch a coat of preservative will prolong its lifespan and is worth doing each and every year.
Many of today’s preservatives are water based but you must ensure that whatever you are coating the hutch with will not be detrimental to the health of your guinea pig. In any case you should not apply preservatives to the inside of the hutch as guinea pigs tend to gnaw at the timber almost anywhere inside the hutch as takes their fancy.
Things To Look Out For
Look particularly at the door closures as many companies will provide a well finished product but once in the outdoors, moisture will expand the timbers so that doors are often sticking in the door frames within no time at all. Look closely how framing joints are held together (stapling will often come loose over time) as this will indicate if you are likely to have problems in the future. Some hutches look pretty and ornate but behind the scenes there is often the ‘made in china’ syndrome. The more screws a manufacturer uses the better made your product will be.
In all! Look for designs that will require as little potential maintenance as possible other than seasonal surface coatings. Plastic type hutches will be durable and come with an almost maintenance free ticket but make sure they are right for your animal and are planet friendly.