What size accommodations do you have for outside rabbits and guinea pigs?
(Please scroll down for indoor housing and small caged rodents)
Here at Starlight's, we have two 6.5ft x 3ft x 2.5ft single hutches, that can be connected into one large hutch via a ramp, and two 6ft x 2ft x 2ft hutches, each with a 6ft x 4ft x 2ft attached run. This is in guidance with the Rabbit Welfare Association's requirements for rabbits. These are big enough to give rabbits ample space to periscope on their hind legs without knocking their heads, and to take at least 3 hops from one end of the hutch to another. And are mini-mansions for guinea pigs!
For any hutch without a run, your rabbit/guinea pig will have access to a run daily in a separate 6ft x 3.5ft x 2.5ft run. We aim to put your pets out as soon as daylight comes, and have them tucked up in bed as the sun starts to set. As we unfortunately can not control the weather, we use clear tarpaulins and corrugated roofing sheets on the runs to keep your animals dry and warm, so they can stay out all day. These runs contain a variety of toys and tunnels to help enrich your rabbit or guinea pig's time out, a few "hidey holes" so that they feel safe and have places to get away to if they feel the need to, and a cosy basket of/corner of hay to snuggle into and eat. These are cleaned daily. For any rabbit with a history of sore hocks, we will bed the run throughout with hay, to help cushion the pads on their feet.
These runs are on concrete as to avoid passing anything between boarders. Many boarding establishments have their runs on grass, which can not be adequately disinfected between boarders for diseases spread via urine or faeces. Instead, we can offer big hand picked handfuls of luscious thick green grass in place. Your rabbit/guinea pig will have their own designated run for the duration of the stay, and runs are thoroughly disinfected between occupants.
I have an indoor/house rabbit or guinea pig, do you have accommodation available for them?
Yes, we have space for two separate indoor bookings. These consist of two large 6ft x 4ft pens on non-slip lino flooring. We find these so much better than the traditional small plastic and wire cages sold for small animals, as they can exercise more, have more room for toys and tunnels and have much better height for rabbits to express their natural behaviour.
As we are sure is the case, being an indoor pet they will naturally spend a portion of their day with you, having a fuss, being around you in your environment. Because of this, all indoor pets boarding get to spend some time daily with us, so they still get the human and affection aspect of their daily routines, whether this means they come to snuggle and watch some television on the sofa with us, or for those less "human-orientated" to just enjoy some time running whilst we do the less enjoyable things such as paperwork!
In all our hutches and pens, we have non-slip lino flooring, to help keep the hutch a more cleaner environment. On top of this, we use thick sheet of vetbed for the delicate paws of your rabbit or guinea pig. From an online article on vet bed:
"Vet Bed is probably the safest and most effective fabric ever developed for use in the veterinary profession because it is hygienic, non-irritant and non-allergic. Vet Bed keeps pets warm and dry, retains body heat and reduces the risk of hypothermia. It even keeps your pet warm when used on concrete floors. Its special drainage and heat retaining qualities also make Vet Bed ideal for older animals or those needing post operative care. They stay warm and dry despite any ‘accidents’. Independent tests have conclusively proven that in spite of its luxurious feel it has tremendous strength and durability. In normal domestic use Vet Bed will last for many years. Vetbed can be machine washed time after time"
Each hutch and pen also gets a deep-filled storage box with a small underlayer of megazorb, with a huge pile full of luscious farm baled hay for your pet to eat to his or her heart's content! This is unlimited, as we buy our hay by the bale.
We encourage owners to bring their pets' own toys along with them to keep a sense of familiarity in their accommodation. But we also provide a range of toys and tunnels to keep your animals happy and bright until the next morning of playtime outside their hutch/pen such as wooden log tunnels, pop-up tents, plastic tunnels and jingle balls.
Every pet receives a daily health check from us to make sure they are in the best health and get plenty of snuggles and love from us!
What do you provide to help protect animals against the elements, insects and predators?
This is Cookie and Chocolate. They are valued family members of ours, but also are fantastic at their day job- keeping your fluffies safe from any predators, and deterring foxes from entering our garden.
You may hear them at the door when you knock, but please don't be worried, they are very friendly, and love nothing more than head rubs!
Our indoor boarders are housed in a closed room that they don't have access to, and they don't bother the outdoor boarders so they can not upset the fuzzies with their presence. They are both very well behaved and friendly around our own rabbits and small furries, and only become vocal when someone is at the door, or something isn't right!
We hope this doesn't deter you from Starlight's, they are looking out for the welfare of your pets, to ensure they have the best holiday they can!
We now provide fly nets for the mesh of hutches to help throughout the summer months, to prevent pesky flying insects from getting near your little furries and also offer, for an additional cost, to apply rearguard to your pet. Rearguard does NOT repel flies, but it will prevent any maggots from forming and damaging your pet.
To repel predators, we have a floodlight that is motion triggered. We also have a Foxwatch ultrasonic deterrant alarm. Each time a fox passes within 40ft of the Foxwatch, it is detected by a sensor which activates an ultrasonic alarm. This ultrasonic noise cannot be heard by humans, cats, rabbits or any other garden wildlife, but it does cause foxes a degree of discomfort up to 60ft away. It does NOT harm the fox in any way. We also use wooden barracades holding down opaque tarpaulins at night.
As we all know too well, we can't change the weather! So in the summer, we have available ice pods to keep your animals cool, for both indoor and outside accommodation. We can also, if requested, use electric fans to cool the indoor pens. These will be plugged in away from any enclosures, with all wires away from small sharp teeth! In the cold, winter months, outside we use both loose duvets and heavy duty tarpaulins overnight to keep the bitterly cold winds/rain sleet and even snow away from your little ones and keep them nice and dry. Snugglesafe heat pads are available to keep your animals as warm and snug as possible. These are also available for indoor boarders. For those long, rainy days, we have clear tarpaulins, so your pets can still enjoy time out and about, with the added benefit of being able to see what they are doing, and enjoy some light!
I have a small caged pet (hamster/rat/gerbil/degu/chinchilla/mice/hedgehog/bird etc) do you board these?
Yes, we do. We now have limited housing available for select species of small caged animal (please see below), however most will need to be boarded in their own cage, as we do not have adequate caging for every variety of small caged pet. Being boarded in their own enclosure is also more comforting and familiar to your pet.
The housing for small animals that we have here include:
The Hamster Heaven
The Hamster Heaven is one of the largest hamster focused cages on the market at a huge 80 x 50 x 50cm. This cage has platforms, a wheel, and an overhead tunnel! This cage is suitable for: Syrian Hamsters.
Fairy Cottage is a customised ZooZone 2, originally marketed at rabbits and guinea pigs, this cage boasts a size of 100 x 51 x 37cm! Decked out with ramps, mini platforms, ladders and a wheel amongst other toys, it has a deep base, perfect for filling with bedding for adventurous gerbils! This cage is suitable for: All types of hamsters, gerbils and African Pygmy Hedgehogs.
We clean small animals twice weekly, and check for dirty corners daily. All bedding material is supplied by ourselves. All hamsters get time out in hamster balls where requested (as some hamsters don't like to go in balls) and we try and spend some time daily with your small animals to ensure they get some one to one time with us. We have a small variety of toys here, but also ask you bring some of your pets own toys. We sometimes can board hedgehogs in a modified indoor cage here, but this must be confirmed in advance. Small caged pet space is limited, so you should try to book as soon in advance as possible.
How often will my pet be cleaned, and what do you use?
We clean every enclosure daily. This involves washing their sheet of vet bed and replacing it with a fresh, clean one. As well as wiping down the lino underneath it with Anigene. Litter trays are emptied, washed out and scrubbed down, before being refilled with a new deep layer of fresh farm hay. At the end of their stay, and before their hutch/pen is used by a new occupant, we use dilute bleach to deep clean both the lino on the floor and their litter trays. We also rest the hutch/pen for 24 hours before the next use, to give it time to air out efficiently and to ensure it is 100% ready to be re-used for our next holiday-ing pet.