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November 21, 2017 4 min read 0 Comments

 

Rabbits and other small pets don't tolerate extreme weather so keeping them warm is essential, they provide some small natural counter measures themselves, but it is mostly up to you to help them stay toasty this winter, so here is PetnPony's guide to a cozy rabbit.

First of all, if you have just got a rabbit and he's been kept indoors or is a baby, don't put him outside until the weather gets warmer, as the sharp change in weather can kill. However, Indoor house rabbits should be fine in the cold weather as the temperature indoors tends to be regulated for yourselves! 

bunny in a blanket

What happens to your rabbit in the Winter? 

Rabbits will naturally tend to eat more in Winter as they think food will become less available, they will provide them with more fat insulation, but this doesnt mean they're safe from the cold. In addition to the fat layer, the rabbits will grow thicker fur to try and insulate themselves, unfortunately this is still not enough and you will need to keep them safe and warm with lots and lots of bedding and a good place to hide away from the cold air.

BUNNY IN SNOW

If you feel it's necessary move the hutch.

If possible, bring your rabbits indoors for the winter, or move their hutch to an unused garage or shed. Do not put the hutch in the garage if you park your cars in there as the exhaust fumes are dangerous to them. If you have no shed or garage, move the hutch to somewhere sheltered such as by some trees, facing away from the wind.

bunny

Look for Gaps in the Hutch Walls and Roof

Check there are no gaps through which rain and wind can get in and that the wood isn't damp or rotting, and reapply a rabbit-safe wood protecting coating every few years. You can also line the inside walls with newspaper. If your roof is beginning to deteriorate, get it fixed as soon as possible but for a temporary fix, cover with a plastic sheet or tarpaulin to stop the rain from getting in. Put sheets of newspaper and a warm blanket between the roof and plastic sheet for added insulation, and let it hang down the sides and back as well as it covering the roof. 

santa bunny

Water and Toilet area

Check a few times a day that your rabbits' water bottle or dish of water hasn't frozen over. You can buy bottle covers that help to prevent this, or a thick sock over the bottle can also help, but still check the water and the spout have not frozen. Additionally, It's very important to keep the toliet area clean as their urine can freeze and be very uncomfortable for them if left there. Change their spoiled bedding daily as wet bedding can lead to a poorly rabbit.

bunny

Exercise

Rabbits still need exercise in winter so bring them indoors for a run around, or let them have a short time in the garden but make sure they don't get wet. If your rabbits get very wet, dry them with a towel and let them warm up naturally indoors. Do as much insulating of their run as possible so they can still go in it, and try and move it somewhere where it will get some winter sunshine.

jay the bunny

Snuggly Bunny Hacks:

  • Line the floor with layers of newspaper and add lots of extra hay and straw for your rabbits to bury themselves into.
  • Blankets and fleeces are also useful for them to snuggle into or to line the floor with
  • Buy some cheap carpet samples for them to sit on (make sure the edges aren't fraying)
  • Get a cardboard box, close all 4 sides and cut a hole big enough for your rabbits to get through, and fill the box with hay. This will give them somewhere a bit more insulated to sit. If you have 2 rabbits make sure the box fits 2 rabbits in at once. Make sure they still have enough room in the rest of the hutch to stretch out.
  • You can use clear perspex or a plastic sheet over a large portion of the front of the hutch so your rabbits can still see out and the light will come in, but wind and rain can't blow in. Be sure to leave enough room for fresh air to come in so your bunnies can still breathe!
  • Raise your hutch by placing bricks underneath, or by attaching long legs. This will help to prevent damp from the ground affecting the bottom of the hutch, and also stop ground frost freezing the base.

If you have any additional tips to help others in the winter place them in the comments below!

And finally: enjoying this adorable picture of a baby bunny!

Image result for baby bunny

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Megan Balmer
Megan Balmer



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