To be healthy and happy, rabbits require a lot of attention and highly specialised living circumstances. This makes it difficult to keep them outside.
Yes, rabbits are capable of living outside in the winter. Rabbits have adapted to the cold by wearing thick fur coats and having fur pads on their feet.
Rabbits in the wild dwell in underground warrens where the temperature does not fluctuate significantly between winter and summer. Because pet rabbits do not enjoy this luxury, owners must ensure that their rabbits have continual access to a sleeping place that is kept warm and dry.
They must, of course, have a buddy since sharing body heat is an important aspect of a rabbit’s winter survival kit.
If you want to learn more about how to provide the best care for your bunny in winter, keep reading!
Do Rabbits Like The Cold?
Yes, rabbits can survive in the cold. Rabbits have several adaptations that help them live in the winter months. However, it’s frequently overlooked that in the wild, they make burrows where the temperature is typically consistent.
Although rabbits survive better in cooler weather than they do in hot weather, it’s critical that they don’t become wet or moist. They’re prone to pneumonia as a species, which is a difficult-to-treat condition that can be deadly.
Older rabbits are prone to arthritis in the winter. This can be exacerbated by cold and wet circumstances. Arthritis is not only uncomfortable, but it may also cause major problems like fly strike and swollen hocks owing to their unwillingness to groom.
Can You Keep Rabbits Outside In Winter?
Yes, you can keep rabbits outside in winter. As long as your pet rabbits are healthy and have a warm and dry hutch, allowing them to stay outside during the winter months should not be an issue.
As long as they have a dry and safe spot where they can hide in cold weather, both wild and domestic rabbits survive pretty well with cooler temperatures.
It is critical that you ensure that your bunnies’ house has everything they require to be warm and dry while the weather is still pleasant. If the hutch is damaged in any way, you’ll want to have enough time to repair it or find a new home for your bunnies before the weather becomes too cold.
The insulated walls of the hutch will protect your rabbit and keep them warm even when the weather is very harsh. The draft-free ventilation ensures that fresh air circulates throughout the hutch without becoming wet or chilly.
What Temperature Can Rabbits Tolerate In Winter?
Rabbits are cold-blooded creatures. They’re extremely temperature resistant, and can withstand temperatures of over thirty degrees Fahrenheit. They’ll be fine even in near-freezing temperatures if they have a well-insulated hutch.
You may always double-check by taking their temperature. It should be between 101 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s time to warm them up if the temperature is below 100°F. If it doesn’t work, contact your veterinarian.
Can Rabbits Survive In Cold Weather?
Yes, rabbits can survive in cold weather as they are built to withstand the cold. Their winter coats make them far more durable in the cold as a species.
However, it is possible that one of your bunnies will become too chilly. This may be either as a result of disease or harsh weather.
Feeling your rabbit’s ears is an easy method to see whether they are chilly. Ears that are very hot or chilly are a tell-tale indicator of a bunny’s fever. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian.
How Do I Keep My Outdoor Rabbit Warm In The Winter?
You may keep your outdoor rabbit warm in the winter through a number of ways. Your rabbit’s hutch should be facing away from the wind and rain. Installing a slanted roof will aid in the drainage of rainfall. Make sure your rabbit’s shelter is sufficiently elevated off the ground to keep it dry.
The hutch should be covered at night with a weatherproof cover. Allow for airflow by leaving a small part exposed.
During the day, cover all but the front of the shed with a transparent cover, ensuring that it is facing away from the wind and rain.
Check your rabbit’s hutch for leaks or moisture on a regular basis and take action if you find any. It’s important to keep in mind that moist bedding might freeze at night. Your rabbit may become unwell if it eats wet hay or straw.
You may also buy microwavable heat pads that are designed to keep rabbits warm in the winter and place them beneath hay or straw heaps.
If you opt to use a heater to heat an outhouse, garage, or shed, make sure your rabbits are kept away from the wires so they don’t get burned or overheated.
How Do You Winterize A Rabbit Hutch?
Hutches must be clean and dry at all times. Rabbits can withstand chilly temperatures, but not moisture. To avoid draughts, make sure your rabbit’s hutch is covered at night.
If the hutch is connected to a run get a waterproof cover to keep the run dry. Use a tarpaulin with eyelets to cover the hutch and run and fasten it in place. Make your own if you don’t want to buy one by using plastic sheeting, tar paper, or Plexiglas.
Follow these steps to winterize your bunnies hutch’s exterior:
- Cover the hutch and run with old blankets or rugs. Place them under the tarpaulin for added insulation. Make sure the rabbits can’t chew on them because doing so might cause an intestinal obstruction.
- Set up windbreaks around the hutch and take off.
- To create a second wall and an extra layer of insulation, line your shed.
- To keep hutches and runs weatherproof, cover them with clear sheeting, such as polycarbonate or plexiglass. The rabbits can look out better if the sheeting is kept clean.
- Make sure there’s enough ventilation in the hutch. A little opening at the top could suffice.
- Entrances should be oriented southward to avoid the wind. If this isn’t an option, flip it around and place something in front of it to prevent the wind and rain.
Follow these steps to winterize your bunnies hutch’s interior:
- For the bunnies to sleep or sit on, use some inexpensive carpet samples. Keep a watch on the samples to make sure they aren’t being chewed on by the rabbits.
- Fill a cardboard box with dry straw or hay and place it in the sleeping space with a tiny opening.
- If your rabbit urinates in the sleeping area, invest in a litter tray that fits inside the cardboard box. It will make cleaning easier and the box will last longer.
- Install a low-wattage heater in your shed. Make sure the electrical cable is out of reach of the rabbits.
Should I Bring My Rabbit Indoors For Winter?
Yes, you can bring your rabbit indoors for winter. Your rabbits can stay in their outdoor cages all year or be brought inside for the winter months if you like.
It’s crucial, though, not to bring them in at night and then leave them out during the day. This may be extremely damaging to your pet rabbits, as well as causing them distress and worry.
Bringing your rabbits indoors might give you peace of mind. However, make sure they have enough of room. If you decide to bring your rabbits indoors, one option is to put their run and hutch in a garage so they have plenty of space to go about in.
You can also create a rabbit-friendly area within your house. This must give a similar amount of space to what they would have outside and be accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Provide excellent hay and dry feed in various grazing trays for them to graze on. Ensure that slippery surfaces have rabbit-safe choices down to save them from harming themselves.
Ensure that hazardous plants, chemicals, and wires are kept out of reach of curious rabbits.
Keep the heater in their room turned off or on low since the dry radiator heat might create health problems.
How Do You Take Care Of An Outdoor Rabbit In The Winter?
Follow these tips to take care of your outdoor bunny during winter:
1. Provide Additional Food
In the winter, a rabbit’s tendency is to consume more since they believe food would be scarce. As a result, you must ensure that you feed your rabbit more food throughout the cold months. This extra food also provides rabbits with more fat insulation. They require it at this time of year.
2. Remove Hutch From The Ground
To lift your bunny’s hutch off the ground, either connect legs or add bricks below it. This is because it protects any wet from the ground from harming the hutch’s underside. It also prevents the ground ice from freezing the hutch’s bottom.
Additionally, if you reside in a flood-prone location, this will keep the hutch safe. Hutches should be maintained off the ground in general to prevent predators from entering.
3. Examine The Hutch’s Interior
You must ensure that your bunny’s hutch has no openings so that rain or wind cannot enter. The hutch’s walls can be lined with newspaper. Check to see if the hutch’s wood is still in excellent shape and isn’t moist or decaying.
4. Examine The Ceiling
The roof may need to be recovered with a tarpaulin or a plastic sheet every few years to keep rain out of the hutch. You may also add further insulation to the roof by putting a blanket or newspaper between the plastic sheets.
5. Put Hutch In Protected Location
If at all feasible, you should relocate your bunny’s hutch to a shed or garage during the winter months. If you don’t have access to a shed or garage, relocate the hutch to a location that provides some sort of cover, such as facing away from the electricity.
6. Cover Hutch’s Front
To protect your rabbit from wind and rain, cover a portion of the front of the hutch with a plastic sheet or clear Perspex. However, make sure that portion of the room is left open so that light and fresh air may enter the hutch. Your bunny should still be able to see out and breathe easily. Alternatively, you might get a waterproof hutch cover.
7. Hutch’s Inside
You must ensure that your bunny’s hutch is warm on the inside. This may be accomplished by:
- Giving your rabbit a fleece blanket or a fleece blanket to cuddle in. Another alternative is to use them to line the hutch’s floor.
- Line the bottom of the hutch with newspaper. Extra straw or hay should be available for your bunny to burrow into.
- Make a place for your rabbit to sit on a piece of carpet. Make sure the carpet’s edges are not fraying.
- Heat pads for tiny animals are available to keep your bunny warm. Simply reheat these in the microwave and they will keep your bunny toasty for several hours. You may need to reheat this several times during the day.
Cut a hole wide enough for your rabbit to climb through and close all four sides of a cardboard box. Straw or hay should be stuffed into the cardboard box. This gives an insulated place for your rabbit to sit in and feel safe. If you have more than one rabbit, you’ll want to make sure the box can accommodate them all while still allowing them to spread out in their hutch.
8. Examine Toilet Location
It’s important to keep the place where your rabbit urinates clean since urine might freeze and make your bunny feel very uncomfortable. Make sure your rabbit’s bedding is clean and dry every day. Sitting on damp bedding might make your bunny sick.
9. Provide Enough Water
Make sure your rabbit’s water dish or bottle does not freeze on a frequent basis. To avoid this, cover the bottle with a thick sock or purchase a bottle cover.
10. Let Him Exercise
In the winter, a rabbit still needs activity. Either take him outside for a short run while making sure he doesn’t get wet, or bring him inside. If your rabbit gets wet, dry him off with a towel and bring him inside to warm up.
Allow him to warm naturally rather than using a heater. If your rabbit has an outside run, try to run in a a sunny location.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Pet Rabbits Live Outside In Winter?
Yes, pet rabbits can live outside in winter. As long as your pet rabbits are healthy and have a warm and dry hutch, allowing them to stay outside during the winter months should not be an issue.
How Do I Keep My Outdoor Rabbit Warm In The Winter?
During the winter, you’ll want to insulate your rabbit’s hutch. Place newspaper sheets and a warm blanket on the roof to do this. Cover with an outside tarp after that. This will not only trap heat and keep the hutch warm, but it will also block snow and rain from falling on the rabbits.
Should A Rabbit Hutch Be Off The Ground?
Yes, a rabbit’s hutch should be off the ground. To deter predators and keep the foundation from becoming soggy, the hutch should be lifted off the ground on legs.
It’s impossible to pinpoint a certain temperature at which you should begin to be concerned about your bunnies’ well-being. Your pets’ coats will have thickened over time as the weather has been colder. They will be comfortable in temperatures as low as -10.
It’s may however be worse if the temperature drops rapidly, because the rabbit won’t have had enough time to adjust to the cold.
If you’re worried, consider storing the hutch in a garage or shed. Keep the bunnies covered and sheltered for a bit rather than taking them inside straight away.
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