It’s cold and it’s only getting colder. We’ve had the first storm of the season and there are going to be more. While we are tucked up inside our cosy houses, many rabbits are left shivering in their small hutches. Sadly, many rabbits won’t make it through this winter, but you can do something to help by ensuring your rabbit is well cared for and sharing winter care advice to your friends and family.
Rabbit Care Tips for Winter Months
- Rabbits have lovely soft, warm fur coats and many breeds have a thick fur pad covering their pads to help them survive cold temperatures in the wild. However, wild rabbits live in underground burrows and the temperatures inside these burrows are much warmer than those in hutches. The burrows also protect rabbits from wind and rain. Domestic rabbits are exposed to colder temperatures, winds, rain, sleet and snow. Hutches can become cold, wet, damp and very draughty and these conditions can be life-threatening. Older rabbits may have conditions that are aggravated by the cold too. The temperature of the hutch should be between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius. You can help create a suitable warm home for your rabbit by:
- Moving the hutch into an outhouse or shed
- Adding lots of extra bedding for your rabbit to burrow in
- Move the hutch out of the winds
- Protect the hutch from wet conditions with an insulating cover
- Use old carpets and coverings to insulate the hutch at night or when storms strike while ensuring enough space for ventilation
- Still provide enough space to move around and exercise
- Raise the hutch off the ground using the rabbit hutch legs or bricks. Raising the hutch will stop the base from getting damp and lengthen the life of the hutch.
- Store straw and hay somewhere that is dry. Straw and hay can easily become mouldy when it gets wet or damp. Always remember to check before putting the straw or hay into the hutch and throw away any that has become mouldy or damp.
- Clean the hutch throughout the winter. You might not want to go out and clean the hutch because of the weather conditions, but your rabbits need a clean home. Clean the toilet area each day and the whole hutch on a weekly basis.
- Add a cardboard box in the hutch to provide an extra warm sleeping area. Put lots of straw or hay inside the box and cut a hole in it for your rabbit to use as a door. The box needs to fit in the hutch but be big enough for both rabbits to use comfortably.
How will you help keep your rabbit safe and warm this winter? Share your tips with our followers on our Facebook page.