Your rabbit might have a lovely, thick fur coat but all bunny’s need a little help to make sure they stay warm and snug during the winter.
Cold winds, icy rain, and frosts means we need to take a few extra measures to protect our rabbits. In this guide, we’ll show you the simple tips and tricks we’ve used as rabbit owners for years to help ensure our bunny’s have an enjoyable and safe winter.
1 Use A Hutch Cover
If you can’t find a cover that fits your hutch a good quality, heavy tarpaulin sheet will do just as good a job. Just make sure you weigh it down or attach it carefully to the hutch to make sure it stays firmly in place.
A cover will also stop your rabbit from becoming distressed by blocking its view from any predators, such as foxes, that might be on the prowl for food at night.
2 Make Sure Your Rabbit Has Lots Of Straw To Snuggle In
Straw is a wonderful, natural bedding for rabbits. The hollow-tube structure of straw creates an excellent thermal barrier and will help trap heat close to your bunny’s body. Make sure there is a good mound of straw in the sleeping section of the hutch for your rabbit to bed into.
3 Create A Smaller Inner-space Inside The Hutch
Placing a cardboard box in the sleeping section of your rabbit’s hutch creates a smaller space that is easier for your rabbit to stay warm inside. You could also try stuffing straw around the sides of the box to provide extra insulation.
The only problem with this idea? Your rabbit will definitely nibble on the box creating large holes. This means you will need to replace the box often. You might also find your rabbit rejects the box entirely. Some bunny’s can be very territorial when it comes to their hutch and might not tolerate a box inside it.
4 Protect From The Elements
The icy blast from cold wind can send a real chill down your spine. So imagine how uncomfortable it would be for your rabbit if its hutch is left exposed to wind and rain.
Try to position your rabbit’s hutch in a location where it is not exposed to the elements. This is particularly important for the front of the hutch which often has little weather protection other than predator wire. This should never be face-on to the wind or rain.
5 Allow Your Rabbits Winter Coat To Grow
Just as your rabbit malts in spring, in the autumn a winter coat will start to grow. However, this can sometimes be hampered by having your rabbit indoors too often. As such, your bunny could be left outside on cold nights without the protection of a proper winter coat.
Whilst we would encourage you to interact with your rabbit inside every day it’s better not to leave your rabbit inside for the full day and then place it outside at night. However, a couple of hours inside each day is fine. Just make sure the room is not too hot for your rabbit. Temperatures we find very comfortable can be quite hot for a rabbit that has grown a winter coat.
6 Spare Room In Your Shed?
A shed makes an excellent place to keep your rabbits hutch during the winter. It not only protects your bunny from the worst of the winter weather but it also makes it easier for you to clean the hutch without wind or rain making it a chore.
Plus, it also makes a handy place to keep your rabbits straw and hay nicely dry. If you feed your rabbit nuggets you can store these in the shed too. Just make sure they are not left on the floor and stored in a sealed container to prevent attracting mice.
7 And Never Forget…
It might be cold outside but your rabbit still needs to exercise for at least 3 hours each day. Being trapped inside a hutch for the majority of the winter would be quite a miserable existence. This means on a daily basis you’ll need to bring your rabbit indoors to play with you or place it outside in a run.
However, using a run in the winter poses a few problems and you’ll need to make sure your rabbit is protected from wind and rain. Covering the top of the hutch with a tarpaulin sheet is a simple way to protect your bunny from most of the rain.
For more protection, we recommend placing a small rabbit house inside the run. These are like smaller hutches (but not a replacement for a hutch!) that you can fill with straw and will provide a safe haven for your rabbit.