Can Rabbits Live Outside during Winter?

Keeping rabbits warm in winter outside

Photo by Maxi

Can rabbits live outside during winter? Yes, but you must revamp its hutch to insulate as much heat as possible. You also need to keep changing its water with lukewarm water every two days.
If you are the interesting type of people who enjoy the great outdoors and the creatures that Mother Nature harbors, you most probably wonder how wild bunnies survive on their own in the cold and freezing winter times. Can rabbits live outside during winter? Animals can play a major role in our daily activities, and science suggests that we interact with animals on an average of five times a day. Pets are a big help to us in our efforts to cope with life and its ups and downs. If you are a rabbit lover, you need to implement better ways to protect your pet all year as the seasons change. Rabbits are cold-weather animals, and they grow optimally during winter seasons when other factors are optimized as well. However, the winter times can kill it with hypothermia. So, what temperature is too cold for rabbits? Remember your bunny is domesticated; it does not have enough freedom to make its own burrows, and its hatch captivity drastically reduces its survival instincts. Therefore, you need to provide it with conducive living and nesting conditions. Also, note that learning the diet of your furry bunny is also imperative to its well-being.

Rabbit Hutches

You have no idea what sorts of danger would face your rabbit if it lived in the world, you would be perplexed. From hungry carnivals to men with assault rifles and shotguns, these animals are targeted by all the predators around their environment. Therefore, domesticated rabbits need round the clock care. Homegrown rabbits have a better living environment as compared to their wild cousins. They are not used to taking care of themselves from predators. During cold winters unlike their wild compatriots, they cannot build shelters to prevent the cold winds from knocking at their door. It is the sole duty of a rabbit owner to act as mother bear when taking care of her cub; the best way to do this is to put them in season-proofed hutches.

A rabbit hutch is a structure that provides shelter for domesticated rabbits. It protects rabbits from adverse weather conditions like the winter cold and summer heat. Furthermore, rabbit hutches keep predators at bay. Rabbits are known for their low body-temperature tolerance; they have the capability of surviving in below zero degrees. However, they can survive in leaky hutches that frustrate the insulation process that their furry bodies facilitate. Hutches give security and provide insulation from harsh weather conditions.

There are two main rabbit hutch models that pet stores commonly offer. These are:

The two-story rabbit hutch

The design features two floors, and the upper floor provides quarters are strictly for sleeping, eating, and nesting. The lower section is the playing area. The whole structure is portable, and it can be moved to warmer areas during winter. Additionally, it features a wooden floor and walls that are curved from glazed pine. They provide the warmth and comfortability that is necessary for your rabbit’s survival. There are added doors on both the upper and lower divisions if you need some time to bond with your pet.

The ware premium rabbit hutch

This structure compromises of a wooden floor and wire mesh framing. It also has an added feature: an add-on ramp that facilitates multiple functions. The run can be used during playtime, cleaning, and feeding. The structure’s roof can be customized during harsh winters to provide that much needed extra warmth. It also features a pull-out tray that facilitates its cleaning. The wire mesh framing and fencing controls and partitions the living quarters to make sure that predators can’t access your fuzzy pet.

Preparing for the Winter Times; Keeping Rabbits Warm in Winter Outside

Owning a rabbit hutch or pen is not enough; the structures require proper seasonal maintenance. Over time, rabbit hutches can give in to adverse weather conditions and begin to fall apart. When this happens, your pet rabbit’s survival odds reduce greatly. Therefore, if you are aspiring to keep a pet rabbit, you can keep it outside of your house during winter. That is empowering because some people just can’t live with animals inside their houses. In fact, keeping animals inside the house can be hygiene and a health concern. You just need to take care of the following few things to make sure that the pets grow biggest during the winter times.

• Carefully look for any gaps in the rabbit hutch.

What temperature is too cold for rabbits

External factors such extreme cold could kill your rabbit. However, it is not just about what temperature is too cold for rabbits. Since most of the rabbit hutch is comprised of wood that is always exposed to spilled water and urine, it rots. It is important to replace the rotten wood or it can be a good breeding ground for parasites. The dump and rotting wood can also leak out heat and freeze your rabbit during winter. The dampening wood can also make the living space of your bunny wet; that is a sure way to kill the cute pet. Raising the floor of the hutch is a good way of preventing dampness, preserving the structure from rotting and keeping rabbits warm in winter outside

The roof also gets exposed to humid water and gets rusty; it gets leaky. Ultimately, cold winds and snow rains can also pass through the small cracks. During the hot summer, the small cracks can also expose the rabbit to direct sunlight that is harmful to the rabbit.

Replace dried grass, hay, and other insulators weekly

If you use dried grass, hay and straws or newspapers to provide warmth, ensure that they are replaced after a week. This is to get rid of the urine and solid waste that produces bad smells and carry harmful parasites. Ensure that the doors and hinges are working properly. Replace any broken doors that could be failing due to aging.

Clean and dry the sleeping areas

Rabbits are adored by their owners because of their ability to remain clean. However, their urine collects over time and makes the accommodation very uncomfortable. Ensure that you clean the floors in the sleeping and playing areas. Remember to clean the feeding tools to prevent diseases.

If your hutch features wire mesh designs, you can cover the mesh with plastic or Perspex to prevent cold drafts that come during the harsh winters. When night falls and powerful winds come, you can use heavy blankets to cover the hutch thus preventing the cold.

Study on the effects of cold stress on New Zealand white rabbits


bunny sitting inside

Indoor Pet Rabbit Care

indoor bunny

Rabbits Need Lots of Safe Space

Now that you have decided to keep a rabbit for a pet, there are some things that you might need to know about indoor pet rabbit care. Rabbits need lots of space so you might want to consider this before having them for house pets. They use this space to feel safe as well as hide and rest.  Make sure you allow them enough space to be able to hop and play around. Since they like to wander around you need to ensure that your house is safe enough for them. Do this by ensuring that no electric wires are exposed or laying on the floor. Avoid using any rodent poison or traps inside your house as well as pesticides if possible.  Rabbits love to dig and you should look out for anything that might pose as an opportunity for them to put their passion into practice in your home.

House Training Your Rabbit

Rabbits can be house trained. To litter train your rabbits start by placing soiled litter bins strategically at some corners of your house for their use. Some training on this might be necessary as well. You need to make a soft place for your rabbits to sleep stuffed with soft material since rabbits love comfort. Even more during winter when it is particularly important to keep them from colder temperatures.Rabbits require a clean environment and once you invite them in your home you need to ensure that you keep it clean. Regular cleaning of their litter by daily replacing their bedding is necessary but remember to put back some of their droppings into their litter since they like the familiar scent.

Feeding Your Indoor Rabbit

Ensure that you feed your rabbits a healthy diet full of fiber. You can do this by making sure you feed them plenty of hay or timothy grass. Keep the hay off the ground when feeding it to your rabbits. Greens are also good for them and should be given in small quantities as should carrots that are full of sugar. Provide a tray with freshly grown hay or fodder.  Give your rabbits clean water daily and put it in bowls they cannot overturn or use feeder bottles.  Never give your rabbits frozen food at any time.

Cuddly or Scared

House rabbits need some hiding spaces when scared. You can do this in your home by placing big cartons or boxes where they can retreat to every once in a while. They are not always as cuddly as we would like to imagine and need to be let alone to wander. To win their confidence try lifting them gently while offering some small snacks off your hands. They will then learn to associate you with the snacks.

Make sure to get your pet regular checkups at the vet. You may require the services of a vet for services such as neutering and other health issues.  For more details about how to care for rabbits while they live in your house you can continue referring to our site for regular details.

Please leave any tips you may have for other rabbit owners considering housing their pet indoors by leaving a comment below.

 


rabbits staying out of the heat

Pet Rabbit Care Outdoors and Your Rabbits Safety

Two rabbits playing outside in their hutch

Photo by jamjar

The Definitive Guide To Outdoor Rabbit Care

The safety and well-being of your pet rabbits are of optimal importance if you decide to keep them outdoors. Having ample protection from the elements and predators is your main concern. Do not think that if you are living in the suburbs there is no danger to your rabbits. You may argue that there are no predators in your area.

These, however, are not your typical predators. We’re not talking about coyotes and racoons. Your own dogs or that of a neighbor can be a possible source of danger. Potential threats do include birds, rats, and snakes. Even though there may not be any of these in your area, they have a keen sense of smell and can pick up on your rabbits from miles away. Considering the potential threats out there, keep your pet rabbits safe and provide proper housing.

Proper Housing to Protect Your Rabbit Outdoors

A sturdy wooden hutch is probably your best option as opposed to a wire cage, which is more suitable for indoor rabbits. A wire cage outside may not provide sufficient protection to your pet rabbit against predators. Predators will have a hard time entering a wood enforced hutch, even when you use welded wire mesh for the floor and sides. Building a rabbit hutch consisting of two sections is a better option. You can have the rabbit’s sleeping quarters well protected with a wooden floor and the outer section with two wires and one wooden side.

Just ensure that you construct it in such a way that it is easily accessible for cleaning and feeding. A catch tray is an excellent and easy option here as you can just pull it out at the bottom of your rabbit hutch. For bedding to make your rabbit comfortable, the use of straw or aspen bedding is recommended. Keep in mind when you use straw to change it regularly as it becomes moldy, which can make your pet rabbit sick.

Your hutch should not be directly on the ground either, raise it about 2 or 3 feet above the ground. If it is possible, secure the hutch to the side of a building, such as your outbuildings or even your house. A factor that is often overlooked in pet rabbit care is sufficient shading. You may think that predators are the only danger, but the sun is an even bigger threat to your rabbit’s survival.

Don’t Let Your Bunny Get Too Hot!

Protection from the sun is one of the first factors you must look at when erecting your hutch. A rabbit is sensitive to heat and direct sunlight is hazardous for prolonged periods. Make sure it is in a shaded area or gets very little direct sunlight when planning your rabbit’s outdoor home.  Access to plenty of water and shade is very important.  Many rabbits die from dehydration and overheating.

Cold weather is not dangerous to a rabbit’s health, but minimizing the harsh effects will keep a rabbit comfortable. Covering especially the front or two sides of your hutch is recommended. Use heavy plastic or thick materials, well out of reach of the rabbit or they will start chewing it. While you do this, remember you still want a well-ventilated hutch.

These are just a few of the major things to consider if your rabbit is outside.  Keeping them safe is important, and a good living environment is important. After that just ensure they have enough hay, pellets, raw vegetables and fresh clean water.

Do you have any pet rabbits that live outside? What are some things you do to make it safer for them?