Rabbits can live both indoors and outdoors, but during the colder months, those bunnies living outside need some extra care. Depending on where in the
Rabbits can live both indoors and outdoors, but during the colder months, those bunnies living outside need some extra care. Depending on where in the UK you live, winter temperatures in Britain can drop between two and seven degrees. To keep your furry friend warm and toasty during this period, there is some winter care you need to be aware of.
Here are the top five ways you can keep your rabbit happy and healthy during the colder seasons:
Move The Hutch Somewhere Warmer
You can protect your rabbits from extreme temperatures and weather by moving their hutch somewhere warmer. Choose a sheltered place and face it away from prevailing wind and rain. A shed, outhouse or unused garage is a good way to help keep them warm.
If none of these spaces are available to you, weatherproofing the hutch will help keep your bunnies comfortable. During the night, you can use a blanket or an old piece of material to cover most of the hutch.
Keep Them Well Feed
A balanced and nutritious diet is essential to keeping your bunny healthy and happy in the colder months, especially since the winter weather will increase energy expenditure. Outdoor rabbits will eat a lot more during this period to stay warm so you’ll want to make sure that they can get the most out of their feed.
Feeding hay for rabbits and small animals is nutritionally balanced perfectly to ensure your furry friend stays full and healthy. This should make up the majority of your rabbits’ diet and be available at all times and there will be less opportunity to forage for greens. Providing them with vegetables and leafy greens can round off their diet nicely.
Make Their Hutch Cosy And Warm
As the temperatures drop, you need to make sure that their hutch stays cosy, warm and, more importantly, dry. Wet conditions can lead to your rabbit becoming ill and older bunnies can suffer from painful arthritis during the winter season.
You can provide insulation by lining the floor of the hutch with layers of newspaper and extra hay for your rabbits to curl up in. For somewhere more insulated, you can get creative with a cardboard box to give them a more compact and insulated place for them to relax.
If your bunny doesn’t have a thick winter coat or you have vulnerable and young rabbits, investing in an animal-friendly heat pad is a good idea.
Watch Out For Health Problems
The cold can make rabbits more susceptible to health problems so it’s essential to keep a watchful eye out. When bunnies get too cold, they can develop hypothermia, especially when their fur gets wet. Their temperatures could drop to life-threatening levels if left untreated so you need to be aware of changes in behaviour and the signs of hypothermia.
Severe colds can also cause your rabbit to develop the snuffles, a serious condition that manifests in cold-like symptoms. The signs include sneezing, runny nose, difficulty breathing, skin sores and a loss of appetite. This condition can prove fatal if left untreated so get your rabbit to the vet as soon as possible.
Make Sure Their Water Doesn’t Freeze
Water needs to be available to your rabbits at all times but when kept outside, it can freeze quickly in the winter months. You can prevent this by placing the water bottle near a heat source or purchasing a specially-made bottle cover. Regular checks should occur to see whether the water needs replacing.