It is important to keep your pet rabbit safe from the cold during winter months. If you have a rabbit or rabbits in a hutch, you must winterise it in order to ensure they are protected from the elements. Otherwise there is the risk that they will freeze to death. Winterising a rabbit hutch is relatively easy. Once it's done, you may rest easy, knowing you've taken the important step of maintaining your pet's health and comfort.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Carpeting, cloth or a blanket
- A tarp
Check the rabbit hutch for leaks. You need to address a leaking hutch no matter the time of year, but it's even more important during the winter. Look for water stains on the inside of the hutch and fix any leak with new wood and/or sealant.
Patch up any holes in the wood to block the wind from getting into the rabbit hutch. Cold wind can be deadly, and must be blocked out so it doesn't reach your pet.
Cover the hutch with a piece of cloth, a blanket or old carpeting, followed by a tarp to protect it from rain. Remember to leave a small opening for ventilation. This is especially important at night, during rainstorms and during cold spells.
Provide a separate sleeping area inside the hutch. Many hutches come with this section, but if yours does not, add a small box, with an entrance hole, inside the hutch. Provide plenty of bedding and a layer of litter on the floor. Make sure your rabbit still has room to move outside of the sleeping area.
Place the rabbit hutch inside a shed or garage if possible. Do not put the rabbit hutch in a garage in which you park a vehicle, however, as the fumes pose a danger.
Tips and warnings
- The rabbit hutch should be raised off the ground. This will keep it from getting damp, which is even more dangerous during the cold winter months. It will also help protect the rabbit from predators.
- Wooden hutches provide better warmth than their metal counterparts. They also stay cooler during the warmer months.
- Choose a hutch with a pitched roof to allow water to run off the sides, instead of pooling at the top and leaking inside.
- Rabbits need extra food in the winter, as they use up energy keeping themselves warm. Also, make sure to check the water dish or bottle regularly for ice. Water bottle nozzles may freeze even if the water inside the bottle has not frozen.
- Rabbits do not hibernate during the winter. If your rabbit appears to be sleeping more than usual, it is likely sick and requires the care of a veterinarian.
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