Rabbits don’t hibernate during the winter, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need help keeping warm. Wild rabbits have plenty of space to run around and stay active and as a result they are able to cope with the colder weather. Pet rabbits often don’t have as much freedom, limited to the space available in their hutches and runs only. As a result they need some help in fighting off the cold.
Check the Condition of the Hutch
Make sure the rabbit hutch is in good condition. Repair any holes that let in draughts, fix the wiring on the doors to ensure there are no gaps or sharp wiring poking out that could injure your pet. The roof of the hutch should also be in good condition with a suitable covering that will protect your rabbit from the rain and the wind. Think about moving the hutch especially if its current location is out in the open. Find a sheltered spot that will stop the wind and the rain from blowing in through the wired openings.
Insulate the Hutch
Stock up on straw and increase the amount you use as the temperatures drop outside. If you keep it dry and change it regularly it will provide the perfect insulation for your pet rabbit. Fill the nesting box out with plenty of straw but don’t neglect the rest of the hutch, you’ll need lots especially during the winter.
The other option is to bring the rabbit into the home during especially harsh winters, in which case you won’t need as much straw. However, it’s often better to consider bringing an outdoor rabbit into a shed or a garage (that’s not used for cars) rather than inside the home. Rabbits replace their summer coat for a thicker winter one and the home could prove to be too warm if the heating is on.
Feeding and Exercise
Increase the amount of food you provide your rabbit during the colder months. The food will help them to keep a regular body temperature and help them to withstand the drop in temperature. Provide plenty of feed along with hay and some fresh food.
Finally it’s important not to neglect the amount of exercise your rabbit is going to need. Decide on a suitable exercise location to use as an exercise spot in all weather conditions – a cool room in the home, a sheltered area of the garden or the garden shed. Take the rabbit out during the middle of the day if possible and allow it to have a good run. Be sure to use a rabbit run to prevent your rabbit from nibbling any wires or getting into mischief.