Cold Weather Tips for Outdoor Pet Rabbits
Most people advocate for all pets to be kept inside during the cold months of winter but if they are use to being outside you can be influenced by the pets themselves especially pet rabbits. Rabbits are sometimes happier outside and will soon let you know by perhaps refusing food and drink when they are made to stay inside to long. This can pose a bit of a problem for some rabbit owners but with cold weather tips for an outside rabbits you and your rabbit can certainly compromise.
Location of hutch
If your pet rabbit insist on staying outside you will have to provide the best shelter possible to keep him safe and warm. The first consideration is the location of his hutch. This should be moved to a corner of the house that gets the least wind especially north winds that can be extremely cold. Rabbit cages can present a problem by usually being made of wire which is wide open to all types of weather in order to keep your rabbit from chewing through it.
If this is the case consider place an insulating mat over and around the cage to protect them from the weather. It would have to be placed in such a way that your rabbit cannot chew on it. Once you get this set up you could have a flap in front that can be raised and lowered as needed. Placing their hutch inside a shed would give extra protection.
Some people build enclosures completely around the hutch leaving an opening in the front for access. When the hutch is insulated place lots of straw on the floor to make sure there is no draft getting up through. This should be checked daily for dampness and messes and changed out if you find either of these.
Food and water
Food and water can pose a problem during the winter months. Pellets contains a certain amount of moisture and can freeze when the temperatures drops. It is almost assured that your rabbits water will freeze exposed to the outside. This can be remedied by using heat bowls for food and water.
These bowls can be purchased at your local mall or pet store. They hang from the side of the cage and you will have in keep the wires that are attached well out of the reach of your rabbits but seeing that these wires are on the outside of the cage should make it fairly simple to keep out of their reach.
Your rabbit’s water should be checked frequently just to make sure it hasn’t frozen. Increase the amount of food and water during the cold months as rabbits tend to burn more calories during the winter months so they need the additional food especially hay.
Before winter arrives start placing nesting boxes inside the hutch. This can be something as simple as a cardboard box and should be approximately three to four inches larger than your rabbit. Place at least three inches of straw around the box leaving a nice nest for your rabbit.
Place some hay inside to give your rabbit something to nibble on when he is inside. Check your straw and hay every day for any straw that is damp or soiled and replace it with fresh straw and hay. You should also check the cardboard for dampness and if you find it is damp change it out. You can use clothing such as towels or blankets but straw has excellent insulating properties.
Any rabbit that prefers the outside can still be kept warm and comfortable during the winter months. If the temperatures happens to fall to low for you and your rabbits comfort bring them inside on those nights. If you love animals you will probably find it difficult to leave them outside at all but you do have to realize that sometimes it is their preference to stay outdoors. With the help of cold weather tips for outdoor pet rabbits you and your rabbits should be happy with the arrangements.