So, winter’s fast approaching and you’re looking for tips on how to winterize your rabbit hutch for when the cold winds and snow arrive?
Please bear in mind that rabbits can actually survive very cold temperatures and even thrive when it gets really cold.
However, it’s imperative that your hutch is away from strong winds, the hutch is stable and there is zero chance of your rabbit getting wet.
If your rabbit gets wet then there is a significant chance of illness and disease.
Check out our winterization tips to help your rabbit survive winter below.
How to Winterize a Rabbit Hutch ready for Wintertime
Below we have provided a vast amount of tips to safeguard your rabbit during winter, bad weather and information you need to know about the placement of your hutch for maximum protection for your rabbit.
- Check the hutch for damage
Throughout the summer your hutch may become damaged for whatever reason, whether by accident or by bad weather. Before winter approaches check for cracks and holes that may become troublesome in winter months.
These innocent cracks during the summer can become lethal during winter as they will let water in that can potentially make your rabbit sick or worse.
Most of the damaged areas can be filled with sealants that will fill the crack and prevent water leaks and drafts and can be found at most craft, home improvement, and pet stores. Ensure you buy a ‘Pet-friendly’ sealant.
- Reposition the hutch during winter
Is your rabbit hutch currently in an open space that is fine during the summer? If yes, then there’s a good chance that the position of the hutch will not be suitable for wintertime for the exact opposite reasons.
Try and find a secluded area in your yard that is away from strong winds but is well lit by natural light. Even though it’s wintertime, your rabbit needs to see daylight but doesn’t want exposure to wet weather.
By choosing to put your hutch in an optimal position, you not only increase the longevity of the hutch, but you also help ensure that your rabbit is as comfortable and safe as possible during the winter.
- Ensure the hutch is off the ground
Hutches spend an awfully long time outdoors and over time they can often have broken stands or legs, to the point where the hutch puts pressure on other legs and eventually you find yourself having to remove the frame legs.
If this is the case, you must ensure that you do not place the bottom of the hutch directly onto the ground. This will cause damp to creep into the floor section of the hutch but can also allow water to pour into the hutch during long spells of heavy rain.
If your stand or legs are broke then think about buying a new rabbit cage or simply repair the legs or place bricks under the 4 corners of the hutch as a temporary measure.
The bricks also allow air to circulate underneath the hutch and help prevent damp spots on the structure of the hutch.
s of the hutch could be enough, as it allows air to circulate underneath the hutch, reducing the chances of damp.
You could also consider placing the hutch on a second-hand table if you want it to be even higher up.
- Make sure that the Rabbit has fresh bedding
Rabbits are not necessarily bothered by the temperatures that come from winter, in fact, many of them thrive in the colder temperatures.
However, rabbits do need the ability to keep themselves warm during wintertime so it is imperative that you provide fresh bedding and different types of it too.
The best types of bedding for rabbits during winter are straw, cardboard shavings, 2nd cut timothy hay and fleece blankets that are suitable for pets.
Fleece blankets will have to be changed regularly as they hold moisture and ensure that they are pet friendly by buying one that is specifically for pets that chew their bedding.
Ensure there is plenty of bedding in the nesting box as rabbits love to burrow down in cold weather conditions.
- Fresh water & good quality food
For a rabbit to thrive during the winter you will need to apply most, if not all of the measures above. However, none of them are effective unless your rabbit has a healthy diet during the winter.
You must ensure that your rabbit has access to fresh water at all times. This doesn’t just mean it’s filled up but you need to make sure that it doesn’t freeze in cold weather.
You can stop water bottles freezing by placing the bottle inside the hutch to prevent wind chill from freezing the water. You can also wrap fabric material around the plastic bottle but please make sure it isn’t a dangerous material that the rabbit can chew or swallow.
Some owners wrap the bottles in fabric then cut holes in a plant pot and push the nozzle through the hole then hang the plant pot upside down from the ceiling of the hutch. This is very effective but can move slightly whilst drinking.
Fresh food is ideal in winter as it lasts longer due to the colder weather slowing down the decay of fresh vegetables. Give your rabbit its favorite food and regular supplies of it whilst also ensuring fresh hay and pellets for nibbles.