Keeping rabbits outside in winter: important tips
It is usually not a problem to keep rabbits outside in winter. Rabbits can handle cold better than heat. You can find out here which requirements you should still meet when keeping long-eared bats outside in winter and what you have to watch out for.
Rabbits can take low temperatures well – Shutterstock / StockPhotosLV
House rabbits also feel comfortable outside in cooler temperatures. They are no different from their relatives, the wild rabbits. Still, rabbits need a little extra shelter and special food during the winter to keep them healthy.
Can you keep rabbits outside in winter?
After gradually getting used to the cooler temperatures, rabbits can easily stay in the outdoor enclosure in winter. The easiest way to do this is to leave the Hoppler outside all year round.
Do you want the rabbits in for the first time? outdoor enclosure do this in the summer, at the latest by the end of August. Then the fur noses have enough time to gradually get used to the colder environment over the late summer and autumn.
Keeping rabbits outside in winter: how many degrees?
Most rabbit breeds can even endure freezing temperatures down to minus 20 degrees Celsius. Long-haired breeds like Lionheads and Rex rabbits are more sensitive because they don’t have such a dense coat of top coat. However, these rabbits can still stay outside during the winter if their enclosure is well protected.
Which rabbits should not be left outside in winter
Young to adult rabbits do well outside in the cold season. You should only do this for chronically ill, pregnant or old animals attitude prefer in the house. If a rabbit becomes acutely ill, don’t suddenly bring it into the warmth – the temperature difference could come as a shock. Instead, house the animal in a cool, but dry, draft-free room. Here you can relax until the temperatures outside are spring-like again.
Important: Even if only one rabbit gets sick, it should not come into the house alone. Rabbits should always be kept in groups of at least two. Otherwise the animal will be unhappy and will miss its conspecifics. At least one playmate and cuddle partner from the group should move with you.
This is how the rabbit hutch becomes winterproof
A winter-proof outdoor enclosure for rabbits needs a covered area, enough shelters and sufficient exercise.
Rex rabbits, long haired breeds and lionheads prefer a fully covered hutch. All other rabbits also defy rain, snow and ice with their thick fur. All they need is a dry, warmer area to eat, sleep, and rest. This should also be protected from drafts, wind and weather from the sides.
Calculate at least three square meters per animal for the run. Then the cubs can romp, hop and warm up to their heart’s content.
Set up several shelters so the rabbits can choose which one to retreat to. These do not have to be specially insulated, but must be protected against draughts, rain, snow and ice. They should continue to allow air circulation so that no moisture builds up inside, which could lead to mold.
Pad the shelters generously with absorbent bedding, straw and hay so that the hoppers are nice and warm. Check daily whether the floor is still sufficiently covered and everything is clean and dry. If not, you remove the damp bedding and replace it with fresh material.
Rabbits in winter: what to do in frost
The animals themselves are protected from frost in their shelters. It can become a problem if the water in the rabbit trough or drinking bowl freezes. To avoid this, you can choose a larger drinking bowl and put tennis balls or pieces of wood in the water. The movement of the floating balls prevents ice from forming too quickly.
Alternatively, heatable bowls are an option. For example, there are dogs. Alternatively, you can place the drinking bowls on heating plates or under a heat lamp in a protected area.
Caution: The heat lamp must be placed high enough so that it does not get too hot underneath: lukewarm is sufficient. In addition, it must also be protected from wind and weather.
Proper nutrition for rabbits in winter
Rabbits need a little more energy in the winter than in the summer so they can pack on their protective winter fat. You can do this with carbohydrates and fats liningfor example through more root vegetables and more fatty seeds such as fennel seeds or peeled sunflower seeds.
You should only offer fresh food in a protected area so that it does not freeze. If possible, change it several times a day and give smaller portions. Instead of fresh meadow herbs, dried herbs are suitable in winter. Top it off with some oatmeal and whole grain cereal.
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