Although rabbits grow a thicker coat to keep out the cold, this is often not enough for outside rabbits. There are lots of things we can do to make sure our pets are warm, dry and comfortable during the cold weather.
A good idea is to move the hutch into a DISUSED garage (car fumes can kill) or a shed.
However, it may seem kind to bring your rabbit into the house at night but this will do more harm than good. Rabbits cannot tolerate rapid changes in temperature. There is no reason that a healthy rabbit cannot stay outside if cared for properly.
Here are a few things you can do to protect your rabbits form the cold:
Put a tarpaulin, plastic sheet or an old duvet over the hutch at night but make sure air can circulate by leaving a gap.
Use clear prespex cut into the correct size to put over the mesh. Please leave a few inches gap along the top so you do not suffocate the rabbit.
Use a cardboard box in the night part of the hutch and line with plenty of hay.
Use lots and lots and lots of straw so the bunny can burrow deep into it.
Water bottle covers can help prevent water from freezing quickly but water should be changed more frequently . You can add a few drops of medicinal glycerine which delay freezing too. Make sure you check the nozzle as this is often the first area to freeze.
Rabbits will use a lot of energy keeping warm so they may need a SLIGHT increase of hard food during the cold and keep the hay levels topped up as much as possible.
Rabbits still need to exercise in cold weather. Permanently attached secure runs are the best option. Cover these with plastic sheeting and add roofing such as corrugated plastic. Make sure you leave gaps for ventilation.
Add plenty of straw as well as hay. Straw has excellent insulating properties.
Inside sheds, use otherwise unsuitable hutches as snuggle boxes - fill with newspaper and straw for a warm retreat.
Get creative - add tunnels and other areas as warm hideaways.
Winter is a tough time for predators too. Foxes may become extra brave and venture onto your property looking for food.
Check you accommodation daily for signs of external attack. Make sure your runs are as secure as your internal accommodation.
Latches are no problem to a hungry fox. Ensure your accommodation is secured using padlcoks and bolts.