Rabbits are very adaptable to cold temperatures......in fact they can handle cold weather much better than they can handle heat. 

In the wild rabbits naturally grow thick winter coats, and can dig burrows to snuggle in when the temperature plummets below freezing. 

Our domestic rabbits have retained the ability to grow warm, insulating coats when the weather turns cool in the fall. 

But they can't dig burrows or hideout in the underbrush......so here are a few tips to help keep your rabbits warm and healthy in the Winter time. 

1. Keep your rabbit out of drafts/wind/rain. This is the most important thing! Even if it is not  cold, a wet rabbit can easily catch pneumonia. Your rabbit needs to be kept in a sheltered area to keep them dry, and out of the wind. 

Usually keeping rabbit in a shed, barn, or shop is best. Some hutches also come with a built in box to protect them from the cold. This also works. 

Some people also build in "igloo" out of straw or hay bales. Thick hay bales provide great insulation for the rabbit.

You can also use makeshift tarps or canvas covers to provide a windbreak/water protection for your rabbit hutch. 

2. Increase calories to keep your rabbit warm. Your rabbit will need extra calories in the winter to produce the extra energy it takes to keep him warm. Fall is a good time to begin slightly increasing the amount you feed your rabbit. You might also consider adding higher calorie foods like sunflower seeds, or oats. 

Also giving you rabbit and extra big handful of hay every evening will provide them something to cuddle in as well as munch on all night. 

3. Don't forget about water! You may not feel as thirsty in cold weather, but water is still very important in the winter! Water can freeze quickly in the winter time, so you will need to check your rabbits water twice a day to make sure it is not frozen. If you use a water bottle you can alternate two of them in and out of the house to thaw them. 

Remember if using a bottle, the metal nipple will freeze before the rest of the bottle....so even if it doesn't look frozen, the nipple might be frozen enough to prevent the rabbit from getting any liquid out. 

You can also use a water bowl, which simply must be refilled with warm water twice a day. 

4. Provide a nestbox. You can purchase metal or wooden nest boxes, like the kind that are used for does to have their babies in. Fill a box with hay/shavings, and your rabbit will love to cuddle up inside and stay cozy warm!

Just remember to clean out the nest box every few days. 

5. Pay special attention to old, young, or sick rabbits. A rabbit that is very old, very young, or has a compromised immunity might not be able to survive as well in cold weather. Consider these factors when deciding whether to keep your rabbit inside or outside, and how much protection you need to provide. 

6. Provide a heat lamp. You can safely string up a heat lamp outside of the rabbits cage to provide warmth. This constant source of heat will raise the temperature quite a bit, depending on how close it is to the cage. 

This is an excellent way to provide some extra warmth for your rabbit, and is especially helpful for babies. 


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