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What to do with an outside rabbit during the winter?

(18 Posts)
moomoo1967 Fri 17-Sep-10 21:26:36

Hi, we have had a rabbit since April on the condition set by my landlord that it is an outside rabbit. At present it has an insulation cover on his hutch and an old shower curtain over to prevent the rain soaking through. I don't have a shed or equivilent. What else can I do ? Someone suggested a heated pad like you would use for a lizard etc ?
He has plenty of hay, I just feel a bit guilty. I could probably get away with, when it gets frosty putting his hutch in the kitchen as it is quite small, overnight.
Just wondered what other people do ?

RobynLou Fri 17-Sep-10 21:28:47

my parents have had rabbits and guinea pigs outside all year since I was a kid, overnight in the winter they wrap the hutch in jumbo garden bubble wrap which you can buy off a roll at a garden centre.

moomoo1967 Fri 17-Sep-10 21:31:03

ok, thanks and I know a stupid question but you would have to leave part of it open to let them breathe ?

Suncottage Fri 17-Sep-10 21:40:37

Put polystyrene under the hutch and yes leave a small gap for air when insulating with bubble wrap.

Loads of straw - the rabbit will make a nest. Pack it in tight and put the water bottle inside the hutch - otherwise it will freeze.

Also, remember to keep the rabbit entertained - they are intelligent little critters and get bored stuck in a hutch!

You sound like a lovely rabbit owner.

Suncottage Fri 17-Sep-10 21:44:38


I meant to add a huge grin after that!!!!

whoknows2010 Fri 17-Sep-10 21:45:18

We managed to get hold of some clear perpex form a sign writers shop, cut it down to size and used it to cover the wire mesh area so the cold and rain stayed out and the rabbits could still see outside and get plenty of light.

moomoo1967 Sat 18-Sep-10 17:28:51

thanks for your ideas. Whoknows2010 if you put the perpex over the front of the hutch, how do they breathe. sorry if that sounds thick grin

moomoo1967 Sat 18-Sep-10 17:30:11

oh and suncottage, he is lucky he usually has the run of the garden on weekends. its usually in the evenings he is in the hutch

memoo Sat 18-Sep-10 17:31:05

We bought a hutch hugger from the pet shop. It has an insulated layer to keep them warm and then a waterproof layer on top with a clear panel that comes over the front so they can still see out. It works really well and this will be their 3rd winter outside.

ilovesprouts Sat 18-Sep-10 17:34:28

i have a thick old blanket on mine and a big plastic sheet i pack lots of straw /hay and they are ok ,i also put a sock over the water bottle to stop the water from freezing over

Meow75 Sat 18-Sep-10 17:35:57

You can get heat pads that go in the microwave and then have a cover to protect from any burns. Have a look in Pets at Home or Internet search for pet microwave heat pad and I'm sure you'll get some hits. They do last longer than a conventional water bottle too - just ask my 10 year old kitty.

moomoo1967 Sat 18-Sep-10 17:37:10

fab thanks, he already has the insulating hutch hugger but it isn't waterproof smile

HappyAsASandboy Sat 18-Sep-10 17:43:45

He would also say thank you for a rabbitty friend to snuggle up with :-) You'd need to a) get them both neutered and b) check that your hutch is big enough though grin

Flighttattendant Sat 18-Sep-10 17:50:17

We have a made to measure winter cover which has that silver insulating bubble sheet inside.

You can get rolls of it at Homebase etc and staple it round the back three walls of the hutch - I've got a roll for the G.pig hutch. I think it's meant to be OK for summer as well so you won't need to remove it, but don't leave the hutch in direct sunlight in any case.

Then cover the top and front with a shower curtain weighted with bricks, and maybe a nice soft old flannel sheet or a woolly blanket under that. Should be fine with plenty of hay and straw.

As an aside I worry about what to do exercise wise with the rabbits in winter. They have a huge run on the lawn, I could put it on the patio instead but that's a bit dull.

Are they generally OK getting damp little feet? There is a wooden hutch to shelter in in the run but they seem to prefer to sit on op hmm

moomoo1967 Sun 19-Sep-10 11:31:09

We did think about getting him a friend but I think it will have to wait until early next year. Mainly due to money, I would need a bigger hutch, I would need to get Nutmeg neutered etc. He has plenty of toys in the garden and loves the tubes that he can hide in and run through. Thanks for the ideas. Flightattendant, my current run has metal pegs that push into the ground and was only meant for the summer. So I am trying to get the money together for a much sturdier run that will go on the patio. I was going to cover the floor with hay so I hope that works, he usually has the run of the garden in the day time as I have brick walls so he can't get out

jenmak Wed 27-Oct-10 19:30:43

If your gonna keep your rabbits outside you need a rabbit hutch cover, You can find lots at tml The insulated type are great but you need a waterproof to go over the top.

jenmak Wed 27-Oct-10 19:34:35

i meant tml

MeMudmagnet Fri 03-Dec-10 18:25:20

I'd second the idea of a friend for your bunny. Could you fit a small shed in the garden to put the hutch in? You may find one on your local freecycle?
I have 3 bunnies who live in my shed, they have a small hutch in there, with the small door removed and the mesh front boarded up. They have been taught to use litter trays in the shed, so that makes them easy to keep clean.
The shed has a little slide up door so they can come out in the garden during the day, but I lock them up at night.

They have been very cosy during this cold weather.
I'd like to have them as house rabbits, but in the summer, they come in and annoy the dog. So I don't think she'd take kindly to living with them full time!

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