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Small pets

Caring for outside rabbits over winter

13 replies

Jengle · 16/10/2019 11:05


So, I’m getting myself prepared for winter and wondered the best way to care for our 2 bunnies over winter.

They currently have a hutch which is left open all day so they roam around the garden but can run into the hutch if their scared or want to sleep, as it’s started raining more, they have just been running around our patio area as it’s under cover.

However, I’m wondering as the weather turns, what can I do to make sure our bunnies are warm- especially overnight?

Bringing them in, isn’t an option as one was originally a house rabbit but chewed through so many wires and dig up the carpet and just wasn’t happy in the house, but loves it outside. Plus, we’ve realised 2 family members are allergic to the fur in the home Sad

OP posts:
BlackInk · 16/10/2019 16:41

I've had pet rabbits for many years and they have always been fine outdoors in winter. I only brought them in once when the temperature overnight was forecast to go below minus 10. I actually worry more in very hot weather.

Just make sure they have a dry, cosy bed area (raised off the ground) with loads of hay to nest in, and check that water bottles haven't frozen.

Are you sure they're safe free ranging in the garden all day though? A large cat or a fox could easily come into the garden and pounce unexpectedly. Birds of prey will even sometimes take pet rabbits. Are you also not worried that they will dig under fences?

Windydaysuponus · 16/10/2019 16:44

I left my giant bunny free range one winter. He sheltered down the side of the conservatory - out of bloody reach - got soaked and sadly died soon after...
We have 2 bog standard rabbits who have a day run but get confined to the hutch at night. Plenty of straw.

sweetkitty · 16/10/2019 16:47

Our two had hitch huggers last year, you warm them up in the microwave. They also had insulation around their hutch, loads of hay, a waterproof hutch cover but best of all had each other to snuggle into. On really cold nights we put a blanket over the front of the hutch too (remember to leave a gap of air though).

Beamur · 16/10/2019 16:48

You can get heating pads that you microwave and put in overnight or on cold days. My guinea pigs have them. Keeps them cosy.

sweetkitty · 16/10/2019 16:48

Hutch huggers

Beamur · 16/10/2019 16:49

My DH has also added extra insulation to the outside of the hutch. Keeps it warmer in winter, cooler in summer.

DogsApo · 16/10/2019 16:50

We used heated pads last year. Glad you started this thread as forgot we had them.

BeanBag7 · 16/10/2019 16:54

I think I will be buying a Snugglesafe Heat Pad for my guineas this winter. You microwave it for. Few mins and it stays hot for 8 hours - I think I could stick it under the bedding in their hutch and it will keep them warm
We also have a thermal cover for the hutch.

Jengle · 16/10/2019 20:50

Thank you for all the replies, I will look into getting a heatpad, we already have a cover for the hutch.

OP posts:
Pinkbonbon · 16/10/2019 20:56

We always used you just cover the hutch opening with plastic when it got particularly rainy/cold. But there was also a shed we could put the hutches in when it was extra bad. That was 10+ years ago now though, there are probably better options now.

Jengle · 16/10/2019 21:00

@BlackInk yes, they are ok in the garden, we do have cats come in the garden (although I’ve seen our big bunny chase one away!) and have seen foxes last year so I keep my eye on them.

I’m at home pretty much all day and kids are always in and out of the garden. I keep our door open as much as possible too so the rabbits can come in the house if they want (they rarely do though).

Our one rabbit is a digger and a jumper! So, we’ve had to really rabbit proof the garden, there’s concrete slabs around the bottom of the fences so they can’t dig under and we’ve heightened the fence to stop them jumping over it. The way our garden is laid out, the birds of prey can’t get to the rabbits while they are roaming as our patio roof protects them. We have a gate that stops them getting too far away from the house.

I had no idea how much work rabbits would be when we had them but it’s really worth it as they are the cutest pets Smile we love them!

OP posts:
Jengle · 16/10/2019 21:02

@Pinkbonbon I did consider a shed to put the hutch in, the only problem is, the only space we have for a shed is the other end of the garden next to the neighbours with a very loud dog so I think it would stress them out.

We have a very weird shaped garden which is making it difficult to know what to do.

OP posts:
NC4this123 · 16/10/2019 21:05

Rabbits cope better with cold than hot so they should be fine! They grow a winter coat anyway I just use lots of straw for bedding

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