Winter is not as frowning to rabbits as summer. During certain cold weather, all you can do is to bring your rabbit hutch inside until the conditions go to normal. Except for extreme low-temperature states, rabbits used to like winter. But wild rabbits can face a shortage of food to survive in cold weather.
Can rabbits survive in cold weather? Yes, rabbits can survive in cold temperatures between 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit comfortably. But for below 35, you have to take some extra measures.
Winter below 20 degrees Fahrenheit will be the struggling environment for rabbits. If you have adopted a bunny, try to keep it warm during extreme conditions. Provide them fresh blankets around the cage and change when these turn out to be wet.
Can Rabbits Survive in Cold Weather?
Winter doesn’t affect rabbits but in the same way as heatstroke attacks during summer, frostbite, or cold fever can happen during winter. Following precautionary measures are necessary for rabbits to survive in cold weather.
Pre Winter Measures
Rabbits can survive in cold weather a little easier than in summer but it doesn’t mean they are out of danger. If you are keeping rabbits outdoor then it is okay. But if your rabbits are living inside, it is recommended to train them for the upcoming winter season.
Start putting their cage outside the house before a month of coming winter till late evenings. This will make their mind ready for the whole season and they can cover the long winter nights comfortably. Researchers have suggested this technique and this has produced many sound results.
Keeping The Wetness Out
Rabbit breeds usually have a thick coat and that works as an insulator against cold. But it is necessary to keep their coat as dry as dust. Once their skin came in contact with the water that means they cannot be that warm again.
Keep all types of wetness out from their range especially the water bowls you are using should be placed at a distance from their sleeping booth.
If their urine or any other accidental knock results in the humidity at the mat. Try to change them as soon as possible. It is recommended to use a cage with wire-bottomed floors. It will protect the bunnies from waste food or any other wet material to remain within the touch of rabbits. Try to check this plate from time to time for better safety.
Inside the cage, one must build a nest for the rabbit filled with straws. Keep its dimensions relevant to the cage and don’t build it too large so that the cold air comes inside. Make it comfortable according to the number of rabbits inside the cage.
Keep enough space so that the rabbit can turn itself left and right. For better warming, it is necessary to keep space enough only so that they fit themselves in the space when they lay upon each other.
Animals are different from us but it doesn’t mean they don’t need well-deserved precautionary measures. A well-insulated cage can protect you from many headaches and your rabbit from cold illness.
This straw nesting is like comfortable bedding for rabbits and it is enough to provide comfort even during strong harsh cold weather.
Your pets always look towards you for better advantages. More you will give them relief; more they will be familiar with you. We all know it is difficult to supply fresh water in the cage. But supplying water to rabbits is important during winter also, if not they will fall prey to the dehydration problem.
Rabbits need to have access to healthy water all the time because water can turn into ice or maybe bunnies don’t like to drink cold water.
A little warm water in an open mouth bowl will be better. It takes more time to freeze in a widened plate. The water supply should be changed after every three hours.
Cage Material and Position
The housing of the rabbit should be the main concern for the owner in terms of location. It is better if the cage is under the shade or behind the wall. So that the wind doesn’t come across there directly.
Wooden or tin material is preferred but there are chances that a clever bunny can chew a wooden one. Both can work reasonably until proper insulation is done. If your rabbit has a habit of chewing something you can read about what can rabbit chew for its teeth.
Wire-grounded bottom made up of iron or any other hard material can work. You can use some canvass sheets for protection during high wind movement. Simply, roll up the sheet by fastening it with a ribbon and roll down when needed.
Diseases Linked with Rabbits in Cold Weather
There are different diseases in rabbits in the winter season which can be dangerous for rabbits to survive in cold weather.
Frostbite in rabbits
Frostbite is not a fatal one but it can lead to hypothermia if it remains for a long time. During this condition, blood can’t move properly. It happens at a specific area and the color of that area turns to a pale blue with a mixture of hue.
Use a warm nylon cloth or towel to stop it from further spreading. Use only water to warm the area and don’t put directly the wounded area in front of the heater. Otherwise, blisters will be produced on it.
Hypothermia in rabbits
When the temperature drops to an extremely low level, then it becomes difficult for a rabbit to avoid wetness. This wetness happens mostly because of urine or some water splash from the bowl. Having wet fur in cold conditions can cause the rabbits to be affected by hypothermia.
You will notice a low energy and lethargy body of rabbits in its symptoms. Shivering occurs during its start and stops when it’s at its peak. Lips color changes to pale and rabbits will not be in the condition to give you early responses.
Hypothermia is an emergency disease and you have to call a vet doctor on an urgent basis. Clean the cage and warm it before putting the rabbit again into the nesting.
Arthritis is linked with bones or joint pain and can be of any old injury which rises during the winter season. Rabbits cannot feel any comfortability and sometimes it lasts longer maybe throughout the whole winter season. A little warmup by doing exercise of the infected joint can help to lower the pain swiftly.
Pain occurs mostly in elderly rabbits and it can be anywhere in the joints of knees, ankles, shoulders, or spine. Hips joint can also face this issue. The only cure to this problem is to provide them, pain killers, by consulting your doctor.
Put warm blankets over them after giving them enough warm-up. Be careful about their diet as mostly rabbits used to lose their weight in this disease.