People love bringing home rabbits as their pets.
These small herbivores are little balls full of energy and can cheer anybody up with the way they hop and run around.
If you are a rabbit owner who lives in a colder city, it is important to prepare beforehand.
You will need to insulate the rabbit hutch to keep your pets warm and comfortable during the cold months.
Here’s how to insulate a rabbit hutch!
Insulating the Rabbit Hutch from Outside
It is important to winterize your rabbit’s hutch from the outside. While rabbits can cope with the cold pretty well, they do require some extra attention to not get sick.
This is especially true at night when there are chances of your bunnies getting exposed to chilly drafts.
The best way to insulate the outer area of the hutch is by covering it with a waterproof cover. This will keep your rabbits safe from any rain or snow.
You can use a tarpaulin cover with eyes. Simply secure it over the hutch and drape some old blankets over it for additional warmth.
You can also put up windbreakers around the hutch. This minimizes the chances of your rabbits being exposed to cold air.
Finally, make sure the entrance of the hutch faces south. This is away from the wind’s direction and will stop the cold air from getting in.
Insulating the Rabbit Hutch from Inside
The most important part of insulating a rabbit hutch from the inside is hay.
But, before you place the hay, you should first create deep bedding of shavings under the hay.
The next step is to add stacks full of hay as the second layer of bedding in your rabbits’ hutch. This will do wonders to keep them warm throughout the winter season.
Some people prefer adding straw instead of hay, but it is sharper and can injure your bunnies.
If you do decide to get straw instead of hay, opt for high-quality, soft straw material. This will add extra warmth to the hutch.
You can also place a cardboard box filled with hay or straw inside the hutch if there’s space for it. The cardboard box ensures maximum insulation where your rabbits sleep during cold nights.
Cardboard boxes are also easy to replace once they get dirty or you notice rabbit droppings on them.
Lastly, remember to clean out the hutch every day. Keep an eye out for any damp spots in the hutch and clean them up instantly.
Your rabbits should never be sitting in a damp or soggy area.
You can also use small litter trays inside the hutch.
These will encourage your rabbits to poop or pee inside the tray, reducing the chances of damp spots developing in random areas in the hutch.
The final thing to consider inside the hutch is your bunnies’ water bottles. Water can freeze quickly in colder temperatures. Even if the water gets cold, it can cause your bunnies to become sick.
Try placing a heating pad under the water bottles to keep them warm. You can also wrap the water bottles in temperature-controlled packaging to keep them at room temperature.
How to Keep Outdoor Rabbits Warm in Winter
If you keep your bunnies in an outdoor hutch, it is important to ensure they are warm in the winter season.
You can do this by either transferring them to indoor hutches or insulating the outdoor hutch.
Remember that providing heat, comfort, and coziness is the best way to ensure your bunny is comfortable throughout the winter. This extra effort will also prevent your rabbit from getting sick.
Here are some great ways to keep outdoor bunnies warm as the temperature falls.
Inspect and Repair the Outdoor Hutch
Before the winter season begins, you should start working on the outdoor hutch. This will help you prepare it for the incoming colder months.
Start by carefully assessing and inspecting the outdoor hutch. Take note of damaged corners, splintered wood, or any other areas that need to be repaired.
While assessing the hutch, you should keep in mind that cold air, rain, and snow can enter your rabbit’s home through many different entry points.
It is your responsibility to block these entry points, so your bunny doesn’t get sick. So, get ready for some maintenance work on the hutch.
Start by checking the roof of the hutch. This will probably be the most damaged part of your rabbits’ home.
Strange as it may seem, rabbits love messing with the roofs of their hutch. Since the roof is usually made of wood, they enjoy chewing on the material and tearing it apart.
You can just use slop wood and some wire mesh to repair the roof and make it snowproof.
Also, work on repairing the sidebars of the hutch if your rabbits have been chewing through them. Make sure there is plenty of room for ventilation on the sides while doing so.
Lastly, buy a tarpaulin or polythene cover for the hutch. While it is best to leave the hutch uncovered during the day, you must spread out a protective layer at night to keep your bunnies warm and safe.
The best way to keep your bunnies warm during winter is by moving them to a well-insulated hutch.
If you can’t invest in an insulated and waterproof hutch right now, that’s okay!
Simply follow our tips on insulating the outside and inside of your rabbits’ hutch, as mentioned above.
You should also consider moving your outdoor rabbits into an indoor space for extra comfort. If you do decide to make the switch, remember to let your bunnies out for some time each day.
Rabbits are extremely active and agile creatures that enjoy running around in the grass.
So, at around noon each day, you should let them out for some exercise so they can stay healthy.
Provide Unlimited Hay
Hay isn’t just your rabbits’ primary source of food; it also serves as dry and clean bedding.
Therefore, you should make sure that your rabbits’ hutch has an unlimited supply of dry hay at all times.
Place large bunches of dry hay in the sleeping area of your rabbit’s hutch. This will keep your bunnies warm and cozy through the cold nights.
You should make sure to replace the hay regularly to keep the hutch clean and hygienic.
Wet hay as a result of rabbit pee or water spillage can make your bunnies sick and cause them to catch a cold.
Some rabbit owners replace hay with straw during the winter season. This isn’t a very good idea since straw is sharper and can cause your rabbits serious injuries.
Add Appropriate Bedding
Aside from hay, there are many different types of beddings that you can add to your outdoor rabbits’ hutch. These include:
- Aspen rabbit bedding
- Hemp bedding
- Fleece bedding
- Paper or pelleted rabbit bedding
Most people prefer paper-based bedding as it is completely safe for rabbits and quite easy to cleanout.
Paper bedding is also a cheaper option, and it is biodegradable, making it eco-friendly.
These types of bedding do well to reduce odor in your rabbits’ hutch and keeps it hygienic for their best health.
Also read: Can You Use Newspaper for Rabbit Bedding?
Install a Heating Pad
If it gets particularly cold in your city, you should invest in a heating pad for your bunnies.
Heating pads are safe to use inside a rabbit hutch. They are also exceptionally easy to set up and offer your bunnies some much-needed warmth as the temperature turns cold.
Microwave the heating pads at your desired level before placing them in the hutch.
You should make sure that the heating pad isn’t too hot, as it could cause burns or discomfort to your bunnies.
Let them Exercise
Exercising is the best way to warm up the body and ensure that your bunnies aren’t at risk of hypothermia.
While exercise time is important for rabbits all year round, it becomes even more essential during winter.
You should set a time each day to let out your bunnies and allow them to run around.
This exercise time helps increase their blood circulation and causes their bodies to warm up.
Also, try to ensure that the exercise space is large enough for the bunnies to run around in but also enclosed. This will keep your rabbits safe and prevent the risk of them running away.
Try to include some mental stimulation activities during this exercise time. It is a great way to bond with your bunnies and establish a relationship of trust with them.
Lastly, set out some hiding spaces for your rabbits to rest in if they become scared or overwhelmed.
Keep Baby Rabbits Inside
While older rabbits can survive in their outdoor hutch during winters, baby bunnies cannot.
Baby rabbits are highly susceptible to developing fevers and illnesses due to the cold.
Therefore, it is best to keep them inside during severely cold climates. If the baby rabbits are still being fed by their mother, you can create a cozy space for both of them indoors.
Other articles you may also like: