There's a chill in the air and the days are getting shorter, that can only mean one thing... Winter is coming, so it's time to get your Rabbit ready.
In the wild, rabbits would hide underground to shelter from the winter chill and they would huddle in groups to share body heat. For many domestic rabbits, they face a cold stint alone at the bottom of the garden; so we want to make sure your bunny stays toasty on cold days.
Here's some tips for keeping your bunny happy this Winter;
Ensure you bunny has a well sheltered area to exercise over the winter months. Whilst rabbits are less active in the colder months, they still should be given space and time to run around and stretch their legs. This will need to be somewhere they are sheltered from rain, snow and strong cold winds. You can adapt your existing run by covering it with a tarpaulin to shelter them (it's best to do this during the warmest part of the day), or you could even bring them indoors and use conservatories, kitchens or utility rooms, which are easier to clean afterwards.
We hope this is obvious, but rabbits need somewhere cosy to snuggle and shelter during the colder months. Add a cardboard box filled with straw (which is warmer than hay) to their hutch, this offers great insulation and provides them bedding to snuggle in to keep warm. You could even add a pet safe heat pad into the hutch for extra warmth (ensure this is well wrapped to avoid burns and scolds, and always monitor your pet when using heat pads).
You will need to also insulate their hutch, by wrapping it with blankets and a waterproof cover (you can buy these relatively cheaply online or in pet stores) or move the hutch into a sheltered area or even into a garage or shed to protect your bunny from harsh winds and weather, (but ensure there is good ventilation and light if you are doing so).
You can wrap water bottles in bubble wrap, which will help stop the water freezing inside; but in case they do, always have a spare to hand and check your rabbit in the morning and evening to ensure they have access to fresh drinking water.
During the winter months, rabbits will need access to fresh leafy greens and as the weather changes so too may the availability of wild plants in the garden. So it may be a good idea to add Parsley, Spinach, Mustard greens, Swiss chard, carrot tops, Sprouts or Watercress to your shopping list during the winter months.
Check your rabbit daily, this is even more important during the winter months as old, thin or young rabbits are particularly prone to cold-related health problems.
Rabbits do not hibernate so it's important to monitor the amount your rabbit is eating, drinking, toileting and moving, if you notice they are doing less of any of these things it's not normal, and it's important to get them to the vet quickly. Rabbits are prey animals so they tend to hide illness to avoid becoming a target for predators, sadly by the time they show signs it may be too late.
If you are worried about your rabbit, call us on 01905 355938