Modern domestic rabbits have evolved over the years, and they can tolerate colder temperatures now. Rabbits do not hibernate in the cold winter months out in the wild, their thick warm coats keep them warm enough.
Bunnies like a temperature of around 60 degrees F, but they can deal with much colder conditions. As a responsible owner it’s your job to make sure they are happy, and warm enough. Some people put heat pads for rabbits in their outdoor hutches, this is one way to keep them warm – I’ll talk more about this in the article.
Protecting Their Outdoor Hutch From the Elements
It’s normal to have rabbits in hutches outdoors in the UK. But we all know the UK weather is not nice at times, so we have to take measures to keep them protected.
A hutch cover is an absolute must as the temperatures start to fall over night. Rabbits take the cold well, but mixed with wind and rain they become unsettled. Don’t we all?
So think about positioning the hutch out of direct wind, and in a dry spot. Use a cover over the hutch, and a heat pad inside if necessary.
Provide More Hay and Straw
Not only do they graze on hay most of the day, but it provides a warm nest with good natural insulation. Pack enough in so your rabbit(s) can snuggle up in the straw and keep warm.
Hay and straw is not expensive, and provides an easy solution to warm bedding. So stock up in bulk and store it in the shed.
Heat Pads for Rabbits
Putting a heat pad in their hutch is a great way for them to keep warm. I advise to stay away from the electric ones, it can present a small risk of something going wrong. Better safe than sorry, right.
This heat pad is a good one, it works by using the heat from the animal sitting on it, it stores the heat and warms up with the materials it’s made from:
A warm, comfortable pad for bunnies to sit on. It stores any heat from the pet and keeps warm, without using electric, making it one of the safest heat pads for rabbits.
If you catch your rabbit chewing on it you’ll need to do something to stop that. You don’t want the pad being ruined and chewed on.
Other Cold-Proofing Methods
Water bottles can freeze in extreme conditions. Lift water bottles off the floor if they are touching, and wrap them in something like bubble wrap. This should stop the water from freezing.
If you don’t have a hutch cover yet, you can cover the hutch in a plastic sheet. This is better than nothing at all, and will break a lot of the weather. If you do this, place a blanket or two under the plastic, this will add some insulation and make a big difference.
If you’re really handy with DIY you can add some perspex over any metal wire fronts on a hutch. Anything you can think of to stop the wind chill factor will do the trick.
If you’re moving the hutch into a shed, you can add a small heater much safer than trying to put one in the hutch. Please be very careful when doing this, heaters and wooden structures are not the best combination.