Keeping rabbits outside in winter: important tips.
Keeping rabbits outside in winter is usually not a problem. Lagomorphs are better at dealing with cold than heat. Find out here, what conditions must be met, when it comes to keeping rabbits outside in winter and what else to watch out for.
Dwarf rabbits usually feel comfortable even in cooler temperatures, because they are no different from their relatives, wild rabbit. However, in winter, rabbits need extra protection and food, keep them healthy.
Keeping rabbits outside in winter: to what extent?
After gradually getting used to the lower temperatures, rabbits can easily stay in the outer enclosure during the winter. The easiest way to do this is to leave your rabbit outside all year round.
If you want to put them in the outer case for the first time, do it in summer, by the end of August at the latest. Then the rabbits have enough time, to get used to cooler conditions in late summer and fall.
Most rabbit breeds can withstand temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Celsius. However, long-haired breeds, lion heads and Rex rabbits are more vulnerable, because their hair is not so thick. However, these rabbits can still be outside in winter, if their pens are well protected.
Which rabbits should not be left outside in winter
Only chronically ill,pregnant rabbit or old rabbits should stay at home. If your lagus is very sick, do not move it immediately to a warm place – the temperature difference may seem like a shock. Look for a cool one instead, but a dry room, sheltered from drafts, in which he will be able to recover his energy, until the outside temperature is spring again.
Caution! Even if only one rabbit gets sick, don't take him home alone. Rabbits should always be kept in groups of at least two. The animal is otherwise unhappy and misses its family members. Accordingly, at least one playmate should be involved, group partner.
When the rabbit playpen is outside in winter
The winter-hardy rabbit run requires a covered area, enough shelter and plenty of exercise.
Rex rabbits, longhair breeds and lion-headed breeds prefer a fully enclosed pen, all other rabbits can resist the rain with their fur, snow and ice and only need a dry one, a warmer place to eat, sleep and rest. They also need to be protected from drafts, wind and weather conditions from the side.
It is recommended to have several shelters, that the rabbits can choose, where they want to rest. They do not need to be additionally insulated, but they need to protect against drafts, rain, snow and ice. They should still allow air to circulate, so that moisture does not accumulate inside, which could lead to mold.
Line the den generously, straw and hay, that the rabbit has a nice and warm feeling. But check daily that there is enough and that everything is clean and dry. if not, remove damp litter and replace it with fresh material.
Rabbits in winter: what to do in frost?
In the pen, the animals are protected against frost. Water freezing in a rabbit drinker or drinking bowl can be a problem. To avoid this, you can choose a bigger drinking bowl and put tennis balls or pieces of wood in the water – the movement of the floating balls prevents the formation of ice too quickly.
Alternatively – heated bowls are possible for dogs, for example. However, you can also place the drinking cups on the heating plates or place them under the heating lamp in a protected area.
Caution! The heat lamp must be high enough, so that it does not get too hot. In addition, it must be protected against wind and weather conditions.
Proper nutrition of rabbits in winter
In winter, rabbits need a little more food than in summer, so that they can keep the fat that protects against the cold. This is achieved with a feed rich in carbohydrates and fats , for example, with more root vegetables and more fatty seeds, such as fennel seeds or peeled sunflower seeds.
Fresh food should be offered in a protected area, so that it does not freeze, preferably change it several times a day for smaller portions. Instead of fresh meadow herbs – there are dry herbs now, which can be supplemented with oatmeal and whole grains.