Keeping Rabbits Outdoors in Winter

A year-round outdoor enclosure is every rabbit’s dream because here they can live almost like in nature. But to ensure that the long-eared bats survive icy winter days unscathed, you should observe these five points.

It is actually not a problem for rabbits to spend the winter outside as well, as long as they are moved outside early and have become accustomed to the new living conditions. However, the following five points must be observed when keeping rabbits outside in winter:

Slow adjustment is a must

Rabbits that live outside instinctively prepare for the winter: they develop a thicker coat and eat a small layer of fat. The move from the apartment to an outdoor enclosure must therefore take place by the beginning of autumn at the latest. Get the future cats used to the green food in advance with small portions so that they don’t overeat later. A check-up at the vet is also advisable.

No individual housing in the outdoor enclosure

Solitary housing is basically taboo for a rabbit because it makes you ill in the long term and the rabbit can develop behavioral disorders. If the rabbit lives in an outdoor enclosure, keeping them alone in winter can even mean a death sentence. When the temperature falls below zero, the rabbits retreat to their shelter, snuggle up close to each other and keep each other warm. The external crew should therefore consist of at least two, preferably three or four rabbits.

Fit through sufficient exercise

Rabbits are movement animals and need a lot of space to feel comfortable. In winter, a sufficiently large area for the animals to warm up is even essential for their survival. The rabbit enclosure should be at least 6 square meters. Running routes made of pieces of wood, cork boards or fir branches ensure dry paws and prevent dangerous runny noses.

Rich winter food for rabbits

During the cold season, your rabbit’s food supply can be a little richer. After all, the rabbits need a lot of energy to keep warm. Suitable winter food is, for example:

  • carrots
  • celery
  • Kohlrabi

Peppers, rose hips and parsley provide the necessary energy boost. There is nothing wrong with healthy grain feed either, but only in very small amounts.

Weatherproof shelter to warm up

The rabbits need a shelter that is suitable for winter as a retreat. It should not be too big, as it is only heated by the body heat of the animals. The outer walls of the hut should be made of wood at least 2 cm thick or double-walled and covered with styrofoam. Openings in the upper wall area ensure a sufficient supply of fresh air without causing draughts. Absorbent litter for small animals and a layer of straw on top is recommended as a “mattress”. In this way, the urine is quickly drained downwards and the sleeping area stays dry.

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