Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Rabbits in a Hutch Outside during Winter

Crestfallen
September 2nd, 2008, 07:47 PM
Hi,

I've had rabbits my whole life, but I've never had any rabbits in a hutch outside. My current rabbits are in a hutch in my backyard, (they love it!, the fresh air and all).

I've never had rabbits in a hutch outside ever, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to anything extra to do.

The hutch is on legs, so its not right on the ground. We were thinking of putting the hutch on a warm side of the house that does not get a lot of wind/snow.

But I was wondering if I should take any other precautions, like getting a heater. I am going to get some hay (not alfalfa/timothy that they have already), but bedding like that.

Thanks!

Melinda
September 3rd, 2008, 07:04 AM
you can put a low watt light bulb in the enclosed part of the hutch with wire screening around it (so they won't get burnt), a tarp thrown over the hutch will also help, but they would do best brought inside

Crestfallen
September 3rd, 2008, 07:09 PM
Thanks for the info.

I don't really have the option to bring them inside right now. I have a roommate who is severely allergic to them, and the buns were around before the roommate was here, kinda sucks, but I had to help her out.

I'll try the low watt bulb tho. I was planning on doing the tarp though.

We don't tend to have crazy cold winters here though. They're pretty mild, which is nice. The wind just sucks!

aslan
September 3rd, 2008, 07:12 PM
You can also go to home depot and get a sheet of 2" thick stryrofoam attach it to any part of the hutch that is just wood, like i assume the bottom is. get a tube of contractors adhesive( in a tube like caulking) If your hutch is like any i have seen 2 or 3 sides are wood. the styrofoam works as an insulation.

erykah1310
September 3rd, 2008, 07:36 PM
Straw... thats all I have to offer besides what has already been said.
Straw makes a far warmer bedding than any hay as straw is hollow in the middle and doesnt go "flat" as hay does.
My rabbits stay out in the winter as bringing over a dozen rabbits in the house is just a little too intimidating for my liking.
Make sure its not drafty, or atleast that there is a good "den" spot that is well insulated. We put yard sale coolers with no lids in the rabbit shed come winter, inverted and with a hole cut out of it so they can hop in and lay in the warm straw.
Outdoor life for rabbits isnt really complicated so long as they dont get too much drafts, and the water situation is difficult to stay on top of but it's not impossible.
Good luck

Lise
September 4th, 2008, 07:59 AM
Our bunnies have lived outside for the last five years.In the summer they can go in and out all day in the winter it is closed in.Their house is insulated inside they have wood chips and straw.Their windows are thermo pane and it stays warm enough in there that there water doesn't freeze.We don't use a heat lamp for them.They do get fuzzier for winter,so you can't bring them in as they adapt to being outside.Also make sure they are closed in at night and check for digging around their pen outside.This is our house we open half the roof as well if it really hot.

Crestfallen
September 6th, 2008, 05:16 PM
What sweet looking bunnies!!!! Our hutch isnt quite so well equipped though. It's approximately the same size of the house you have, but a bit longer. It's on legs though, so it doesnt sit right on the ground.

Such cute lil guys ! <3

Crestfallen
September 6th, 2008, 05:16 PM
Thanks for the tips on that!! I am making sure to get some straw!

Lise
September 7th, 2008, 06:44 AM
ours is raised as well it's about four or five inches off the ground.

Dog Dancer
September 10th, 2008, 11:29 AM
Styrofoam is good insulation. Good suggestion, I use that on my bee hives in the winter. If possible you could also build a little lean-to kind of cover to keep snow and wind from hitting the hutch directly. The lightbulb (if properly protected from bunny access) should be enough heat to keep the water from freezing. A heater as such could be dangerous. A friend of mine put one in her dog house (which was beside her house) and dog house and human house burned down!:eek: Be very careful about anything electric around the bunnies - mine would chew wires like crazy.
Lise - very cute bunnies you have there.

Crestfallen
October 17th, 2008, 10:00 AM
Thanks for the tips you guys. We decided to bring them inside. Mostly to do with cleaning. Turning the water off in the winter and trudging in the snow to clean their cages I dreaded, and I figured they'd get neglected as I hate going outside in the winters in our city.

If anyone knows lethbridge, you know what I mean. The wind is insane!

We're going to build a better hutch that is all seasons friendly for next year though! :)

babymomma
October 17th, 2008, 10:12 AM
Im glad you brought them inside, Just in case they got too cold, because most of canada is supposed to have a bad winter this year... Yikes

krdahmer
October 17th, 2008, 11:08 AM
When I had my rabbits as a child, we had a summer condo in the back yard, it was up on legs about 3.5' off the ground, so they were only out when we could watch them (most of the day a lot of the time)... then my dad made another condo in one of the shelves of the garage for their winter condo. They always had straw, and we made sure the cars were pulled in and turned off very quickly so they didn't get too many fumes. We would let them hop around the garage on days where the cars were out, and I always went in to hold and sing to Thumper (he'd fall asleep in my arms if I sang Silent Night). We had to give the female away (mainly due to ignorance, and kind of not knowing much about bunnies, she ate some of her babies and then got kind of nasty) but my Thumper lived to be just over 11!

Glad you could bring them in! :thumbs up

Bina
October 17th, 2008, 08:13 PM
Years ago I had a mini Rabbit Rescue with 6 rabbits.
We converted a garden shed....insulated it, made separate cages, and put in a 500 watt red light bulb for the very very frigid nights. Each rabbit had a sleeping box with straw. Water was checked twice a day. Summers were so nice with a fan and wired windows.

Gail P
October 20th, 2008, 12:55 AM
We have an outside rabbit that does just fine in the winter. We used to have 3 but age has taken it's toll and we're now down to just the one old doe. She's got a hutch that sits directly on the ground, it's about 4 x 8, fully roofed over and the ends are closed in (one with a door). Sides are mostly screen but part of one side is solid and part of the other side has another attached hutch where our buck used to live. In the winter I lean a sliding glass door along the side of the hutch that gets the most wind. The door blocks the wind but lets the sun in. Inside the hutch our bunny has two little wooden boxes with small openings that I fill with shavings and hay or straw for her to go in and keep warm. Also, in one corner of the hutch the wire screening on the bottom has rotted and they (this bunny and her friend that used to live with her) dug a tunnel down into the ground that they liked to shelter in. It's quite an extensive tunnel from what I can tell, every now and then it begins to collapse a bit with the dogs running over it and I have to fill that part in but she re-digs it. She can't escape from the tunnel though, even if it does open up outside of her hutch she's still contained to the backyard. The tunnel also goes under the other attached hutch which has a wooden floor that now feels hollow underneath. When we first got our rabbits I did a lot of reading about them and something I came across said that rabbits deal much better with cold weather than hot weather. For water I just use a rubber dish that is easy to bang the ice out of daily.

I'm sure that some breeds may not be as hardy and as tolerant of extreme weather, but mine seems to do well like this. And native rabbits are quite active all winter long and don't hibernate or anything. I often see rabbit tracks in the snow all over the back of my property around the bush and crossing the trails I maintain.