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Rabbits and cold

5352 Views 18 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Toffee
heading for a hard freeze tonight and every night this week here in NC...
global warming;)... any thoughts on what we need to do for our new meat rabbits? They are outside in wire and wood cages, elevated off the ground.


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biggest thing to remember is to besure they have a dry and draft free home.

Rabbits are better able to withstand the cold than summer's heat. Protected from drafts, rabbits can withstand temperatures below zero. Enclose both sides and the back of the cage or hutch with clear plastic draped from the top of the hutch to three inches off the ground. A burlap flap should be placed along the front of the cage, this will keep drafts out while allowing for a mild exchange of fresh air.
I would suggest building them a really basic enclosed area to go when they get too hot/cold.

How many do you have?
Whatever you use to enclose the cage they will probably chew on and if the cages are elevated there can be drafts from below? What do you use for nesting material?
We have 5 rabbits, 1 male and four females. the wief went to the feed store and bought a bale of hay and they are using that for nesting. Just started that the night after I posted the original question. We also are putting tarps over the cages at night to help cut the wind, etc...

Seem to be OK so far, has been to 28 degrees and they all seem to be holding up. It will get colder than that but not by a whole bunch where I am.

Thanks for your thoughts.
28 , you aint gotta cover them at all at that temp they will be fine i can assure you :) so long as they are dry
Wow! I did not know that rabbits could withstand freezing temps, especially temps below zero. That is a great piece of knowledge. Maybe I ought to look into getting a few rabbits. What is it about the draft that can kill them?
All the people I know that have raised rabbits always had an enclosed area for them to go into. In the winter they wrap the enclosed area for the draft and to increase the insulating properties. The wired area in front is covered with something on at least two sides to break the wind.
We built a wooden box at one end of the pen to enclose it for a hutch. I put an old towel down on the bottom to cover the wire for drafts. That way they always had a place to go to get out of the wind/rain. Hubby even built a ladder for them so they could utilize the top of the hutch. It was quite funny sometimes to watch the rabbits running up and down that ladder chasing each other. The ladder was just a piece of 1x6, with some strips nailed across ever so often for traction.
And yes, if you have wood anywhere near them, expect it to get chewed. Rabbit's teeth grow constantly and they need something to chew on to keep them ground down.
I would seal the bottom of the hutch with plywood for the winter. The trick is to line the inside of a rabbits cage and hutch with wire to keep them from destroying it.
Wow! I did not know that rabbits could withstand freezing temps, especially temps below zero. That is a great piece of knowledge. Maybe I ought to look into getting a few rabbits. What is it about the draft that can kill them?
There are quite the number of breeds up here domestic and wild. They do well at all temps. I have temps that go down to 30 below ambient and wind chills to 70 and 80 below here and mine did fine as long as I kept them out of the drafts. I raised the mini rex rabbits for a while. There are those that have the californians and the flemish giants up here now and they do well also. Hoping as soon as I get settled that I can set up a rabbitry again. I got rid of mine in favor of chickens for the time being anyway.
Rabbits laugh at cold! Although they do indeed prefer to stay in a draft free situation. Must be that burrow thing eh? I had a small box for each and they could hide in their boxes far below zero degrees (Fahrenheit that is) If there is one dicey area for rabbits and cold it is the tips of their ears which can get frostbitten and subsequently fall off. Not a problem for meat rabbits but a definite no-no for show bunnies. (Duh)
We owned rabbits for a long time for 4H. We never put shelters inside their cages or hay. Rabbits will chew and eat ANYTHING! And I mean anything. We would take what is called Potlatch Paper which is like posterboard with a thin lamination and staple it to the base of the hutch on the back and sides. On the front, we would hang a tarp off of the top of the hutch that was held in place with spare lumber or firewood.
what du do about the water bottles freezing ?
We put bowls in the pens in the winter instead of the water bottles that way you could put really hot water in there and it would stay warm for longer because the rabbits would snuggle up to it.
My father built them little nest-type boxes (hinged roof so it could be opened), then filled with marsh hay for insulation. They would burrow right in and winter over nice and snug. The boxes were part of the hutch. In the spring, when it got permanently warm, he'd take out the hay so they would be cooler.
what du do about the water bottles freezing ?
We had two sets of bottles ... After a freezing night we would change the bottles out and bring the others in to defrost.

This works well for Virginia (;))
We raised rabbits when I was a kid. In the winter we put rag strips in their nesting boxes and a piece of 12" x 18" plywood on the wire/mesh bottom so they can eat without a draft up their tails. We also piled up yard clippings around the bottoms of the cages to slow any under drafts and prevent other animals from using the rabbit manure as a warm place to sleep and terrorizing the buns.

We never had any issues with this set up.

Would love to have rabbits and chickens but we'll have to see now that we are moving to bear country.
Grimm, you just reminded me. We had dogs, so we put the hutch inside of a dog run. It was pretty effective at keeping them out. Although, we did have an issue with one of our rescue dogs scaring a rabbit until it escaped.
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