The harsh winters are challenging, even more so for our pets. As owners, we’re responsible for taking the best possible care of them. Winter is coming, and if you have a rabbit, you might be wondering how to winterize a rabbit cage.
There’re several DIY techniques to try, like placing a blanket over your rabbit’s cage. Adding thick layers of straws and insulating the coop or hutch can help maintain the overall temperature. You can get creative and try out many cheap and easy-to-setup techniques to winterize your rabbit’s cage.
Read along as in this post; we’ll cover all of these methods in detail.
Preparing The Cage
Before winterizing your rabbit cage, you must first maintain some prerequisites. Your rabbit cage must be airtight, clean, and waterproof. The inside of the cage should be dry at all times, and no moisture or water should stay trapped for too long.
Rabbits can handle all weathers pretty decently, but they can’t take dampness. It creates a mushy and toxic environment that is harmful to your rabbit.
To prevent dampness, ensure air and water tightness. If you have the cage placed outside, put some waterproof layering over it to prevent water from getting in. A regular plastic sheet or plexiglass covering works fine too.
How to Winterize A Rabbit Cage?
There’re two ways to winterize your cage, from outside and inside.Let’s get into details.
Winterize The Outside
You can now start winterizing outside your rabbit cage if you have met the prerequisites. There’re some neat ways of doing so —
- Insulating The Cage
You should start by putting some insulating layer over your rabbit’s cage. An old and warm carpet or blanket is a cheap and effective solution. You can use newspapers as well.
After covering with an insulating layer, place a tarp over the cage. Tarp will add extra warmth and prevent rainwater or snow from entering the cage.
- Preparing An Externally Warm Environment
You should place the cage in a naturally warmer location during winter. It might be a spare room or your garage. If you have heating inside, that’d be best.
On sunny days, bring the cage outside and leave it in the sun. That way, the cage will warm up naturally, and if you have a proper insulation set, it’ll retain the heat for a while.
Winterizing The Interior
Now we can start winterizing the interior and creating a warm and cosy place for your rabbit. Let’s go over how you can do so —
- Preparing A Warm Bed
Warm beds are great any time of the year, but they’re the most crucial during winter. You should prepare a bed for your rabbit with cardboard boxes or old clothes.
At first, add an insulating layer of newspaper, covering the floor of the bed. Next, add plenty of hay or straws as comfy bedding for your rabbit. These insulate and retain warmth properly and keep the cage’s temperature ideal for winter.
- Adding Straw
Straws are another great way to keep your rabbit warm. You can simply scatter some throughout the cage to make it warm. Be sure to add plenty in the bedding area where your rabbit sleeps.
You’ll have to change the straws once a week, though. The rabbit might get food and other liquids onto it, creating a dampened environment.
To prevent your rabbit from defecating onto the bedding, you can get a litter tray. It’ll make it easy for you to clean the box and make it last longer as well.
- Place A Blanket
Have a blanket next to your rabbit’s bedding. At night, make sure your rabbit sleeps inside the blanket. Take caution, though, as your rabbit might chew and ingest the blanket’s material which may cause an intestinal blockage.
- Winterize Food And Water Bowls
Be sure always to place warm food and liquids inside the cage. Monitor occasionally if the food items have gone cold. If so, replace them as soon as possible.
To avoid your rabbit’s food from freezing, you can get insulated water bottles and food bowls. You can also wrap an old, warm towel over the water bottle and food bowl for a DIY version.
- Low Wattage Heaters & Electric Blankets
Some manufacturers sell electric blankets and low-wattage heaters, especially for rabbits during winter. If you can afford it, they can be an excellent all-in-one way to provide the best possible environment for your rabbit during the harsh winter.
Ensure your rabbit can’t get to the cables, though, as it might nibble on them and potentially damage itself.
- Get Your Rabbit A Companion
Winter might be the best time to get a second rabbit. And if you already have a second one, keep both of them in the same enclosure. Rabbits snuggle with each other, and this will increase their overall warmth.
Don’t rush into this process, though. Rabbits are territorial animals, and placing two of them suddenly in one cage might cause fights, which might damage your rabbits. Take it slow and easy, incrementally introducing them to each other. Then you’ll be able to put them in a cage long-term.
Tips To Best Take Care Of Rabbits During Winter
Besides physically winterizing your rabbit cage, there are some steps you can follow to keep your rabbit warm during winter —
- Exercise Your Rabbit
Exercising during winter is imperative for your rabbit. Getting a good workout will help maintain its core temperature throughout the day.
Prepare a dry, damp-free area for your rabbit to exercise. You can give it a ball to play with or just let it free.
After exercise, be sure to pat your rabbit dry with a towel if it sweats or gets wet. This helps further maintain its core body temperature.
- Occasionally Keep Rabbit Indoors
From time to time, bring your rabbit inside the house. Keep it in a heated, warm room and let it play around for a bit.
For baby rabbits, this is super important. They need to have a body temperature of around 100-degree Fahrenheit for optimum growth. If you have baby rabbits, try keeping them indoors at all times.
- Watch Out For Cold Symptoms
If you follow the steps we’ve mentioned throughout this post, your rabbit will be healthy and warm during the winter. But you should always be on the lookout, though, as winter is an incredibly challenging time.
Regulate your rabbit’s core body temperature once in a while. If the temperature falls to less than 40-degree Celsius, it might indicate hypothermia. On that occasion, take it to your nearest vet as soon as possible.
Other signs you should look out for are a runny or dirty nose, heavy breathing, and watery eyes. If you notice any of these, keep your rabbit indoors with you and take it to the vet quickly.
- Will my rabbit get hypothermia if I won’t winterize its cage?
Without any insulating material surrounding your rabbit cage, there’s the possibility of several diseases such as skin complications and possibly hypothermia. It occurs in rabbits if their core body temperature falls below 38.5 to 40-degree Celcius. If you notice your rabbit has gone limp, immediately take it to a vet.
- Which is the best place to keep a rabbit cage during winter?
If possible, it’s best if you can place it in a well-heated room. This might be your car garage or a shed where adequate sunlight can enter. Be sure to take your rabbit out from time to time and keep it indoors to best regulate its temperature.
- How much cold can rabbits tolerate?
Even though hypothermia sets in at below 40-degree Celcius, some adult rabbits are known to withstand even 20-degree Celcius before getting sick. Baby rabbits, however, can’t go any lower than 38-degree Celcius and might even die if you don’t treat it immediately.
- Should I cover my rabbit cage with polythene?
Polythene is an option when winterizing rabbit cages. But as it’s a thick material, be sure to leave some room between the polythene and rabbit cage to ensure ventilation. You can also poke small holes that’ll let air pass in but not cool the enclosure inside.
- How do I winterize rabbit hutches?
Hutches can be winterized similarly to caged with the techniques we’ve talked about in this post. You can’t move them, though, so you should be careful about setting them in an ideal, warm spot from the beginning.
Hopefully, by reading along with this post, you’ve learned how to winterize a rabbit cage. As a final note, we’d like to say that no rabbit species hibernate during winter, so it’s crucial to winterize their cage.
If you see a rabbit laying low in its cage, it’s not hibernating — it’s probably super cold or maybe facing hypothermia. If this happens, wrap a blanket around it and take it to the vet as soon as possible.
Good luck, and we hope you and your rabbit get through the winter. Cheers!
Meta DescriptionWondering how to winterize a rabbit cage? Use an insulating material to cover the outside & pad with hay on the inside. Read on to learn to do-s and don’t-s.
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