In our cold northern Indiana climate, raising pet rabbits in the winter presents only a small challenge.
Our pet rabbits range from Havanas, LionHeads, to French Angoras, all different types of rabbits that have lots of hair. As a matter of fact, it’s harder to keep them cool in the summer!
Some questions that come up when raising pet rabbits in winter, no matter what the breed:
What do I do about water freezing for my pet rabbit?
Water bottles can freeze hard in the winter, and fast. There are a couple of options to help with this problem:
- You can use heated water bottles.
- Purchase each rabbit 2-3 water bottles, and place one on their cage. Store the others inside where it’s warm and allow to thaw. Throughout the day, simply exchange the bottles for unfrozen ones. Quick and easy, and sure beat trying to run them under hot water to thaw!
Does my pet rabbit need hay in the winter?
Pet rabbits actually need good quality hay year round, it can be more important in the winter. Why? Adding in a handful of fresh hay 2 times a day gives them a place to “hide” under it if they got chilly, and munch to their hearts content.
What does my pet rabbit need to eat in winter?
Good quality food is a must at all times. Rabbit do expend more energy keeping warm in the winter, so you may find they need more food. Usually, it’s recommended to have an 18% protein feed for domestic rabbits. The occasional treat of oats, an apple slice, banana, or sweet potato should be rare. Rabbits blood sugar can increase faster in the winter, and cause a problem.
How can I keep my rabbits warm in winter?
Wild rabbits live outside all year long, and simply dig a burrow to crawl into to keep warm or cool. Pet rabbits can live outside, but need to be protected from the elements.
Provide a hutch, a covered cage, or a barn for them to stay warm. Pet rabbits need to be draft free all the time, but in the winter, it’s crucial.
Continual cold drafts can make an entire herd sick quick. If your rabbits are in a closed barn, make sure they can still get fresh air. Keep the door closed up to 90% of the time to keep out cold drafts, but still allow air movement.
How do you raise your pet rabbits in winter? Are they inside or outside?
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
Learn more about Heather and the rest of the writers on this page.