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View Full Version : It's not winter yet - but what is the best way to heat the hutch?!



tringo
29-07-2010, 09:25 AM
Hi - looking for some advice about heating a rabbit hutch during the winter months, a long way off but thought i'd get ahead of the game.

We got 2 rabbits in April this year which was the tail end of the cold weather. We bought a couple of the snuggle safe heat pads and would put them in each evening and then sometimes during the day when it was cold.

These worked OK but i would like a more permanent solution that doesnt involve me dashing outside at midnight with the snuggle safe thingmes.

So we have an outdoor socket (with a timer) and as far as i can see it there are 3 options;

1. Infra-red light
2. Greenhouse heater
3. Kennel heat pad

I am more inclined to go with the kennel heat pad as it has a built in thermostat - the other 2 would need this adding.

So - looking for some feedback from people who have used any of these methods to keep the hutch relatively warm in the colder months.

I know some people will say rabbits are fine and can cope with the cold but, for peace of mind (a neighbours rabbit sadly died over the winter - which they think was cold related as it was young and healthy etc), i want to go down this route.

Any advice appreciated!

Stator
29-07-2010, 09:32 AM
I would concentrate on making the hutch properly insulated and also making sure you eliminate all drafts through the hutch using draft excluders etc. I'm always very concerned about having mains electricity anywhere near rabbits who love to chew :?

tringo
29-07-2010, 09:46 AM
I would concentrate on making the hutch properly insulated and also making sure you eliminate all drafts through the hutch using draft excluders etc. I'm always very concerned about having mains electricity anywhere near rabbits who love to chew :?

The new hutch (which we got yesterday) will be draft proofed so no worries there. Also whatever option we go for any cables will be armour plated . .the heat pad is suitable for use with animals (dogs, cats and rabbits etc) so again that shouldnt be a problem.

Mrs Ord
29-07-2010, 09:51 AM
I have to agree with Tim. The fire risk with these methods is huge. I'd just get a lot of sraw and stick with the heat pads.

Santa
29-07-2010, 10:01 AM
I know some people will say rabbits are fine and can cope with the cold but, for peace of mind (a neighbours rabbit sadly died over the winter - which they think was cold related as it was young and healthy etc), i want to go down this route

I'm afraid I'd say this is an unhelpful assumption really. Rabbits hide illnesses very well and there are a whole multitude of reasons why a seemingly young, healthy rabbit would die in winter (or indeed at any time of year), and I would suspect that cold is nowhere near the top of the list of prime suspects unless the rabbit's accommodation was not packed with clean, dry bedding, leaked water, was covered over so 'well' that there was no ventilation, or the rabbit was taken between indoors and out during the colder weather.

To be honest I'd have thought that partially heating a hutch would do more harm than good apart from on the few really bitterly cold nights that we have. If the temperature keeps on changing in there, the rabbits will never develop a proper winter coat as their bodies won't know how thick to make it. So if they have a heated place to sit sometimes, they could end up with a thinner coat than they need for whenever they move away from that place/exercise/whenever it is switched off. If they are outdoors all year their bodies will self-regulate and they will grow the right length coat for the circumstance.

Personally I would concentrate on insulating the hutch well, ensuring that the insides are clean and dry and that there is an area packed with clean dry bedding that the rabbit/s can snuggle right into, and not bringing rabbits indoors during the winter. Of course 2 rabbits together is also helpful as they can huddle together and share heat. Mine are all 7 years old now and are outside all year without any problems - indeed they mostly choose to sit in their runs come rain, wind, ice or snow!

Willow_Warren
29-07-2010, 10:41 AM
Mine were all outside last year and evey year for that matter. The hutch was also against the house which gave it some extra protection against the elements. On the really cold nights I did use a snuggle safe. I put a thick blanket over the front of the hutch at night for some extra protection whilst not blocking out all air... and provided lots and lots of hay!

tringo
29-07-2010, 11:22 AM
I can appreciate that there may be a risk of electrical fire etc but then i guess the same can be said of most appliances in the house that we use on a regular basis.

The heat pad i am looking at has a thermal cut out and is safety tested to UK standards.

From the research i have done into the product i dont see it having any other undesireable affects over and above the sunggle safe - aside from the dangers of electricity etc.

The main benefit of the heat pad is that you can set it on a timer and is more convenient for example if you are away overnight. This convenience is paramount to me since i occasionally work away during the week for a night or 2.

The topic was posted to get some feedback from people who have used something similar and i can appreciate many on the forum dont use them and just weatherproof their hutch - hopefully someone with some real life experience can offer some advice.

In the meantime i'll keep thinking it over - got a few months to figure something out ;)

isla
31-07-2010, 02:48 PM
When my male bun passed away I was going to get a pig lamp for my female, for the winter. But decided on getting another male instead :)

Bun's are fine with the cold, the shed mine are in gets freezing in winter, the wee in the litter trays froze, as well as their water, buns were fine though. They don't even sleep in the warmest part of the shed.

Heather&Bart-MyLittleBuns
31-07-2010, 08:08 PM
When my male bun passed away I was going to get a pig lamp for my female, for the winter. But decided on getting another male instead :)

Bun's are fine with the cold, the shed mine are in gets freezing in winter, the wee in the litter trays froze, as well as their water, buns were fine though. They don't even sleep in the warmest part of the shed.

:shock: WOW shows just how tough the bunnies can be!

isla
31-07-2010, 10:23 PM
:shock: WOW shows just how tough the bunnies can be!

Yup, they had a warm place in the shed to sleep in, a carpeted, blanket lined hutch, but never went in there.
I don't feel guilty about them being cold either, I live in a caravan 3 foot away from their shed, so I was just as cold, and will be again this year.

BB Mommy
01-08-2010, 04:44 PM
Mine are in sheds that are really well insulated and heated with the tubular greenhouse heaters - I only put them on when the temp is going to be freezing or below, and they give out enough heat to stop water bowls freezing, without making it too warm.

Bit more difficult with a hutch as the tubular heaters need about 2ft clearance above them, so of no use to you.

I don't know of any tried method to heat inside a hutch, but the hutches at the rescue are double bubble wrapped and have full covers on in the winter, and piles of hay!

fluffiebunnie
01-08-2010, 09:12 PM
I have got playhouses this summer for my two pairs... I will feel happy going into winter knowing that their accommodation is much more sheltered than what they had last year in all the snow...

Debster
04-08-2010, 11:21 PM
We covered our hutch with foil covered insulation on the back, roof and sides, just taped it in place, and had a hutch cover on top of that. We got the insulation in rolls - 3 for 10 and only needed two. At night we hung tarpaulin over the front of the hutch (I shut them in from their run at night) to keep out drafts. Seemed to work, and the waterbottle never froze.