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Thread: Winter bunnies.

  1. #1

    Default Winter bunnies.

    Hi,

    I was on here years ago with a bonding problem, hope you don't mind me popping back to pick your brains!

    I have four rabbits, two inside, two outside. Whilst the two inside have all the benefit of central heating they have less room than my outdoor buns who have a shed to themselves.

    I'm worried about my out side bunnies as the winter seems colder than it has done the last few years and we are currently under 6 inches of snow and awaiting 2-3 days of sub zero temperatures (-10 tomorrow!!!). They have a dry shed with carpeted floor, filled with cardboard boxes, hay beds and a spare hutch to play in as well as a big hutch, stuffed full of bedding which I have covered with a layer of cardboard and three layers of carpet. I pull the carpet over the front of the hutch at night and shut them in. They also have a snuggle safe heat pad that I pop under the straw to add more heat. Is this enough? Will they be ok for the up coming 2-3 days of really, really cold weather? I could bring them in to an indoor cage in my spare room but it not that big and they'd be stuck in it till spring!

    They've both grown really impressive winter coats, both look bright and beautiful and are definitely extra greedy right now so extra, hay, veg and nuggets! Ovid is 3 years old and Olive is 6.

    I'd really appreciate reassurance as I think they're happier out there but I'd bring them in in a heart beat if its needed!

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Wise Old Thumper
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    IOW
    Posts
    13,551

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    Hello there! Going off your description I feel pretty sure your outside bunnies will be fine. It sounds like they have a very good home! I think we might be in for a very cold winter this year (hope not).

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks Tonibun! I think they look quite happy, although grumpy I won't let them run outside but the snow's over their heads, they'd be drenched! But my bunnies are my world, I worry about them incessantly! Olive's no spring bun anymore (like I can talk!), in a few more years I'll build them an indoor enclosure like the house bunnies for her to live out her later years, at least in the winter months.

    I love the winter and the cold weather! Its only my buns that make me worry. And all the buns that don't have good humans

  4. #4
    Warren Scout
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    271

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    I've been worrying about the same thing, Fatfish (I have two outdoor buns myself) - I think it's a good idea to keep them inside in this kind of weather because they don't always have the common sense I thought they'd have.

    This morning I went out in the pouring rain/turning to snow to feed my pair. Mr. Hamo was keeping warm in the hutch, Beatrice on the other hand was sat in the run which was partly flooded, completely soaked through and shivering, and yet lacking the initiative to join her husbun inside! I put the food in the hutch next to Ham, scooped her straight up and put her next to him to warm up on the hay.

    It sounds like you have an amazing setup for your buns, so I wouldn't be worried at all. I'm personally regretting only having a hutch for them (albeit a very large hutch) because in this kind of weather it doesn't seem sheltered enough. Next year I'm definitely going to be investing in a shed to attach onto their 8x10 run, to replace the hutch.

  5. #5
    Mama Doe
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bradford
    Posts
    2,750

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    If they are fit and healthy and have always lived outside, they should be fine. My standard is: if the water in the shed / hutch doesn't freeze during a normal winter, there is enough overall insulation. They also need room to move around, and somewhere warm and dry with no draughts as bed area. It sounds as though your set up fits the bill. You could always add an extra heatpad or two on really cold days / nights. I find they stay warmer for much longer if used in pairs.

  6. #6

    Default

    My Ovid is exactly the same, Beapig! I provide plenty of hidey spots and covered areas in the garden for garden time but when it rains he sits in the middle of the lawn and looks miserable! The other bunnies all tuck themselves away but not Ovid! Its why I'm not letting them have garden time while the gardens buried in snow, I can imagine him sitting in the cold and wet till he gets frost bite or worse! Bunnies can be very daft!

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks Shimmer. Do you know if the heat pads have a expiration date (or equivalent!)? I recently brought a new one because the old ones I have are around 10 years old and I'm worried they might leak or something? I always used to use them in pairs on the really cold night like you suggest! So far their water has not been frozen in either their bowl or bottle, I'm taking that as a good sign that its a good few degrees warmer inside their hutch than outside!

  8. #8
    Mama Doe
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Bradford
    Posts
    2,750

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    I've had several snugglesafe heatpads for years (including a second hand one from an Oxfam shop for 99p last month). They are used regularly through winter. As long as they look OK (no bulges or cracks), I assume they are OK to use. The odd one sometimes has a slight rattle when it is unheated, but all work fine. So I'm not sure how long they last as I've not had one fail yet.

    The other thing you can do is put a max / min thermometer inside their shed and reset it every morning - then you know exactly how warm / cold it is in there.
    I use ones similar to these (no batteries / wires / liquids) fastened by a bit of wire to the mesh to the main door (so probably the coldest spot):

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Large-Therm...ometer+max+min

  9. #9

    Default

    I recently purchased some snugglesafes for my outdoor buns and it said to replace them every 3 years on the instructions inside. I suppose it would depend on how much you used them in that time though, if your only using them for the purpose of keeping the buns warm in winter i would imagine they could be used for a little longer than that

  10. #10
    Young Bun
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Bedfordshire
    Posts
    81

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    Well, we've just had a bit of a hard frost experience. Last week I was getting increasingly worried about recent the cold snap; our rabbits live outdoors and no matter how much I tried, they were just not interested in going up their hutch. Then last Monday the weather forecast said the temperatures would drop to -12 C overnight and our anxiety reached a level where we had to do something. We have a playshed in the garden that is in usable condition - the children are now older so they stopped using it years ago - so we decided to turn it into a rabbit shelter for extreme temperatures. We emptied it of all the old tut, put down newspapers and a thick layer of straw. It looked great and felt warm. We decided to put Willow and Charlie in overnight, just to avoid the worst of the cold.

    So as not to stress them out we had the playshed door open all day and gave them a lot of free range time; they were certainly interested and kept running in and out of the playshed. Then we gave them their morning vegetables and pellets in the shed and closed the door so they can get used to the new environment. Charlie looked a bit uneasy but Willow was chilled out as usual. So all was going well. Then the evening came and we went out with their evening meal - normally at this point they almost mug me, jumping around my feet and generally very excited. But not this time. They were both sitting in the most inaccessible corner of their run, looking at me like "Mate, you must be joking. We know what you're up to. No way."

    So basically they wouldn't come out of their run and the plan fell apart. They spent the night in their run, as usual. They came to no harm; they were just as happy and lively next morning.

    I must draw the conclusions that (a) they don't mind the cold and (b) they are telepathic - which I suspected anyway.

    I haven't quite given up yet, I still feed them in the playshed, just in case it gets really-really cold.

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