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Thread: Preparing for winter

  1. #1
    Warren Scout
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    Default Preparing for winter

    With winter fast approaching, I've realised I need to think about how I can make sure Benji keeps safe and warm - especially as he won't have a friend to snuggle up with, as I'd planned when we arranged to get him.

    At the moment he has a playhouse with a felt roof; three walls are lined with hardboard for extra insulation and he has a box filled with hay to snuggle into (I've just read that straw is better so I'll get some before the weather gets much worse). The playhouse is inside a run with a corrugated roof to keep most of the rain off, and both playhouse and run are about a foot away from the garage wall, which will hopefully provide some shelter. A second side is two or three feet away from a thick hedge, which might provide a little more shelter, and we're thinking of covering those sides with tarpaulin too for extra protection from the weather. We could probably cover a third side as well if that would be helpful.

    What can I do, or what do I need to do, to improve this for the winter? I've read about warmers that you put in the microwave but unfortunately I don't have a microwave! Is there anything similar that doesn't require a microwave? Is it worth trying to give the playhouse extra insulation, maybe putting something onto the roof? I'm guessing blankets inside the house would just be chewed? I'm also wondering how to stop water bowls from freezing. Do insulated bowls exist?

    Finally, how cold is too cold to be outside? I could move Benji into the garage as a temporary measure but it would need to be a hutch only, and I would need to buy one especially. If it's likely to be needed I'd rather buy it soon so that we don't have a last-minute panic and maybe struggle to find something suitable! (The playhouse is too heavy to move, and even if it wasn't, it wouldn't fit through the passage between where it is now and the garage door).

  2. #2
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    I think you have done far more than a lot do already. You can't stop bowls from freezing but last year we only had frozen bowls once so don't worry too much. When you check in the morning you can refill the bowl if necessary. If you put straw down on the floor, bunny will possibly use it as a toilet but maybe you could stuff a box full of it so he can get inside if he wants. You will be surprised how well he will cope with the cold. I use fleece blankets for some of mine and they don't eat them, they might do a wee sometimes, but some are really good. I find them at the Charity shops, usually for £1/2 then I throw them away when they get full of hay. Bunnies are far more protected from the weather in a playhouse than in a hutch

  3. #3
    Warren Veteran keletkezes's Avatar
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    We're a bit concerned about Lopsy being alone in his playhouse but he's been fine so far Ours is insulated with polystyrene panels behind plywood, and we have radiator reflector sheeting (the polystyrene backed stuff) on the roof under the felt, but more to reflect sun than keep heat in! We put windows in as well (good point, i need to put a couple more in but I might need to fix them first) because we still have the original windows which we removed and replaced with mesh. I found putting a carrier with hay in was plenty, and there's Lopsy's old tiny hutch next to the house if it gets particularly cold out in the playhouse (they're all connected by tubes).
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  4. #4
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    Oh, that's good news then if you think I have the main things covered! I might try to find some cheap fleece blankets though if they could be useful. I hadn't thought about a playhouse being more protected than a hutch, but that makes sense. Its window is currently covered (with air holes!) so once the door is closed, there shouldn't be any drafts.

  5. #5
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    My two rabbits are outside in a shed, which has the sides insulated with plywood. I agree with tonibun that rabbits seem to cope very well with the cold. I don't provide any blankets or fleece as I would be concerned that they would be eaten and I also suspect they would wee on them.

    Frozen water bowls happen extremely rarely and usually at night. I check before I go to bed and again very early in the morning. I also read that straw was more insulating than hay and so gave them straw when I got a free bag with something. I found that they ate it, which I was surprised about. As I would prefer them to eat hay, I have not used it since and use just hay in a carboard box.

    I think you'll find that he will cope very well with what you have arranged for him.

  6. #6
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    I'll have to keep an eye on straw-eating then! It's good to know that water bowls are unlikely to freeze. I assumed that would be fairly common. I already check morning and night anyway so that's no trouble.

    One thing I forgot to mention - Benji will hopefully be neutered fairly soon. He has vaccinations next week and I'm going to discuss neutering with the vet and then hopefully book an appointment, assuming there's no reason she would worry about him coping with it. Given that he will then need some recovery time, does that change any answers about dealing with the cold?

  7. #7
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    Regarding his neuter, I would see what the weather/outside temperature is like at the time. Rabbits should be kept reasonably warm just after an anaesthetic. If it's not possible to bring him inside for the first night, maybe ask your vet to look after him overnight.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omi View Post
    Regarding his neuter, I would see what the weather/outside temperature is like at the time. Rabbits should be kept reasonably warm just after an anaesthetic. If it's not possible to bring him inside for the first night, maybe ask your vet to look after him overnight.
    Thank you. I'll make sure I ask the vet.

  9. #9
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    I agree that a playhouse is a lot more sheltered than a hutch. Some of my bunnies lived outside in Britain and were absolutely fine, as long as their home is windproof and rainproof they will be fine.

    Iíve been looking for something that I can fill with fleece blankets to make a cozy little hiding space for my bunny before the temperature drops. I am paranoid even though he lives inside, last winter we had ice and frost on the inside of our windows for like three months straight, it was so cold. I wish I could give him a box filled with hay, but my bunny gets really annoyed with the box/hay combo for some reason and immediately pulls all the hay out and then throws it, then pushes the box away from wherever I put it

  10. #10
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    It looks from your profile as if you're in Canada. You must get some severe winters there!! British weather must have nothing on it!

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