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Thread: Cold weather, bonding and more. So many questions

  1. #1

    Default Cold weather, bonding and more. So many questions

    Hi everyone,

    We have a gorgeous, very friendly lop-eared mini dwarf rabbit called Lilac. She is five months old. Sadly, her sister Toast died from stasis six weeks ago. We hope to get a new rabbit for her to bond with and have recently had her neutered as this will make her more docile and more likely to accept a new rabbit. The vet advised us to wait a month for her hormones to settle down before getting another rabbit. This would take us to early December.

    Lilac lives in an enormous hutch in the garden, insulated with carpet and then covered with a bespoke insulated cover. She has loads of hay and straw and is given hot water bottles (wrapped to prevent scalding) each night. She has full range of our small, walled garden during the day and also comes into the kitchen after school and spends the afternoon there with my children. We have a few questions that I'm hoping you knowledgeable rabbit-keepers can advise on:

    Will Lilac be ok outside during the winter months? Would love to hear about rabbits who happily live outside in frost and snow!

    Googling has revealed that rabbits can die in extreme changes of temperature, so is it ok for Lilac to come inside our kitchen on a freezing day, spend a few hours there and then be returned to her very cosy hutch at night?

    How would you recommend bonding the two rabbits if we got another one? I understand the best match would be a neutered male but how would a young rabbit cope on his own outside in the winter months if they don't bond immediately? We would need another hutch? Should he be kept inside?

    Would it be best to wait until Spring or would that reduce the chance of Lilac bonding with the new rabbit because she's got used to being on her own?

    Thanks so much in advance, we're feeling quite anxious after the devastating loss of Lilac's sister so any advice is gratefully received.

  2. #2

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EmilyC View Post
    Hi everyone,

    We have a gorgeous, very friendly lop-eared mini dwarf rabbit called Lilac. She is five months old. Sadly, her sister Toast died from stasis six weeks ago. We hope to get a new rabbit for her to bond with and have recently had her neutered as this will make her more docile and more likely to accept a new rabbit. The vet advised us to wait a month for her hormones to settle down before getting another rabbit. This would take us to early December.

    Lilac lives in an enormous hutch in the garden, insulated with carpet and then covered with a bespoke insulated cover. She has loads of hay and straw and is given hot water bottles (wrapped to prevent scalding) each night. She has full range of our small, walled garden during the day and also comes into the kitchen after school and spends the afternoon there with my children. We have a few questions that I'm hoping you knowledgeable rabbit-keepers can advise on:

    Will Lilac be ok outside during the winter months? Would love to hear about rabbits who happily live outside in frost and snow!

    Googling has revealed that rabbits can die in extreme changes of temperature, so is it ok for Lilac to come inside our kitchen on a freezing day, spend a few hours there and then be returned to her very cosy hutch at night?

    How would you recommend bonding the two rabbits if we got another one? I understand the best match would be a neutered male but how would a young rabbit cope on his own outside in the winter months if they don't bond immediately? We would need another hutch? Should he be kept inside?

    Would it be best to wait until Spring or would that reduce the chance of Lilac bonding with the new rabbit because she's got used to being on her own?

    Thanks so much in advance, we're feeling quite anxious after the devastating loss of Lilac's sister so any advice is gratefully received.
    I am very sorry for your recent loss

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  3. #3
    Mama Doe
    Join Date
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    Assuming both rabbits will be living outside, you could go through a rescue for a neutered male that already lives outside, so there is a better chance of a quicker bond before we are in full Winter weather. Meanwhile, she should be growing a full winter coat which will help as it gets colder. As long as her main living area is dry and draught free, plus an area stuffed with hay or straw for nesting, she should be OK - although she would be much better with another rabbit. You could also look at getting a couple of Snugglesafe microwaveable heat pads. They will keep eg a nest area at a comfortable temperature durig the coldest nights. I use 2 together (no fleece cover), wrapped in a sheet of newspaper and under the pile of hay in the main nest area.

    Although the hutch may be cosy, the air temperature change between indoors and back outside won't be good for her lungs. It's not such a big difference until Winter, but it's now quite a noticeable change.

  4. #4
    Wise Old Thumper keletkezes's Avatar
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    Aug 2014
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    Nottingham, UK
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    11,793

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    Snugglesafes are great because they let the heat out slowly Rabbits will quite happily cope with below-freezing temperatures, so long as they've had time to grow a winter coat, which they mostly will have done by now. As an example, I only give a single Snugglesafe to mine in their playhouse (a big open area) when it drops below 5C overnight: they might get a second in their hutch (a separate area) if it's below freezing, depending on wind direction. I give them somewhere to hide which is much more important, so they can snuggle up together but they also have access to areas which are cooler in case they get too warm: heat is more likely to kill than cold!
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  5. #5
    Wise Old Thumper
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    IOW
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    As far as cold weather goes, if your Rabbit has always been outside then she will have grown a winter coat and as long as her hutch is sheltered from strong winds and rain, she will be fine. Bonding her with a neutered male is a very good idea and needs to be done as soon as she has recovered from her spay. This will give her company through the winter months, and beyond. The new bunny and her will need to meet in a neutral area where the female has not been and as she is still young she should accept a boy fairly easily.

    I am sorry you lost her friend.

  6. #6

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    Hi everyone, thanks for your messages, they were really helpful. We're adopting a new rabbit from a shelter this weekend and will start the bonding process, fingers crossed they bond quickly.

  7. #7
    Wise Old Thumper
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    IOW
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    Is the new Rabbit a boy? Fingers crossed for a smooth bond.

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