Adapting your rabbits’ housing for the changing seasons
You’ve got the perfect rabbit housing set up, but what do you do when the temperature drops? And what do you do when your rabbits need to keep cool in the summer?
In the wild, rabbit warrens will stay around a constant 10 degrees. However, the RSPCA recommends a temperature of between 10-20 degrees for our pet rabbits. There are some easy changes you can make to your rabbits' housing to help them adapt to the changing seasons. To help them keep warm, it’s all about the insulation. For those hot summer days, we need to help our rabbits stay cool with plenty of water, shade and some cooling activities.
How to keep rabbits cool in the summer
The summer sun can have an impact on our rabbits and their housing. Rabbits can stay outside in the summer, us owners just need to make some adjustments to help them cope with the hot weather.
Keep their rabbit hutch and housing cool in the summer
Keeping indoor rabbits cool in the summer
For indoor rabbits, the same rules apply. Keep their housing out of direct sunlight where possible. If they live in a certain room, like a utility room, consider closing the blinds when the sun would normally shine in to help keep the room cool.
You can also add a fan to their housing to help keep your rabbits cool. You’ll just need to make sure the wires are well out of the way of those curious bunny mouths, and it is on a stable surface that can’t be knocked. It’s best to have the air blowing into their general space, rather than directly at your rabbits.
Include some cooling items in their housing
You can purchase some great items to help keep your rabbits cool in the hot weather. Self cooling mats are available online or in pet stores. These mats can be put in your freezer, then onto their flooring. Your buns will love lying against it to keep cool. Alternatively, wrap an ice block in a thick towel to give your rabbits something to lean against.
Rabbits love to dig, it's a natural behaviour and something that should be encouraged! Providing them with a dig box filled with soil is another great way to help keep them cool. They’ll burrow down to the cooler material underneath.
For a DIY hack, if you have spare kitchen or bathroom tiles around, you can pop one or two of these in your rabbits’ run (indoors or outdoors). Make sure it's out of direct sunlight and this will provide a cool spot for them to lie against.
Don’t forget the water!
How to keep rabbits warm in the winter
How to insulate a rabbit hutch and housing for the winter
Before the cold weather starts to hit, give your rabbits’ housing a full MOT. Check for any damage, holes, leaks, damp - anything that can cause rain or the cold to get in. Pay particular attention to their roofing, check it’s completely watertight and there’s no sign of damage.
Add some extra insulation to your rabbits’ flooring with thick layers of newspaper, and replace this daily. Pile extra bedding hay or cosy paper bedding into their sleeping area that they can cuddle up in, and make sure they’ve always got plenty of high quality feeding hay in their housing too.
Get some extra cosy additions in your rabbits’ housing
Pet safe heated pads:
These can be popped in the microwave to warm up for your rabbits to lie on.
Hidey holes and tunnels:
Rabbits love to have platforms, hiding holes and tunnels in their housing. In the colder months, put some feeding hay in these items to add some extra insulation and provide a warm space for your rabbits to retreat to.
Add more bedding hay or paper bedding into their sleeping areas during cold snaps. Bedding like Burgess Excel Nap & Nest is not only cosy but provides some extra warmth.
Don’t use things like blankets or fleece blankets. As rabbits like to chew, these could cause an intestinal blockage.
Encourage exercise to keep your rabbits warm
Exercise is great for rabbits any time of year. It helps them keep busy, and helps maintain a healthy weight. In winter, exercise can also help warm your bunnies up. For outdoor rabbits, continue to let them have a (supervised) run around in the garden, just make sure it’s not too wet or cold for them. Provide plenty of enrichment, for example, hay feeders or snuffle mats, to encourage your rabbits to move for their tasty feeding hay.
Most of all a fluffy companion will help keep your rabbits warm. Rabbits are social animals, so should always be kept in suitable pairs or small groups. A furry bunny friend is perfect for those cold winter nights to snuggle up to.
Keep an eye on their water