If you’re a rabbit owner, you’ll already know how important their welfare is to you.
But if you’re scratching your head on how they can be looked after during the winter season, this is the blog for you.
Follow our checklist and your rabbit will enjoy this time of the year as though it was the height of summer.
1. Housing: Has your rabbits’ housing been checked and any necessary repairs made? Is your rabbit housing waterproof?
Rabbits don’t tolerate damp, drafts or excess heat or cold so make sure your hutch is raised off the ground in a sheltered position and is safe and secure.
Extra water and wind proofing may be required (hutch covers) or it may be preferable to relocate the hutch into a shed or unused garage.
2. Exercise: Are your rabbits still getting opportunities to exercise every day?
Rabbits are active animals and can develop painful skeletal problems if kept permanently in a cage, so daily exercise outside the hutch is vital.
If your rabbit gets very wet, dry them with a towel and warm them up gently indoors.
3. Companionship: Are your rabbits getting regular interaction?
Rabbits are very active sociable animals, so spend time interacting with them. Prevent boredom by scattering food on the hutch floor, hiding food in a flower pot/cardboard tube filled with hay, and providing them with safe toys to play with and chew.
4. Staying healthy: Has your rabbit had a health check with the vet? Is your rabbit behaving normally?
Check your rabbits for any signs of illness or injury daily as a change in your rabbits normal behaviour could be a sign of illness – if there are any concerns contact your vet.
5. Fresh food and water: Have steps been taken to ensure the water supply does not freeze?
Rabbits eat more over the winter months so make sure they have plenty of food and hay. Fresh water should always be available and must be checked twice daily in the winter months for freezing.
Finally, if you are going away during the winter make sure you have arranged for your rabbits to be cared for by a responsible person.
If you are in any doubt about meeting your rabbits’ welfare needs during the winter, speak to your vet.