Can pet rabbits live outside in winter? The answer is yes, they can live outdoors during winter. Rabbits naturally adapt to cold weather due to their ability to grow thick fur and thicker pads on their paws.
If you help to prepare them for the cold after having been indoors you can help them survive the winter. By your providing the right pet rabbit environment like food, housing, and bedding, they can live outside in winter.
Rabbits can survive outside in the winter if they have a dry, sheltered place for them to hide. Wild rabbits live in underground warrens. Therefore, pet rabbits who are placed outdoors in the winter can also survive in a well-constructed hutch and run.
A run helps your outdoor rabbit to stay active and exercised. Rabbits are not nocturnal, but they are more active at dawn and dusk. A sheltered run helps them feel safe and protected.
The hutch must be built alee to keep it away from the rain and the wind. Insulate the outside of the cage. There should a sloped roof for water to drain from. The hutch must be raised off the ground. Cover the cage with a weather-proof covering with a slight opening for ventilation.
Include bedding like a heap of straw or hay that will lay on top of newspaper layers. Remember that straw is warmer than hay. Pile your rabbit’s hutch with lots of nice dry straw, with a mixture of hay. Continue to check on your rabbit’s bedding to make sure it remains dry.
Do not use blankets because your rabbit will chew them. Pet stores also carry microwavable pads that you place beneath the hay or straw to keep the hutch a comfortable temperature for them. Your rabbit will snuggle safely under your bedding for warmth when it gets cold outside.
Feed and Water
Wild rabbits are very adept at foraging for themselves. Pet rabbits however need you to provide their food during the winter. Rabbits need fresh food that they can digest easily to keep their body’s warm and heated. Wild or pet rabbits’ diet does not change.
They prefer dry, healthy, veggie, and fruit foods. like broccoli and cabbage. As a pet rabbit owner, you are probably already aware that eating grass hay helps to keep their GI tract in good working order which in turn keeps them warm.
Wild rabbits stay warm in the winter because they naturally grow extra fur. For this reason, your pet rabbit if kept outdoors in the winter will require a lot more feed to keep a healthy layer of fat against the cold.
Also please note that when you place your rabbit outdoors in the winter, it must remain outdoors until the spring. Rabbits need time to acclimate to new conditions and temperatures. It is not healthy to keep bringing them indoors and then outdoors.
Now that we know that you can keep your pet rabbit outdoors in winter, the question is this. Is there a temperature that is too cold for rabbits? Extreme cold can kill rabbits. If you live in an area where temperatures could fall below 19˚ Fahrenheit, this is threatening.