Dealing with Rabbits in the Winter

Dealing With Winter
Cold weather is not a problem with adult rabbits, most of the time. Baby rabbits have a harder time, because their fur is not as thick. It is good not to have your rabbit directly in the wind. Some wind is ok, but if it is really windy you should protect them from it.

A cold draft can cause respiratory problems and other concerns in rabbits (adults and babies).

* The rabbit's water should be watched in order to make sure the water does not freeze. The rabbit can be given extra water if it is freezing outside just to make sure it has enough water.

Winter and Kits
When breeding in winter there must be an awareness that kits can die easily from the cold (we have lost several litters). There are several things that can be done to keep the kits warm.

* If there is a doe who has lost a litter or had a false pregnancy the fur from that doe can be kept and used with does who have not pulled enough fur or if it is just really cold. Does do not care if another does fur is in their nestbox. The smell does not bother them.
* If there is a litter that is cold and the kits aren't doing good a hot water bottle or heating pad can be warmed up and the kits can be placed on it to try to warm them. Make sure the hot water bottle or heating pad is not too hot for the kits!
* If you have a litter that is cold and you may loose the kits, the kits can be warmed up by placing the kits in your bra. This trick has worked!
* There are some heating devices that can be put under or on top of nestboxes to keep the nestbox warm.
* We have put blankets over the cages of does who are expecting and after they have the kits (until the kits are a week or two old depending on how cold it is). We would leave the blanket down all night and sometimes (depending on how cold it was) open it up in the day (at least a little bit).
* The nestboxes can be brought into the house in cold weather after the doe has kindled and the kits can be taken out to the mother once or twice a day (depending on the doe). The doe should hop in the nestbox and nurse the kits. She willl probably be in there about 5 minutes or less.
* Whenever there is a litter in the winter make sure the doe has plenty of hay and/or wood shavings in the nestbox. And make sure there is plenty of fur covering the kits!
* If a metal nestbox is used make sure it doesn't get too cold.
* You can also pull the does fur. I have never done this but I have heard about other people doing it. I have saved the fur from other does. If there is extra fur in the nestbox in the summer time that fur can be saved for litters in the winter.
* If there is a small litter (e.g. 3 or less), kits can be fostered from a doe who has a larger litter (e.g. 7 or more) to keep the other doe's kits warm.



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