cottontail rabbit snow watchful winter wyoming usa 89169100 Are Rabbits Calmer In Winter?

Are Rabbits Calmer In Winter?

When temperatures drop, rabbits also adapt their behavior to the approaching winter.
Do rabbits become calmer in winter?
We’ll get to the bottom of this question and show you what changes to expect in your pet during the winter months. Plus, here are the top 10 tips for getting your rabbits through the winter in the best possible way.

Let’s go!

Are rabbits calmer in winter than in summer?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, rabbits are calmer in winter. Already in autumn, the animals prepare for the cold season and begin, among other things, to accumulate reserves.
But why is that and what are the differences between keeping rabbits outdoors and indoors?
That’s exactly what we’ll take a closer look at in the next chapters!

Change of behavior

Whether your rabbits live indoors or outdoors, either way their behavior will change towards winter. To conserve energy and brave the dropping temperatures, they become quieter.

Rabbits will snuggle up more often and appear cozier.
Watch your animals very closely so as not to confuse normal calm with disease-related apathy.

However, active phases should still take place in winter.

Coat change in winter

From about September the coat changes from the lighter and thinner summer coat to a thick winter coat. A lot of hair is lost during this process.

In nature, the animals strip off the loose fur hairs on rough tree trunks, branches and in the undergrowth. However, this is not possible either in a cage or in a barn when the animals are kept outdoors.

You can change that by bringing in appropriate objects.
Another potential problem is that rabbits groom each other. During the coat change, this can lead to constipation.

Signs of this include:

Change in feces color
droppings become smaller
individual pieces of feces may be connected by the hair like a chain
loss of appetite
bloated, hard belly
In this case you must urgently and immediately consult a veterinarian. Because constipation can quickly become extremely dangerous in rabbits.

It is better to get your animals used to being brushed from the beginning. In this way, you can actively help remove loose fur hairs and prevent risks.

Nutrition of rabbits in winter

For the winter, especially rabbits in the outdoor hutch need sufficient nutrients and reserves.

So feed especially rich in vitamins and energy.

You can even feed fresh corn once a week. Plenty of grain feed, vegetables and hay should not be forgotten either. Rabbits need the layer of fat they eat outdoors to protect them from the cold.
However, domestic rabbits also tend to eat significantly more from autumn onwards. At the same time, thanks to heating and insulated walls, they do not need special reserves. So pay a little attention to their figure and prefer to choose low-calorie food.

10 tips for wintering rabbits indoors and outdoors

Of course, wintering outdoors is different from wintering indoors. Therefore, we have compiled five tips for both variants for you here.

Tip 1: Create sleeping places
In the wild, rabbits look for warm, underground sleeping burrows and line them like nests. In the hutch, they can also be given the opportunity to do this.

You can set up the lowest floor of the hutch as a sleeping area and fill it completely with straw. Sleeping houses with an opening on the top are also a good solution.

Replenish the straw daily to keep temperatures as high as possible.

Tip 2: Insulate the stable
In addition to a thick layer of bedding, the coop should be well insulated. If it’s homemade, you can combine a layer of wood, a layer of Styrofoam and a layer of wood to create an ideal insulation.

Also, close open sides with plexiglass panels to keep out cold wind and prevent chilling. Of course, make sure that there is still sufficient ventilation.

Tip 3: Keep rabbits out of the house
If rabbits keep switching between spending the night outdoors and indoors during the fall or winter, their immune system will be weakened. They can no longer compensate for the temperature fluctuations, which can lead to colds and other illnesses.

Therefore, avoid bringing the animals indoors when the temperatures drop at night.

An exception is, of course, if your rabbits are to spend the winter indoors anyway.

Tip 4: Give them a run
Even in winter, little rabbits need plenty of exercise and run.

Hopping in the snow, playing together and running keeps the muscles fit and warms up the body. Even relaxing in the winter sun is good for the animals’ well-being.

You can provide some variety in the process by setting up a feeding tree, for example. “Decorated” with carrots, fennel, nibble sticks, chicory and apples, it entices the rabbits to stretch and work their way to the food.

Tip 5: Adjust feeding
Continue to stick to a high-calorie diet and make sure the water doesn’t get too cold or even freeze. Special drinkers with insulating covers are ideal for this.

The rabbit’s natural diet normally includes grasses, herbs and twigs, and leaves. In winter, however, it may also be cereals, as they contain significantly more calories and thus provide a lot of energy. Especially in particularly cold and long winters you may therefore make exceptions.

If rabbits hibernate indoors, not quite as much effort is required. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. These include the following points:

Tip 6: Choose the right location
Regular ventilation is also extremely important in winter. However, the rabbits should not stand in the draught.

So make sure that you find a warm and draft-free location or protect the cage on the relevant sides with plexiglass panels. Otherwise, there is a risk of weakening the immune system and increasing the risk of disease.

Tip 7: Change diet
Unlike rabbits that hibernate outside, apartment rabbits do not need reserves. However, the instinct is still present in them as well.

While keeping them outdoors requires focusing on extra calories, indoors the opposite is true. So feed low calorie but in such a way that the rabbits still get full. Hay, herbs, greens and water-rich vegetables are ideal for this.

Tip 8: Extensive grooming
Another difference between hibernation types is the coat.

While outdoor animals keep their winter coat until spring, they lose it much faster in the warm apartment. You will therefore need to brush your animals much more often even through the winter.

For short-haired rabbits, it is usually sufficient to groom once a week. For long-haired varieties, grooming should be more frequent.

Tip 9: Increase humidity
In winter, indoor air is often very dry. The heating and too short ventilation do not only you and other people to create. Tense and dried out mucous membranes, headaches, itching and numerous other problems can be the result. The dry air also affects rabbits, especially the respiratory tract.

To prevent this and avoid the discomfort, you can take several measures. These include:

humidifier or air purifier
put damp cloths on the heater
bring in more indoor plants
set up water bowls
use indoor fountains

Tip 10: Clean cage more frequently

Since rabbits eat more food during the winter, you can also expect more droppings.

That means changing the bedding more frequently!

Of course, if your animals use one or more permanent toilet corners, the effort is correspondingly less.

Conclusion: Adapt your behavior to the rabbit

Rabbits literally shut down their systems during the winter months in order to survive the cold season unscathed.

If you follow all 10 tips we’ve given you in this post, your rabbits will stay healthy and energetic through the winter – even if they seem quieter.

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