If you keep your rabbits outdoors all year round, you have to make sure that they can find shelter in freezing temperatures. This means that in addition to the free area available for hopping and romping, there must also be a smaller hutch in the enclosure to which the animals have access around the clock – an isolated “cozy corner”, so to speak.
This should in any case meet a few conditions, so that it is warm and cozy, especially in the cold season. Because even a rabbit with thick fur can’t survive without wind and weather protection.
Size of the shelter
The shelter should not be too big and not too small. Sufficiently large, so that all animals have place in it and small enough, so that the warmth is not lost in it. For 2 rabbits a compartment of about 40×40 cm is enough, 5 rabbits need for example about 60x60cm. Here we have compiled some models.
By the way, most rabbits use this hutch not only in winter, but generally whenever they want to retreat. Also as a hiding place or sleeping place this hutch is usually gladly accepted.
Insulation of the hutch
For the cold season, it is also important that this retreat is not simply a wooden house, but that it is also well insulated. Firstly, there should be some kind of compartment inside, which in any case is protected from wind and drafts. In it should be basically straw and fresh hay and in sufficient quantity!
In addition, it makes sense to insulate the entire winter shelter from the outside, for example with Styrofoam. But please in such a way that the rabbits cannot gnaw on it under any circumstances! This can be achieved, for example, by placing the hutch on stilts, so the rabbits can not even get to the outside Styrofoam parts.
An alternative would also be a double-walled design of the hutch, where the insulation material comes between the walls. Sometimes it also helps in particularly cold nights to put a thick, heavy, old blanket on the hutch from above – but please also out of nibbling range!
Building plan and structure
Through a small opening and a board, which connects the hutch with the floor, the rabbits can get inside the hutch at any time.
Division into two chambers
It is ideal, therefore, if the hutch is divided into two areas: on the one hand, the “entrance area”, so to speak, with board to the outside; on the other hand, separated from drafts by a board, the inside of the hutch, nicely padded with plenty of insulating “nest” material.
If these rules are followed, even the harshest winter will not harm healthy animals!
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