A Hoppy Christmas for Pet Rabbits Means ...
Rabbits have fur coats, but the fur alone doesn't provide enough protection. In the wild, rabbits live underground, where the temperature only varies a few degrees between summer and winter.
Rae Todd from the RWAF said, "We are all rushed off our feet at this time of year trying to make everything perfect for the holiday season, so it's important to remember that as well as stocking up on everything your family needs - you also need to stock up on what your rabbits need, particularly as many shops are closed over the festive period. So we urge all rabbit owners to stock up on bedding, hay, food and greens. Rabbits have fur coats, but the fur alone doesn't provide enough protection. In the wild, rabbits live underground, where the temperature only varies a few degrees between summer and winter.
The charity has raised concerns that rabbits have a particularly bad deal in winter, with many owners being reluctant to brave the cold, wet and dark weather to feed and clean out their rabbits, which are often confined to a hutch in the garden. As Rae Todd says, "Remembering to get the provisions your rabbits need is one thing, but equally important is getting out to the rabbits and making sure they're cared for. By taking on rabbits as pets you are committing to a responsibility under the Animal Welfare Act, and unsavoury weather isn't an excuse."
The RWAF reminds owners that rabbits still need daily exercise and should not be kept locked in their hutches because of bad weather. It advises these top tips for keeping outdoor rabbits warm this winter:
1) Hutches and runs should be brought into sheds or, if outside, should be covered and in a sheltered position.
2) Remember water bottles can freeze so keep spares and cover them if possible.
3) A cardboard box filled with bedding should be added to the hutch to give extra warmth.
4) Products like 'snugglesafe' are available and will keep the bunnies warm when the temperature plummets over night.
5) Donâ€™t bring bunnies indoors to play in a warm home, and then put them back out in the cold.
The RWAF provides a wealth of advice on their website www.rabbitwelfare.co.uk.
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A Tarpaulin can be placed over the hutch and run to keep the bedding dry and protect the rabbits from wind, rain and snow, whilst still allowing air to circulate.
Its a good idea to move the hutch and rabbits into an unused shed. This gives the bunnies more protection from the weather, space to exercise in the shed and keeps them warm and dry. It is keeps owners warm and dry while feeding and cleaning out.