How To Weatherproof A Rabbit Hutch

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You just took the plunge into raising your very own fluffy bunny! You’re so excited to experience the loving affection your rabbit has to offer but now what? Owning and raising rabbits can be a fun, exciting experience.

But, with great fun comes great responsibilities. You are now responsible for caring and nurturing a small mammal. This includes doing basic things like feeding and watering your rabbit and keeping your rabbit’s cage clean. But have you thought about the weather?

Most people don’t take into consideration that the weather plays a huge part in your fluffy friends well being. From high heats in the summer to the freezing weather in the winter, you need to be prepared to adapt your rabbit’s hutch just as you would adapt your wardrobe according to the weather.


Introduction

In this guide we will go over why you should weatherproof your rabbit hutch, as well as the risks associated with failing to weatherproof properly. In addition to this, we will go over the main ways to weatherproof your rabbit hutch and how to properly do so. This guide is just that, a guide. We will go over the best ways to weatherproof but this is by no means a complete list. Be sure to do your own research that is specific to your area or how to do things that are not listed below.


Why should you weatherproof your rabbit hutch?

Rabbits are highly adaptive creatures in their own environment. They spend a lot of their time in fields and valleys and are accustomed to a variety of different weather conditions. With that being said, when you take a rabbit out of their natural habitat you remove their ability to find shelter and have access to their burrow which keeps they can hide in when weather gets too intolerable.

A way to remedy their lack of ability to burrow and find shelter on their own is to make sure you weatherproof according to the weather. This includes insulating during colder weather to prevent freezing, shading during extreme heat to prevent heat exhaustion, and even sheltering from extreme winds that cause damage to your rabbit hutch. All of which have to be constantly considered when owning and caring for a rabbit


Risks of not weatherproofing your hutch

As we just explained above the importance of weather proofing your hutch, we will explain what the possible risks you may run into if you neglect to weatherproof your rabbit hutch. First and foremost if you do not weather proof your rabbit hutch you run the risk of your pet becoming very ill or even dieing.

Extreme cold weather conditions can cause your rabbits body temperature to drop dangerously low risking your pets health or even causing your animal to freeze. This is due to the fact that rabbits, though accustom to cold temperatures, are usually able to create burrows to stay warm.

These burrows are underground and prevent the rabbit from freezing in the winter months. So since they are unable to burrow on their own, not weatherproofing will have a negative effect on your rabbit. On the other side of the spectrum, extreme heat can also be detrimental to your pets health. As explained before, rabbits in the wild are able to roam free. This means that when it is extremely hot in the summer months they are able to wander around and seek out shade when they become too hot.

This is why it’s important to provide shade and other means of cooling in your hutch. If you do not provide the essential shade to your hutch your rabbit may become overheated causing it to become over heated and become ill or even cause your rabbit to die. Rain is another factor to consider. If you failed to weather proof your hutch against rain your hutch will become very wet. This can compromise the structure of your hutch. Rain and moisture can get trapped into the wood of your hutch. This can cause the wood to mould which can in turn cause your rabbits to get sick. Along with the mold, moisture will also break down the wood and cause your hutch to slowly fall apart.

Along with harming the over all structure if your hutch, rain can also have ill effects on your rabbit. The constant moisture in your hutch can cause skin issues for your rabbit. Also, the dampness can make it very hard for your rabbit to stay warm. Which in turn can cause your rabbit to become ill. Another weather element that most people don’t think about is wind. Though wind isn’t as detrimental to your pets health as much as other weather elements are, it can effect the over all structure.

Strong winds may cause a non weatherproofed hutch to tip over and break. Inturn if your hutch falls over it can harm your rabbit by squishing it under the broken hutch. This is why it is highly recommended that you do indeed weather proof your rabbit hutch or simply bring your rabbit indoors.


Things to consider before weatherproofing your rabbit hutch

Now that you are thoroughly convinced of the importance of weatherproofing your rabbits hutch, what do you do now? Well, before you run out and do anything there are a few things you should consider before weatherproofing. First and foremost your level of weatherproofing depends heavily on the kind of weather your location is subject to. Do you have prolonged winters? Tons of wind? or are you in a more temperate climate with short, mild winters but more extreme summer heat? All of these factors must be considered before planning how to weatherproof.

One would not be expected to insulate and weatherproof the same in say southern California, where the weather is hotter and winters extremely mild, compared to Michigan, for example, where they have very harsh winters and extreme cold. Another thing to consider before weatherproofing your rabbit hutch is whether or not simply bringing your rabbits indoors during extreme weather would be an option.

Bringing your rabbit indoors is the best and most simple option as an alternative to weatherproofing your rabbit hutch. Understandably not everyone has this option. If it is an option for you, this would cut down greatly on the amount of preparation you make to weatherproof your rabbit hutch.


Best ways to weatherproof your rabbit hutch

Once you have determined the amount of weather proofing that is needed for your specific climate, you are now ready to dive into the project of actually weatherproofing your rabbit hutch. Because every ones climate is different, we will outline here the main things to do to protect your hutch and your rabbit from inclimate weather.

Elevate it from the Ground

First and foremost, when building a hutch you should if at all possible keep it up off the ground. In winter months the ground freezes and when it rains it becomes wet and muddy. If your hutch is on the ground it will make it much more difficult to keep your rabbit dry and warm.

By simply building your hutch up on stilts you will eliminate this problem and find it much easier to regulate the temperature of your hutch. Also it is important that you build your hutch out of pressure treated wood. This will help seal out any moisture and prevent your hutch from breaking down over the years.

Slanted Roof

Also be sure to build your hutch with a slanted roof. This will help rain and snow drain off the room and away from your hutch keeping your rabbit’s home warm and dry.

Create Shade for the Hutch

If your location is subject to extreme heat, it would be advisable to create shade for your hutch. You can do this by simply building your hutch in a location where it is shaded most of the time. This would provide your rabbit with cool shade and you won’t have to worry about your rabbit overheating. Another way to combat the heat would be to to build a small den inside your rabbit hutch. This will provide your rabbit with and escape from the harsh elements. A small den will also mimic a burrow which is your rabbits natural home.

Rabbit hutch protected by shade.

Extra Insulation

If you are in a location that is subject to snow and freezing temperatures, you will want to somehow insulate your rabbit hutch. You can do this several ways. One way is to cover the top of the cage with plastic. The plastic will act as a barrier to the outside elements. It keeps heat inside your hutch while blocking out the freezing temperatures.

Be sure NOT to secure the hutch completely with plastic. Plastic is not a breathable material and therefor if you completely secure the whole hutch with plastic you will also eliminate the ability for your rabbit to get fresh air and risk possible suffocation. also if the plastic is too close to the mesh you risk your rabbit eating it and becoming sick.

You can also put some more rabbit hay inside the hutch for extra warmth.

A rabbit hutch insulated with hay.

To weatherproof against extreme winds is pretty simple. You can simply build your hutch up against a structure such as a shed, barn, or even your house. If you wish to further protect your rabbit hutch against wind, you can take it a step further and simply anchor your rabbit hutch to the building it is up against.

Rain, in our opinion, is the hardest to weatherproof against. rain gets into cracks and crevices and stays cold and damp for a long time. The best way to combat moisture and rain would be to make sure your roof is properly secure and leak free. And again, building your rabbit hutch up off the ground is a great way to cut down on the moisture your rabbit hutch could be subject to. In addition to this be sure to always change out your rabbits bedding frequently during rainy seasons. If you don’t change out your rabbits straw, it will become mouldy and damp and, as stated above, will cause health problems to your rabbit.

Another way to way to easily weatherproof your rabbit hutch is to simply build it inside a mini barn or shed. this will add extra insulation to your hutch keeping it warmer. In addition to this, being inside a shed or barn it will also have added protection against wind, rain and snow. Besides having your rabbits indoors with you, this, in my opinion, is the best option.


Conclusion

As you can see, there are many, many factors to consider when weatherproofing your rabbit hutch. All of which are very important. You should always take all of these things into consideration when weatherproofing your rabbit hutch. Weather is an unpredictable thing at times so it is always important to check your weatherproofing frequently. You never know when the wind might blow the plastic off or rain may soak through all of the dry bedding.

The absolute best way to fully protect your rabbits is to keep them indoors. So if at all possible do that. If you absolutely must leave your rabbits outdoors during harsh weather, please follow the weatherproofing guide here. Also, keep in mind there are many other ways to weatherproof.

Don’t feel like you have to only stick to what is listed above. The general rule of thumb for protecting your rabbit is if you see a problem arise, think about the cause of the issue and find a solution for your problem. This guide is not to deter you from owning and raising rabbit, but to educate you so you may raise the healthiest and happiest rabbits possible by protecting them from harsh weather conditions.

Now that you know how to weatherproof your rabbit hutch, why not checkout some of our top rated rabbit hutches for all weather.

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