First winter with outdoor meat rabbits...questions!

CashNKristin

Just born
Joined
Jun 20, 2011
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Points
9
I have meat rabbits and they are all outside in hutches. All of the hutches have 3 sides to them but the fronts are open wired and the bottoms are open wired. We live in VA and it's getting to single digits at night now. I was worried about the temps and the wind. The hutches are spaced so I can't put any kind of heat lamp and I have no other place I can put the rabbits. So I had a lighter colored green tarp that we don't use and I went and cut it to fit the fronts of the hutches. So the only thing open are the bottoms now. Is that okay for them? I was concerned now about them not getting adequate sunlight. I don't plan to keep the tarp down all the time...just roll it up and not use it unless it's freezing temps outside.

I also put a cardboard box in each cage. The only thing is it's just the bottom and 4 short sides so it's doesn't really give them alot of protection except maybe keeping their feet warm and something they can snuggle in.

Also, I read I could use an insulated wine bottle cover to help the water bottles from not freezing. Does that really work? I can't use anything that plugs-in.

This is the first time I have ever had animals other than dogs and chickens so I have no idea what I am doing. haha! Just making sure I am doing it right :)
 

Hens and Roos

Herd Master
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
5,482
Reaction score
5,193
Points
463
Location
South Central WI
Making some type of wind block is a good thing, maybe some straw bales to stack up along the hutches.
Can you add extra straw or hay in the cages to help provide extra protection/warmth?
I haven't heard about using insulated wine bottle covers so I can't speak to how this works- you may end up changing out water bottles a few times per day depending on the temperatures.

Good Luck
 

VickieB

Loving the herd life
Joined
Apr 19, 2013
Messages
307
Reaction score
60
Points
103
Location
Oklahoma
Instead of tarp I used a clear heavy duty plastic; that way my rabbits weren't in the dark all day.
 

P.O. in MO

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Jan 8, 2013
Messages
171
Reaction score
47
Points
78
I would try to come up with some boxes than had all their sides and make an opening in one end. I would put some straw or hay in it for them to snuggle into.
 

sawfish99

Loving the herd life
Joined
Aug 31, 2011
Messages
574
Reaction score
20
Points
163
Location
Griswold, CT
We have been keeping meat rabbits in outdoor change in CT for a few years now. We have had a number of nights below zero here this winter. We added tarps to front of cages that showed signs of snow blowing in. Otherwise, the cages are 3 sided with wire bottoms. We do have thin plywood boards in the cages so they can get off the wire. My wife has added some extra hay inside the cages on the bitterest nights.
We do not mess with water bottles once temps start falling below freezing. We shift over to crocks (hard plastic preferred over ceramic). When it is hard frozen, we take a bucket of hot water out and drop the frozen crocks in the hot water until the ice floats out. Then refill with clean water. Using a frying ladle with mesh makes it easier to get the crock out of the bucket.
 

Latest posts

Top