While winter here isn’t harsh by any means, it has gotten quite frosty in the yard in the last few weeks and because my bunnies are living semi-outside, it’s time to weather proof their house to keep out the cold. (Pic above is of Zapp following a full brush down, haircut and mat clipping. He’s so handsome.)
Bunnies that live outside must be protected from cold drafts and any kind of water or dampness to remain healthy during the winter months. My rabbit housing is tucked underneath the sunroom/studio and up tight to the side of the house so it’s not subject to any leaks or water ingress, thankfully. The floor was elevated inside to make extra sure of this, and also to provide some insulation against the cold seeping up from the ground. Because the housing is protected on 2 sides and the roof, it also doesn’t get a lot of cold drafty air. We did, however, leave the one side open with small grid mesh to allow air to circulate, and on a particularly windy night a few weeks ago I noticed that there was a mild draft blowing into the housing.
^ Tonks and Lupin live in the bottom “compartment”, which is the smallest of the 4, so I often leave their door open and let them run around the floor area. They like to sit on top of the rubbermaid bins together.
To fix the draft I taped some clear heavy duty garbage bags over the large windows to protect the bunnies. Easy peasy! It’s also important to remember that outdoor rabbits should always be kept in pairs and never alone, so they have someone to snuggle up with for warmth. Also so they aren’t lonely. All my bunnies are in pairs (4 pairs total) If you are interested in learning about how to bond rabbits (it’s way more work than you might think) take a look at my posts under the Animals category. I documented the whole process with photos and videos!
More developments on the cost of keeping pet rabbits; I’ve got a cheaper source for hay now which is great because remember that 50lb box of hay I ordered and thought would last for 6 months? Well, it lasted for 2. Also, because it’s winter, 18kg bags of wood pellets are super cheap everywhere and I’m going to hoard them for use in the spring/summer months.
So here’s the bunny budget now:
Pellets: $16/bag – Lasts 1 month
Pellet bedding: $6/18kg bag – Lasts 2 weeks (savings of 50% over previous)
Hay cubes: $16/bag – 3 months
Hay: $68/50lbs – Lasts 2 months (savings of about 45% of previous, our lovely friend at the pet shop orders it in special for me now!)
Total monthly cost: around $67 (and that’s for 8 rabbits, 6 of whom are angoras and like the size of housecats. Fry is almost bigger than our dog.)
$804/year, not including vet costs, fresh vegetables (mostly foraged), toys (I give them cardboard or packing paper to tear up and branches from the apple and hazelnut trees to chew) or constructing new housing (new run is in the works).
On the bunny-run front, my Dad is having me do up a permit drawing set for an addition on his Gabriola home (which is looking phenomenal, by the way) in exchange for the small shed he has on his property and would be replacing. We will truck it over to our place and position it in the yard where the bunnies will have safe and secure access and have more room to run around!
^ Millie. Her face is totally healed and she barely has a scar (slightly gruesome “before” photos can be seen here)
^ Momo and Millie hanging inside.
^ Zapp sitting on the pile of his freshly snipped fibre.
^ Fry and Nibbler. Fry is the biggest of the bunnies.
^ Nibbler posed for a photo! She’s usually so shy. Her fur is looking really nice now too.
That’s it for the bunny update! Reminder that if you are interested in angora fibre from my buns there is some available in my Etsy shop. Thanks! 🙂