What do rabbits eat in the winter? Simply more timothy hays. But their diet depends on their environment, whether the rabbits are domesticated or wild.
If you’re a rabbit lover but don’t have one, well, it’s not that wild rabbits are your only option. Many shelters let people adopt one.
If you’re a pet owner like me, there are a few changes in their diet—a few changes in their behavior during the winter seasons. During the changing of seasons, winter is the season where hibernation starts for some animals.
Rabbits During Winter
Here are some of the few things you should know about rabbits during winter:
#1. Rabbits don’t hibernate during winter
Animals hibernate to conserve their energy because, during winter, food is scarce.
Their body temperature, heart rate, and metabolisms slow down while they’re hibernating.
This enables them to live off the season with little food they stored.
But this is not the case with rabbits.
On the contrary, rabbits during winter are very active; my lovely rabbit Thumper is.
Why do you think so?
It’s because their body isn’t cut out for hibernation, unlike other animals.
Any slowdown in their digestive system can quickly put them in danger
#2. The rabbit’s fur thickens during colder months
We, humans, love to stay cozy during the cold weather. The same principle goes with your precious little bunny.
It is only natural for them to seek warmth in the cold winter because they are warm-blooded animals.
Their shedding stops during the autumn or fall then it grows thicker to keep them warm during the winter.
It’s very convenient if you ask me. So staying in front of a fireplace with your bunny can also be your bonding moment.
#3. Rabbits are prey animals, so their instinct tells them to find somewhere to hide
This isn’t the only problem that rabbits face.
But during winter, loss of vegetation also means a lack of prey for predators.
Since rabbits are herbivores, they are commonly treated as prey by most predators.
The rabbits instinctively find a way to hide and keep themselves safe from predators, whether domesticated or wild.
Wild rabbits are good at finding food; even vegetation is scarce during the winter season.
Despite the lack of their favorite hays and clover, they mainly survive by eating lower-nutrient foods like bark, tree, and bud bushes.
If not those, their cecotropes are the things they eat. After the snow falls during this time, the greens that were once visible are now covered in snow.
The only things that could serve as their food are the visible bushes or leafy ornamentals that you have outside your homes.
That is why you must have seen some bunnies hopping around your backyard during this time of year.
Food keeps your rabbits warm. So, what do rabbits eat in the winter?
Unlike the wild ones that need to find their food, you can provide the food your bunny needs during these times as a pet owner.
The diet that your rabbit regularly takes could still be used, but the quantity will vary.
The rabbits usually eat more hay during this season to gain more fat and to keep themselves warm.
It is also essential to check that your bunny’s water hasn’t frozen and become too cold for him to drink.
But moving a rabbit indoors could be riskier than leaving him outside. A sudden temperature change can harm your bunny.
But if he stays comfortable being with you in your home, then there is no problem.
Well, if you’re still worried about leaving your precious little bunny outside, the best indoor location would probably be a shed or the garage.
These places offer protection from the elements.
If your rabbit maintains a constant temperature, keeping him inside might be better until the weather outside improves.
Tips On Rabbit Care For Winter
There are a few changes that can happen in caring for your rabbit during winter.
Remember: Extra effort is a must!
#1. Water matters
Water is the most important thing you should provide for your bunnies as a part of their daily diet.
Since during winter, water freezes quickly, it is essential to use the right watering equipment.
Water is necessary to help digest the food they eat. Well, some rabbits couldn’t eat when there is no water, so if your bunny is the same, then water does matter.
Water is essential for the normal metabolism of your rabbit. If your rabbit doesn’t drink an adequate amount of water, there are several ways you can make your rabbit drink water.
#2. Extra care
Keeping your bunny’s daily dose of exercise is essential. It is also a way to observe your bunny for illness.
Feeding them might be tricky. They should never get fat nor malnourished. During this time, they are trying to get warm.
Look out for your bunny to keep him in good shape.
Also, check for your rabbit’s drops regularly. If they stopped producing the normal-looking ones, there might be a problem. Act fast and consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
#3. Keep them cozy
Having a hutch or a shed is an advantage. Check the roof of your hutch is in good condition to be waterproof.
Make sure to give your pet an easy-to-clean and good-looking hutch.
Molds and leaks should also be checked and repaired. Keeping your bunny’s hutch close to the ground might be a little risky.
Raise them from the ground to avoid predators and to avoid the bottom part from freezing.
Suppose you are wondering or thinking of using a heating device to keep your bunny warm. I advise against it mainly because this is unnecessary.
Rabbits can live outside in sub-freezing temperatures without issue. Their bodies are designed to prepare them for this season.
Second, there is a risk of having fore and short circuit malfunctions with the device.
A friend of mine used heated nest box pads and nearly killed his rabbit. With the wirings and all, your rabbits might bite them off if not secured so that a fire might start.
So having a heated device in your bunny’s home wouldn’t be so beneficial. Moreover, this will have its own risks. You should know how to keep rabbits warm in winter naturally.
What do rabbits eat in the winter? It depends on the environment, whether they are domesticated or in the wild.
As mentioned above, food is scarce in the wild while you can provide the nutrition they need to your pet rabbit.
It is only natural to get ready and be prepared during these times to provide the best care to our precious little bunny.
Now that you already know what to do during winter, we hope you are already prepared to do your best!
Thank you for reading!
Maria Schultz is a talented writer and a passionate animal lover who brings her expertise in the pet industry to the Petcosset team. With a degree in English and years of experience writing for various pet-related publications, Maria deeply understands the latest news and products in the pet industry. She is dedicated to providing pet owners with the most accurate and up-to-date information to help them take the best possible care of their small friends. When she’s not writing about pets, Maria can often spend time with her beloved pets, including a rescue dog and several cats.