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Rabbit Rhythm #022 - Raising rabbits in winter, rabbit health, and more
November 18, 2011

Rabbit Rhythms of December

Yo, it’s FREEZING out there!

Cottontail rabbit burrowed in snowdrift by window"Yeah, and so what??"

That might be your rabbits' response, if they could speak ‘humanese.’

Seriously, look at those fur coats they’re wearing.

Unless the temperatures plummet into the minus-zero range F, your rabbits will do fine outdoors, provided you shelter them from drafts or outright windy weather.

Nothing says you can’t take measures however, if it does get that cold. You can stuff a cardboard box full of straw or hay, close it up, and then provide a cut-out doorway for the rabbit. The space will serve as an insulated burrow, keeping the animal snug and warm.

Or, you can simply stuff the entire hutch or cage with straw; it will serve the same purpose. The extras will get nibbled.

So what about the breeding rabbits in wintery, sub-zero weather?

All the above applies. With draft-free, well-insulated living quarters, your rabbits and bunnies will be fine. That said, I think we might bring our bunny-filled nestboxes inside the house during the night if the temperatures threatened to drop as low as minus-20 or -30F.

By the time the bunnies are 2 weeks old, they’re out of the temperature danger zone.

If you happen to live in, say, Edmonton, AB or Barrow, AK, we’d appreciate your feedback on how you manage your rabbits in the dead of winter.

Healthy Rabbits

Measuring Health through Observation

Have you ever simply sat in the rabbitry, or next to your rabbits, and observed their behavior? Pulled up a chair, and quietly watched the rabbits for a good half-hour while they went about their ‘business?'

This is easiest to do in the summer, of course, but observation can also offer you valuable insight as to the health of individuals and the herd during very cold spells.

The rabbits’ behavior during your quiet presence may provide clues to their overall health.

  • Are they relaxed, chilling?
  • Hear any sneezing?
  • Everyone at the feeders, munching contentedly?
  • No sign of scurrying feet or slithering bodies - predators that could alarm the rabbits?

Great. It’s a wonderful feeling to know your rabbits are happy, healthy and well-cared-for.

The same observations can be applied to your pet house rabbits as well.

Are your rabbits healthy?

Rabbits in the News

House Rabbit Saves child’s life. Twice.
(News article, originally published by is no longer available.)

  • Girl’s blood sugar drops below the danger zone while everyone is asleep at night.
  • Pet rabbit thumps a warning, waking up the mom.
  • Mom checks on daughter, finds daughter’s blood sugar levels are critically low, and then corrects the crisis averting daughter’s death.

Pet rex rabbit(This pet house rabbit named 'Hermes' is not the rabbit mentioned in this story)

Yeesh! Pretty cool, but completely inexplicable.

How the heck did the rabbit sense the girl’s danger?

Was it through changes in heart rate or respiration, or the smell of apricot-sweet ketones of a diabetic in trouble?

Was it coincidence? Or not? Because a few weeks later the rabbit sounded the alarm at 2 a.m. once again.

Other species have also shown the ability to alert people to trouble. For example, the dog that knows its epileptic owner is about to have a seizure, or the cat that strolls the halls of a rest home, accurately alerting the nurses to each impending death.

This is the first time I've heard of such a thing occurring in rabbits.

Very cool. What do YOU think? Have you seen anything similar in your rabbits?

Animal Supremacy Alert

Here’s some ‘news’ - Animal supremacists are fixated on liberating every single animal from the clutches of human domination.

THEREFORE, they will tell the world anything they think it needs to hear in order to raid, rob, and steal animals away from farmers. And they're really starting to overuse the ‘cruelty’ accusation/lie. Except it’s still working like a charm.

We know all this up front. So, why do we keep falling for the same lies?

On November 10, 2011, the Kitsap County (WA) Humane Society took it upon itself to "rescue" nearly 180 animals of a wide variety of species on a property in Olalla, a little south of Seattle. Did these animals need the ‘rescue?’

An opinion piece originally published by is probably far closer to the truth than the carefully groomed media reports. In a nutshell, the article uncovers the weaknesses in the Humane Society’s case against the Olalla, WA, property owner, and then drops the real bombshell ...

The cash-strapped Kitsap Humane Society has been pleading for donations, without which they’d have to close their doors. The article suggests, with reason, that the raid was most likely their "opening fundraiser."

Once again, a robbery may have occurred under color of the law.

"And why isn’t the national Humane Society of the United States forking over some of its multi-millions to help out this struggling local agency? Oh, that’s right. HSUS doesn’t actually fund animal rescue efforts; they just talk about their "commitment" to ending animal cruelty--which doesn’t come with a check attached."

(2018 Update: The original Kitsap Sun report of the animal seizure, which was linked here, is no longer available.)

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Your friends at wish you a wonderful, white December, and a very Merry Christmas and holiday season.

Enjoy your rabbits!

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