Welp, it is time to get ready for winter and batten down the hatches! It is truly sad that it has come to my least favorite time of year. Winter – freezing temperatures, water bowls, watering twice a day minimum! Frozen bowls, frozen buckets, argh! I’m sure if my neighbors watch at all, they probably think we are crazy. Winter with animals is not for the faint of heart. You must be committed to doing whatever you need to to take care of them.
This may look different in each rabbitry. Some folks have temperature-controlled rabbitries. We have always housed our rabbits in our barn. So, it is not temperature-controlled. We have kicked around the idea of using one half of the garage at least in the winter because we could keep an eye on does and keep water bottles on our entire herd since the garage doesn’t get cold enough to freeze.
Winter Preperation – what it looks like here:
In the winter, we insulate and tarp the barn to keep heat in. The horse really helps keep water bottles on our rabbits until about this time of the year now. Dreadful January – but hey, at least we made it through December. Maybe this cold snap will be short-lived. Sometimes in mid-February, we can start putting water bottles back on everyone – when the days start getting longer and sun is getting warmer.
We have put water bowls in with any rabbits that have trays. It is a lot of hard work to keep them in water all winter. So, if it is below freezing overnight – really below 29 degrees – it means knocking the ice out first thing in the morning and giving them fresh water. If they tend to spill their water – they either get a bowl that winds onto the wire or we put a brick on top of their bowl in hopes that they will have water continuously.
Naughty bunnies tend to spill it on purpose, some spill it, when they try to perch their front feet on the bowl and about half, have shavings because they don’t have wire bottoms, then we put a water bottle on them and exchange them every morning. If it is below 29 degrees during the day – we will sometimes swap them in the evening as well. We put the bottles in a crate to carry in and out.
Did I mention – I hate winter!
So, the only thing I really like about winter is the fact that hopefully a lot of bugs die! And photo opportunities that are pretty, like the cardinal. I also enjoy putting on a micro-lense and trying to capture snowflakes.
Tex seems to really enjoy the snow many years. This year, with the low temps, I think he is just so over it already because so much has turned into straight-out ice. He can’t find any fresh grass and he is tired of navigating around the doors that have a build-up of ice. And the only benefit to that right now – is that the mud is frozen!
So, this year we moved a hutch full of does that were due into the garage. Due to last-minute holiday changes that caused us to make some modifications to the kitchen (and garage) and move the microwave and a kitchen counter into the garage my husband had a little quidinkinydink with our heater and I now have to see if I can pull a cord off another crippled heater to get this one back up and running.
So off to that challenge I must go. I hope you all have an enjoyable winter without too much illness or trouble. How do you batten down your hatches and prepare for winter?