Rabbit sitting in the snow

Keeping small animals warm in winter

How do I make sure my rabbit stays warm over winter?

Ensure the hutch is not directly on the ground or in prevailing winds use a cover and lift through out the day when necessary. Always provide fresh dry straw in their sleeping area enough that the animal can burrow into, in extremely cold weather you could substitute the straw with hay to ensure the animal is getting enough food as well as the warmth from the material as a bedding.

Daily checks to bedding is a must and any soiled bedding must be removed and topped up to the adequate amount.

Fresh water is just as important in the winter as the summer, make sure the bottle is not leaking when it thaws from a frost as it will expand with freezing temperatures. Once it thaws it will retract sometimes causing the bottle to leak, if the leak is not noticed it could lead to damp bedding and the animals could suffer a chill. A sock can be great to prevent your bottles from freezing.

How do I keep my outdoor fish pond warm over winter?

During ice cold temperatures, it is possible for your pond to freeze over. In order to prevent this, you can cover the pond to provide a layer of insulation as well as protection; polycarbonate is a great material for this. You should also remember to leave a gap between the insulating layer and the water surface.

You should purchase a heater that is specifically designed for fish ponds as this will also prevent the pond from freezing over and will allow air exchange. You can even purchase some heaters that are designed to operate when temperatures reach freezing.

If your pond does freeze over, do not try to break the ice since the shock can kill the fish hen they are in a hibernation-like state. Instead you can pour a small amount of boiling water over the ice to create a hole.

How do I keep my guinea pigs warm over winter?

The hutch should be kept somewhere that is sheltered from wind, rain or snow. If you normally keep your guinea pigs outdoors, the hutch should be moved into a garage, shed or in the house if possible. Temperatures can drop significantly over winter and can be a huge risk for your guinea pigs.

If you find your hutch is getting particularly cold, there are some solutions in which to maintain some heat. Topping up on hay and providing a blanket are ideal for keeping the hutch warm. You can even place a blanket over the front of the hutch to keep the cold air out. You should also be checking their water bottle regularly to ensure the ball doesn’t freeze. Water bottle covers are available if necessary or even a sock will do the trick.

During winter months, animals tend to require more food to keep themselves warm. This can be achieved by providing good quality hay and continue to provide fresh fruit and veg.