Cold Weather Preparedness for Small Animals
Small animals, in our case rabbits and guinea pigs, are not like other large animals in their tolerance of cold weather. We have some predicted snow and chilling temperatures coming over the next few days and of course we had to take a few minutes to discuss what we needed to do to prepare the animals! My husband and I take care of all of our animals like they are our children and when prepping for cold weather the situation is no different. We knew that we would need to make sure that the outdoor rabbits would have some extra bedding and clean stalls, extra veggies for a water substitute when freezing temps make keeping liquid water available difficult, and we also decided to try a new method of keeping their water bottles from freezing. I’ve been wanting to make some bottle cozies for the three buns we have outdoors. So this was just the nice push I needed to get them done! See below for a pattern and directions so you can make your own!
I should preface this article by explaining why we have rabbits outdoors. We live in Central Pennsylvania, it does get cold on occasion. We have a beautiful home, stuffed full of pets a few more would make very little difference, and as we adopt new rabbits we evaluate their preferences and decide if they would do best indoors or out. In the case of Jefferson, Alania, and Franklin, outdoors was the best choice for them. They were adult rabbits when they came to live with us, they are used to be outdoors, and because we’ve had such a mild winter we felt they would do just fine outdoors in the hutches until the spring comes. Once spring arrives they will be able to have free run of the outdoor enclosures and after a trial period we felt they were doing just fine. I prefer my bunnies to be indoors, several of them are litter trained completely and they typically have free reign of several of the upstairs rooms. Lola and Ramona will often spend days with me downstairs in the office as well. It just depends on the rabbit and because I work at home everyone gets a little extra time for attention no matter where they are being housed!
I will admit that the outdoor rabbits present their own challenge when the winter weather does decide to drop below freezing. I like to make sure they have fresh water ALWAYS. I’m not a fan of boosting their veggies and hoping for the best overnights. I like them to have water for drinking even when it is freezing. That being said, I decided to put some of my fleece for bedding to good use on this new project! I made some bottle cozies from blizzard fleece to try and keep the bottles a bit more insulated. I think I may also modify them to hold a little pouch as well. I think a hand warmer will work wonders to keep the bottles liquid overnight should the fleece not do the job on its own!
This was a very simple project and in my opinion could be done with or without a sewing machine. All I did was take a piece of fleece that measures 12 inches by 10.5 inches and stitch is closed on 1 short side and the open long side. If you do this with the rough side showing you can even trim the edges and turn it inside out so the pretty side shows out and stays smooth! Took me about 15 minutes to make all three covers! A great addition to any rabbitry or outdoor rabbit hutch as it will help keep the bottle insulated from the freezing air tonight. This morning the water was not frozen just slushy so I’m hoping these will help prevent that issue! (After one night of use we are happy to report that these were a success! No frozen bottle today!)
Here you can see the image includes a printable pattern with directions! If you don’t want to print the pattern just cut your fleece by measuring! Very simple and would even work indoors as a cute and colorful accessory for your bunnies cage! I plan to make some for the indoor buns as well. Maybe I will make some matching fleece ropes and toys for them as well!