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15 Easy Ways To Help Wild Rabbits In Winter (Updated 2023)

How To Help Wild Rabbits In Winter

As you walk in your yard in wintertime…

You see something in 1 of your garden pots.

There’s a wild rabbit taking a nap.

Now, you’d probably feel worried about them.

So, you’d think of how you can help them survive winter.

Well, I can help you with that.

Continue reading to know:

  • What you can feed wild rabbits in winter.
  • How to make a safe and welcoming home for them.
  • 15 easy ways to help these bunnies survive the cold.
  • And more…

How do you help wild rabbits in winter?

You can help wild rabbits in winter by planting trees and shrubs. Those will serve as the bunny’s food and shelter. Or, you can feed the rabbits. However, you must do this properly to avoid interfering with their nature. Additionally, you can give them a safe hiding place.

15 ways to help wild rabbits in winter

#1: Grow plants that’ll live through the cold season

Winter’s a hard time for wild rabbits…

During this season, their food resources are scarce.

So the best way to help them is to plant trees and shrubs.

That’ll make more resources available for the bunnies.

What’s more, it’ll help with their natural foraging instincts.

But what will the wild rabbits eat from these plants?” You might ask.

Well, normally, their diet consists of:

  • Herbs.
  • Weeds.
  • Flowers.
  • Grasses.

But during winter, they’d be eating:

  • Buds.
  • Twigs.
  • Barks.

So, they can chew on the branches and twigs of your plants.

Now, what exactly can you grow?

Some good plants are:

  • Oak.
  • Rose.
  • Apple.
  • Maple.
  • Willow.
  • Sumac.
  • Hostas.
  • Dogwood.
  • Sassafras.
  • Burning bush.
  • Berry bushes (raspberry or blackberry).

Those are safe for the wild rabbits.

Plus, aside from being a source of food…

Your trees and shrubs also give the bunnies a place to hide.

Moreover, when you grow these plants in your yard…

They’ll make your garden beautiful even in wintertime.

#2: Don’t spray pesticides

As I’ve mentioned, wild rabbits will eat the plants in your garden.

So, it’s best not to spray chemicals on your plants.

That’s because, according to research

Pesticides can contaminate the soil, air, and water in your garden. And this can harm not just the rabbits but other wildlife as well.

For example, it was documented that some wild rabbits ate recently treated plants. And this resulted in poisoning.

#3: Put out some hay

As you probably know, grass is a rabbit’s main food.

However, when snow covers everything…

The wild rabbits won’t have access to the food they usually eat.

Now, if you’re already taking care of a domestic bunny…

You may have a supply of hay in your home.

Then go ahead and give some to the wild rabbits as well.

Sure, a lot of people have been saying that you shouldn’t feed these bunnies.

That’s because they’d stick around the neighborhood…

And be dependent on you for food.

But studies also showed:

Feeding the wild rabbits has increased their survival rate in winter.

If that’s the case, then you wouldn’t mind feeding them, right?

#4: Give the bunnies vegetable scraps

After cooking, you probably put your vegetable scraps in the compost.

But during winter, you can give those to wild rabbits instead.

And examples of these leftovers are:

  • Celery.
  • Squash.
  • Broccoli.
  • Cucumber.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Apple peels.
  • Bell peppers.
  • Zucchini ends.
  • Brussel sprouts.
  • Leafy parts of carrots.
  • Stems from fresh herbs.

Reading tip: Human Foods That Rabbits Can Eat

#5: Feed them fruits in small amounts

Help Wild Rabbits In Winter By Feeding Them Fruits In Small Amounts

Aside from veggies, you can also give wild rabbits some fruits like:

  • Kiwi.
  • Pear.
  • Apple.
  • Peach.
  • Cherry.
  • Mango.
  • Apricot.
  • Berries.
  • Orange.
  • Papaya.
  • Banana.
  • Plums (pitted).
  • Honeydew melon.

However, fruits aren’t really a big part of a rabbit’s diet.

You see, they’re high in sugar. And vets say too many treats can harm a bunny’s health.

So, bunny parents only give fruits as treats. That is, in tiny amounts (1 tsp per day).

Note: Don’t go overboard when feeding wild rabbits some fruits. A small slice a day will do.

#6: Spread some bird seeds

Wild rabbits can munch on some bird seeds, too.

For example, a bunny parent even told me that in their yard…

Some wild rabbits come out at night to eat the bird seeds that fall on the ground.

Therefore, if you want rabbits nearby to have a food source as well…

Just place some bird seeds in different areas of your garden.

To do that, you can put seeds in small bowls. Then, set the containers down where the rabbits can easily spot them.

#7: Avoid feeding stations

Let me talk more about placing the food in different areas.

I recommend not putting it in one pile.

That said, spread some pieces around your yard. Or, you can even hide the food near the bushes.

That’ll give the wild rabbits a chance to forage.

Also, if the food is scattered, the bunnies won’t be eating all at once. This will encourage a healthy diet.

As a result, no feeding stations means no unhealthy and lazy wild rabbits.

#8: Provide a source of water

What do wild rabbits drink if all water’s frozen in winter?”

You might be worried about that.

Usually, wild rabbits drink water from puddles, ponds, or streams.

But in winter, they don’t get enough drinking water.

Well, 1 way you can help them is by giving them a source of clean water every day. 

For example, you can leave a bowl of water in your yard. Then, check on it regularly. If the water is frozen, you can pour hot water to melt it.

#9: Keep an eye out for other wild animals

When you feed the wild rabbits…

Keep in mind that fruits and veggies also attract other animals like:

  • Cats.
  • Dogs.
  • Bears.
  • Coyotes.
  • Possums.
  • Raccoons.

And some of them might be bunny predators.

So, they could attack the wild rabbits nearby.

Another thing is that some animals can be destructive to your yard. They can knock over garbage cans or destroy your outdoor furniture.

#10: Pile up fallen twigs and branches

Now that we’re done with food, let’s talk about shelter.

Cottontails, the most common wild rabbits, hide in bushes or a bunch of dried grass.

But during winter, this can be hard to do.

So here’s another way you can help them.

Pile up leftover firewood cuttings, twigs, and branches. And when the wild rabbits see this, they might use it as shelter or nest.

#11: Make an artificial burrow

Rabbits don’t hibernate. Instead, they find other ways to survive in winter. 

1 of those is hiding in a burrow, away from the cold.

However, some wild rabbits don’t dig. What they do is use old holes made by other animals.

But if there’s none available, then you can make one.

Here’s an example of how to make an artificial burrow:

#12: Place a box with blankets or towels

In harsh weather, wild rabbits can be resourceful.

That is, they’ll look for any place to stay warm. Some will even live in an old bucket.

So why not make it easier for them?

Put a box with bedding on the areas most visited by wild rabbits.

Some common places are:

  • Porch.
  • Garden shed.
  • Unused garage.
  • Under the bushes.

Place the box there to help keep them warm.

#13: Create fence lines near trees and ponds

Let’s say you don’t want wild rabbits in your yard.

But you still want to help these bunnies.

Then you can instead build a fence. And when you do, place it near a source of food and water.

As a result, weeds will grow on this fence. Then in winter, this can provide the wild rabbits additional shelter.

#14: Check your car before driving

It’s been said a lot of times…

That many animals hide under cars to keep warm.

This is a likely case for wild rabbits in the suburbs.

So before you start your engine…

Make sure that there’s no bunny under your car.

And if there is, put them away to safety.

#15: Don’t let your fur babies play in the yard right away

My last recommendation is to keep wild rabbits safe from your cats or dogs.

Now, your fur babies may be excited to play outside…

But don’t let them out without checking if there’s a wild rabbit living on your porch.

Otherwise, your cats or dogs may scare or attack the poor creatures.