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Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Advice on purchasing or constructing cages and hutches for your rabbitry.
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Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Post Number:#1  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:12 pm


Hi, ya'll!
I have been unbelievably busy with 4-H, band, rabbits, my one college class with a ton of homework, on top of regular high school work (I'm dual-enrolling), so I haven't been online very much. But, I recently (on Saturday) was able to purchase a pair of Velveteen Lops!! I'm super excited, and they are just darling. Gulliver (senior chocolate buck) is a bit shy but a total cuddle bug once I won him over. He sat in my lap for 20 minutes falling asleep while getting head/chin rubs. Jessamae (broken black tort doe) is more friendly, curious, in-your-face in the way of personality. Jessamae surprised me by settling in right off the bat, displaying her affections with chronic licking :lol: and taking the cake for the fastest harness-trained bunny I've ever met. Suffice it to say, I'm in love. :D
Anyway, let's get to the point of this post. I was told by their breeder that since they are used to milder temps than West Michigan, she would recommend taking them inside/garage when it gets below 20. Based on my perceived outlook of their cold-weather tolerance, I would definitely agree. So, on to my questions.
How do you know if they (specifically their ears) get too cold? I've noticed that they are already colder to the touch than any of my other buns' ears, including the Mini Lops.
What would you recommend in the way of temporary housing? Our garage is honestly only about 5-8 degrees warmer than outside, but we could find our old, battered heater if necessary. We also have a 3-season porch that I could possibly convince my dad to let me use (he is a firm believer in outdoor animals, lol but tends to be persuaded by the adorable animals more than me ;)). What do you think would be best?
Also, since I currently have nothing bigger than a Mini Lop carrier in the way of indoor cages, I'm looking into buying wire cages, preferably stacking, with trays. Keeping in mind that this is a temporary arrangement, only for whenever it gets too cold for Gulliver and Jessamae, what size cage would you recommend?
Thank you in advance! Hope everyone is doing well. :pancake:
P.S. Don't worry, I've included pictures to prove it happened. :D
(Gulliver says excuse his small poo pile in the corner, he stress-poops. :oops:
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Re: Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Homer » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:15 pm


Good to hear you're keeping out of trouble and busy, busy. :)

You could always use a "pet heater" pad if you have enough room. Just make sure they can get away from it if they're to warm. We use one under our outside cat's house. If it gets to cold you can't get him out but he hardly ever sleeps inside of his house. Maybe put down a a piece of plywood with it under it to help keep it clean.
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Re: Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Post Number:#3  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:56 pm


Thanks for the advice, Homer! While I love the idea of a heating pad, my hutches are all standalone wire with wood frames outdoors in my backyard and I have no way to plug in an electric heating pad.
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Re: Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Post Number:#4  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:08 pm


My understanding is that their long, long, long ears are quite susceptible to frostbite, so if your buns can convince Dad that they have a real need for that porch over the winter, I think that would be best. They are going to need more space than the small cages too, unless you can make arrangements for them to have regular time in some kind of exercise pen.

Dog crates sometimes go cheap second-hand . . . watch Craigslist and other marketplaces. A large crate on its side gives more floor space than upright, and you could waterproof a piece of plywood, perhaps, to give them a decent floor surface. I have retrofitted crates with proper floor wire, raised up enough to let the poop drop through onto the tray.

Your velveteens are gorgeous and I'd hate to hear of them getting frostbite. I've seen it on chicken combs and it isn't nice.

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Re: Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ladysown » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:15 am


you need to keep those ears warm. A quick fix is straw bales piled around their cages. OR barring that... indoor housing of some sort. Their size, a dog exercise area would work well and rabbits litter train easily. I'd puppy pad a dog exercise pen until they are litter trained and put them in your seasonal porch. Add in some cardboard boxes for warmth/snuggling in and you should be good to go.... Or if dad allows...a big bale of straw. :)
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Re: Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Nymphadora » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:35 pm


:in_love:
Gulliver is such a handsome little bun!

Congrats on the new bunnies, and good luck with keeping them warm in the winter... I wish I had more advice for you, but all I've got is encouragement. :oops:

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Re: Question About Temporary Housing in Cold Temps

Post Number:#7  Unread postby The_Dutchess » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:46 pm


Thanks for the advice and compliments everyone! :D
I can put them in the 3 season porch which is of course completely enclosed, a good 10 degrees warmer than outside for sure, and has the ability to be heated. I plan on getting wire stacking cages with trays. What size do you think would be best: 24 x 36, 30 x 30, 30 x 36, or 36 x 36? Gulliver is around 6 1/2 pounds (a little big, but should be a good match for Jessi who is smaller) and Jessamae is currently 4 pounds but will likely be around 6 pounds.
If I can't find wire cages in my price range, I may try to find a dog crate, but my parents don't love the idea of a solid bottomed cage because of the cleaning. I've had issues in the past.
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