How are you keeping your rabbits cool this really hot "summer" so far?

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donnak

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We live in the Bryan/College Station, TX area, which is between Austin and Houston. Last year, the year I started in the early winter breeding Silver Fox Rabbits, we had a very mild summer - not even a day in the high 90's or 100's. This year, I have 4 Breeding Does and 2 Breeding Bucks and 13 grow out kits. It is HOT here! It was still 82 when I went out to replace their water and check on their feed at 10pm.
Here is what I have been doing so far:
I have box fans on every two cages (there are 12), and two high velocity fans blowing on the area too. My rabbits are outside, however, their hutch area is under a huge carport, and they never get direct sun. I have started giving them frozen water bottles around noon, then at 4:30 I go out and collect all of the melted water bottles and give each of them an ice block (made from those square "to go" containers. The cages with 2-5 grow outs in it get 2 or 3 ice blocks. I also turn on the mister system which is above the cages. Still my adults, especially, are not eating their favorite things for breakfast - organic kale or cabbage and thin sliced apples. I feed their Pellets & Organic Oats, and as much Timothy Grass as they want. Anyway, their not eating favorite foods tells me they are not doing well. It is supposed to be between 98-102 for 4-5 days next week - I am really concerned about them.

What do you do to keep your outside rabbits from dying in the heat of summer?

I have 2 breeder friends who have already lost rabbits to the heat.
Thanks for ANY advice you can give to me. I really appreciate this Forum!
 

HTAcres

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We live in the Bryan/College Station, TX area, which is between Austin and Houston. Last year, the year I started in the early winter breeding Silver Fox Rabbits, we had a very mild summer - not even a day in the high 90's or 100's. This year, I have 4 Breeding Does and 2 Breeding Bucks and 13 grow out kits. It is HOT here! It was still 82 when I went out to replace their water and check on their feed at 10pm.
Here is what I have been doing so far:
I have box fans on every two cages (there are 12), and two high velocity fans blowing on the area too. My rabbits are outside, however, their hutch area is under a huge carport, and they never get direct sun. I have started giving them frozen water bottles around noon, then at 4:30 I go out and collect all of the melted water bottles and give each of them an ice block (made from those square "to go" containers. The cages with 2-5 grow outs in it get 2 or 3 ice blocks. I also turn on the mister system which is above the cages. Still my adults, especially, are not eating their favorite things for breakfast - organic kale or cabbage and thin sliced apples. I feed their Pellets & Organic Oats, and as much Timothy Grass as they want. Anyway, their not eating favorite foods tells me they are not doing well. It is supposed to be between 98-102 for 4-5 days next week - I am really concerned about them.

What do you do to keep your outside rabbits from dying in the heat of summer?

I have 2 breeder friends who have already lost rabbits to the heat.
Thanks for ANY advice you can give to me. I really appreciate this Forum!
It sounds like you are doing what you can do. My rabbits leave off eating in the extreme heat, that is not necessarily terrible though it is definitely heat stress. I think Silver Fox rabbits are gorgeous but I just want you to know in case you have to make a change, you are in the middle of Tamuk territory, meaning lots of breeders in your area and they do definitely stand the heat better. I am in west Texas, Odessa, and I had to drive 6 hours to get my Tamuk but it has been worth it especially this insane year. Now even some Tamuks will succumb to the sudden 105 day in May like we have had but they will do better than anything else that I know of.

Sending positive vibes and complete understanding your way! If you ever want to consider switching, I'd be happy to do whatever I can to help. If it helps you feel any better, the rabbits that survive will be the ones that are the most heat tolerant so you can take on the objective of raising heat tolerant lines of Silver Fox like some folks raise heat tolerant lines of New Zealand. But it takes a stout heart for sure. I have two 1st time mommas due to kindle tomorrow and I was like SERIOUSLY, another May heat wave?!!!
 

rockyhillrabbits

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I'm in northeast Arkansas and so far our summer has been mild. A few days of 90s, pretty low humidity. Mine are in a tin roofed barn, with a long open front, an opening on the side and another opening in the back. I use big frozen juice jugs and soda bottles but most of them totally ignore those. The babies learned quick that if they lay against them they will cool off. I also have a spray bottle and mist their ears if it's real hot and at the hottest (100+ without counting heat index) I will use battery powered fans attached to the cages.
I also add electrolytes to their water. I think this helps and the flavor encourages more drinking.
Mine also tend to eat a little less pellets but I still give timothy hay and they prefer that when it's hot.
 

marshaclark52

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I'm in South Carolina and we are in the high 90s already. I have 8 cages outside and I have a water mister strung down the sides. It brings Temps down from 97 to 88 in about 5 minutes. Fans alone can't handle the heat and humidity here.
 

Zee-Man

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We hit 102 the other day here in Delaware. The wet bulb temp was nicely low though. The rabbits took it in stride. They didn't even really hit their water bottles. They get mostly green fodder this time of year though. Their hutch is very much open to the air but otherwise isn't special. They just stretch out and look relaxed.
 

Gracie303

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We live in the Bryan/College Station, TX area, which is between Austin and Houston. Last year, the year I started in the early winter breeding Silver Fox Rabbits, we had a very mild summer - not even a day in the high 90's or 100's. This year, I have 4 Breeding Does and 2 Breeding Bucks and 13 grow out kits. It is HOT here! It was still 82 when I went out to replace their water and check on their feed at 10pm.
Here is what I have been doing so far:
I have box fans on every two cages (there are 12), and two high velocity fans blowing on the area too. My rabbits are outside, however, their hutch area is under a huge carport, and they never get direct sun. I have started giving them frozen water bottles around noon, then at 4:30 I go out and collect all of the melted water bottles and give each of them an ice block (made from those square "to go" containers. The cages with 2-5 grow outs in it get 2 or 3 ice blocks. I also turn on the mister system which is above the cages. Still my adults, especially, are not eating their favorite things for breakfast - organic kale or cabbage and thin sliced apples. I feed their Pellets & Organic Oats, and as much Timothy Grass as they want. Anyway, their not eating favorite foods tells me they are not doing well. It is supposed to be between 98-102 for 4-5 days next week - I am really concerned about them.

What do you do to keep your outside rabbits from dying in the heat of summer?

I have 2 breeder friends who have already lost rabbits to the heat.
Thanks for ANY advice you can give to me. I really appreciate this Forum!
I keep tiles on the first floor of my rabbits hutch. Every morning during a heat wave I place an empty half gallon iced tea bottle that I filled with water & froze the night before in the bottom of the hutch wrapped in a thin hand towel. It cools the tiles and my rabbits lay next to it as well. I also have a beach umbrella hovering over their hutch.
 

MsTemeraire

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If you've got a big enough freezer, keep some ceramic floor tiles in there and hand them out for the rabbits to lay out on. You'll need a spare set to put in the freezer while the others are in use.
 

Tommy

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We live in the Bryan/College Station, TX area, which is between Austin and Houston. Last year, the year I started in the early winter breeding Silver Fox Rabbits, we had a very mild summer - not even a day in the high 90's or 100's. This year, I have 4 Breeding Does and 2 Breeding Bucks and 13 grow out kits. It is HOT here! It was still 82 when I went out to replace their water and check on their feed at 10pm.
Here is what I have been doing so far:
I have box fans on every two cages (there are 12), and two high velocity fans blowing on the area too. My rabbits are outside, however, their hutch area is under a huge carport, and they never get direct sun. I have started giving them frozen water bottles around noon, then at 4:30 I go out and collect all of the melted water bottles and give each of them an ice block (made from those square "to go" containers. The cages with 2-5 grow outs in it get 2 or 3 ice blocks. I also turn on the mister system which is above the cages. Still my adults, especially, are not eating their favorite things for breakfast - organic kale or cabbage and thin sliced apples. I feed their Pellets & Organic Oats, and as much Timothy Grass as they want. Anyway, their not eating favorite foods tells me they are not doing well. It is supposed to be between 98-102 for 4-5 days next week - I am really concerned about them.

What do you do to keep your outside rabbits from dying in the heat of summer?

I have 2 breeder friends who have already lost rabbits to the heat.
Thanks for ANY advice you can give to me. I really appreciate this Forum!
I have portable battery powered fans for each grow out cage and 1 for every 2 breeding stock cages. I also freeze 1 liter bottles of water for when they seem stressed. The adults will lay on them or next to them.
 

Cindy in SD

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Definitely an issue in SD. I lived in Aberdeen for a few years. I had a rude awakening the first winter.
Yes, it can get pretty cold--also hot, though not so bad here in the Black Hills at 6,000 ft elevation. Some years there's hardly any growing season, but then the days are super long in summer, so that helps.
 

george8211

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I'm in South Carolina and we are in the high 90s already. I have 8 cages outside and I have a water mister strung down the sides. It brings Temps down from 97 to 88 in about 5 minutes. Fans alone can't handle the heat and humidity here.
I'm also in SC and am getting ready to purchase my first rabbits and have been concerned about the heat.
 

northernnevadahollandlops

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In addition to frozen water bottles and ceramic tiles, I freeze water in used containers (like sour cream or yogurt) and put the whole ice cube in their water bowl. Some days it doesn't last long, but it provides cold water in the hotter parts of the day. This year I'll set up box fans too.
 

donnak

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It sounds like you are doing what you can do. My rabbits leave off eating in the extreme heat, that is not necessarily terrible though it is definitely heat stress. I think Silver Fox rabbits are gorgeous but I just want you to know in case you have to make a change, you are in the middle of Tamuk territory, meaning lots of breeders in your area and they do definitely stand the heat better. I am in west Texas, Odessa, and I had to drive 6 hours to get my Tamuk but it has been worth it especially this insane year. Now even some Tamuks will succumb to the sudden 105 day in May like we have had but they will do better than anything else that I know of.

Sending positive vibes and complete understanding your way! If you ever want to consider switching, I'd be happy to do whatever I can to help. If it helps you feel any better, the rabbits that survive will be the ones that are the most heat tolerant so you can take on the objective of raising heat tolerant lines of Silver Fox like some folks raise heat tolerant lines of New Zealand. But it takes a stout heart for sure. I have two 1st time mommas due to kindle tomorrow and I was like SERIOUSLY, another May heat wave?!!!
Thank you sooo much for you kind note. I am new to Texas (from North Carolina), and came here knowing I wanted Silver Fox. It was after I started my herd that I found out about Tamuk. The one thing I started 2 days ago - which has been the most successful so far - is I purchased 12"X12" ceramic tiles from Home Depot for $.59 each. I put them in the freezer and take them out and give them to each rabbit around 4pm when I turn on the misting system. My biggest Doe, Stella, jumped on the tile and by the time I had given them out to all of the other rabbits, I went back to her cage and she was fully laying on it and had her eyes closed and was asleep. Her breathing had slowed way down. All of my rabbits lay on the tiles. I bought enough so that I can take out the tiles in the morning and put them in the freezer, and then take out the "frozen" tiles to give to them later in the day. The test will be tomorrow onward when the temperatures are supposed to climb to 102-106.
Thanks again - if I decide to change breeds, I will certainly let you know!
 

donnak

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We built a brood house many years ago, that is insulated. We put the bunnies in there for the summer, planning to move them outside when the weather moderates . Our plan is to keep the bucks and pregnant does in there in the extreme heat. We keep it at 78.
How big is the house?
Is it an HVAC system inside?
We will be above 100 for the next 10 days at least. Ugh!!!
 

donnak

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If you've got a big enough freezer, keep some ceramic floor tiles in there and hand them out for the rabbits to lay out on. You'll need a spare set to put in the freezer while the others are in use.
That is exactly what I did 3 days ago. Bought 12"x12" ceramic tiles at Home Depot for $.59 each. Bought a box of 20. I have sold most of my breeding pairs/duos now from my last liters, and am down to 10 cages that I need tiles for. You are so right! My rabbits all love them. They don't like me to remove them in the morning!! So grateful for the suggestion!!!
 
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