Winter herd health

Rabbit Talk  Forum

Help Support Rabbit Talk Forum:

Prairie

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
8
Reaction score
11
Location
Canada
Wondering what everyone does for keeping their herds healthy (just want to prevent any future problems in my herd, as dealt with my first Coccidia nightmare in August). How often to deworm, what kind of dewormer (Safegaurd, Corid, Toltrazuril, Ivermectin, or natural alternatives?), and any deworming routines for litters?

Is Apple Cider Vinegar a good supplement to add to their water on a weekly basis? What about mineral for the rabbits? Any special feed mixes through winter?
 

ladysown

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,627
Reaction score
1,084
Location
near London, Ontario
I don't just "worm". I have to know I have a problem before I treat animals. Routine dewormings without a known issue can create medication resistant strains.

Generally, if you keep your animals clean and away from rodent droppings they'll stay pretty healthy.

I've used ACV in the past when dealing with gut issues. I didn't find it made a whole lot of difference. The odd rabbit would do better with it, but overall... a waste of money.

If you are feeding a pelleted diet, no need for mineral mixes. If you are feeding an all-natural diet then investing in a mineral block would be helpful.

As long as your rabbits are kept out of the wind they don't need anything extra in the winter. Some people like to provide boxes and what not for them, but they don't truly need them. Mine literally make messes in boxes if given them and it's WAY too much work to clean that gick out in the winter.

Shelter, good ventilation, and no wind on their bellies. Regular feed. Fresh water twice a day. That's what rabbits need in the winter.
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 20, 2022
Messages
119
Reaction score
87
Location
Naches, WA
I don't just "worm". I have to know I have a problem before I treat animals. Routine dewormings without a known issue can create medication resistant strains.

Generally, if you keep your animals clean and away from rodent droppings they'll stay pretty healthy.

I've used ACV in the past when dealing with gut issues. I didn't find it made a whole lot of difference. The odd rabbit would do better with it, but overall... a waste of money.

If you are feeding a pelleted diet, no need for mineral mixes. If you are feeding an all-natural diet then investing in a mineral block would be helpful.

As long as your rabbits are kept out of the wind they don't need anything extra in the winter. Some people like to provide boxes and what not for them, but they don't truly need them. Mine literally make messes in boxes if given them and it's WAY too much work to clean that gick out in the winter.

Shelter, good ventilation, and no wind on their bellies. Regular feed. Fresh water twice a day. That's what rabbits need in the winter.
Do you have a problem? Or is this preventative? The best prevention is clean cages, fresh water (in winter, unfrozen as often as possible), hay, giving your rabbits peace and quiet from stress (can include running shouting kids, dogs, cats, things lurking in the night, too much handling), providing them boredom busters or grazing opportunities, varied diet, doing your homework and reading books to inform yourself of natural rabbit behavior and diet. If you bought and breed good stock, rabbits are not needy or complicated. We feed the same in winter as in summer, with the exception that fresh food like grass, grazing, and garden greens are much rarer in winter.

I agree with Ladysown. Indiscriminate worming will eventually lead to resistant worms similar to antibiotic resistance, so it is best to do worming only when you have a problem. From what I’ve read with horses, Europe is a lot further ahead than the US on that issue (test before you worm).

I’ve also always been a skeptic of acv, but then I have a scientific background and we have very good well water. If your water smells of chlorine or is not good-tasting, I can understand acv would help if it masks off-odors and causes rabbits to drink more.
 

Prairie

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
8
Reaction score
11
Location
Canada
I don't just "worm". I have to know I have a problem before I treat animals. Routine dewormings without a known issue can create medication resistant strains.

Generally, if you keep your animals clean and away from rodent droppings they'll stay pretty healthy.

I've used ACV in the past when dealing with gut issues. I didn't find it made a whole lot of difference. The odd rabbit would do better with it, but overall... a waste of money.

If you are feeding a pelleted diet, no need for mineral mixes. If you are feeding an all-natural diet then investing in a mineral block would be helpful.

As long as your rabbits are kept out of the wind they don't need anything extra in the winter. Some people like to provide boxes and what not for them, but they don't truly need them. Mine literally make messes in boxes if given them and it's WAY too much work to clean that gick out in the winter.

Shelter, good ventilation, and no wind on their bellies. Regular feed. Fresh water twice a day. That's what rabbits need in the winter.
Ok, thanks. Just curious if other people do preventative measures to keep potential issues down. I've been told some raisers do a corid course through each litter against Coccidia.

My rabbits are in kennels with litter boxes that get cleaned daily (takes forever but best for my situation right now), fresh hay, and clean water dishes daily. Have them on pellets with oats. I'm in Northern Canada and winters are brutal but I bring the buns into a insulated room in my barn for the winter. They have ventilation & light. I've tried the "their fine in the cold as long as you block the wind" method for the last couple winters but the -40 to -50 c temps was horrible for them, so this winter is better for them in a warmer barn.
 

Prairie

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
8
Reaction score
11
Location
Canada
Do you have a problem? Or is this preventative? The best prevention is clean cages, fresh water (in winter, unfrozen as often as possible), hay, giving your rabbits peace and quiet from stress (can include running shouting kids, dogs, cats, things lurking in the night, too much handling), providing them boredom busters or grazing opportunities, varied diet, doing your homework and reading books to inform yourself of natural rabbit behavior and diet. If you bought and breed good stock, rabbits are not needy or complicated. We feed the same in winter as in summer, with the exception that fresh food like grass, grazing, and garden greens are much rarer in winter.

I agree with Ladysown. Indiscriminate worming will eventually lead to resistant worms similar to antibiotic resistance, so it is best to do worming only when you have a problem. From what I’ve read with horses, Europe is a lot further ahead than the US on that issue (test before you worm).

I’ve also always been a skeptic of acv, but then I have a scientific background and we have very good well water. If your water smells of chlorine or is not good-tasting, I can understand acv would help if it masks off-odors and causes rabbits to drink more.
No current problems... just preventative thinking. I've been told some people do corid courses through their litters after having dealt with coccidia.

ACV is great for humans and I even give it to my dogs during tick season and it does wonders at keeping fleas & ticks away. Plus the dogs love it mixed in their food. Ya, our water is very hard here.
 

ladysown

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Dec 26, 2009
Messages
8,627
Reaction score
1,084
Location
near London, Ontario
I should have led with a caveat... if you are NOT in really cold winters (aka north of Barrie) keeping them sheltered and out of the wind is sufficient. If you are north of Barrie.... being indoors is significantly better in the winter. :)

Question for you: Do blackflies annoy rabbits?
 

Prairie

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
8
Reaction score
11
Location
Canada
I should have led with a caveat... if you are NOT in really cold winters (aka north of Barrie) keeping them sheltered and out of the wind is sufficient. If you are north of Barrie.... being indoors is significantly better in the winter. :)

Question for you: Do blackflies annoy rabbits?
Yes, flies are annoying to most things lol
 

TroubleMakerAcres

Active member
Joined
Jun 17, 2022
Messages
44
Reaction score
40
Location
Lac la Hache, BC
I also live in the ‘up north Canada’ area and my buns get 16% pellets mixed with BOSS, fresh water and hay daily and they are doing well in the cold weather. I have a covered and wind free area they live in, but very much outside. Some have boxes with straw, some don’t, and there doesn’t seem to be a difference in happiness level between the two. I don’t do any drugs for them ever. I put ACV in the water for a few days every few months, same as we do for our sheep, as a natural dewormer.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2022
Messages
177
Reaction score
236
Location
Alaska
No current problems... just preventative thinking. I've been told some people do corid courses through their litters after having dealt with coccidia.

ACV is great for humans and I even give it to my dogs during tick season and it does wonders at keeping fleas & ticks away. Plus the dogs love it mixed in their food. Ya, our water is very hard here.
I agree with skipping medications unless there is a problem that cannot be dealt with naturally. Corid is great when you've got a problem, but I think for that type of problem - coccidiosis is almost always a hygiene issue - the preventative of good hygeine is a better approach. It sounds like your hygiene practices are excellent.

We also have pretty hard winters here and the rabbits do best in a semi-insulated barn. Between sub-zero temperatures and winds commonly going from 8-30mph, a three-sided hutch just wouldn't cut it! We sometimes put boxes in the cages when it's really cold (-30F) but while the mini rexes sit in them, the Satins mostly sit on top of them. :)

I also like ACV. The rabbits and chickens don't seem to care one way or the other, but it does seem to help put nice shiny coats on the Satins. But I use it mostly in the summer as it really keeps the algae from growing in bottles/tanks.
 

Scooter1A

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Aug 14, 2022
Messages
117
Reaction score
95
Location
Illinois
Ok, thanks. Just curious if other people do preventative measures to keep potential issues down. I've been told some raisers do a corid course through each litter against Coccidia.

My rabbits are in kennels with litter boxes that get cleaned daily (takes forever but best for my situation right now), fresh hay, and clean water dishes daily. Have them on pellets with oats. I'm in Northern Canada and winters are brutal but I bring the buns into a insulated room in my barn for the winter. They have ventilation & light. I've tried the "their fine in the cold as long as you block the wind" method for the last couple winters but the -40 to -50 c temps was horrible for them, so this winter is better for them in a warmer barn.
I've said it before and I'll say it again....I hate winter. For some reason it's ALWAYS windy now, every day. I haven't had any problems with my rabbits, knock on wood. Waiting for a warm day this week so I can hose out the cages...pee spots.
 

Buknee

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2022
Messages
127
Reaction score
149
Yep, ACV in chicken, duck, goat and rabbit water is beneficial. Probably for other critters too, but the above is what I use it for. (when I remember) I just leave a bottle up by my water tote. Since the tote water is currently frozen, ACV tends to be forgotten.
 

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
592
Reaction score
494
Location
NW US
Ok, thanks. Just curious if other people do preventative measures to keep potential issues down. I've been told some raisers do a corid course through each litter against Coccidia.

My rabbits are in kennels with litter boxes that get cleaned daily (takes forever but best for my situation right now), fresh hay, and clean water dishes daily. Have them on pellets with oats. I'm in Northern Canada and winters are brutal but I bring the buns into a insulated room in my barn for the winter. They have ventilation & light. I've tried the "their fine in the cold as long as you block the wind" method for the last couple winters but the -40 to -50 c temps was horrible for them, so this winter is better for them in a warmer barn.

Good to hear from more breeders in these types of cold weather. Do you happen to know how much warmer it stays in the insulated room vs outside? Is there a minimum temperature you’d like to see it stay above in there?

I have an enclosed, insulated rabbitry, and am trying to determine how cold I should allow it to get in there this winter. Temps do get 40 F below here, and I am not sure how much warmer to expect the rabbitry to stay on its own. Depends on how many rabbits I have, too.

Have any thoughts? I have taken rabbits through winters that get below zero occasionally, without heat but insulated rabbitry. They did great, and it was always a good bit warmer in there than outside.
 
Last edited:

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
592
Reaction score
494
Location
NW US
I agree with skipping medications unless there is a problem that cannot be dealt with naturally. Corid is great when you've got a problem, but I think for that type of problem - coccidiosis is almost always a hygiene issue - the preventative of good hygeine is a better approach. It sounds like your hygiene practices are excellent.

We also have pretty hard winters here and the rabbits do best in a semi-insulated barn. Between sub-zero temperatures and winds commonly going from 8-30mph, a three-sided hutch just wouldn't cut it! We sometimes put boxes in the cages when it's really cold (-30F) but while the mini rexes sit in them, the Satins mostly sit on top of them. :)

I also like ACV. The rabbits and chickens don't seem to care one way or the other, but it does seem to help put nice shiny coats on the Satins. But I use it mostly in the summer as it really keeps the algae from growing in bottles/tanks.

So…do you breed through the winter? Do you know how much difference there typically is between inside and outside temperatures in your barn?
 

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
592
Reaction score
494
Location
NW US
I also live in the ‘up north Canada’ area and my buns get 16% pellets mixed with BOSS, fresh water and hay daily and they are doing well in the cold weather. I have a covered and wind free area they live in, but very much outside. Some have boxes with straw, some don’t, and there doesn’t seem to be a difference in happiness level between the two. I don’t do any drugs for them ever. I put ACV in the water for a few days every few months, same as we do for our sheep, as a natural dewormer.

How does breeding go for you in that housing? Do you breed year-round?
 

MnCanary

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2010
Messages
175
Reaction score
170
Location
central Kentucky USA
Good to hear from more breeders in these types of cold weather. Do you happen to know how much warmer it stays in the insulated room vs outside? Is there a minimum temperature you’d like to see it stay above in there? ...
I have an UNinsulated barn, and it stays about 5° F. warmer inside than outside. I leave several windows open all winter, only closing them when it gets nasty. Bad weather in central Kentucky means about 0° F. / -18° C.

It seems to me that fresh air is more important than warmer temperatures.
 

Prairie

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
8
Reaction score
11
Location
Canada
Good to hear from someone else in these types of cold weather. Do you happen to know how much warmer it stays in the insulated room vs outside? Is there a minimum temperature you’d like to see it stay above in there?

I have an enclosed, insulated rabbitry, and am trying to determine how cold I should allow it to get in there this winter. Temps do get 40 below here, and I am not sure how much warmer to expect the rabbitry to stay on its own. Depends on how many rabbits I have, too.

Have any thoughts? I have taken rabbits through winters that get below zero occasionally, without heat but insulated rabbitry. They did great, and it was always a good bit warmer in there than outside.

Don’t want to hijack your thread, either; I can move my question to a new thread if needed.
Good points! This is will be my first winter having the insulated rabbitry. Previously I kept them in my barn and it was so tough on them. So we built a special room in the big barn for the rabbits just this fall. So I am very curious to see how they fair this winter.

It is an 11' x 11' room inside my barn. The room is insulated with our sheep's wool but it is not heated, has a window facing into the barn, and a small air vent through the barn roof, also has a light wired in too. Currently have 21 rabbits kenneled in here.

So far, we have had a -30 C morning... the temperature was -18 in the main part of the barn and it was -3 inside the bunny room! It'll be interesting to see what it is like in the bunny room once we start getting colder than -40s outside. But like right now, it is -10 outside and is 0 in the bunny room but then I have their window open for some fresh air during the day. :)
 

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
592
Reaction score
494
Location
NW US
I have an UNinsulated barn, and it stays about 5° F. warmer inside than outside. I leave several windows open all winter, only closing them when it gets nasty. Bad weather in central Kentucky means about 0° F. / -18° C.

It seems to me that fresh air is more important than warmer temperatures.

They definitely need fresh air! I have lots of windows and a lower ventilation hole in the wall. I vary how much I leave them open depending on the temps. I also have a large window in one end that I run a box fan in (supervised only due to fire risk), with the man door open on the other end during chores. It gives them a good amount of air.

Also experimenting with a barn ammonia-neutralizing powder to make it so the fresh-air exchange rate can be lower. Tried barn lime- didn’t work much. This works better so far:

Next trying this for comparison:



Thanks for bringing that topic up and sharing the info about your barn.
 

MuddyFarms

Well-known member
Rabbit Talk Supporter
Joined
Dec 13, 2021
Messages
592
Reaction score
494
Location
NW US
Good points! This is will be my first winter having the insulated rabbitry. Previously I kept them in my barn and it was so tough on them. So we built a special room in the big barn for the rabbits just this fall. So I am very curious to see how they fair this winter.

It is an 11' x 11' room inside my barn. The room is insulated with our sheep's wool but it is not heated, has a window facing into the barn, and a small air vent through the barn roof, also has a light wired in too. Currently have 21 rabbits kenneled in here.

So far, we have had a -30 C morning... the temperature was -18 in the main part of the barn and it was -3 inside the bunny room! It'll be interesting to see what it is like in the bunny room once we start getting colder than -40s outside. But like right now, it is -10 outside and is 0 in the bunny room but then I have their window open for some fresh air during the day. :)

That’s sounding good- a lot like I found with my rabbitry last year. I am curious like you are about how much temperature difference there is when it gets down lower as well. Thanks for sharing your data!

(I also updated my post up there; I neglected to put in that my temps are Fahrenheit, so it would be -40F coming up for me.)
 

MnCanary

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2010
Messages
175
Reaction score
170
Location
central Kentucky USA
Next trying this for comparison:

I'm using PDZ, especially in boxes with wood floors. A sprinkle on damp floors, cover with a handful of bedding, and there is MUCH less ammonia.

PDZ is just zeolite, a mineral that absorbs nitrogen. It is organic and doesn't harm the rabbits or your garden. It is used in the medical field as well (---in oxygen concentrators. The zeolite absorbs nitrogen from the air, leaving the air that exits the machine with a higher percent of oxygen.)

Using lime doesn't work, as you discovered. It physically covers the urine but chemically it is entirely wrong for neutralizing the ammonia.
 
Top