[As I learn more and more about how to keep our rabbits cool in the heat of summer, I will add new tips and tricks to this post. Please check back over the summer to see if I have learned any new tricks, or if I have made any changes to reflect what has worked for us, and what has not. I desire to give the best information that I can in hopes that I can help you keep your bunnies cool and comfy during hot temperatures.]
Where we live, it can get up to 107 degrees in the summer. While temps that high don’t happen all too often, we do have a couple of months where it is consistently 100 degrees during the day. Since rabbits are fragile creatures that have a difficult time surviving in extreme heat, I am constantly looking for ideas that I can use to keep our precious bunnies cool and ensure for them a long and happy life.
Inside of Alice’s side of the hutch, I keep a thermometer so I can monitor how warm it gets for the bunnies. I try my best to keep the temps in there below 85 for their comfort. If ever I can’t do that, I will need to bring them inside.
Rabbits are generally fine in cooler weather, but do not do well in temperatures over 85 degrees. It’s best to try to keep the temperature in their hutch below that for their comfort. If they begin to hyperventilate (you’ll see them breathing heavily and their whole body moving with their breathing), or if the area around their nose and mouth is wet, they are close to, or are already experiencing heat stroke. For more information about heatstroke in rabbits, click here.
So far this year, we’ve touched on the high 90s this Spring (a few weeks ago, and yesterday) and generally have been experiencing mid 80s, so as you can imagine, we are paying close attention to our rabbits and their responses to the heat, as well as studying and trying all of the different methods of keeping them cool as necessary. Here are a few ideas for keeping your rabbits cool that we have tried:
Set a fan in front of the hutch so it blows directly on the rabbits on extremely hot days, and above them (so as to move the air ar0und a bit) on less hot days.
Set frozen water bottles in the front of the hutch, so the fan carries the cold air that is coming off the bottles into the hutch, creating an A/C affect.
Put an ice cube or two in their water crock or a few pieces of ice in their hanging water bottle to keep it nice and cold.
Make sure water is always readily available to them to prevent dehydration.
Use a mister to bring the temperature down at least 10, if not 15 degrees cooler.
Put a ceramic tile in the hutch for them to lay on. The ceramic stays cool, and if you use the misters, it will get damp and provide a nice cool place for them to lay.
And here are a few ideas that have been shared with me by other rabbit owners:
Hose down the top of the hutch a few times per day, or cover the hutch with wet towels (I recommend keeping the towels wet during the hottest hours of the day).
Provide pesticide free frozen fruit to help cool them off on the inside, too. (Please keep in mind that fruit contains a lot of sugar, and only to give fruit in moderation. There is much information and opinion on the internet in regards to whether or not a rabbit ought to have frozen fruit, so I suggest that you do some research before using this piece of information.
For more information on caring for rabbits in hot weather, visit the Caring for Rabbits in Arizona page.
How do you keep your rabbits cool in the summer?
This post is part of Wildcrafting Wednesday #41 and: