new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Rabbits in the heat, & converting old wooden/cement structures to rabbit housing  RSS feed

 
Juniper Zen
Posts: 44
Location: Winters, California
dog greening the desert tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would really like to add rabbits to my homestead later this year. I have two concerns:

1. I have access to these old wooden structures on cement pads (see pics). I would like to convert them to rabbit housing. What would be the best way to do this? I know most people keep rabbits on wire so the pee/poop falls away - how to handle keeping them on cement?

2. It is normal for us to have temperatures in the 90s or even above 100. (Last week we had a heat wave of multiple days around 110 and two of my laying hens passed away. ) What can I do keep the rabbits cool and healthy? I ended up installing a small sprinkler in the chickens' run and so far no more deaths. I know that rabbits are even less heat tolerant and the males will not produce viable sperm if it is hot. Considering that, is having rabbits outdoors just not an option in a hot area like this?
17-05-27_catcondo1.jpg
[Thumbnail for 17-05-27_catcondo1.jpg]
Old animal housing
17-05-27_catcondo2.jpg
[Thumbnail for 17-05-27_catcondo2.jpg]
Old animal housing
 
Anne Miller
pollinator
Posts: 731
Location: USDA Zone 8a
48
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Those shelters look like it would be easy to add a raised mesh floor so you could scoop out the debris. 

Maybe you could have fans at either end to circulate the air to make it cooler.
 
Linda Secker
Posts: 87
Location: Lancaster, UK
1
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Presumably you will be raising your rabbits for meat.... but could I please ask you not to keep them on mesh?? Mesh floors are easier for you, but very uncomfortable for rabbits - they will be better on cement.

Rabbits will choose a corner as their toilet. So long as you clean this corner out every day there should be no problems. If the toilet area is left dirty the rabbits will get fly-strike... look it up - you have to avoid this. 

In terms of the heat - yes that is going to be a problem. Fans would help. Also, for the longer term though could you plant shade trees all along the side? I notice you have trees inthe rear of the picture, so maybe adding more might be an option. Although rabbits love to laze in the sun, hot summer temperatures will kill them. If there are only these few cages, I would also suggest cool pads of some kind - with hot air exhausting out the top of the set up of course..... If they are near the house you could even do this with cement slabs put in the freezer overnight and into the cages when it's hot....

Ensure they have access to fresh clean water every day too... they drink a lot.

And a box in each cage for them to sleep in....
 
Juniper Zen
Posts: 44
Location: Winters, California
dog greening the desert tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the advice. Fans are a possibility. Planting trees is not - not allowed to. I could cover the walls with tarps or shade cloth.

I didn't realize that rabbits will pick a potty area. I had thought that they pooped all over the place like most animals. That would make thing easier. Linda, would you put bedding on the cement or just leave it bare?
 
Linda Secker
Posts: 87
Location: Lancaster, UK
1
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Juniper - bedding definitely, if only because they love to dig could be straw, sawdust, leaves.... and yes, there will be some random poops everywhere - that is how they mark their territory, but on the whole, most poo and all wee will be in one (or two) corners. You can even put pans there and they will then go in the pans. once you know where they want to be, hang their hay racks just above the pan - they love to eat and poop at the same time.

I also thought maybe - could you plant climbers (grapes eg) so that they can grow above the structure for shade? Any kind of green, growing shade will be better than tarps and shade cloth, and do try for air movement underneath.

Rabbits need to eat about their own body volume in hay every day, plus only a small amount 10% each of greens and rabbit food pellets. This might be a bit different if you are raising them for meat, but happy, healthy rabbits might taste better anyway
 
Juniper Zen
Posts: 44
Location: Winters, California
dog greening the desert tiny house
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
These will be meat rabbits but I want to provide them with a good quality of life.

Anything I plant has to be in containers, and I'm hoping to be in this location less than 2 years. But I'll look into some fast-growing vines that would do okay in smaller containers. It would certainly make the area look nicer.

Straw is no problem. I haven't done much research on food yet but that's coming.
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
Posts: 2757
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
225
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
looks to me like the only thing I would suggest that hasn't been already covered is to use those existing uprights to put a roof over the whole thing.

That will provide shade which will let the fans cool the space better.

Redhawk
 
Mark Tudor
Posts: 36
Location: SoCal USA
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would put some shade cloth on the top so the sun isn't hitting the boxes directly, and you can build a homemade swamp cooler with a box fan, small aquarium pump, and the media. Unless your area is very humid, this should help drop temps a good deal. If you want to get fancy you can look up a way to turn the power on using a thermostat, so it runs only during hot days.
 
Juniper Zen
Posts: 44
Location: Winters, California
dog greening the desert tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the homemade swamp cooler idea, Mark. That's a new one for me. And an opaque roof or shade cloth on top - got it!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!