Educate me about rabbits

NicInNC

Songster
13 Years
Jun 23, 2008
527
18
246
North Carolina
I'm wanting to turn our old chicken coop into a rabbit hutch when we're finished with the new chicken house.

I've never had a pet rabbit before. I'm pretty sure I'm going to adopt an adult from the pound whenever we get one. I would love a baby, but I'm a sucker for rescues.

Here is the coop we'll be turning into a rabbit hutch (the one with the clear plastic partially blown off from all the wind we've gotten). What modifications will I need to make?

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I'm going to repaint it and I know I'll need to make the ramp longer because it's too steep right now. Will it need a heat lamp in the winter? How cold of temps can rabbits handle? The sleeping quarters of the coop are draft free so I have that part done right.
 

herfrds

Songster
10 Years
Jan 11, 2010
1,729
29
206
Montana
Rabbits handle cold weather better then hot weather. Look at having a fan nearby during the hot days.
Does the wire fence go into the ground at any depth? they like to dig. I would let some grass grow up in the pen area. My son sets up seperate pens for his rabbits and they love to run around and eat grass.

depends upon how cold you get in your area for the heat lamp. Son tried it once and his rabbit accidently hopped into the bulb and burned his fur. Haven't done it since. We do have 2 living our house right now because they lost weight due to the cold here.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,763
9,788
641
Wilmington, NC
Let's see, rabbit hutch from chicken coop. . . .

You'll want rabbit wire (usually has 1" x 2" openings) rather than chicken wire, as rabbits can chew through chicken wire.

Hardware cloth will do o.k. as flooring for small rabbit breeds, but will likely sag and cause foot sores in medium or large breeds. I prefer 1" x 1/2" wire for floors.

Rabbits are terrified of things that flap overhead (think hawk,) things that slither, and things that tower over them, so they will need places where they can run to hide (and that may include, "hide from you!")
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Rabbits chew on wood, so you need to be sure there aren't any painted surfaces or other kinds of treated wood where the rabbit can reach.

If there are any areas where the floor is solid wood, they will need to be cleaned regularly. Rabbit pee that soaks into wood produces ammonia, which is terribly hard on rabbit respiratory systems. Sitting on wet surfaces can lead to hutch burn on the feet and bunny butt (major owies!)

As herfrds said, rabbits can handle cold weather pretty well. Unless you live on top of Mount Mitchell, you probably won't have temps cold enough to be a problem. They do need shelter from the wind, but you seem to have that covered. Keeping drinkable water available is a bit trickier, but it is a big part of keeping rabbits warm, too. If they can't drink, they won't eat, and food is the fuel that keeps a bunny warm.

I'm a sucker for rescues.

Oh, yeah, I know the feeling! "This little _____ (enter name of animal here) neeeds me!!"
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taraann81

Songster
10 Years
Apr 9, 2009
1,490
5
171
Ontario
Quote:
You won't need a heat lamp. It gets pretty dern cold here in ontario sometimes and mine have been fine all winter. But in the warmer weather once your heat starts even into the high 70s I guess your rabbits are starting to get uncomfortable(book knowledge, have not had my rabbits through the summer yet). Book also states 80 degrees can cause heat stroke depending, so keep frozen 2 liters and put them in the cage when the temp gets above 80.

Hope that helps a bit, I am sure people with actual knowledge will chime in.
 

bigstack

Songster
10 Years
Jan 4, 2010
1,155
6
174
Texarkana, TX
Should not need heat if they have a small box with a lid and NO drafts!!! Heat is the big Killer of rabbits! You can add a Frozen bottle of water in the summer to help with this. NO painted surfaces, NO treated wood, and anything wood or plastic will be eaten! Or at least chewed really really really good! LOL Rabbits are great pets but are very skittish. and always affraid of things moving quickly, and casting a moving shadow over them! They are PREY!!!! They do need love but also need to be able to hide even from you! Great info above! all good stuff!

Good Luck and God Bless!
 

NicInNC

Songster
13 Years
Jun 23, 2008
527
18
246
North Carolina
Quote:
Oh, yeah, I know the feeling! "This little _____ (enter name of animal here) neeeds me!!"
love.gif


Wow....a lot of things that I never even thought of! The coop is wrapped in hardware cloth. There is no flooring in the ground part though. So, I'll need to attach a wire floor, right?

The sleeping quarters in the coop have a wooden floor. I'm thinking that I can cover the wood in plexiglass to prevent urine from soaking into the wood. Do the majority of people have wire floors? I'm afraid it will hurt their feet, but I notice most hutches have wire floors. What's the best option?
 

dntd

Songster
10 Years
Dec 4, 2009
1,223
6
159
my rabbit hutch has wire so I placed large tile down ( removable)with a small area still wire , added lots of hay and they are fine/
 

chinbunny

In a hutch
10 Years
Aug 24, 2009
661
9
131
If you have more then one rabbit that will need to be divided up into smaller cages so there is one per bunny. You will also need to keep them off the ground, as they will dig out when given the chance. Plus keeping them on the ground wouldn't be very sanitary. I would use the hard wired cloth mentioned above for them to sit on. Breeds like flemish will need a board to sit on. you shouldn't have a problem with anything smaller. Wire does not cause foot problems, nor sore hocks. That is all a myth. Normally when they do get them something else has caused the problem. Not the cage. Also watch the wood because it will rot if they pee all over it, and they will chew through it. They won't need a heat lamp. You only take changes of causing a fire when using one of those.
 

Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,763
9,788
641
Wilmington, NC
Quote:
You would probably argue that the "something else" that causes them is bad genetics, but I do regularly have problems with sore hocks among my Mini Rex and Harlequins. Any rabbit that doesn't have really, really thick fur pads on its feet can get them, even (or especially!) little 4 pound MR's. Keeping those wire floors level (thus spreading the pressure out as evenly as possible) makes a big difference, but I also add a sitting board or large tile to the cage of any rabbit that shows thin or bare spots on its feet. Heading the sores off is a lot easier than treating them! Removable hard surfaces are much easier to clean, and can be allowed to dry before being put back with the rabbit again.
 

chinbunny

In a hutch
10 Years
Aug 24, 2009
661
9
131
Quote:
You would probably argue that the "something else" that causes them is bad genetics, but I do regularly have problems with sore hocks among my Mini Rex and Harlequins. Any rabbit that doesn't have really, really thick fur pads on its feet can get them, even (or especially!) little 4 pound MR's. Keeping those wire floors level (thus spreading the pressure out as evenly as possible) makes a big difference, but I also add a sitting board or large tile to the cage of any rabbit that shows thin or bare spots on its feet. Heading the sores off is a lot easier than treating them! Removable hard surfaces are much easier to clean, and can be allowed to dry before being put back with the rabbit again.

Iv kept mini rex, and several large breeds. The only ones I had problems with were flemish. everyone else has been fine. The only thing I have found that will cause it is lack of trimmed toenails, coccidia, and yes bad genetics. Sometimes it will happen if the cage isn'tsturdy enough too.
 

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