Need help keeping Rabbits comfortable/ making them a shelter...

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by WhiteMountainsRanch, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2010
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    I acquired three (soon to be four) new California rabbits. They are show rabbits and we are keeping them for breeding, showing and meat. We just got them, and are drawing out the plans for the cages as we speak. We are going to make everything ourselves. We have the cages all figured out and each rabbit is going to get 3' x 3', they will have solid backs and tops.

    I know rabbits are sensitive to the heat. The person who we got them from had them all in breeders cages lined up under a carport tent under a large tree. Like this
    [​IMG]

    So my question is this; we don't have a shed, or carport, or anything to put the cages in/under. We DO have a fairly large area with lots of trees. Can I put chain link around this area and then string a tarp overhead for additional shade? Is this enough of a shelter for them? I'm worried if I get a shed it will get way too hot. But then in the winter will this provide enough protection? I can stuff the cages full of hay if necessary. I am in San Diego so I am more worried about the heat than anything else.

    Please I would love suggestions.

    Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2010
  2. mom2jedi

    mom2jedi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, you've got a lot of good ideas and questions! I'm also in San Diego and have a couple of rabbits currently indoors while DH and I get their outdoor hutch ready. Unless we get another super rainy winter (please, please, please...) summer heat is more of a concern than winter cold. I have a couple of questions to ask to clarify your situation before I give any advice.

    Have you ever had rabbits before?
    Are the cages you're building going to be up off the ground so they will have bottoms or will they be open on the ground?

    Edited to fix funky wording.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  3. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi and thank you.


    Yes I have had rabbits before, but they were always indoor pets so I am not sure how to keep them outside.


    Yes the cages will be up off the ground. They should come out looking something similar to this; each cage will be 3' x 6' and hold 2 rabbits with a divider in between...
    [​IMG]


    Thanks!
     
  4. mom2jedi

    mom2jedi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Diego, CA
    I've seen that cage on Craigslist! I like the look of it too but they want way too much for one. LOL

    Okay, first thing, have sturdy bowls of water available as well as their bottles (they will drink more from a bowl) and plan on freezing a couple of 2ltr bottles for each cage. Nothing keeps them cooler easier than frozen water bottles, just make sure you have enough to rotate them out during the hottest part of the day.

    As for your shade area, the trees will be great, they should keep direct sun off the cages which will help keep the rabbits cool. What are you using the chain link fencing for? If you plan on letting them out for exercise you'll need to lay something down so they don't dig. Otherwise, they'll dig to China esp. the females. As for weather proofing for the winter, having a tarp that will wrap around the cage is the best way to keep rain out (just make sure one side is open for air flow and light).

    What part of town are you in? I'm in northeast El Cajon almost Lakeside.
     
  5. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the ideas. I do have some 2liter bottles I am freezing for them, but I never thought to put bowls along with the lickit bottles.

    The chain link would be to keep coyotes and stuff out. They would only come out of the cage for exercise in a secure area while I am there watching them.

    So you think just in the shade with a tarp overhead for the sun would be fine, then in winter I can wrap another tarp around the cage?

    I am in Jamul. [​IMG]

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2010
  6. Skyesrocket

    Skyesrocket Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2008
  7. mom2jedi

    mom2jedi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    San Diego, CA
    Quote:You're welcome! The shade should keep them cool for the summer and now that I know where you live, the chain link is a good idea. If you're out there watching them while they are exercising they shouldn't have a chance to dig so the fence should be just fine for keeping them in. In the winter, if you're able to turn the cages so the solid back is to the wind and tarp the other sides, that should keep them dry enough. If you are planning cages with metal trays, I would leave one of the sides open, if not then you could wrap all four sides and there should be enough air flow through the bottom to keep them comfy.

    Wow, Jamul must have gotten pretty hot today, how did your buns fair? It hovered around 100 today at my house. Ugh.
     
  8. suburbanminifarm

    suburbanminifarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am in San Diego too
    For a exercise run, check Craigslist for a used trampoline. Mine is 14 foot diameter. Fence around the BOTTOM of the tramp with your choice of fencing (I used dog-type exercise pen fencing, but it was expensive , I could have chosen something else.) The tramp can be moved to shade, or new grass easily. The buns aren't always in their own poop since you can periodically move it. The bouncy part of the tramp becomes a PERFECT shade cloth for the hot summer. Plus you can still jump on the trampoline since you haven't ruined it!
     
  9. 3chimama

    3chimama Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I also freeze milk jugs and 2 liters with water during the heat for my bunny. In the winter, I microwave discs that I purchased at Petsmart that keep warm throughout the night.....
     
  10. WhiteMountainsRanch

    WhiteMountainsRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes it was extremely hot today! It got up to about 98* and I had turned the sprinkler on my dog and chickens. I cleaned out the rabbit cages and gave them fresh cold water, sprayed the concrete below them and put the frozen 2 liter bottles in with them. They were breathing a little faster than normal, but seemed fine... How will I know early enough if they are getting too hot?

    Thanks for the ideas everyone!
     

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