Affects of Heat |
With summer upon us, and the temperatures rising, we thought it especially important to remind all rabbit owners about the affect heat can have on your rabbits. Even seasoned rabbit owners can need reminding, as the owner of Eden's Gate Farm & The Dragon's Lair Rabbitry found out.
In June of this year, we lost one of our best does, a New Zealand White named Fluffy and her entire litter to heat stroke. We thought they had shade in their location during the hottest part of the days, but we were wrong.
Rabbits are equipped to tolerate cold temperatures, but it is the hot temperatures that they cannot tolerate. It is very important that you make sure that your rabbits are not placed in full sun, and that they have plenty of shade (especially during the hottest parts of the day). In some locations, even this is not enough.
Ways to keep your rabbit cool.
Again, keep your rabbit in plenty of shade. In excessive temperatures, for a rabbit anything over 85 degrees, if you can place a fan or fans to lightly blow cool air on the rabbit(s). Make sure they have plenty of fresh, cool water. Hose down the top of their hutch, if not in all-wire housing. You can also lightly spray the rabbit with a hose or a watering can to wet them down and help cool them off.
Signs of a rabbit overheating.
A rabbit can be seen laying down in the cage/hutch breathing much faster than normal. The rabbit may be actually panting with its mouth open. Excessive drooling, or mouth and head being wet from sweat.
Affects of over heating.
A rabbit can be caused to go prostrate in the cage/hutch from over heating. Temporary sterility can also be caused in both bucks and does, lasting as long as 6 months. And of course, death can also be caused.
Again, we cannot stress enough that it is very important that we live up to our responsibility in caring for these beautiful creatures by keeping them cool and well during the heat of our summer weather. They cannot do it for themselves, so we must.