|SUMMER TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR BUNNY COOL AND HAPPY
(see Springtime Tips and Wintertime tips for more ideas)
|HEAT KILLS BUNNIES|
|It is critical that your bunny be kept in a well shaded and well ventilated area during the summer months. Keep them out of direct summer sun at all times.|
|FROZEN BOTTLES HELP|
|Fill 2 litre soda or Gatorade bottles with water and freeze overnight. On any day that the temperatures are expected to exceed 80 degrees, put one or more bottles in the cage with your rabbit. Some bunnies will lay on the bottle, others will be happy to just have the air cooled by blowing around the bottle.|
|Adding ice cubes to the drinking water is helpful as well. It cools the area slightly and encourages them to drink more. Rabbits will not drink hot water and become dehydrated quickly.|
|FANS AND SWAMP COOLERS|
|If you run fans or swamp coolers for your bunnies, be sure to direct the air flow ABOVE or BELOW the cage, not directly on the rabbit. Swamp coolers should have vinegar or tea added to the water supply frequently to prevent the growth of a bacteria called Pseudomonas.
THERMOSTATS built into fans are a great way to be sure the rabbits stay cool while you are away. You can set them to go on a certain temperature and will turn themselves off when it cools down.
In summer months after heavy winer rains mosquitos are rampant. They can carry a virus known as Myxamytosis which can be deadly to rabbits. There is no treatment other than paliative care to reduce suffering. It can be evident by tumors on the face or body, severely weepy eyes, lethargy and loss of appetite.
PREVENTION is your best defense. Check for any standing water that can be host to larvae. Change rabbit drinking water daily. Bounce dryer sheets can deter mosquitos as well. You can hang them over your cages but not so close that the rabbit can reach it. Screen doors are helpful. Spraying deet products like OFF on door jams and window sills, and on wooden surface of hutches will help keep mosquitos away.
Check with your county Vector Control Department to see what services they offer for prevention. Mosquito fish are helpful if you have stock or ornamental ponds. There is a product called "Dunks" that can be put in bird baths and stock ponds as well. Vector control has crystals that can be put in muddy areas such as around water troughs where cattle or horses leave indentations in the ground that fill with water dribbled from their mouths while drinking.
|MISTERS:Misters are another way to cool the air around your rabbit. Unless the temperatures exceed 100 degrees, I prefer not to get the rabbits wet but just to cool the air with the mist. If you attach the mister to the top of the hutch the mist will circulate around and run down the back of the hutch acting like a swamp cooler.
If your rabbits are in a barn, shed or other building, you might try putting a sprinkler on the roof. As the water falls off the roof it acts as a swamp cooler. We have sprinklers on the roof of the barn which slopes east and west. Then on the south side we run misters along the walkway. Box fans are installed in the windows along the walkway and carry the cooled air into the barn down the center of each isle. The north side has misters about 8 feet away to avoid getting nests wet but still cooling the air.
Sprinklers running parallel to or on top of outdoor hutches work as well although it tends to waste a lot of water and makes a mess in poorly drained areas.
You can make little air conditioned rooms for your bunny by putting a small frozen bottle inside a nest box, wooden hiding box , igloo or cocoon . A small bottle will cool the area remarkably. PVC pipe is another way to keep them cool. Our rabbits love their pipe and some will just lie with their head and ears int he tube to stay cool.