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So, it’s summertime for your buns and I thought I’d share some tips and tricks I’ve picked up from having rabbits in hot weather with no air conditioning!
When the temperature hits 90º you need to start paying close attention to your rabbit because temperatures this high and hotter can be exceptionally harmful for your bun. Rabbits cannot sweat, which means they have a hard time regulating their body temperature.
You can check the temperature of your bunny’s ears, this is a really good tell as to how hot/cold your rabbit is.
My first step is to make sure that my rabbits’ cage is in a shady place, and that they have plenty of access to fresh water. On extra hot days, your bun will blow through a water bottle much quicker than usual, so it might be helpful to supply multiple water bowls/bottles.
To keep your rabbit even happier, consider adding ice cubes to the water to keep it nice and cold. Next, a really great trick is to fill plastic bottles with water and freeze them, so your bun can use them as ice packs, if they choose. Your bun may seem very lethargic so try placing the icepack against them as they lay to see if they like it.
I would also suggest wetting your rabbit’s ears when temperatures reach unbearable. It’s important to make sure no other part of your rabbit gets wet. (Wet rabbits can start to display signs of pasteurella!)
Another helpful tip is to go to a hardware store and purchase a marble tile. I have bought multiple tiles and rotate them in and out of the refrigerator. This gives your rabbit something nice and cool to lie on and escape from the scratchy, warm carpet!
And finally, make sure there is a nice airflow in the room. My buns prefer a box fan on the floor, one in the window and a stand up oscillating fan. They enjoy camping out in front of the fan when it gets extra warm!
Lastly, if your rabbit becomes unresponsive or seems much more lethargic than usual, wet the ears immediately and call your vet ASAP.
In my last post I mentioned buying a cage for your bun.
Here’s the issue with that. If you’re going to keep your bun inside of the cage for most of the day, those cages are not large enough AND they are expensive.
So, here’s an alternative way to keep your bun happy and healthy.
With the start of the blog, this seemed like the perfect time to build a bunny condo. So, I enlisted the help of the rabbits’ handy dandy dad, Michael and got to work.
First thing on our list, was to go to Target and buy two packs of the wire ClosetMaid cubes. Each pack costs ~$24.99 (this will be the most expensive purchase of the day.)
Next, to Home Depot to buy two packs of 100 zip ties (~$7.00), wood planks (~$3.00), carpet (~$15.00), bungee cords (~$4.00), a box cutter if you don’t already have one and a pair of scissors.
We bought two longer wooden planks and cut them to size with the hand saw in Home Depot.
These are the dimensions for the wooden planks we used: Three 31.5 in, two 27 in, and one 19 in plank.
For the carpet, we went and found the cheapest kind that would be squishy enough to eliminate sore hocks.
We brought in a sample square and had the man cut two strips of carpet the width of the squares. (The length is a set length at Home Depot)
To start, you’re going to want to start zip tying the closetmaid grids together to make each wall.
You’re going to want to make two 2×3 walls, and two 3×3 walls. It is smarter to not attach the four walls together quite yet.
At this point, make sure you’ve zip tied every where you can on each wall. Where four corners come together (like the picture above) make sure you use four zip ties. When two grids meet, make sure they have a zip tie at the top and a zip tie at the bottom.
Next, you can begin to attach the two side walls to the back wall. (Leave the front wall off for now!)
This next part gets a little tricky. I had michael work on making the levels and ramps, while I sorted out the carpet situation. You’re going to want to install the carpet on the levels before you attempt to attach it to the walls of the cage.
Michael needed to build two ramps. So he put two grids together and secured them, and then added one of the 27 in wood planks to the middle of the ramp.
While he was working on ramps and levels, I was cutting the carpet to size and inserting zip ties in each corner so that the carpet could attach to the ramp or level.
Next, you can add the carpet to the ramp or level.
As far as how many ramps and levels you’ll need, this is how we broke it down.
Three 2-square levels, one 1-square level, and two 2-square ramps with wooden plank attached.
For carpet pieces, it is the same as above, plus two 3-square pieces for the bottom of the cage.
Now that you have each separate piece carpeted and put together, it is time to attach the fourth wall to ONLY the left side wall. (you don’t want to complete the cage yet, or you won’t be able to install each level and ramp.)
The last wall should be a 3×3 grid of squares so attach it to the left side of the wall. You can then bend back two of the three columns for better access.
Add one of the longer 31.5 in planks so that the lowest level will have support.
Then, add one of your 2-square levels on top of the support and zip tie it to all surrounding walls and support beam. At this time, if the carpet was flimsy, so I poked a few more holes and zip tied it to the side support walls.
When you believe it is nice and secure, go ahead and add the lowest ramp. Connect the top of the ramp to one of the squares of a 2-square level.
When that step is complete, you can move on to the level directly above the one you installed. Do the same steps: add the support bar, secure it to the side of the cage, install the 2-square level and secure.
Finally, install the third top-right level (leaving the sole 1-square piece and last ramp out.) Do the same steps as before: add the support bar, secure it to the side of the cage, install the 2-square level and secure.
Finally add the one 1-square piece and diagonally connect the 19 in wooden plank to the bottom so it is zip tied to the surrounding squares.
Finish installing the last ramp and the 1-square piece to the top, and then close the cage up and go around and secure everything! Secure the ramps to the side of the cage with zip ties, and make sure any and all junctures are secured with a zip tie as well.
The last step is to make a door. Disconnect the lower middle square’s zip ties from all the surrounding squares on two of the three sides leaving one side connected like a door hinge.
The bungee cord purchase is to keep your bun from opening the door.
Lastly, insert rabbit into new home and furnish with food, water, litter box and toys!
If you have any questions about parts of this process, or things I may have forgotten to cover, please feel free to comment!
Having been obsessed with rabbits now for a while, I thought it might be interesting to share some of my knowledge that I have picked up over the years.
Let me start by introducing my rabbits.
I have two of them.
My first rabbit’s name is Figaro and he is a 3-year-old Dutch rabbit.
If you are considering purchasing a rabbit, let it be known that they are a lot of work. Some things to think about include: where you live, if you have small children, if you have other pets, if you will have enough time to give your rabbit all the attention he/she deserves.
Also, you should know that rabbits are curious and a bit destructive. If you have a cord lying on the floor, your bun will saw it in half in the blink of an eye. Here is a neat video of a guy who rabbit-proofed his entire home.
If you’re wondering what you might need to start your life with your bun, here’s a list of all the things I have for my rabbits.
– A cage
– Food dish and a water bottle
– A large bag of Oxbow timothy hay (most important food source for rabbits)
– Fresh vegetables (second most important food source for rabbits)
– Oxbow Bunny-T basic pellets (third food source for rabbits. Some owners choose not to include pellets in rabbit diets)
– A brush for when your rabbit sheds. (I highly recommend the FURminator, it is truly worth the money)
– And, of course, some treats! (I would suggest buying the Oxbow treats.)
For those of you who live in Lansing, Mich., a great place to check out is Preuss’ Pets. They carry all the above items and more to keep your rabbit a happy healthy boy or girl.