- OBVIOUSLY if they do not have PLENTY fresh CLEAN water
- Too much or too little food
- Lack of PROPER VENTILATION
- If they get too hot (80 degrees or hotting in THEIR living quarters)
- They get too cold AND wet. Cold breeze with wet (rain, snow)
- High concentrations of urine (if it burns your eyes its too high)
- Lack of social interaction (other bunnies AND YOU)
|Large water bottles and "J" feeders with screens on bottom|
2. Rabbits require their calories to be controlled. Too much fat or carbohydrates in their diet can cause serious health issues. "Treats" such as carrots and apples can cause serious sugar peaks. See more info on feed here. Rabbits eat more in the winter to keep warm. Small rabbits (less than 4 months old) need 1/2 cup of feed pellets per day and adults need a full cup. I feel a handful of large grass each day for as long as we have it in our yard. This is their favorite. They gobble it up like they have not had anything else to eat all day!
3 .Proper ventilation is tricky. You must allow air flow into your rabbits area to keep the urine smell down but you must not allow to be exposed to wet winds. I rotate my ventilation according to the weather but I always have one screened in area that is lower than the rabbits and shielded from the rabbits by plastic.
I also capture my rabbits droppings in a tarp. This works very well for me. The pellets (rabbit poop) stay in the tarp while the urine exits a small slit that I have cut in one place in the tarp- above the bucket you see. This keeps the smell of urine down and away from my rabbits. It also makes it very easy to remove the main source of high smell of ammonia (from the rabbit urine).
Every day I make sure the urine is draining well, collect the hay and rabbit poop. Every couple days I collect the urine, add a little water and water my plants. I have a compost for the hay and poop or I sun dry it and collect in empty feed bags to sell for gardens. Nothing goes to waste.
Fresh hay, 1 cup of feed and checking the water bottles takes less than 5 minutes. Socializing (mainly with Buck) takes 5 more minutes. Complete chores and clean up takes less than 15 minutes. Sometimes I need to keep a closer eye on them, especially if any are due to kindle (give birth) and I will do a part of these chores several times a day to break it up.
|Ventilation from inside rabbitry|
4. Rabbits do much better in the cold than in the heat- long as they do not get wet. Anything over 70 degrees might need your attention. My first course of action is a fan. If that brings the temperature to under 75, we are good. If I will be gone and the temperature has any chance of being over 75, I freeze a 32 ounce plastic bottle the night before and put one the cage for every 5 rabbits. If the temperatures are higher I use a water bottle to spray mist into the air- in front of the fan to it goes to the rabbits.
5. In the winter it is important to keep your rabbit dry. So cold wet drafts and direct snow can be fatal. Don't forget proper ventilation. So it is not recommended to completely cover your rabbits with a tarp unless the bottom is exposed for ventilation. I usually let them have an area in their cage that has a layer of hay. If shields their feet from the cold wire cage and allows them to keep some of their body warmth. I also insert a wooden box that creates a "cubby hole" for them to snuggle in. This provides protection from cold, wet weather and if they are spooked by any outside noises, they will run to the box for security.
|Missy sitting on top of her cubby hole or HIDY HOLE I like to call it.|
7. SOME BUNNY LOVES YOU! Its not just a saying. Yes your bunnies will become attached to you. Especially if you have them separated from one another (for their safety and each other). Some will demand attention (like my BUCK ROGERS and BEAUTY) and others will just "allow" you to pet them. Beauty will nudge me if I am working in her cage and Buck will all but climb out of his cage if the door is open. If it is closed, he will chew on something to get my attention.
8. I put predators last because even though we are surrounded by woods and wild animals, I have not had any problems so far with any animals investigating or trying to get to my rabbits. Before I got started that was MY NUMBER ONE FEAR so here is the cage we created.
|10 x10 dog kennel (4 sides and top) enclosed with a wooden structure.|
|South and east side of rabbitry.|