Lost half the herd today

Chic Rustler

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Today it wss 95°f with a heat index of 105°f. Very hot and miserable. So of coarse i had to work late and do those "just one more" airconditioning calls.

I came home at 6pm to find my two best does dead and 2 small kits gone as well. The does were a week or so away from kindle. I quickly hosed the herd down with a mist spray and took the other 3 small kits inside. They looked close to death. I think i got them cooled off and they might make it. Sad that my 2 best does died.

Is it possible for rabbits to heat stroke in these conditions? There are many people in my area with rabbits and they have the same types of cages as i do.......or do i need to look for other reasons?
 

NH Homesteader

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Sorry about your rabbits. I believe that is one of the biggest challenges with rabbits. They do NOT do heat well.

@samssimonsays is a rabbit guru and @baymule has a ton of experience raising rabbits in Texas.
 

Denim Deb

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Heat is one of the biggest problems for rabbits. I know of many people who will fill soda bottles or milk containers w/water, then freeze them. Then when it's really hot out, they'll put them in w/the rabbits. The rabbits will use them to cool off. I've also heard of people sticking large tiles in their freezer and putting them in w/the rabbits. But, they don't hold the cold as well.
 

samssimonsays

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They need air flow but not fans directly on them. Frozen water bottles or even frozen tile slabs worked well and stacked nicer in the freezer. My French Lops would drop dead at the slightest warm breeze and needed an ac in the barn. They were just that touchy. Normal rabbits need less. @Ferguson K had experience with meat rabbits in Texas heat i know.
 

tortoise

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Losing animals is always difficult, but it helps me to think of it in terms of culling for more resilient stock. Do you really want to have a herd based on animals that barely tolerate living conditions?

I had angora rabbits, which are more sensitive to heat. Anything over 90 degrees was risky. I took mine out of cages and put them into pens on the grass and moved them to keep in the shade. I didn't have any heat losses, but I also understand how impossibly high maintenance this is for most people.

I would suggest to modify the area around your hutches to add shade. Shade cloth? Strategic plantings? I'd also suggest to buy from breeders who house rabbits outdoors in your area. Ask if what they do for cooling in summer, in order to avoid lines of rabbits which are overly coddled and managed. If you find someone who has rabbits who are already culled by nature to tolerate heat, you can take that line of rabbits and breed selectively for the level of production you expect.
 

baymule

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Number one, don't breed in the summer. Fat, pregnant AND wearing a fur coat? Nope. Number two, fill plastic bowls with ice and pop them out, put them in rabbit cages. place fans to blow air around and have your rabbits in the shade. I had does die of heat and they gave out a shrill shriek and died. It makes you feel really really bad. I stopped breeding in the spring and didn't start back until September. In the winter, use an open top nest box and place an automotive light, the clamp on type with the big aluminum shield on it, over the nest box. It will keep the kits nice and cozy.

Sorry about your does. Hope the others do ok, you might even need to bring them into AC if they are pregnant.
 

Chic Rustler

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Im thinking pregnancy and heat was the culprit. My other doe is bred too, but not as far along. The guys i bought them from didnt have anything fancy. One guy didnt even have a roof over his rabbits. Im gonna try the ice bottles and set up a fan system
 

sumi

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I am so sorry to hear about your losses :hugs The ice bottles as suggested above sounds like a good idea and also fans or something, shade yes. I'm not a rabbit, but having carried a baby through one brutal hot summer in South Africa, I can understand them struggling, poor things. I hope the weather lets up a bit for you all soon!
 

Chic Rustler

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The high is 82 today. It should be a little easier on them. I have one more doe thats bred as well.

Im gonna get something straightened out before the next heat wave for sure.

It does make ya feel terrible tho. Poor girls.
 
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