I don’t know where you folks live, but here in SLC it has been SCORCHING. Granted, scorching for me is about 105 degrees, but still, that is pretty dang hot. I’ve been worried about the rabbits because rabbits in general suffer from heat stroke very easily, and we don’t have any kind of coolant system set up. In fact, this is what our rabbitry looked like as of two days ago:
You can see we just have some cardboard on the sides as a nod to sun protection, and that is it. We are diligent about making sure their water bottles are filled, but I image that during the course of the day that water becomes pretty warm and probably not very refreshing to drink.
Two days ago I came home from work to find our Cali doe, the one in the top right in the photo above, had died. She was racked out on her cage, in full rigor.
I felt so bad when I saw her! Granted, we probably would have eaten her in the future, but dying from heat stress is probably scarier and more painful that the exit we would have planned. The next day, I was on one of my rabbit forums and another member said they had the misters going, fans, iced bottles to snuggle up against, the works, and still lost 47 breeders that day as well. 47 breeder rabbits! Apparently they were dealing with temps of 120, not the 103 that we were at. I felt my one doe was a paltry loss compared to their 47, but it still was sad.
Yesterday at work I was worried all day, but when I came home all remaining 3 rabbits were accounted for. I turned on the hose and let the water cool down, then thoroughly soaked all bunnies. They didn’t quite care for it, but it definitely cooled them down. When Jesse got home, we decided we needed to move the rabbitry to a more cool locale. The problem is, we don’t have a lot of shade in our backyard at this time. We ended up moving them on the brick walkway that skirts our deck. Then we spread a tarp from the desk down over the cages. We’re hoping that the angle of the tarp will help shade the cages from the sun during the course of the day. We also plan on getting misters today and getting them set up as well.
We have been looking into the dugout den approach where you either dig into a hillside, or mound up a false hillside and create false dens. Here is an idea of what I’m talking about. We don’t have any hills in our yard, so we would have to create them. Not sure if we’ll go this route but I think it makes sense.
We’ll end with a dab of cuteness, to brighten up this somewhat sad post.