It doesn’t matter where you live, summer can be a killer for your meat rabbits.  It is critical that you keep your rabbits cool, especially if the temp is above 90.  This summer has been a hot one for almost everyone in the US and if you raise meat rabbits outside then you are probably scrambling to keep them cool.  Here are some tips:

  • Keep your meat rabbits in the shade at all times.  The temperature is significantly lower in the shade.  Keep your cages under a tree, or some type of roof, or even bring them inside if you have to.
  • Fill 2 liter soda pop bottles with water and freeze them.  If your rabbits are getting too hot, they will lie against the bottles to keep cool.  Make sure you have extras in the freezer so you can replace them often.
  • Use fans (or even window air conditioners if they are in a shed).  You can also hang wet towels up across doorways or windows to help keep the air cool.
  • Use a misting system or mist them with a spray bottle.  If you notice a rabbit in distress, you can submerge their body in water to cool them off.
  • If all else fails, or you don’t have a way to keep them in the shade, place them in carriers and keep them inside your house during the hottest part of the day.

Pregnant meat rabbits and babies still in a nestbox

Heat is very hard on pregnant or lactating does and young kits.  The kits are in a warm nest box and have no way to cool off and the does are already stressed from feeding and growing babies.  Keep a close eye on kits and if they climb out of the nest box, sprawl out and pant heavily; bring the nest box inside during the hottest part of the day.

The best solution?

So far the best solution to keep my rabbits cool is this;  I’ve built a small hoop house using pvc pipes and then placed shade cloth over that.  I was just giving them bottles of ice to keep them cool, but misting them seemed to work better. They stay nice and cool with this setup.

This is the misting system I use. It is very cheap and works very well. I have it hooked up to a hose timer so it comes on for a few minutes at a time during the hottest part of the day.