Heat stupid rabbits are dying. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by midkiffsjoy, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    I live in East Texas, and the heat has reached themid 90s this week. I lost two rabbits (I'm guessing to heat) on Thursday. I hung a box fan and am putting frozen gallon jugs in their cages and it seems to be helping....but....they are not eating well (I have fed 16% rabbit booster....not really a booster, the tag says its the same as the other feeds my feed store sells thats just its name, and have fed it for several months with no problems) and they REFUSE to drink their water. I thought maybe the water was heating up so I'm now filling the bottles half full and putting them in the frezzer (like I do my water jugs when I'm out building fence) and then filling them the rest of the way with cold water and putting them out there but theyre STILL not drinking from the bottles!!! Instead they are licking and chewing through the frozen gallong plastic jugs. WEIRD. Can anyone think of anything else I can do or anything I can add to the water bottles to make them want to drink from them ???? This is new....theyve never not drunk from their bottles before....this is a new thing. Is there something I can do or have my rabbits just gone heat stupid????

    p.s. They are in a "rabbit loafing shed" and have access to shade all day. I'm going to hang blinds tomorrow to see if that makes any difference.

    Thanks All!!!
     
  2. live on land

    live on land God does answer prayers

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    Huh. That's weird. :shrug: Memorial Day weekend we also lost three rabbits to heat, and tonight we lost another one. My son was doing his normal chores, which consests of watering and feeding the rabbits, when he found our main breeding male dead. It hasn't been that hot out the last two days, considering that it's been around 60 degrees all day, and rainy, (we live in central Indiana). I think it might have been the lime that i put down to mask the smell of there feces, because we live in town, but my son has also come up with some other ideas of how it might have died. Well, I just thought that was weird, but if you have any ideas on why it might have died, it would be greatly appreciated.
     

  3. sunshine estate

    sunshine estate Well-Known Member

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    Forgive me...I don't mean to insult you, but I got caught on this one and almost lost a good buck...are you checking to see if the water is still coming out of the bottles? I had a buck that wasn't drinking and finally I checked the bottle and the metal ball had jammed and no water would come out...

    Also I make sure to wash the "nozzles" well...I end up switching the bottles when I bring them into the house to fill them, and I find urine on some of the metal nozzles...I don't think they'll drink from the bottles that have urine on the nozzle unless they're desperate; and even more so if it's another rabbit's urine...

    But even with all of that, I've found that sometimes they won't drink out of a bottle; I'll switch the bottle and come back later to find that they have drank some...I always assume the bottle had something on it, maybe I got dish soap on it, or my hands had something on them that I wasn't aware of...to the best of my memory, it's usually, maybe always, been the males who won't drink...go figure...

    And this reminds me: I need to clean out the bottles, I'm going to put in some small rocks with water and dish soap, and shake the bottles (with my finger over the end, I wouldn't want to risk getting a rock stuck in the nozzle)...my bottles are collecting scale real bad...I've used a diluted bleach solution to bleach out the algae that keeps growing in them...and rinse, rinse, rinse...
     
  4. trublu

    trublu Member

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    Just a thought too. I use the little black rubber feed pans in the winter because you can pop the ice out of them easily. I know the water will get very hot in just a short time in water bottles. You might try a crock dish where the water stays cooler and try a few ice cubes??? Sometimes an open water dish they will drink out of if they wont the bottle. Something to try.
    Good luck. I lost two angora babies from heat last year. Never do that again. The one use to lie in the food pan on his back and sleep! So cute.
     
  5. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    I refuse to get angoras until I actully have an inclosed bunny barn with an ac unit !!! grin. I had someone tell me that I was an idiot to say that but here it is, not even August yet and I've lost two harliquins (sp) to heat. About once every two weeks I soak the bottles in a 5 gallon bucket with a capful of blech in it. I always rinse them out very well. Funny thing is, I thought it might just be that....but two of the bottles are brand new and have never been soaked before at all, and the rabbits still wont use them. I know the water WILL come out of the bottles because I SHOWED my rabbits that the water would come out of them this morning. I stood there and "jiggled the ball" so it'd make that "rabbit drinking from a bottle" sound....hoping they would drink out of them. Didnt work. I've tried crocks before....it takes about 3 mins for them to knock them over, so thats no good. Whats WEIRD is they arent eating very much at this point either. I cut back hard on how much I gave them this morning, just to see HOW MUCH everyone wasnt eating.....I gave them half what I normally do, and not a single rabbit finished what I gave them all day. really weird.

    I know when you first get day old chicks you are supposed to put sugar in their water....anyone ever tried that with rabbits. I dont know HOW or WHY that would make a difference, but I'm racking my brain. grin.

    I lost a rabbit last winter in rainy 60 degree weather. I had the cage all wrapped up and everything, to try to keep them dry. Sorry to hear you lost one to similiar conditions, but kinda funny that your summer is like our winter. We sure could use some of that rain right now. We are in the middle of a terrible drought right now. Hay was 100.00 a bale down here. I lost a goat to some bad hay cause it was so late in winter, everyone ran out and had to use what you could get a hold of. sigh.

    thanks all.
     
  6. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Try syringing them water. Just get a syringe without a needle and shove it down their throats. If they aren't drinking then they won't be eating very much. Maybe give them something with moisture, like refridgerated carrots. If they don't stay hydrated you'll loose the whole lot. Rabbits are pretty fragile.
     
  7. Nature_Lover

    Nature_Lover Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits need salt spools in the heat, are they using them?
    Their kidneys shut down in the heat, the salt keeps them going so that doesn't happen.
    I always recommend both white salt and mineral spools in the summer, and mineral only in the winter.
     
  8. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If the rabbits are licking the condensation from their plastic ice jugs, they may be getting more water than you think. It would be more attractive to them than the water bottle since it would be colder.

    Have you tried adding apple cider vinegar to their water? My rabbits seem to drink more when I add it. One tablespoon per gallon is what I use.

    What is the humidity like in your area? Does the loafing shed get a breeze? Hanging wet burlap with the bottom in a tray of water (a plastic windowbox would work for this) will cool them considerably by evaporation. It works best when the humidity is low and the air is moving.

    Vines growing over the shed will also help keep them cool. Not something you can do that will help just now, but you could start them for later. Something fast growing with nice big leaves like hops, grapes or Virginia creeper. No idea what grows fast in your area.

    Just a few thoughts... along with best wishes for cooler weather and happier rabbits. Oh, yeah... and some rain.
     
  9. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We are to assume that the rabbits are accustomed to using water bottles, right? If not, then, there is the problem, as not all rabbits automatically know how to even use them. Another consideration is the metal nozzle, which can heat up in the summer and freeze in the winter. Rabbits can burn their tongue, too... and just like a kid sticking his tongue on a frozen metal pole, rabbits can get their tongue stuck to the metal nozzle during freezing weather.

    In any case, I'd switch to crocks/bowls until you can get the problem solved. You can also spray the rabbits with a fine spray from a water hose to cool them off... just be sure to allow them enough time to completely dry before spraying them, again. No hard sprays... not only would it hurt, but it spooks the rabbits pretty badly.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
    Chairperson, ARBA Commercial Department Committee
     
  10. romancemelisa

    romancemelisa Well-Known Member

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    we lost one last weekend, the other ones looked in sorry shape, i misted them with the water hose and put a fan on them.
     
  11. txtruelady

    txtruelady Active Member

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    We showed rabbits for yrs.... Sounds like your doing what you can. We would put fans up and buy a misting system from lowes that puts out a light mist over the area..They sell different kinds one goes on a fan the other hangs....Then at night we turned it off then about noonish back on...hope this helps
     
  12. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    When I was a kid we used to put a box fan in the window with a wet sheet hanging over the window. Standing in front of the fan/wet sheet was almost like having a A/C. You might try hanging a piece of sheet with a mister to keep it moist in front of the fan. That should cool them much more than a fan alone. I kept my angora's alive one 100 degree summer using that method.
     
  13. HeatherDriskill

    HeatherDriskill Well-Known Member

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    If you know that they are getting dehydrated, you could also give them some gatorade or pedialyte in a syringe. Sometimes it can bring them back from the brink. I have never done this with rabbits, but with just about every other animal in the world. Someone holler if I am wrong about giving this to rabbits.
     
  14. khowellrn

    khowellrn Well-Known Member

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    During the winter we had two sets of water crocks, one set would be inside thawing while the others were outside in the huthces, freezing! The bunnies licked the ice and made big tunnels in it.
    So, anyways.....I was thinking this summer I'd keep frozen crocks of water in the deep freeze and put them out for the bunnies midday, since they like licking ice so much.
    I never used water bottles, but I guess the same idea might work, if you had two sets.
     
  15. dixonsrabbitry

    dixonsrabbitry Well-Known Member

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    I agree with pat. I also think you might not have heat stroke going on with your rabbits. But something else that might need to possibly be looked at by a rabbit experienced vet. Just in case you have an illness going on there instead.
     
  16. insocal

    insocal Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits can't take heat AT ALL. They can handle cold just fine, but not heat. If they can dig in the dirt to stay cool it helps, but that is not very compatible with sanitary husbandry.

    Betcha you're glad global warming is fake, or you might have to reconsider keeping rabbits, huh?
     
  17. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

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    How are the rabbits doing?
     
  18. Honorine

    Honorine Carpe Vinum Supporter

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    Whenever I feel that the rabits are stressed I add apple cider vinegar to their water, like Maggie said, sometimes I just give them some sugar water. I also keep small frozen cups of fruit all year long, they start looking off I give them a cup, its good for them and cools them down quick.Often when its hot they seem to eat less of the alfalfa pellets, as they are basicly a 'hot feed' though not as much as a sweet feed would be. When that happens I increase their fresh foods, give them even more hay, although hay isn't an alternative for you right now. Few rabbits can resist a raspberry leaf or clover sprig, get them to eat something. Try the frozen fruit.
     
  19. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

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    Sorry I havent been able to get on the comp. The box fan is helping VERY much. They have started eating and drinking again. I had to stop putting the frozen gallon jugs in the cages because the does kept chewing a hole in them, and I didnt think the plastic could be too good for them. I am now trying frozen glass jars, but I have to be careful because sometimes I overfill the jars and it pops the tops off in the frezzer when the water expands as it becomes ice. I hate crocks. It makes me feel better to know that my rabbits hate them too, or at least I think they do since they always knock them over and use them as soccer balls within 3 seconds of me putting them in the cages. We have always used water bottles, as did the breeder that I got my rabbits from. Texas heat creeps up on us so sudden. I wish our top heat was 100. I remember loosing a rabbit to 100 heat once....when I was 8. It was the first time it had been that high and we were all in shock. Now it regularly reaches 108 and up. Better than being in Pheonix though!!!!! There would be no having rabbits in 120. I dont know how the PEOPLE dont MELT in Pheonix.
    I did not think about their feed being hot. Thats a VERY good point. What do you feed instead of alphalfa then??? I will try hay. I dont usually give them hay, but I can. I will also try the apple cider vinager!!! Thanks everyone for the help!!!