Humidity in the winter rabbitry

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MaggieJ, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Last winter I moved my rabbits into the front porch, as much for my convenience as their comfort. This year the porch is the entry to my antiques shop, so the rabbits have to be housed elsewhere. I could put the cages in the utility room, but it would be a squeeze.

    I have a well-built insulated building that has been our chicken house. It is divided into two eight by eight areas. The geese use one area and I am overwintering four of them. The chickens have a new, smaller house that will be easier for them to keep warm with their body heat.

    The vacant half could be easily adapted to become a winter rabbitry. Geese do not create the amount of dust that chickens do, but they drip water on their bedding. I shovel out the wet spots daily (except when they freeze solid) but it still must add some humidity to the air. Would this be harmful to the rabbits?
     
  2. TerriA

    TerriA Well-Known Member

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    I haven't had to deal with this.. however, here is my take on it since you haven't gotten any responses...

    Since the building is well insulated, would it be possible to have a dehumidifier out there?

    Here in Nebraska, when winter comes, it is simply DRY.. almost TOO dry in the cold... a "little humidity" may actually be better for the bunnies than being "too dry". I know we have a house humidifier in the winter... I am not familiar with Canada... :shrug:

    On the other hand, I'd be more concerned about the ammonia smell in a very well insulated building. You would have to keep the rabbit's urine cleaned up somehow quite often. The ammonia is very hard on a bunny.

    HTH!!
    Terri
     

  3. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thank you, Terri, for replying! Let's hope we can generate a bit of discussion.

    Our climate here is milder and damper than yours, due to our proximity to Lake Ontario. The air gets dry in heated buildings, but this one is unheated. I do have a red heat lamp that I could use to dry things out a bit if absolutely necessary. It will be handy if any does are kindling during a cold snap too.

    Your point about the ammonia smalls is a good one. I'm thinking I could hang the cages from the rafters and put wood shavings under them and just sweep them out when necessary. There are two roof vents and two popholes. The one in the goose area will be open all day so they can come and go freely and the chicken pop-hole could be opened if extra ventilation is necessary. Both are on the south side. On days when the wind is from the north or north-west (a lot of the time), the windows above can also be opened without causing drafts. (If I do say so myself, the building is extremely well situated and designed. :hobbyhors I spent a winter researching and then tinkering with the plan before we built.)

    The vexed question of winter water is always a concern, of course. I intend to get those unbreakable rubber bowls and take warm water down three times a day. Would that be often enough?
     
  4. SherryR

    SherryR Well-Known Member

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    Maggie, I have done water 3 times daily in freezing weather, and yes that's fine . . . At least what oldtimer breeders told me. You could water as often as you like, but they seem to drink deeply in morning & evening, and in winter, during the day when the waters been frozen solid, they welcome some warm water.
    Sherry
     
  5. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Terri, wouldn't a dehumidifier also lower the temperature? The only time I have used one was during the summer when I was living in a basement apartment. I would close the windows and turn it on while I was at work. It was almost like having air conditioning, the temperature dropped so much during the day.

    Thanks, Sherry, for confirming the required watering frequency. I can see that in the worst of the deep cold we may have to water more frequently than that, but fortunately most winters such cold snaps only last a few days.

    I think I will give the idea a try and just be extra vigilant about watching for problems.