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Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by luv2farm, Nov 11, 2017.
How cold can 1 week old kits take before we need a heat light?
I have raised them---5 litters born on one of our coldest nights----in the teens---they were fine. As long as they stay together--under fur---they usually do good. I have never used a heat light here(East Coast SC) and have been messing with rabbits since 1977---took a break a couple times---but steady since 1995
You don't want or need a heat lamp or a heat pad.
The babies can't get away from it if they get too warm.
Better to just keep them in a sheltered area and make
sure the box has plenty of hay and the fur is heaped on top of them.
if you have a wooden nest box( Metal or plastic cause mosture condensation and draw heat away ) with hay, and fur in the nest they will do fine ; improperly constructed nest boxes with entrances to low that allow the kits to crawl out ,and not back in ,lead to kit chilling and loss . a 5-6 inch high entrance height is usally enough . the kits trouble window seems to be from 10 -15 days of age when they hop out and can't get back in the nest box. adding an extra lip at the lowend to keep em in the box, and a ramp to get back in helps . the best nest for winter ( or any time ) is a drop down or sub floor (check a couple out on youtube) ; where the entrance to the nest is level with the floor . most i'v seen are wire box added to the floor of the cage where you drop your nest box in in winter . and the entrance being level with the hutch floor if the kits get out they can crawl back and fall in after the kits are old enough (about 4/5 weeks ) simply remove the box leaveing some hay for clean bedding if cold . I just built a old time wood n wire hutch with a subfloor wire nest and a wooden 6 inch drawer nest box that slides in from the front the wooden top half is permanent to be used as a 5 inch elevated excape/resting board for the doe .
I've loss unprotected kits in temperatures as high as in the 60's.
I raised commercial meat rabbits all winter in Michigan. Would lose some litters here and there but only with inexperienced or poor parents. The vast, vast majority were fine in all weather in proper boxes, protected from the weather, well bedded both with mom's fur and hay. I had too many to drag in and out, and I refused to kill myself doing so - If I provide adequate care for them, they should thrive. If they don't, they may get extra care if needed (if they're not born overnight for example when I can't help), but either way they end up as culls. We don't allow animals to suffer if they fail to thrive, but we don't cater to them either. We had wood boxes with wire bottoms, and I'd staple cardboard to the bottom in winter months to keep the box warmer. Don't cater to the livestock, they work for you. Provide well for them and expect them to thrive. Cull those that don't.