Warm Weather and Rabbits
Rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are mostly active at dawn and dusk. These twilight times of the day are cool. In the wild, rabbits stay in their dens during the warmest parts of the day in order to stay cool and avoid over heating. It is important to provide our rabbits with living conditions which allow them to stay cool and safe during the warmer months.
Make sure your rabbit's hutch is out of direct sunlight throughout the day. This may mean moving the hutch under a shady tree, into a ventilated shed or, if it is a house rabbit, away from the window. A wooden cage is more suitable than a metal one during the summer months because metal retains heat. Having a fan blowing where your rabbit is housed can be a good way to provide some ventilation for them.
Rabbits are naturally burrowing animals. Providing them with an outside burrow is a great way to enrich their summertime! If your rabbit has an outdoor run, make sure some parts are well shaded. Freezing water in plastic bottles to place in your rabbit's run or hutch will provide them with something cool to rest against.
Your rabbit's water will need regular topping up and frequent changing to keep it fresh over the summer months. It is better to provide water in a ceramic dish, as metal from water feeders or metal dishes will retain heat. A handy tip is to keep more than one water dish for your rabbit. If you place the spare one in the freezer to keep cool, you will always have a cold dish ready when you need to change the water.
Keeping your rabbit's hutch clean during the summer months is essential. Removing stale vegetables and regularly clearing out dirty hay and straw will help to minimise flies and mould.
Regular health care checks are important at any time of the year. However, during warmer weather you need to keep a look out for fly strike. Fly strike is a particularly nasty condition that can affect rabbits with damp or dirty fur. You can protect your rabbit against fly strike with Beaphar Fly Guard. Fly Guard is a Veterinary preparation containing an insect growth regulator which gives protection against fly strike for up to 3 months.