Proper rabbit housing can feel a little confusing.
There are so many different options out there for hutches and rabbit housing. But there is something that all of them NEED to have in order for you to have a healthy herd.
This post is for the rabbit raiser who raises their herd in an outdoor facility. If you are looking for the best outdoor hutch for a pet rabbit or just raising a few then check this post out.
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Rabbit Housing Needs Ventilation
I don’t hide the fact that my rabbits are not housed in a barn and even if we had one I wouldn’t use it. There are so many breeders I have come across that have major health issues in their rabbitry because of the lack of ventilation.
My lean-to style hutches with cages hanging inside work great. The rabbits have a three-sided shelter and I am able to put up tarps when the weather is bad. I have never lost a rabbit to respiratory issues with this setup.
Adequate ventilation will determine whether or not the rabbitry will be in good health and produce well. Inadequate ventilation makes the rabbits prone to many common respiratory issues such as pneumonia or sniffles.
The only way to eliminate these diseases or at the very least prevent those diseases it’s from entering the herd is through proper ventilation.
The ideal ventilation rate is a minimum of 10 total air changes in the housing area per hour. Of course, that is pretty difficult to track and almost impossible for the back yard breeder. But just do your best with what you have.
This becomes very difficult when the facilities existing for other purposes are converted into rabbitries often times professional assistance is needed to make the necessary adjustments to allow for proper ventilation in the converted rabbitry.
Good ventilation is just as important during the winter as and in the cold months as it is during the heat of the summer. I will talk more on this later but keep in mind that rabbits cannot tolerate temperatures in excess of 80 degrees with accompanying high humidity rabbits can tolerate higher temperatures when humidity is low as long as the air is moving about the rabbitry.
Humidity / Temperature
Humidity and high heat are your enemies. And together they are a deadly combo. Ideally, you want to have less than 60% humidity and 80 degrees or less in your rabbitry.
This is another reason that venation is important to keep both the humidity and temps down inside the building.
These are some key things to help keep a rabbitry cool.
- Location – Choose the shadiest location possible.
- Trees are natures cooling system and will keep the rabbitry cooler then shelter by a barn or structure.
- Freeze bottles or veggies for your rabbits to snack on.
There are several ways to help keep your rabbits cool. You can read more here.
Rabbitry Housing Needs Lighting
I am a bit of a nerd about these things but it makes sense. Lighting is key to raising almost any animal. If you want them to produce well and be healthy it only makes sense that the lighter they have the more likely they are to have successful litters.
More light is a trigger to the animal that spring is coming and warm weather along with grass and food will soon be here. Making them and their body ready for production.
Ideally, rabbit housing should have 16hrs of light per day. Obviously, that is not doable unless you are willing to but artificial light in your rabbitry. But just go with the idea that the more daylight you have the more successful the breeding and litters will be.
On the flip side if you want to raise rabbits for good pelts or get them in good fur condition the less light the better. In the winter there is less light.
It can be easy to want to have them in the perfect protected conditions be keeping them all closed up is doing more harm than good. Remember that they are livestock animals. They are adaptable and pretty impressive creatures if you allow them to be.