It’s that time of the year again where Seattle is showered in pumpkin spice lattes. Fall brings in cooler temperatures and we’ve even had some below freezing nights in early November. We house our buns outside but frequently have them inside for bonding or photography sessions. Especially the little newborn babies; we try to keep them inside as much as possible until their fur comes in. I have a lot of families around this time of year ask about keeping their bunnies outside in a hutch and if it’s ok for winter time. So here is my opinion and knowledge!
Heat Lamps? Yes or no?
If you are planning to keep a hutch nearby your house such as on a back porch or side of the house; this is in my opinion an easier way to keep them outside. Most areas around your house will have electrical outlets. Heat lamps are a must when below freezing for our farm. Some other rabbitries use straw and pack it into each cage for the rabbits to burrow but I prefer an actual heat source for our buns. Remember to always securely attach the heat lamp to the outside of the cage or hutch. Never put the lamp on the inside of the cage because it could severely burn your bunny or get knocked down and start a fire! Also keep the lamp far enough away from hay so a piece doesn’t accidently catch on fire. Don’t be afraid to try a heat lamp out just because of the danger of a fire starting. As long as you take safety precautions and set it up securely you should be fine! We’ve been using them for over seven years and have never had an issue. The only issue I had is one year I put a heat lamp on each individual cage and back at that time it was nine cages. Let’s just say our power bill did not appreciate it. Now we have an amazing set up where four cages can share one heat lamp. Even if your hutch is not near the house, you can always run an extension cord out there to hook it up. Most local feed stores should sell them, or you can always purchase online. I would recommend buying one that has a clamp attached so you can mount it easily.
Frozen water bottle issue
Water bottles will for sure freeze outside as well. One option would be to put the heat lamp close enough to the water bottle where it stays unfrozen but doesn’t get too hot. You may need to test this out for a few days to get it right. If you put the heat lamp too close to the water bottle, then all the water will “magically” disappear within the same day usually. Another idea is to purchase a heated water bottle. This would be the most ideal route to go so you don’t have to worry about frozen or dried out water bottles. All you need to do is plug it into an outlet and make sure to fill it with fresh water when necessary.
Board up those open sides
For hutches we recommend buying one that has a hide away area with four enclosed walls and an entrance hole for them to access inside. Also the main part of the hutch should at least have one solid side. In the fall and winter time when it starts to get windy you can buy cheap plastic roofing or get a few pieces of plywood to board up the open sides. Especially at night when it’s the coldest time of day. Keep in mind if you choose this option but still have a heat lamp, you’ll need to cut a nice sized hole in the temporary pieces where the heat lamp can still have access to heat the hutch.
Well structured hutch for snow fall
If you live in an area that gets heavy snow fall during the winter make sure your hutch can bare the weight of all that snow! Make sure your roof is in good condition and if anything, when you go out to see them each day, just brush off the snow that has accumulated on the roof that day.
All in all, if you can bring your bunnies inside or at least in the garage during winter, that is the ultimate and best solution. But if that is not an option then try these ideas to help ensure that your bunnies will be safe outside during the colder months. For those of you that have had success or any good tips on weather proofing outdoor bunny areas please feel free to leave a comment to help other bunny owners or soon to be bunny owners!
"Have you entered the treasury of snow, Or have you seen the treasury of hail," Job 38:22
It’s important to plan ahead before purchasing a rabbit. Figuring out costs of owning one is a responsible way to begin your research! Also making sure to buy quality products can help reduce costs in the long run. Make sure your family can financially afford to care for them for the long term. The average life cycle of a rabbit is nine years. I am going to break down costs for you and give you valuable resources of where to purchase feed, hay, cages, treats, and toys.
Water is the most crucial and valuable thing to remember to give to your rabbit. It’s important that they have fresh water daily. There are three different types of water containers that are commonly used for rabbits that I will list the pros and cons to. Some great websites to check out is Chewy.com, Petco.com, Petsmart.com, or Amazon.com. You may also compare prices at your local pet/ feed stores. We’ve found that the most unbeatable prices are between Chewy.com and Petco.com. Petco price matches and they also have a rewards system to earn $5 for every 100 points earned.
The standard water bottle attaches to the cage. Prices can range between $4-$20.
Water bowls are the more natural way for them to drink out of. A heavy ceramic bowl is the best option to use because light plastic bowls can easily be picked up and thrown around the cage. If your rabbit chooses to throw their bowl around you can purchase a bowl that attaches to the cage so it cannot be moved. Prices can range between $1-$15.
These are mainly used for dogs or cats but can also be operational for rabbits. Prices can range between $7-$38.
Providing a quality feed is so important to your rabbits overall health. Don’t be misguided by the brands that state that their feed is “premium” or “made with all natural ingredients.” Look for the ingredients on the nutritional label and make sure they have a high fiber content. Fiber is what pushes everything through the digestive system so be sure to try to find a fiber percentage of 16-18%. The higher, generally the better. We feed our rabbits Modesto Mills Organic Rabbit Feed. It’s corn and soy free which I am not against either of those ingredients but those are more fillers than nutritionally beneficial. The main ingredient should be grass based such as timothy or alfalfa. Cost of rabbit feed depends on quality of feed and size of bags. I suggest purchasing your feed online because it usually ends up being cheaper. Amazon.com, Chewy.com, or Petco.com are great places to order Oxbow, a brand we recommend along side Modesto Mills. Modesto Mills is milled in Oregon and sold in limited stores around the Pacific Northwest. Do some research around your area and see if there are any locally sourced rabbit feeds nearby.
For Oxbow, expect to pay around $12 for a 5lb bag, $25 for a 10lb bag, $39 for a 25lb bag. Holland Lops usually eat about 4 ounces of food a day. So let’s do some math…
5 lb. Bag of Oxbow $12
4 oz/day x 4 days = 1lb/4 days
4 days x 5lb bag food = 20 days
$12 bag food / 20 days = $.60c per day
$.60c per day x 30 days = $18 per month
25lb. Bag of Oxbow $39
4oz/day x 4 days = 1lb/4 days
4 days x 25 lb bag food = 100 days
$39 bag food / 100 days = $.39c per day
$.39c per day x 30 days = $11.70 per month
For the most part, buying in bulk is usually the best option for saving money in the long run. On the flip side, I wouldn’t recommend buying a 50lb bag of feed if you have only one rabbit because the food may go stale before you finish the whole bag. Nutrena is another brand that is nation wide. We used to use them until we went organic. I don’t prefer this brand but we never had a problem when we used it. I will compare the prices for this brand to the Oxbow brand.
25lb. Bag of Nutrena $14
4oz/day x 4days = 1lb/4days
4days x 25lb bag food = 100 days
$14 bag food / 100 days = $.14c per day
$.14c per day x 30 days = $4.20 per month
Hay is 80% of your rabbits diet and they must have access to it at all times. Hay is high in fiber and keeps their digestive track healthy and moving. Check with your local farmers to see if you can get ahold of some local fresh timothy, oat, or orchard grass hay. A good place to check is Craigslist.org. It is much cheaper to buy a bale of hay which can weigh up to 100lbs for $10-$25 depending on where you’re located. Although if you only have one rabbit I suggest buying smaller quantities so the food doesn’t go stale.
Cages/ Free Range Spaces
Rabbits can be kept indoors or outdoors. If you’re keeping your bunny housed outside be mindful of weather and temperature. Rabbits are heat sensitive but there are ways to keep them cool in the heat of the Summer such as putting frozen water bottles in their cage or keeping a fan on for them. When looking for a hutch I recommend buying one that has enough space for them to run around in. Also make sure to have a boxed in area for them to hide in. This also keeps them out of the bad weather. Hutches can range between $20-$400 depending on where you buy them. Craigslist or any phone app similar to offer up is a good place to check out for used hutches. This will most likely be your best bet for finding the cheapest one. Although Amazon has pretty reasonable prices too and they are brand new. When looking online to order one make sure to read the dimensions because their pictures can be deceiving and make them look a lot bigger than they are. Reading reviews is also a good idea.
If keeping your new pet indoors, there are many different options for housing them. Our favorite cage is the World Living Habitat Cage in a large or extra large size. Petco or Amazon is a great place to order these cages. They usually range between $70-$120. Once potty trained it’s also a fun idea to section off a free range area in the house for them. Either use a dog exercise pen to keep them contained or look on Pinterest for awesome ideas. You can easily set up a play/ living area for them for under Treats/ Toys
It’s important that your bunnies have things to occupy them and chew on. There are so many products to choose from and most are very inexpensive. Petco.com, Chewy.com, and Amazon are all great places to purchase these items. Apple sticks are always a big hit. You can even find sticks in your yard for free for them to chew on. Just check and make sure they are ok for your rabbit to have. Hay mats are also a great thing for rabbits to have. Rabbits teeth continuously grow so it’s important they have things to chew on the help control their teeth growing. Check online for all the fun toys there are and compare prices. Online is usually a lot cheaper then going into a pet store. Pet stores have such a high mark up price on their products. For instance Petco will be more expensive in store than online most of the time. Always check online first! Toys will range between $1-$12.
We add apple cider vinegar to our rabbits water for many health benefits. We recommend you do as well! One reason we use ACV is because it contains essential vitamins and minerals that increase the overall health of our buns. AVC is known to prevent urinary tract infections and helps keep their HP levels regulated. Being a breeder we want the healthiest babies we can produce and try our best to prevent any birth defects or deaths. ACV is known to improve digestion and increase nutrient absorption levels through the G.I tract.
If you will be housing your rabbit outside or have other animals and are worried about mites or fleas, ACV is a solution for you. It helps keep those nasty pesticides away. When a rabbit consumes ACV it makes them smell "off" to the fleas and is unattractive to them. It will also benefit in keeping their fur coat shiny and smooth.
Cages can be a pain to keep clean if your bunny isn't potty trained yet. If they have peed outside of their litter pan and you just wash it out with water, they can still smell their urine in that area resulting in them going in that same spot again. When we potty train rabbits we clean our their cage a specific way to help them learn. First we dump out their litter pan. You want them to be able to smell their urine in there litter pan only. Next we boil a big pot of water with one cup of ACV mixed in. Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the cage and pour the hot ACV/ water mixture into the cage. Dump it out, let it dry, and continue with potty training! Convinced yet?! This is a miracle liquid that every animal owner should use!
My favorite part of the day is spending endless hours with these baby bunnies. The bunny in the video attached is one of Mitten and Benny's babies. He/ she is 10 days old and most of their time consists of sleeping. It's so precious to capture these moments of baby bunny stretches and yawns! Enjoy this short clip and subscribe to us on YouTube for more cute videos!
It was finally warm outside today! Spring is coming and I can't wait! All the quail that hatched four days ago are all sold, so you know what that means...time to hatch more eggs! It's never ending work but i enjoy it so much and i'm thankful and blessed for everything i have. The best part about being blessed is turning it around and blessing others. I'm excited for our farm business to continue to grow so we can keep on reach out to more people! Today was a fundaySunday. My friend Jaimie and I went to Clark Lake, a local dog park, and took the buns with us so they could run around. We got some pretty awesome pictures of them and they sure did enjoy the sun! Can't wait for Mittens new babies to grow so we can explore with them outside! It looks like she had 3 BEW, 2 solid black, and 2 black Vienna Marked. Next up due is Lola so check back in a few weeks in the "Bunnies for Sale" page to see what's new!
Sometimes it's the little things in life that have the biggest impact. Just taking the time to bless others with what God has blessed us with is what it's all about. I had the opportunity to host a bunny social event at a dear friends adult family home today and it went a thousand times better then i had expected! It brought so much joy to my heart to see these wonderful ladies holding and adoring my rabbits! It was an honor to bring life, joy, and laughter into their home today and i can't wait to spend time with them again. Not only was i blessed with wonderful new friends today but more quails keep hatching...i'm at 65 now..and Mittens had her babies! Blue Clover welcomes 7 new baby bunnies to the world!!
Quails have arrived! I bought a Hova Bator 1588 incubator with the quail rack attachments. The racks don't work as well as i hoped, as the eggs don't quite fit in the slots all the way so they pop out when the rack is completely rotated to either side. I set 100 eggs. Some of the eggs were slightly cracked from the rotating but i figured i'd just let it sit and see what i came out with. Yesterday morning is when hatching began and so far we have 51 chicks and more are still peeping! Excited to see how many in total we get! We're planning on selling about 30 to 40 Cortunix chicks so if you're interested contact us!
I'm proud to announce that we have finally gone organic with our rabbit feed! It was hard enough to find an organic chicken feed that was whole grains, non corn, and non soy...but to find a rabbit feed that stood up to those standards was unheard of to us until now. The feed is in pellet form but it has so many quality ingredients, none of them being corn or soy. When the bag arrived i was so thrilled to see the quality of the pellets! Do you ever get bags of feed and open it to only be disappointed that half of the bag is crumbled up powder? I no longer have to pay for a bag that i can only use three quarters of. Excited to see how the buns will benefit from switching feeds!