The Sunshine Rabbit

Summer heat kills. Summer heat kills rabbits, in particular. When temperatures reach the high 90’s or into the 100*F degree range it becomes harder and harder to keep the more sensitive critters alive. Every June I shear all of my wooled rabbits and any day where the outdoor temperature is above 85*F, all of the rabbits get a frozen water bottle to lean against. Fans are always going; some pushing hot air out, others circulating what is left of the cool air. But sometimes it just gets too hot. All you can do at that point is hope that everyone makes it through the day.

Saturday was especially warm here, reaching 100*F around 2:00pm. We had had a week of somewhat mild temperatures ranging in the mid to high 80’s. Once in awhile I will notice that a couple of the animals become heat-stressed, like the rabbits and chickens. Saturday we lost Bunaby Jones to heat stress.

As you may know, he was born and raised here like his father before him. He was my main “herd sire” for my breeding program. Bunaby was also my prized Orange Agouti rabbit with perfect coloring, perfect temperament, and an abundance of easily managed wool. It would be an understatement to say that he will be missed. I am rather sore that I did not save any of his offspring to continue his line. Now I will have to attempt to bring back my Orange line using Bunaby’s littermate. The problem is that this littermate is a ruby-eyed white (albino) so there is no way to tell if he carries the agouti gene.

Good thing I was waiting to process several rabbits once they were all of a proper weight instead of butchering the one ruby-eyed white on his own. I now need him to continue my line from Seven of Nine. Lucky rabbit, that one. He skips the butcher block once again.

RIP Bunaby Jones.






17 thoughts on “The Sunshine Rabbit

  1. Sarah,

    I am so sorry to hear of Sunshine rabbit’s demise. Let’s get those hurricane twirlers going on the roof. It’s got to help!

    Could I plan a light supper after the recital at my house for the family?

    I will be back in town on Wednesday, hope to see you soon.

    Luv ….. Grammy


  2. So Sorry to hear about your rabbit. May his happy memories keep him alive in your heart. Hope everyone else will be ok thur the summer. Mare

  3. Hi, Sarah. I am SO sorry to hear about Bunaby Jones. I was wondering how you were coping with the bunnies in the heat. Bless his heart, he had such a sweet face!

    So far, so good with Basil and Buffy, but you wouldn’t believe the stuff I’ve been doing to keep them cooled off. It has been high eighties/nineties in Sonoma County for several days now and the rabbits are resting “under the house” (there’s a small extension that comes out about two feet off the back, on the north side, leaving a space maybe 18 inches off the ground, with one side being concrete foundation with an air vent) with bamboo fencing around the edge to provide air flow with some shade, plus two layers of shade cloth high enough for me to walk under between the wall of the house and the fence. They dug down about a foot into the dirt and have earthen ditches where they spread themselves out, plus I run a set of misters across the top of the fence when it gets above 85 – 90. They can come and go into their cage to get their food, and there are frozen water bottles in there. I think we’ve got four water dishes strategically placed, both for drinking and for the part where they put their tails up against the ceramic. It seems that “tail against ceramic bowl, nose against frozen water bottle” is working okay for now. Tomorrow, I whitewash the fence. It’s old and pretty dark, and I figure any way to reflect instead of radiate the heat has got to be a good thing.

  4. We lost one of our brown Henny Penny hens over our last summer – a week of temperatures around 44C (111F) – so you have my heartfelt sympathy. Good luck with your breeding program and may Lucky Bunny carry the genetics you need.
    Hugs from wintery Ballan.

  5. Sorry to hear about your bunny. I don’t have bunnies but I noticed my quail were panting (if that’s what you call it) last month and Tucson’s summer only gets hotter. I thought about bringing them inside but the dogs really get upset when they can hear them so I finally decided to push their cage close to the window and open it 4 inches so that they get some of the swamp cooler air. It worked great. No more panting. If that hadn’t of worked I was going to try misters.

  6. So sorry about you losing Bunaby. And people thought I was crazy for putting a small air conditioner plus hurricane fans in my animal house for my chickens and buns. So far I have lost none. (knocking my wooden head) We have extended 80-100 degree temps from March-November each year.

  7. Sorry to hear about Bunaby Jones. Very sad. He was a very beautiful, clean fawn buck; it takes work to get such a clean orange agouti, His passing is a great loss. Rest in peace Bunaby.

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