English Angora rabbits in the US south–how does that work?
I’m a new rabbit mom, having only adopted our bunnies this spring, so figuring out how to keep woolly critters comfortable in the heat has been an experimental effort this summer.
They have an enclosed run so they can leave their hutch whenever they want and burrow into the ground to find a cool spot, have plenty of shade, lots of water, a sandbox of their own, a bunnel (bunny tunnel) and are located on an eastern exposure, shielded from the mid-day and afternoon sun.
And then there’s the Bunny Fan.
We turn on the fan every day, directed at the coolest spot under the hutch where they like to hang out.
But I still worried about them.
For a while I put frozen bottles of water in the bun area to help, but I kept forgetting to put the bottle back in the freezer every night. I needed a more permanent cooling solution.
I started looking into low-tech refrigeration ideas and was intrigued by something called a Zeer pot. Usually made of terracotta pots, one larger than the other, nested together with a layer of wet sand sandwiched between them.
The porous terracotta and the damp sand together operate on the principle of evaporative cooling to keep foods several degrees colder than the ambient temperature.
I went to the home center hoping to find a set of rectangular (rabbit-shaped) terracotta planters in graduated sizes, but came up empty-handed. All they had were the standard round, high-sided pots and a few bowl-shaped ones.
In the end, I decided to go with one of the low bowl-shaped ones and a pot saucer that would fit inside the bowl. Although it wouldn’t provide the “refrigerated” cavity of the typical Zeer pot, I hoped it would make a sort of cool platform for bunny lounging.
Here’s what I used, the two vessels, sand, and water, plus something to stop up the drain hole in the bowl. I used a small lid.
I filled the bowl with damp sand and carved out a depression for the saucer.
Then I soaked the sand and the terracotta and put it in the bunny area by the fan. I figured the moving air would help with the evaporative cooling process, as well as directly cool the bunnies at the same time. I’ll need to add water periodically to keep the sand moist.
So now they have the option of curling up on the ground next to the side of the bowl, on the cooled platform, or wherever they please.
I hope it helps!