Building your own "Nestbox Heaters"
I originally got these directions from Barbara Gesswein from a article on "SAFE" ways to heat our nestboxes in the Domestic Rabbits. I used these for years..before I got the barn heated. And have had kits born on an 8 degrees below freezing night only to find them toasty warm in the morning! They use only a 15 watt light bulb that is not hot enough to start a fire should hair or straw drop directly on the bulb.
This type of heater fits directly under the nestbox IN the pan below. If the cages don't have drop trays, I bend wire hangers to hold the heater in place. Also please make sure all cords are out of the rabbits reach and where they won't get wet. My husband builds mine from any scrap lumber he has around, or you can use the 1" pine shelving from the lumber yard. You don't have to bother with a bottom board if your using it in a tray,but I line the bottom with heavy aluminum foil to reflect the heat back up. I raise Netherland Dwarfs so the frame size of mine are 8" wide, 12" long, and 3"high. Size can be adjusted to fit your nestbox size. We normally buy the clamp-on type utility light when they're on sale, and use the socket and cord off these. A "U" shaped groove is made in the center of one end for the cord to stick out, and a small block of wood is added to the same end to attach the socket to. Always make sure the bulb is within the 3" frame not sticking up. I use them if it's going down below 40 degrees, making sure to turn it off its going to get hotter - you can cook the kits if it gets hot!! If used correctly these are fantastic!! And a baby bunnie saver.
New tip-FREE SCOOPS-one my 4-H group enjoyed-any size side handled detergent or softner bottle will work-please have a adult cut out the bottom-I draw the line with a marker first-
I must admit I am a bit spoiled when it comes to the rabbits..heat, hot and cold running water..air in the summer!!Mostly its very comfortable out there..but these winter days..when your hands get wet..your touching cage doors..springs, cold metal makes your hands cold. I have for years been looking for a way to not only keep my hands warm..but DRY as well. I have bought ice fishing gloves..snowmobile gloves and many types of winter gloves..most have sucked. Well my friends I have found it..go to the Dollar store in your area and get those little stretchy knit gloves..they are cheap like a dollar a pair..then go to the housewares and buy the yellow or lime green rubbergloves..those knit gloves slip right in the rubber ones!! They are cheap and really last a long time..it will be the rubber that gets snagged and torn..this is as good as sliced bread-IMHO!!
Things I do...worming, nestbox tips, etc.
I always have people asking me, "What do you do...?". So I thought I would list the things I do on a regular basis, worming, etc.
1. Twice a year I worm all my rabbits, except young kits or pregnant does with Piperzine. I put 2-3 drops directly into their mouths. It's much easier than doing the water mix.
2. When my babies are about 9 days old, I remove all the old bedding in the nestbox, and refill the box with a light layer of shavings and nice grassy hay. This makes it clean when the eyes start to open, and gives the kits hay to munch when they're ready.
3. When I go to extended shows...weekends, or thru a real hot spell, I put Acid-Pak 4 Way in my water. It keeps them on feed and can cover up any different water I may have to use if I run out of home water.
4. Also on extended shows 3-4 days when the rabbits HAVE to stay in the carriers, I like to put a thin layer of shavings in the tray, then a layer of newspaper topped with more shavings. On the 2nd day, I can lift off the newspaper with dirty shavings on top and give the rabbits "fresher" shavings for the remainder of the show.
5. I always like to breed 3-4 does together to have some back-up Moms, and bred during the week so the babies will be born on a weekend when I'm home. Always checking to make sure it's not a "show weekend"!
6.Also twice yearly I have begun to treat the entire herd- babies, pregnant does, everyone.I have begun using-(forgot what its called..will check in the morning!!) In the early spring and late fall.
7.This is something VERY important that I think we often over look-when bringing any new stock home-quarantine them for 7-10 days-check for loose stool..sneezing..matted paws etc.It is well worth the time and trouble.
8.I "do not" let anyone into the rabbits-that goes for breeders or pet people. You never know where or what they have at home. And NO outside rabbits come into the rabbitry-ever!