Tuesday, June 26, 2012

End of (this) Heat Wave

The heat wave finally broke fully a couple days ago much to everyone's relief. All of the rabbits made it with liberal application of shade and frozen water bottles. In the aftermath of the storms that marked the end of the heat wave, we got to see the beautiful side of our driveway on the way out to get some supplies. The Lady of the House got a good picture so I figured we'd share it with you.

In other news, Dawn and Umbra's litter have been starting to fully show their fur colors. Getting photos of their colors has been a challenge as they tend to bounce around far too much.

 Right is a semi action shot of one of the babies bouncing around in an attempt to avoid being photographed apparently. The part that is interesting about the fur color is that instead of  being a simple agouti over black, it is silvering out. The closest rabbit in appearance to this kind of look is the Silver Fox rabbit.

Bottom Right is another closer shot of a rabbit showing the silvering more dramatically. It is amazing what a bribe of hay will do for getting a rabbit to hold still! Behind the baby you can see Dawn protectively watching to make sure we aren't doing anything Too objectionable to her brood. It is a very pretty coloration, and not at all what we expected from this litter. Talking to Michelle Chandler she said that is because the gene that carries the silver is on a different locus than just about anything else. I will need to have the Lady of the House do a post on genetics since I just don't have the command of it to explain in any sort of detail.

Left is a photo illustrating that the silvering is coming in patchy and without full coverage of the body which is an interesting look.

Heat Related Flop

edit: Sorry about the formatting, Blogger is being strange on me. Hope it is readable now!

Something we learned about with this heat wave is that it can cause ears to flop over instead of stand upright. This picture shows our one and only baby who had this happen to it. Its right ear (your left) has flopped over as you can see Above while the other ear stands consistently upright like its siblings. It doesn't seem to have any particularly detrimental effects otherwise, it is just a sign that the heat had a more tangible effect on this one than the others. 

Weight Charts
The flopped ear wasn't the only thing that heat caused in the herd of babies. On our hottest days we saw drastic drops in weight gain.  We don't have enough data to say conclusively that babies grow more slowly in heats over 80 with our particular set up and cooling arrangement, but it certainly looks like it. The other thing that seems to really bug them is very loud thunder storms. In both litters we had a drastic drop in weight gain over the past day, and an extremely loud thunderstorm is the only thing that has been different with them. It is also possible though that the presence of a bear the past couple days has caused stress and thus lower or lack of weight gain. Finally there is the possibility of human error in weight checks.

Dawn's Litter Weight Chart

Sunny's Litter Weight Chart


  1. Something wonky with your formatting there, Coureton. The last two paragraphs were white blocks over the black background. Had to highlight them with the cursor to be able to read them.

    Rabbits don't eat as much when it's unGodly hot, so yes, weight gain slows down. They *can* make up for it at night, if the nights are cool enough, but otherwise, we wait for the heat to break.

    1. Thank you for the heads up on that! Sometimes Blogger does strange things like that. I think even as humans heat does the same thing, our biggest concern is keeping them alive and well if we get a week or two like that! Figure just keep up the ice bottles and lots of cool water.

  2. Be careful with the heat. Rabbits don't generally do well in extremes and if it gets over 90 then you can have boiled bunny before they're ready for culling.

    1. Yeah, to cope with heat we've been using frozen water bottles that we rotate out as they melt when it's over 80 degrees. It's sadly about all we can do.