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This website is devoted to the care and well-being of all rabbits, and focuses on pet rabbits kept as indoor members of the family.

Last site update: Wed Feb 25 01:52:51 EST 2015

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Bunny Chill Box

Plans for Bunny Chill Box

Rabbits can very easily suffer from heat stroke. In fact, it is the number one killer of pet rabbits who are exposed to the elements. It is important that your rabbit can find shade (if your rabbit spends time in a cage, make sure it isn't in direct sunlight) and stay cool. Rabbits do not have a way to cool themselves off like other pets (they only dissipate heat through the ears - in the wild they go underground to stay cool. If the temperature gets warm enough (temperatures over 80°F can cause heat-stroke), some things you can try to keep your rabbit cool are:

  • Squares of tile chilled in the freezer and then placed where the bunny can lay on it (if you use marble, on average it stays about 10°F cooler than ambient/surrounding air anyway)
  • A cold wet towel or bowl of ice cubes, placed in front of a fan (preferably an oscillating fan, so the bunny isn't constantly having the fan blow on him)
  • Ice cubes wrapped in a wet towel and placed where the bunny can lay against it
  • Put a plastic bottle of frozen water in the cage (NOTE: water expands when it freezes, so leave room for this expansion in your container)
  • Ice cubes in the water crocks
  • Let the bunny hang out somewhere on a cool bare floor
  • Dampen the tips of your bunny's ears (the evaporation will cool the ears)
  • Block all sunlight and use only fluorescent lighting, which puts off much less heat than incandescant or halogen lamps (this won't help cool an area that has already warmed up - if it's going to be a hot day and there won't be air conditioning, keep the shades drawn)
  • If your bunny becomes listless and unresponsive, get him to a vet immediately!!
You can also offer your bunnies an air-conditioned hidey box. A really cheap air-conditioner can be made using a styrofoam cooler, a small fan, and ice bottles. Below are simple instructions on how to do this. Then simply point it so that the cold air blows into their hidey box, and your bunnies will have a nice cool place to hang out and get away from the heat.
The best way to use this design is to have the air coming out of this "air conditioner" blowing into a box large enough for the bunnies to hang out in when the want to cool off - not only do they have a hidey box, but it stays nice and cool for them

Parts needed:
  • Styrofoam cooler (or any plastic bin that is relatively air-tight) - insulation is not a major factor since the fan will always be pushing hot air into the enclosure
  • Small fan, like a computer power supply fan (easy to get one from one of your geek friends - almost all geeks have power supply and/or CPU fans - it's an unwritten law of geekodynamics) or you can find at radio shack - get one that works on 12 volts DC). Try to get the quietest fan possible so the noise doesn't bother your bunnies!!
  • Glue (okay, fine - glue, super-glue, adhesive, epoxy (including binary epoxies,
  • Wire strippers and electrical tape for the following:
  • Depending on the fan, a "wall-wart" power supply (aka AC to DC adapter) rated anywhere from 6 to 16 volts (12v fans can actually run on a range of voltages, although giving it 12V is the best) (a wall-wart is one of those little boxy things that plugs into the wall outlet and has a connector on the other end - cut that off and strip the wires, connect them to the fan wires, tape each one up separately with electrical tape)
  • If you know what your doing: You can easily do the same thing with an 110-120V AC fan and a plug to go diectly into the wall outlet.
  • NOTE: you can probably find an AC adapter somewhere around the house that you can use
  • NOTE: you can cut holes in the styrofoam with a steak knife and the styrofoam won't disintegrate - heating the knife makes it even easier by melting as it cuts (DON'T PUT METAL IN A MICROWAVE OVEN!!): to heat the knife, turn the stove on to a low heat and press the blade against it for a few seconds. You'll need to do this a few times as the blade cools.
How you build:
  1. Measure the diameter of the fan (about 3 to 4 inches depending on the fan)
  2. Cut a circular hole at one end of the top of the cooler just smaller than this diameter
  3. Mount the fan at one end of the top so that it pushes air into the cooler
    NOTE: Make SURE to glue the fan onto the cover so that it blows air INTO the cooler!! And some tape to help keep it in place won't hurt either.
  4. Cut small vent holes on the short side of the bottom of the cooler about 2 to 3 inches from the bottom (if the holes are too low, condensed water will leak out) - these holes should have roughly the same total area as the hole for the fan
  5. Fill the cooler with ice bottles (see notes), gelpacks, any large frozen object) or even ice (although ice will melt quickly)
  6. NOTE: the larger the volume of frozen water, the longer it will stay at 32°F (water can be both solid and liquid at this temperature) as the ice melts - so, use the largest possible container (a gallon water jug will stay cold for almost an entire day!)
  7. Put the cover on, add a little weight to hold it in place (the air pressure from the fan will lift it up)
  8. Turn the power on, and enjoy the cool air
Notes:
  • because the fans are tolerant of a range of voltages, this system can be used with a car's electrical supply or a 6 volt lantern battery with little loss of performance
  • to make this system portable, connect the fan to a cigarette lighter plug, and wire a cigarette lighter outlet to the power supply - then you can use the unit in the car
  • if you can, store the containers with the tops off to allow for the expansion of water when it freezes;
  • clear ice is pure ice - the cloudiness is from the impurities which are frozen in suspension, and will escape as gas upon thaw, so the water in the container is actually very pure after one or more freeze cycles


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Last update: Wed Feb 25 01:52:51 EST 2015