How to insulate the outdoors?

Discussion in 'Housing and Environment' started by Catlyn, Nov 22, 2019.

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  1. Nov 22, 2019 #1

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

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    Maybe i've mentioned it before, but my bun, due to crampedness indoors, is forced to live "outside," in a shed. His cage is in its most windless corner and most of the wind has been blocked when we added strong plastic on the open walls. The door is covered with a blanket. We have also put a fat blanket on his cage, but it's become moist, i guess? Not really warm anymore, and we have no place to dry it either. The shed has no electricity, heat source or anything like that.
    I do come in with warm water every morning and evening, even when he has normal water all the time, but his ear(tip)s are still very cold. He doesn't get the "burrow into hay" thing either, in fact, it could clog up his toiletry area. Our pet stores don't sell heating pads(wonder why they have cooling pads then) and he's chewed many holes into bottles with warm water. He's eaten fabrkc covering them, too.

    Now i'm at a loss of what to do. Currently it's -3°C but when true winter comes, it can drop to -18°C and can get as cold as -25°C
    They used to go up to negative 30 but y'know-global warming!

    I reckon that now is already a little too late to bring him in for winter, should've thought about it when it was warmer than 5°C
    Note that our average room temperature is too hot- 22-26°C

    Any tips?
     
  2. Nov 22, 2019 #2

    JLil

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    We insulated the walls and ceiling of our hutch by fitting it with silver bubble insulation (it comes in a roll) and then putting plywood over it so the rabbits can't get to it. So their walls and ceiling have two layers of plywood with insulation between (the outer wall, insulation, then inner plywood). To cover the entrance of between the cage area and sleeping area we built a little wooden tunnel that goes off to the side. It blocks wind and keeps snow from blowing directly into the sleeping area. Inside the sleeping area I put eight or nine inches of straw and then fill the rest of the area just about to the ceiling with hay. They burrow down into it if I give them at least a foot of stuff to borrow into. If it is less they won't do it. It actually has to be 20F or lower before they even feel the need to burrow. As a last little bit of insurance we purchased some microwave heating discs from Amazon. They look like thick plates and we microwave them for 3 minutes or so and they will give off heat for something like 8-10 hours depending on the size of the disc. We have built little holders for them in the sleeping area that keep the bunnies from chewing them. The discs help keep the temp in the box above freezing and that's all you really need.
    Most rabbits can deal with cold rather well, unless they are some kind of pocket, smaller breed that needs to be indoors. If it's a rabbit-sized rabbit and not a Guinea pig sized rabbit there is enough body mass to do fine in cold as long as there is wind protection, a dry and clean box, and lots and lots of clean, dry bedding. Hay is best, but like I said I do a thick layer of straw on the bottom. It absorbs urine very well and keeps my bunnies super dry and warm. We have a little thermometer out there that is digital and connects to our weather station inside and even though their hutch sits out in the open in behind the house it never drops under freezing inside.

    If you can't insulate the walls from the inside like we did you can wrap the hutch in bubble wrap on the outside and then put blankets or tarps over it if necessary. Rolls of silver wrap are easy to staple onto wooden hutches.

    I suppose I should edit to mention that if he doesn't have a wooden box to go into, only a cage, that there is only so much you can do. I was running with the assumption option that he does have a solid sleeping box area but if not, I wanted to mention that cages are OK for indoors but inadequate for outdoors if winter hits like you are saying it does. He will need a wind break and a place where his body heat can build up around him and keep him warm. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
  3. Nov 22, 2019 #3

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

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    No no no, i'm sorry but was it unclear that it is not a hutch that we have, but a cage in a shed where firewood is stored? I can't wrap it with plywood and bubble wrap, it'd look very silly and be extremely expensive. Amazon doesn't deliver most stuff to estonia (without 300€ shipping fee, that is) and so we have no talk about microdiscs here. If it helps, i'll add a pic of the inside of his enclosure.
    And yes, it's true he's no lap rabbit, a 55 cm bun is not small at all(he's a giant french lop)

    Wind won't get him, but there's a chance that the negative degrees will, so i was just worried beforehand. I would like to get him a sleeping box, but unfortunately, there's just not enough space for that right now. We've moved into smaller space, that's why.
    I know his cage is too small, roughly 17*12 grids of 2inches sidewise(squares)(5cm) and 12 grids high, of which his litterbox area takes a gap of 15*4 grid spaces.
    He has a run space about four times his cage, though, so maybe, if he gains access to it 24/7 we will turn his cage into a sleeping-and-eating box, leaving the rest a free space for his needs.
     
  4. Nov 22, 2019 #4

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

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    It's just for reference, hope you can help a bit better now..
    Sorry! 15744472686195592539832911859383.jpg
    Just a note-that black box is gonna be his new litter box.
     
  5. Nov 22, 2019 #5

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

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    doesn´t anyone have any other tips i could try out to stop him from freezing?
     
  6. Nov 23, 2019 #6

    JLil

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    No, I think it was clear but my brain just didn't register that it was a cage, wire only. Lots of folks here will say they have a 'cage' but it means a hutch thing with a box and cage connected. And I see the picture, I see what you mean and I have to say I am truly sorry because I don't really have any suggestions other than what I already said. In my experience a cage by itself just isn't adequate for keeping a bun warm. If you can't stuff a box with bedding hay, or use wood or any kind of insulating wrap to build up the sides I honestly am out of ideas. I sincerely hope someone else can help.
     
  7. Nov 23, 2019 #7

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

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    Thank you, i really appreciate it. I will talk to my dad to see if we can get at least floor cardboard, that strong and sturdy one much like what he has in the bottom of his cage, to cover the sides. If we can do that, pheraps, some other insulating material can be added on top of it?

    I was fully aware that when we moved for colder seasons, he was gonna be cold just in his cage, so i tried to get him to live inside with us for winter seasons, until it was warm enough outside without freezing. My parents didn't care about it at all (dad was thinking about it but dropped the subject and now is too late for safe transferral) and discarded the fact that his ears were getting cold. I'll see what brainwashing i can give my dad, because i really don't want my bun to suffer because of my parents not caring enough.
     
  8. Nov 23, 2019 #8

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

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    It's about 24 farenheit outside, but it will gradually drop to 0 or -4 F when the coldest times come.
    But as you've seen the picture of his setup, do you have any ideas on how i could fit a burrowing box in there? It's only roughly about 5.5 sq m area and when our bun is about 22 inch tall(nose to bum) then there's really not much room for him but we're at a loss on how to extend the cage area. Nothing besides the essentials fit in there.

    When it was summer, we tried placing a hidey-arch in there. It got kicked out immedeately several times.
     
  9. Nov 23, 2019 #9

    majorv

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    When it got really cold outside we gave our rabbits a nestbox filled with hay. They would snuggle in that. Hay and straw are good insulators.
     
  10. Nov 24, 2019 #10

    Catlyn

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    Okay, i'm not sure if it was the best idea or not, but we brought him in from the midnight(i was sleepless and depressed) six hours ago. And he seems to be fine.
    He is not panting, has no overly hot ears, seems to have drunk and eaten and used the toilet as well.
    Nothing to worry about then, right?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
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  11. Nov 24, 2019 #11

    Butterscotch

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    Can you offer him a refrigerated floor tile or a frozen bottle of water to lay next to if he feels hot? Or an oscillating fan that he can choose to lay in front of? Just to monitor how he chooses to try to regulate his temp.
     
  12. Nov 26, 2019 #12

    Catlyn

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    he will chew through absolutely every plastic bottle, labeled or not, that i give him. we don´t have any fans lying around, nor floor tiles, our building shops(or whatever they are called) don´t sell tiles small enough to fit his cage. He has a ´dog´ cooling mat that he decides to often lay on, sprawl out into a sausage, and lick his feet. sometimes he´s so dumb he doesn´t quite understand it´s there, but he feels it. he´s not chewing it at all, so no worries.
    although i´m STILL worried about my mom who will feed him any crap from potato chips, dried banana, oat flakes and beet peels, to overloading amounts of pellets and carrots. she´s home all day round and i have school, so i can´t really monitor what she gives him. and she´s so stubborn she won´t listen....
     
  13. Nov 28, 2019 #13

    Marcella-Jaine

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    Thank you for bringing him inside!!! I hope he is allowed to run around? That cage is too small for him. He’s a beautiful bunny.
     
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  14. Nov 29, 2019 #14

    Catlyn

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    No problem! After all that nagging of jndoors beneficialness, the only conditions of him being in were that : ♡he stay in his cage for first few days near my bed ♡ i will cleanup all his pees and poops
    ♡ dad sleeps when he is brought up (accidental beneficial condition, but hey, it still counts) ♡me rambling of need of my bun ♡ me being depressed at midnight ♡mom feeling guilty of my state

    So yeah, he's now in with us. He still stays in his cage most of the time when i'm not around (gets to run when mom supervises him during daytime, have no idea how often it is) but he "free-roams" our living room. He hasn't gone anywhere else yet, apart from accidentally wandering in the kitchen and snagging a potato(still getting used to the apartmert or something?)
    But he really loves the "tunnel network" underneath his cage ( cage on litterbox and stool leave a gap in the middle for him to crawl in)and my overhanging bedside. We have half a room uncarpeted so he could cool himself, also clean easier.
    He also somewhy LOVES my bed and will go bonkers on the slippy cool floor if he can't jump to my bed. WHY IS THAT? He also licks everything in his way when i scratch his bum.
    He gives me cuddles but no kisses. What do you have to do to get those?
    Would it be a good idea to teach him a simple command or two?(turn around, stand up)
    I'm pretty sure giving black bread is a no-no, but if he just took a weeny bite, it should be okay, right? What about warmed frozen peas or pomegranade? Why does he chew wood, boredom or hunger?

    Sorry for spamming questions, just curious like he is.
     
  15. Nov 29, 2019 #15

    Catlyn

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    Hey? Is everyone asleep with their buns?
     
  16. Nov 30, 2019 #16

    Tam O Ham

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    hey there! I may not be able to answer all your questions but I can try a few. First off my bun loves the bed too and will bounce all over it first thing in the morning. I suspect its a mix of the fact it smells like me (so bun feels safe there) and also that when she bounces it gives her a bit of a 'bounce boost', kind of like a kid playing on a trampoline. She also likes to dig in the blankets and the pillows, a good safe way for her to indulge in 'burrowing' behavior that doesn't damage anything. As for the licking - I have the same situation with Fizz. She hardly ever licks me but she'll lick the pillow or the rug or the side of the fan. I read somewhere that bunny 'kisses' are what the 'not the boss' bunny gives the 'boss' bunny. Not sure if its true or not but if it is, my bunny obviously thinks she's the one in charge in our relationship - which isn't wrong of her lol. I don't know if there's any way to make a bunny give kisses. The best I've managed is I"ve taught Fizz that if I stop scratching her face and she licks my nose I'll start scratching her again. Otherwise, its no bunny kisses. Rabbits are very smart and I've seen people that have taught their bunnies all kinds of tricks. Teaching your bunny tricks sounds like it would be really mentally stimulating and also a good way to bond even more with them. Speaking of - bunnies DO need stimulation or they get bored. And chewing on things because they're bored is certainly something they do. That said, every rabbit is going to chew things to a certain extent. They need to do that in order to keep their jaw muscles strong and their teeth filed down (rabbit teeth never stop growing and if they don't keep them naturally filed down with chewing and eating hay and such it can get pretty dangerous). Getting chew toys that are rabbits safe (Fizz loves her willow ball) is a good idea and hopefully a way to keep your bun from chewing on things you don't want them to chew on. But its no guarantee. Rabbit - proofing your room is a must. So make sure all the electric wires are out of bunny reach as well as anything precious you don't want to risk. I've lost several laptop cords to a determined bun before. And lastly, bunnies do have delicate stomachs and you don't want to upset them. A snatched bite of bread isn't the end of the world and I"m sure your bun loved it but its good not to get him used to it or make a habit of it. There are plenty of online sites that list what's good for a bunny to eat and what isn't. Most fruits and vegetables are safe and a tasty treat for them, you just want to make sure you don't give them too much of a new thing and also you don't want to let them have too much sugar. Lastly, buns tend to be less destructive after they've been fixed and they don't have raging hormones anymore. I hope some of that's helpful and congrats on getting your bun inside!
     
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  17. Nov 30, 2019 #17

    Catlyn

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    Yes, it's really helpful. I had been thinking of getting him fixed so that he wouldn't leave random poops in his own house out of the toilet, and to reduce the risk of him randomly peeing in our soft furniture when i just want to let him roam around kind of unsupervised without having to worry about throwing everything out so he wouldn't relieve himself in wrong places.
    Mom doesn't think that we need to do that, as she's misinformed about neutering.
    It's not really absolutely expensive 40-60€/44-66$ , but i'm a bit skeptical about our vet, who, until he saw our bun, hadn't seen such a big rabbit before and tried to get a pic of him.
    He will stay a lone bun probably until his middle age, if not longer, so yeah.
     
  18. Nov 30, 2019 #18

    Catlyn

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    Just a little side note-my bun is calm, big, and loves sprawling out on the floor, leaving poops in his house, jumping on my bed and tossing hay everywhere. He makes no fuss about harnesses ( we don't do that anymore) vacuum cleaning or smoke detector beeping, calmly allows you to touch his tail or ears, sometimes even front paws. Hates when you hold him wrong. Is resilient to most falls, but not slippery floors. Somehow mildly dislikes my mom. Doesm't spray at all or chew too much, no territorialness, anger ( or humping ), even when he had puberty (except yes, he humped my mom's head once back then, and my blanket yesterday morning)
    He did leave a big puddle on my sister's bed and armchair, though?
    Does any of your rabbits act any way like that?
     
  19. Dec 1, 2019 #19

    Catlyn

    Catlyn

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    Edit-he's acting weird and hormonal today, won't let me hold him, grunts and tries to hump, snack and dig at everything. He was totally fine before, so i wonder if he's gonna be like that all the time before we have a chance to neuter him?
     

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