rabbits & frozen water

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My rabbits are housed in the barn which keeps the wind off but does not keep their water from freezing. I tried a tape you use to keep water pipes from freezing around the bottles. This kept the water from totally freezing but, of course, it froze in the drinking tube itself. Any ideas? I have been changing out their water bottles twice a day but hoping there might be an easier way. Thanks!

-- phyllis a. warman (phylliswarman@twcable.com), December 20, 2000


Changing out the water bottles twice a day is probably your best bet unless you want to switch to some sort of expensive solution.

While I'm changing out bottles I just shake my head and remember it was only about four months ago that I was having to change out frozen bottles inside their cages three times each day because of the EXTREME HEAT!

Do you put hay in your rabbits' cages so they can burrow down in the winter? I do although a "fancy" rabbit breeder told me it was unnessary. Since my rabbits are pets and Angoras and I keep them until they die natural deaths, I like to try and keep them as comfortable as possible...they love to play in the hay too.

-- Suzy in Bama (slgt@yahoo.com), December 20, 2000.

I have been raising New Zealands for quite a few years now--I always switch to bowls for water in the winter--the metal kind that clip on the sides of the cages. Worst case scenario: they can lick the ice when they're thirsty--don't leave it that way long term, but it has to be easier than running around several times a day with water bottles. The bowls can be emptied of the ice by hitting them on the bottom, or placing them in a bucket of water. good luck!

-- bren silver (mtndragonrider@yahoo.com), December 20, 2000.

I also switch to crocks in the winter-the heavy ceramic kind. I have an extra set so each morning I take clean crocks out and fill them 1/2 full with hot water(which they really love and learn to wait for) I take the others in to thaw until the next day. In the evening I just add hot water to the crocks, and restart the process the next morning. I also give hay in the winter for them to nest in and they really seem to love it. diane in michigan

-- Diane Green (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com), December 20, 2000.

I swear by rubber bowls. Still sometimes have to change the water twice a day but it is so easy. Turn them over and step on them - out pops the ice. Jeffers sells them. Dog bowl size. For some reason the rabbits don't like to chew on them.

-- Dee (gdgtur@goes.com), December 20, 2000.

What works for me is those plastic unbreakable bowls from the feed store. I take a bleach bottle and cut a circle holder out of it and wire the holder to the cage. Then the bowl just sits in the holder. Take 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket of hot water with you, and then just drop the bowls in the bucket. The ice comes right out, and you won't break them by pounding them. Then just fill the bowl and sit back in the holder. It's too cold here still!

-- Cindy in Ky (solidrockranch@msn.com), December 21, 2000.

We only have one rabbit so I don't know how feasible this would be for you, but we bought a small metal heated bowl that has a metal coil wrapped around the cord (to keep bunny from chewing it). The result is a much happier bunny - even doing the water bottle switch the tube froze so quickly that she was always thirsty. We found the bowl probably at Farm & Fleet. She adapted quickly to the bowl.

-- Jean (schiszik@tbcnet.com), December 21, 2000.

I cut the bottom off 2 liter soda bottles, or use cool whip or margarine tubs. The plastic is flexible enough to get the ice out of easily, if the rabbits chew them, they are easily replaced. I have enough of that sort of thing to exchange them if I don't want to mess around with the ice. Now that it's getting below 0 I keep hay in their cages for them to burrow in and it seems to have cut down on them chewing the plastic.

-- Anne Tower (bbill@wtvl.net), December 21, 2000.

Hi ! Everyone. I raise mostly Netherland Dwarf Rabbits and have about 30 of them. Freezing water dishes is a real problem up here in Nova Scotia but what I do is to keep cleaned cat food cans [ small 8 oz size] and use them for water dishes. I have enough cans that I just take a set of them with me every time I water and bring in the frozen ones and leave a different one. I have about 75 cans that I keep in circulation and the good thing is they are not an additional cost to me.

-- Gary (ggiles@north.nsis.com), December 22, 2000.

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