First Hard Frost

We’ve had a few frosts so far this fall, but this is the first one I would classify as a hard frost. The type that turns the few remaining green leaves black and makes them curl up and die. Normally we have a hard frost around Halloween, but this is the second year running that we have not. I had to scrape the inside of the car window this morning, not just the outside. After I got back from dropping my daughter off at school I went out to check on the animals. All the outdoor waters were frozen over, so I put the heel of my boot through them to break the ice and allow the chickens access to water.

We put a red heat light in with the chickens a couple nights ago. They’d had one just for light for a few weeks, but we switched as the weather began to get icy. So the water in the coop was just fine. The chickens were indignant that the ground was frozen and they couldn’t scratch. I got them to follow me over to the compost heap where the residual heat made it the perfect place for them to contentedly scratch.

Then I went into the rabbit shed. I was afraid all the water would be frozen, but it wasn’t. I bring water out in 1 gallon jugs and use a funnel to fill water bottles as it is easier than messing with the hose and getting all wet. Generally I have a couple jugs sitting on the shelf while a couple are run back to the house for the next trip out. The jugs weren’t frozen either. They were very cold but not frozen. But they could freeze any day now and I did not have enough replacement bottles for when that happens, so I ran down to the feed store and bought 6 more of the plastic, weather resistant tough bottles. I have enough to trade out every cage if need be.

While I was there I also picked up another feed cup like the one in the photo above with the rabbit kit sitting on it. Because of the urine guards the regular feeders are up a bit higher, which makes it hard for the kits to get to it. So now that they are all big enough to not squeeze through the wire, I have taken the urine guard off one side and installed a feed cup on the side. I had put one in for Sweetie Belle’s litter of nine and now I can put one in for Piper’s litter of six. I was waiting for Colossus to get big enough. With the new feed cup installed, I can also take away the nesting box. Colossus was using it to jump up to the feeder. Now he’ll have an easier time of it. Hopefully I won’t have to buy any more rabbit paraphernalia for a while.

I bought a bale of straw while I was there, too. The husband can take it out of the van tomorrow. We go through straw a lot slower as it is strictly a nesting box thing, be it rabbits or chickens. So one bale should last a good while.

2 thoughts on “First Hard Frost

  1. Will you need to augment heat for the rabbits over the winter as you do with the chickens, or are the fine as long as the wind and drafts are off of them?

    • LuckyRobin says:

      It depends on how cold it gets. Generally rabbits do very well with cold except the first week of life when they need to be snuggled together and covered up in the nesting box or they will die. The biggest issue is usually frozen water. They’ll get an extra ration of pellets and more hay when it’s cold to help them sustain their body heat. If it drops down to around 10 degrees and stays there, than we’d have to put a ceramic heater out there, the type that if it falls over it shuts off. It would only need to keep it to 40 degrees or so.

      Heat is the big worry with rabbits. They can’t take the heat well. You have to start watching them at 75 and put fans on them at 80 or higher or get them into a cooler location. We would put them in tractors under the shade trees during the worst of the summer.

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