Ventilation & Cleaning Tips
by Chris Hayhow, DVM
Ventilation is the single most neglected aspect of most rabbitries. Air movement helps remove moisture (especially in the winter), remove gases such as ammonia, remove organisms such as Pasteurella multicida in the air, and remove heat (especially in the summer). The two types of ventilation systems available are natural and mechanical. Natural systems are wind driven, cheap, but we don't have much control over them. Mechanical systems such as fans can be expensive, but we do have some control over them. For any system you choose, remember that warm air rises, and that as air warms up you increase its moisture holding capacity. This is why most buildings have ceiling or ridge vents to let the warmer air escape out the top.
The least glamorous but most important part of any rabbitry is sanitation. Elbow grease and diligence are the key. If you stay ahead of the manure and urine buildup you should not have a big problem. You must have a place to dispose of the waste. This area should be away from the rabbitry so that flies and other pests are not allowed free access back into your rabbitry. A weekly cleaning schedule that not only gets rids of the solid waste, but also involves disinfecting with sunlight or a product such as Clorox will help keep disease problems under control. If you use Clorox, it should be washed off the cages so it will not corrode the wire.
HLRSC Official Guidebook - 5th Edition 2002