This post is for those looking to keep meat rabbits in hot climates. We currently have 11 rabbits outdoors in the deep southern heat.
It's no secret domesticated rabbits do poorly in heat. Males become sterile, they can even die from a heat stroke. Rabbits can handle about 55 to 70 degrees (12 C to 21 C) and will withstand temperatures up to about 85 degrees (30 C). However, ours handle 95+ (35 C) daily.
Here's how we do it.
The first thing you should do is find rabbits who were bred to withstand heat. Find a breeder near your place. It can be a few hours away as long as the temperature is similar. Make sure they were raised and bred to be outdoor rabbits. An outdoor breeder will allow the rabbits who can't handle the heat to either die/rehome. Ask if the rabbits you are buying have been born and raised in the local heat. You're not gonna want something that has a lot of hair for obvious reasons.
New Zeland (what we have)
Rabbits can only lose heat through their ears. Check out desert rabbits, most have those long boys. You can tell when a rabbit was born from their ear length. Summer babies have long ears, while winter babies will have shorter ears. When you pick out your rabbits, choose the ones with large ears. Ask for them specifically.
When I was little I caught wild lizards, put them in a plastic box, left them in the sun to "sunbathe" and didn't know what convection was. Baked lizard al la carte. Rip poor lizard souls.
This should be obvious. Don't keep them in the sun. Put them under a tree or anywhere they're going to be shaded 24/7 in the summer.
4.) Ice Bottles
On days when there's nothing but a screen door between here and hell, we bring the rabbits iced water bottles. Not for drinking. They'll lay against them or lap up the cold condensation. Careful though, pick thick bottles or they'll chew through them every time. Poweraid bottles work the best for some reason.
You can also put ice in their water as well. The rabbits love ice water.
5.) Ceramic Tiles
An easy method of providing cool areas for them to rest is to keep 2 tiles per rabbit inside somewhere air-conditioned. Exchange them out for cool places to lay down. This only works if you have stone tiles that will pull heat.
Rabbits would normally be burrowed underground during the peak hours of hot days. The Italians have created a system that uses underground "burrows" to keep rabbits cool. Many people use Tupperware storage containers semi-buried to allow the rabbits to self cool.
7.) Natural Selection
If you have done as much as you can to cool them, you've got to let them endure the heat. Do not neglect or purposely harm the animals. If you haven't selected the right kind of rabbit or done what you can to cool them it's not natural selection. But if you have, you need to let environmental pressures impact the animals.
Coddling them will make weak offspring. They won't evolve to endure the heat. The strong will learn to deal and the weak will either die or should be rehomed.
Most importantly, ask yourself: Do we even have rabbits in my area?
If there are no rabbits naturally inhabiting your region, it's probably due to unsuitable conditions.
Whatever you do, do it humanely.