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Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Addressing the special needs of the breeding doe and her kits. Includes nutrition, gestation, nest boxes and materials, and tips to ensure survival of the young.
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Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Princess3849 » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:39 am


Hi all, I'm a new breeder that just stumbled into it really lol. My rabbit Coco had a litter a week and a half ago and unfortunately all of them died after 2 days, 6 kits total. I have 4 rabbits Coco, Starsky, Copper, and The Fluff, aka Big Mama, and thought it would be a good idea to have them all play in the backyard since they are indoor rabbits. Well a month later I awoke to a bittersweet surprise, a kit that was cold, the next morning 5 squirming kits. Mind you there was no sign of her being pregnant, other than some moodiness. After that I realized I wanted to become a breeder. So here I am.....

Well on 12/6 I put my 2 lionheads together, Fluff and Starsky, for mating. At first I thought nothing happened becasue Fluff kept grunting and running away from Starsky. Then 3 days later me and my fiance started hearing a lot of scratching and movement, we looked inside and there was a nest! I then gave her more hay since she used it all for the nest and now there's a HUGE nest. She has even pulled fur! Mind you I know rabbits sometimes bulid nest early but I have looked everywhere and never found anything on a rabbit building a nest this early.

Btw, this is Starsky and Coco, they're like brother and sister. For some reason I can't add The Fluff and her nest :(
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#2  Unread postby shazza » Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:24 pm


usually if they start building a nest before (i think?) 22 days of pregnancy it means it's a false pregnancy - more than likely she will forget the nest exists or smash it down in a couple days once her hormones level off. you can try rebreeding her after that - sometimes they are very receptive after a false prengancy.
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#3  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:18 pm


Did they have any access, even through wire, before you tried breeding them intentionally? It sounds like she might have already been pregnant... It only takes seconds for them to successfully mate if they are both in the mood for it. Even a brief encounter would be enough. Other people have had instances where they were determined enough to make it happen even through wire cage dividers. The grunting when you put them together would make sense then...
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:25 pm


I'd expect to see kits. Rabbits can be quite sneaky about mating.

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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Princess3849 » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:04 pm


Thanks for the replys! And no, I've been really good at keeping them separated, they live in different cages across the room from one another. She's the only one that's never been alone with the boys and one is too high for her to get to and the other is in the next room. It just wouldn't be possible. I thought about it being a false pregnancy but a week later and she's still a grouch lol. I guess time will tell.....

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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#6  Unread postby AnnClaire » Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:16 am


I had a doe that would begin building her nest within a week of breeding. Of course, she would tear it apart and rebuild it several times ... wasting hay, but I can't help myself and keep supplying her fresh hay LOL
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Princess3849 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:41 pm


AnnClaire wrote:I had a doe that would begin building her nest within a week of breeding. Of course, she would tear it apart and rebuild it several times ... wasting hay, but I can't help myself and keep supplying her fresh hay LOL


Same here, and boy is she moody as ever. I thought she passed out or was dead so I went to pick her up and see what the problem was. I think if she could speak human a sailor would have came out of her mouth LOL. A few hours later and she acted like nothing happened, wanting her usual petting. Do I have to deal with 3 more weeks of this?

-- Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:40 pm --

So....You guys were right. Today I was checking to see if Fluff still had her nest when low and behold I see something wiggling around! She must of had them days ago because they have fuzz on them. I just can't believe I didn't hear them.

Well here's the pictures. The first is of course Mama Fluff, and if anyone could tell me how old the kits are that would be great!
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#8  Unread postby ladysown » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:23 pm


those look newborn or maybe a day old. :) Woot woot!!! healthy litter :)
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Princess3849 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:27 am


Everyone is still doing well but I had to force mama on her back 2x to feed the runt. She, I think, was content and fell asleep on mama but her belly wasn't as big as the rest and she kept moving around going from nipple to nipple. She seems to be doing okay though, just as active as all the other ones. I've given Mama oats since Monday to increase milk production but any other advise would be great!

-- Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:27 am --

Here is more of a closeup of the runt, she was cuddling with my hand :D .
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#10  Unread postby AnnClaire » Wed Dec 21, 2016 5:26 am


It looks like you actually have 2 that I would consider to be at risk ... and 2 piglets that are out-competing all the rest.

If you trance the doe before you flip her she will be more willing to let her milk down. To trance the doe, stroke your finger from the nose up over the top of the head. You will see the does eyes sort of unfocused and she can then be gently rolled onto her back.

The first times the doe may resist letting her milk down. It is hard to tell if the baby is getting any milk as they normally nurse on a teat, then they switch to another teat in a merry-go-round style. This is done so that each kit ends up under the does head where the doe will do a bit of grooming of the baby's genitalia.

Personally, I would hold the 2 piglets out of the nest box for one feeding to give all the others a chance at a full meal. This won't harm them and will help the others.

I have had runts that only needed a couple of extra feedings before they got in there and competed successfully with the average sized littermates, other times, the runts had something wrong internally and nothing I did made any difference.

Good luck to you and the runts!
cheers - AnnClaire

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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Princess3849 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:07 am


Yes, one is back on track with the rest and the other is still left behind. I actually was thinking of leaving the 2 with mama for some hours in hope they plump up like the two other porkies lol. Thanks for the advise!

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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#12  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:46 am


And sometimes they just have failure to thrive for unknown reasons :( Hopefully they can pull through though!
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Princess3849 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:08 am


Well after I put the runt in the carrier with mom for 3hrs and still no big belly, I was doubtful she would thrive but low and behold I just checked her and she finally has a BIG FAT BELLY!!!!! This is the first time she has had one so maybe mom is producing enough milk now or she has finally pushed her engorged siblings aside and took her fill but either way I'm elated!!

-- Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:08 am --

So the verdict is in......5 does and 1 buck! WOOHOO!!!

Here they are on day 5 (approximately). The buck is the one in the back with 2 black eyes lol, I guess he got mouthy with the girls and they told him who runs this litter :D !! They are all doing great! The runt even bit me yesterday LOL! She's still a lot smaller than the rest and needs one-on-one with mama everyday but I think she will be fine. Comment if you want more pics!
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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#14  Unread postby Nymphadora » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:01 am


Any guesses on color yet? :mrgreen:

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Re: Doe building nest 4 weeks before due date

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Princess3849 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 11:12 am


Well this is my first successful litter so I have no idea lol. Mom is a lionhead mix while dad is a mini rex. I am curious to see if any of them will get a mane though. Can anyone help with this?
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