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Should I bring the nest box inside?

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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Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby kotapony » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:47 am


Thursday 2-13-20:
Carrot had her first litter this morning. Doing ok I think - she made a nest, pulled some fur, and had her kits properly in the nest. I was concerned she didn’t pull enough fur, so I put a handful of dryer lint on top of them.

Perhaps I am fussing too much, but the temp is dropping today - it was 57 this morning and is down to 36 with a low of 26. It’s supposed to be even colder tomorrow with a low of 19.

The bunnies are outside but within the tie-stall dairy barn. So they are out of drafts, and we try to keep it about 35 in there. Sometimes it will get just below freezing on the end where the bunnies are.

I’m wondering if I ought to keep the nest box in the house for the next week or so till the kits get bigger? I’ve never tried that, just read about it. Is there much of a risk the doe won’t feed the kits when I bring them back to her? She’s a first time mom but seems to be trying. The kits were born late morning and as of now are still in with her. I haven’t checked them again beyond seeing they’re well covered with lint as I don’t want to disturb her too much. Maybe I’m also worrying needlessly about that?

The kids are old enough to be really excited about the baby bunnies so I’m fussed to no end hoping things go well.

Thanks all!

Friday 2-14-20:
I debated hard but left them with the doe last night. I still see wiggling under the lint this morning. I haven’t dug to check them as I don’t want to break into their warm spot. It’s cold today and tonight yet, but then back up to 42 tomorrow. Unless I see something amiss, I plan to leave them alone till tomorrow when it’s warmer, then I’ll check on them.
~Katie

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:22 pm


for me personally, - I don't bring them in..
sometimes I add bedding [shavings or straw] or more fur -to the nest,
or put a couple layers of cardboard under the bedding.. for extra insulation..
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby kotapony » Fri Feb 14, 2020 6:45 pm


I hadn’t thought of cardboard under the nest - I’ll do that for tonight. Thank you for the idea!

For all that it’s pretty cold outside, there’s not even a skim of ice on the doe’s water crock, so at least it’s above freezing for them. I still see movement under the lint tonight, so still so far so good I think!

The kids and I are quite excited to uncover them a bit when it’s warmer tomorrow and peek at what’s in there.

Our other doe is just sitting in her nest box making a mess of things. I’m not sure how well she’ll do. Though I hope she surprises me, I question a bit if she’s actually even pregnant. But Carrot is the much nicer personality of the two does, so I’m pleased she’s been a good mom. I think Clover will get weeded out fairly quickly if we stick with the bunnies and I can find a replacement for her eventually. Or upgrade to a second buck. The kids adore Peter so he’s not going anywhere. We’ll either have to expand or pick up another doe. Ahhh, big dreams. Time will tell how they’ll pan out I suppose.
~Katie

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:58 am


I put the nest box in with the doe on day 28, helps them understand it is a nest,- not a potty box...
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby Truckinguy » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:45 am


I guess it depends on what the rabbits are used to. My rabbits have been outside for a few years now, one side of the colony open to the elements. At about day 28 I put the nest box out, change the straw bedding and fill the nestbox with straw. The doe messes around with it and when she kindles they usually dig an appropriate nest for the weather and line it with as much fur as needed. I've had litters born in January with -20c or colder temps and I had to put my arm in the nestbox up to my elbow until I reached where the kits are. In the summer I have found new kits actually lying on top of the fur nest and will dig down into it when the temps get cooler at night. I had a litter of three born one frigid January that became a litter of two. The general thought is that two kits are not enough to keep the temperature of the nest warm enough but they did fine.

That being said, I have lost the odd litter to the cold when a careless doe just didn't do a good enough job building a snug enough nest and I have brought a nestbox into the house on occasion. I wouldn't worry about the doe not feeding them when you return the nestbox to her. Their instincts are pretty strong and they usually greet me with enthusiasm when I bring it back. They'll get busy investigating the nest and rearranging things if didn't return it in a condition that meets their satisfaction...lol

I handle the kits right from birth, even picking one out of the nest while others are still being born on occasion to check it out. I don't like to do that as I like to give them their privacy at that time but it doesn't seem to deter them from feeding or taking care of them.

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby kotapony » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:14 am


Well, I had a much longer post I thought I submitted but apparently did not and now it’s gone. Oops.

Thank you to those who responded. I’m driving my husband nuts with my fussing over this litter. But so far so good, and now that they’ve made it a few days and it’s warmed up I can start to relax.

We checked the nest yesterday. I counted 5, and they look good!

Image
~Katie

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby hotzcatz » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:44 pm


Very fat and well fed babies! The doe is doing a good job!
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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby kotapony » Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:22 am


Thanks hotzcatz! The kits are still doing very well - I’ll have to get another picture of them.

Clover never did kindle, so she’s been rebred. She seemed a bit more cooperative this time, so hopefully we’ll get another round of kits from her in a few weeks. :)

-- Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:22 am --

Just to bring some closure to this thread, here are the babies now at 5 weeks old.

Image


And Clover has done well with her second chance. She had 5 kits yesterday, born in the nest box in a beautiful, fur filled nest.
~Katie

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby hotzcatz » Mon Mar 23, 2020 2:56 am


Lovely looking litter and she raised them all! She started with five and still has five, good job! Are those blues or lilacs? It almost looks like one of each?
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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby kotapony » Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:25 pm


Thanks hotzcatz. :) I’ve been very pleased with her for a first time mom.

This is what the breeder said on color when I got them:

You’d definitely get blacks, blues, broken blacks, and broken blues, and you could potentially get chocolate, broken chocolate, lilac, and broken lilac (any of the babies have a 50/50 chance of carrying the chocolate gene, and all of them carry the gene for blue).


I don’t honestly know the difference between lilac and blue or how to tell.
~Katie

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Re: Should I bring the nest box inside?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby hotzcatz » Wed Mar 25, 2020 9:14 pm


Lilac and blue are very close, but lilac is a dilute chocolate so it's sort of a 'warm' blue color. Blue, of course, is a light 'cold' gray instead of black.

Image

The little one on top of the picture is a lilac, he's more of a warm dove gray color. The one at the bottom of the picture is a blue, he's more of a lighter version of black. Same shade, just lighter.
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