Doe won’t nurse when we pulled nest box

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Hello there! We’re new to this process, so any advice would be appreciated. Our doe is a first time mom and her kits are pretty lively. They started to open their eyes at 8 & 9 days old and a few started climbing out of the nest box at 11 days old. By 13 days all were getting in and out with the assistance of a step. This morning (15 days old) we woke up and all were asleep huddled together outside of the nest box. I figured it was time to pull the nest box. They were causing a huge ruckus this evening chasing their poor dam around. She refused to nurse them and they got more and more rambunctious. I watched for a while and finally put the nest box back in and our doe hopped right in and started nursing the few that hopped in there. We popped the stragglers in the nest box, so they would all get fed. Did we pull the nest box too soon? Is it possible that the dam is confused about where to nurse without the nest box? How much longer can I leave the nest box in? Any advice is greatly appreciated !
 

MaggieJ

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Hi Sarah, and welcome to RabbitTalk.

It sounds like your doe is confused and also, perhaps, agitated by the kits' constant demands to be fed. While the kits are in the nest box, mom is in control of when and how long she nurses them. Once they are out and chasing her around, it can be pretty demanding. I highly recommend putting in a shelf or wooden box -- something she can get onto to get away from them some of the time. Make sure it is anchored to the cage wall if it is something that could tip over onto the kits.

Things will improve once the kits start on solid foods. They are not too young to have grass hay and a bit of old-fashioned large-flake oatmeal (dry, not cooked) and also access to mom's food and water. Since she is stressed, she may wean them between three and four weeks so it's good for them to have already started on adult food.

Good luck with them!
 
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Hi Sarah, and welcome to RabbitTalk.

It sounds like your doe is confused and also, perhaps, agitated by the kits' constant demands to be fed. While the kits are in the nest box, mom is in control of when and how long she nurses them. Once they are out and chasing her around, it can be pretty demanding. I highly recommend putting in a shelf or wooden box -- something she can get onto to get away from them some of the time. Make sure it is anchored to the cage wall if it is something that could tip over onto the kits.

Things will improve once the kits start on solid foods. They are not too young to have grass hay and a bit of old-fashioned large-flake oatmeal (dry, not cooked) and also access to mom's food and water. Since she is stressed, she may wean them between three and four weeks so it's good for them to have already started on adult food.

Good luck with them!
Hi MaggieJ,
Thanks for the advice. She does have a shelf in the cage for that purpose but prefers to lounge on the floor of the cage. I will put in some grass hay and oats out as you suggested as they are already starting to nibble at her feed. Hopefully this will help them to be less demanding! Thanks so much!
S
 

SoftPawsRabbitry

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Hello there! We’re new to this process, so any advice would be appreciated. Our doe is a first time mom and her kits are pretty lively. They started to open their eyes at 8 & 9 days old and a few started climbing out of the nest box at 11 days old. By 13 days all were getting in and out with the assistance of a step. This morning (15 days old) we woke up and all were asleep huddled together outside of the nest box. I figured it was time to pull the nest box. They were causing a huge ruckus this evening chasing their poor dam around. She refused to nurse them and they got more and more rambunctious. I watched for a while and finally put the nest box back in and our doe hopped right in and started nursing the few that hopped in there. We popped the stragglers in the nest box, so they would all get fed. Did we pull the nest box too soon? Is it possible that the dam is confused about where to nurse without the nest box? How much longer can I leave the nest box in? Any advice is greatly appreciated !
My bunnies do that as well, i believe its a process of weaning, they usually will feed early morning and late night, the kits chase her around constantly trying to get milk, and she will hop away, i have 4 week old babies that are doing just fine after similar! I would say dont worry unless their bellies start looking concave, but the mom should settle down within a few days and she will still feed them!

If you're really worried, or ever trying to get a baby extra milk, you can distract her with feed and petting her, put the baby by her so it can wiggle under and eat while she does!

Hope that helps <3
 

golden rabbitry

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If they don't look fed then worry. The doe will constantly be bothered by a herd of crazy babies if she doesn't chase them off. She'll feed them when she finds fit. If she is running or kicking, she's probably empty. All my does are like that for the first few days since the kits are so over exited to be able to eat constantly and can even over eat so just watch their weight and you should be good
 
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My bunnies do that as well, i believe its a process of weaning, they usually will feed early morning and late night, the kits chase her around constantly trying to get milk, and she will hop away, i have 4 week old babies that are doing just fine after similar! I would say dont worry unless their bellies start looking concave, but the mom should settle down within a few days and she will still feed them!

If you're really worried, or ever trying to get a baby extra milk, you can distract her with feed and petting her, put the baby by her so it can wiggle under and eat while she does!

Hope that helps <3
It helps to know that other rabbits are doing the same thing. They definitely don’t seen like they are lacking. Hard to tell about their bellies, they have a lot of fur there now. I will try to take a closer look tomorrow. They are starting to eat mom’s pellets, dry oats and alfalfa and timothy hay so perhaps as you say she’ll wean early. We tried distracting her with feed / petting but as soon as a kit tries to latch on she jumps away. Some of them are pretty persistent though and have even learned to jump onto the shelf we made for her to have space away from her. 🤦🏻‍♀️ We’ll see how the next few days go. Thanks for the advice!
 
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Super helpful thread! I have two does that seem to take different approaches to nursing. One doe will let her babies nurse anywhere and one started kicking her babies off as soon as they were hopping around at three weeks and would no longer stay in the nest. I have a colony set up, so sometimes the second does babies will try to suckle the other mom and she will kick them off too. Unless she is eating and then they get lucky. They will also try to suckle the buck, which I think is adorable as he is very patient with them.
 

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Super helpful thread! I have two does that seem to take different approaches to nursing. One doe will let her babies nurse anywhere and one started kicking her babies off as soon as they were hopping around at three weeks and would no longer stay in the nest. I have a colony set up, so sometimes the second does babies will try to suckle the other mom and she will kick them off too. Unless she is eating and then they get lucky. They will also try to suckle the buck, which I think is adorable as he is very patient with them.
That is very funny lol.
 
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