Nesting Early?

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Jun 1, 2024
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Both of my does started running around with mouthfuls of hay yesterday morning, collecting it and trying to "dig" in the corners of their cages. It all looks like fairly normal nesting behavior from what I've read and they should be pregnant but Nutmeg still has a good 10 days until her due date Cinnamon has about two weeks. It seemed very early but I put in their nest boxes just in case. I'm not really worried, more curious if anyone has had similar things happen. Are early births something to be worried about or are they just very eager?
Most of the time a doe starts nesting 2 weeks early it is usually a false pregnancy, meaning the breeding didn't take. When this has happened at my barn I try scratching towards the front of her hips, just behind the ribs, if she "presents" then I know I need to try the breeding again. If that doesn't work I will then try to palpate and see if I can feel and grape shaped things in her belly. Now I have had does that build nests a week early and had successful litters as well. Though most of my does will literally wait till the start of labor to begin building their nests.
Hm, interesting. I have tried palpating one of them with no clear results and the other will absolutely not let me. I don't have any real experience palpating so not finding anything isn't completely reliable. Seems like neither of them have really made actual nests from the look of things and have been ignoring the hay this evening. I'll try the scratching and see if that shows anything. I wouldn't be 100% surprised if they did have false pregnancies since my buck is a first timer (though he's very eager.) Both of these does were bred the day I bought them but neither took. They didn't even attempt to nest that time, just used the boxes as toilets.
A good way to practice palpating is to get some green grapes and make some spaghetti noodles, you can use sauce or just some water till it is slippery inside a ziplock bag. Then once everything is in the ziplock with excess air removed, close your eyes and try to feel the grapes. once you can feel and count the grapes easily you can practice with your does. Though I would also palpate the buck first so you know what an empty belly feels like. Does should be 12-14 days since breeding before palpating.
One of my does always goes full mustache mode about 2 weeks into her pregnancy and continues to do so right up until she kindles. I don't give her a nestbox until 3 days before kindling despite what her hormones are telling her, and I reduce her hay (because she just wastes it). She's given me successful litters of 6-7 happy lil bunnies each time. My other does don't start mustaching til about a week before kindling, and only every so often. They are individuals with individual quirks sometimes :)
Thank you all for the info. Seems like Nutmeg only wanted to mess with the hay for a couple of hours that first day and then went back to normal. Cinnamon on the other hand has been doing a little bit each day. I tried the scratching trick and got nothing from either of them, aside from Cinnamon just generally being pleased because she loves to be pet. Nothing conclusive from palpating her either and Nutmeg is a little spicy to say the least so I didn't manage to actually palpate her before she got ticked off. Unfortunately didn't find out she wasn't handled much until after I got her home and she's a bit of a beast if I have to take her out of the cage. I think I will take the nest boxes back out until we're closer to their due dates and just keep a close eye.

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