New colony, but rabbit won't dig

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Zenzilla

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Hi, I need some advice, we completed a large colony pen for our NZWs, but the 5-month old doe chooses to stay in the dog carrier, and shows no interest in digging a burrow for herself. We created entrances in a huge dirt mound, which the buck has immediately taken to with no issues. For context, the doe is not quite herself after losing her sister to a broken back a few days ago. We chose to leave the dog carrier in there for now to reduce her stress levels, and she is eating and drinking water. Suggestions re how to encourage her to start digging? Thank you!
 

Zenzilla

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Thank you all for your tips, much appreciated! Turns out I was prematurely worried as a first time meat rabbit owner. The doe followed the younger buck's cues after the 3rd day, and after following him into a second burrow that he dug, she started trying to dig a tunnel on her own too, on top of the dirt mound. Thanks again!
 

Preitler

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I think you are the first I see who encourages digging burrows, I let mine dig too :). It's great workout, gives them purpose, and it's shelter from heat.
Normally my does start tunnels, a few times the buck joined in, but that's rather rare.

I don't let them raise kits in the tunnels though, they have to use the nestboxes in the hutches. Predators are one concern, and I also need to handle the kits, couldn't sell any half wild. Did relocate nests on occasion. Digging the nests up without dropping anything on it can be a challenge.

Tunnel started at the tip of the shovel, followed about 2m to the chamber, nice fluffy nest there. Relocation to the hutch was no issue, had experiance with that already.
 

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Zenzilla

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I think you are the first I see who encourages digging burrows, I let mine dig too :). It's great workout, gives them purpose, and it's shelter from heat.
Normally my does start tunnels, a few times the buck joined in, but that's rather rare.

I don't let them raise kits in the tunnels though, they have to use the nestboxes in the hutches. Predators are one concern, and I also need to handle the kits, couldn't sell any half wild. Did relocate nests on occasion. Digging the nests up without dropping anything on it can be a challenge.

Tunnel started at the tip of the shovel, followed about 2m to the chamber, nice fluffy nest there. Relocation to the hutch was no issue, had experiance with that already.
Ok Preitler good to know re nest boxes, thank you - your pix are helpful too, much appreciated!
 

deborahrender280

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Hi, I need some advice, we completed a large colony pen for our NZWs, but the 5-month old doe chooses to stay in the dog carrier, and shows no interest in digging a burrow for herself. We created entrances in a huge dirt mound, which the buck has immediately taken to with no issues. For context, the doe is not quite herself after losing her sister to a broken back a few days ago. We chose to leave the dog carrier in there for now to reduce her stress levels, and she is eating and drinking water. Suggestions re how to encourage her to start digging? Thank you!
Do you have a picture of your large colony pen that we could get ideas from? Very interested in that. Thanks for any input on that.
 

Zenzilla

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Do you have a picture of your large colony pen that we could get ideas from? Very interested in that. Thanks for any input on that.
Sure, here's some pix of the exterior, interior, and the dirt mound/burrow inside. We used a metal carport frame and shortened the height by removing the middle leg sections, so that the height at the apex is 6ft. We covered the entire pen in 2x4 cage wire, then lined with chicken wire along the bottom 2ft. The cage wire extends 2ft into the ground, wrapping into the ditch we dug all around the pen for extra security and for the cinderblocks to stabilize the structure, before burying it all back up to ground level with heavy stones and dirt. The roof is also covered in cage wire, topped with cardboard, then the carport canvas cover, secured with cords. The door and front frame were built out of wood and cage wire by my husband. All wire caging is connected to the frame using cut wire. The dirt mound is approx 7ftx6ft and eventually flattened to about 2.5ft tall, with two plastic "arches" at the front and left side buried there as the rabbit burrow "entrances" which entice the rabbits to enter and start digging their own burrows. A wooden bench at the front of the dirt mound serves as both a place for us to sit and for the rabbits to feel safe under. The dirt mound touches the bench at the top so that the rabbits can walk along the top of the dirt mound to the bench top.
 

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