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Bunny Nestbox Information
by Pat Vanecek

After you breed your rabbits, you put a nestbox in with the Doe 26 days later. Fill the nestbox with pine shavings (not cedar) and grass hay (coastal or timothy). She will dig in the box and make a hole to have the babies in.  She will line the hole with her own fur that she pulls. Most Does pull fur ahead of time, some pull it right before they have them, some pull right after they have them. Each Doe is different.  Tip: place your nestbox in the cage with the short side to the back-this helps prevent babies from escaping!

Most Does will have the babies on the 31st day after breeding. It can vary from 29-33 days. After she has them, I take out the nestbox and give her a small treat (a piece of apple or slice of banana). I check the nestbox to be sure the babies are all fine. If there are any dead ones, I remove them from the box. I put all the babies in the back of the nestbox and cover them back up with her fur. I put the nestbox back in her cage and the next day, I take it out again. I check and make sure the babies have fat little tummies. Some does will not nurse right away. Give her 48 hours. Rabbits usually only nurse once a day and usually do it between 4 am-6 am.

Then, I leave the nestbox alone for a couple of days (if I see she is nursing them). I take it out again when they are 4 days old and check on them. Dwarfs have what are called peanuts. These are double dwarf babies and usually only survive a few days. They are very small when they are born and not fully formed internally. If you had any peanuts, take the dead ones out of the nestbox.

If you are concerned about the babies getting cold, you can put a lamp above or below the nestbox.  Only use a 75-100 watt bulb.  DO NOT USE A HEAT LAMP!  You can also put an electric nestbox warmer below the nestbox.  When using any of these electrical devices, be careful that the mother can't chew on the cord.

I do not increase a new mom's feed until the babies are about 3 days old. Then I increase slightly. I work up to double her normal ration by the time the babies are a week old.

I try to take the nestbox out when the babies are 18-20 days old. If you leave it in too long, they can pick up bacteria and get diarrhea or eye infections. When the babies start coming out of the nestbox, I give them hay to eat. Usually by 21 days old, they will be eating pellets and drinking out of the water system.

Good luck with your bunnies!  Pat

this page last updated 3/1/06