Nesting box to rabbit size ratio? - Homesteading Today
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  #1  
Old 07/31/09, 07:32 PM
 
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Location: northwestern Ontario, CANADA
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Nesting box to rabbit size ratio?

How big are your nesting boxes compared to the rabbits you intend to use them with?

I picked up a used set of commercial cages and the nesting boxes wire up to the bottom of each cage and are about the size of a large shoe box.
I've got a a couple of NZ Giant does I believe (hope) are bred and they can fit in the boxes but I wouldn't say it's spacious.

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  #2  
Old 07/31/09, 07:46 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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I believe that kind of nest box is called a "drop-down nest box" and I've heard very good things about them. They need to be big enough for the doe to jump in and out without trampling the kits. From what you say, it sounds as though they may not be big enough for the giant does. Telling us the actual dimensions in inches and the weight of the does may help.

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Old 07/31/09, 09:17 PM
 
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I've never weighed a rabbit but the boxes are 40 cm by 22 cm by 14 1/2 cm

Here's a couple of pics, let me know what you think.







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  #4  
Old 07/31/09, 09:35 PM
 
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Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
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It does look a bit small. What worries me more is that except for a couple of inches at one end, the kits are right in the landing zone. If you made a box that was maybe 8 inches longer than the hole, the kits could be up under the wire where the doe wouldn't step on them. Much like the hood protects them in a conventional nest box.

I hate centimeters. Let's see... 40 cm by 22 cm by 14 1/2 cm would be about 16 inches by 9 inches by 6 inches. That's pretty close to standard size, but with your does being so big, I'd be afraid that it could be a problem.

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Old 07/31/09, 10:01 PM
 
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That's my daughter doing the measuring....lolol.... kids these days, eh?

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts, I was concerned it might be too small.

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  #6  
Old 07/31/09, 10:52 PM
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great question ... it does look small doesn't it ...

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  #7  
Old 08/03/09, 10:23 AM
 
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Location: northwestern Ontario, CANADA
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Another nesting box question.... what's the reasoning behind putting the nexting box in with the expectant doe only just before she is to have her litter?
I've noticed some comments where specific dates are listed as to when the box should go in and out. Is there a reason one just wouldn't leave the nesting box indefinitley?

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  #8  
Old 08/03/09, 10:38 AM
Lyndseyrk
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Originally Posted by NorWester View Post
Another nesting box question.... what's the reasoning behind putting the nexting box in with the expectant doe only just before she is to have her litter?
I've noticed some comments where specific dates are listed as to when the box should go in and out. Is there a reason one just wouldn't leave the nesting box indefinitley?
I do it for 3 reasons.
1) To keep them from using the nest box as a litter box
2) To allow for better ventilation
3) To allow for more cage space

If I had a setup with permanently attached nestboxes, I'd figure out a way to block off the entrance to the box except when necessary.
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  #9  
Old 08/04/09, 12:24 AM
 
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Location: NJ
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I've noticed that my rabbits like to use whatever I put in their cages but not necessarily the way I intended. I no longer offer a nest box. If they have the nest box too soon they WILL use it as a toilet. They won't just ignore it. By the time the babies come they will either have them on the wire out of the nest box because it is dirty or they will not care and have them in the nest box and continue to use it as a toilet making it a filthy place to raise a litter. I give mine enough good hay to keep any babies off the wire and the doe will make a nest. When she kindles I pack more hay up around the nest so it looks like a mini volcano. The pulled fur helps hold the hay together. It does waste some hay but I've never lost a baby on the wire.

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  #10  
Old 08/04/09, 07:16 AM
 
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Location: South Carolina
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The nestboxes I have for my Cali's are 16"x12"x12", which may not be right, but they work well.

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  #11  
Old 08/04/09, 08:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorWester View Post
I've got a a couple of NZ Giant does .....
What is a NZ Giant? I have never heard of a NZ Giant only NZ White, Red, or Black.

Jim
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  #12  
Old 08/04/09, 09:17 AM
 
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I hate to disaggree... but that nest box looks plenty big for a NZ and a litter. The problem with a bigger box is that mom can go in when she isn't nursing and foul it. That doe will have plenty of room to get in, nurse, clean, and get back out. Helpful hint. Take those boxes off, give them a good scrub down or power wash, and spray them with a bleach solution to get them ready for the new kits. In answer to a previous question, there is not a NZ Giant. I don't think your rabbits are giants, I think they are NZs.

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  #13  
Old 08/04/09, 09:57 AM
 
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What I wonder is if those bungee cords will hold a doe and litter of 8 @ 2weeks? thats a lot of weight!

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  #14  
Old 08/04/09, 10:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jkmlad View Post
I hate to disaggree... but that nest box looks plenty big for a NZ and a litter. The problem with a bigger box is that mom can go in when she isn't nursing and foul it. That doe will have plenty of room to get in, nurse, clean, and get back out. Helpful hint. Take those boxes off, give them a good scrub down or power wash, and spray them with a bleach solution to get them ready for the new kits. In answer to a previous question, there is not a NZ Giant. I don't think your rabbits are giants, I think they are NZs.
You may be right about the nest box size. My main concern is that in jumping down the doe may land on the kits... and that this would be more difficult for her to avoid in a box that size. In a regular nest box there is a hood that provides some protection.

As far as does soiling nest boxes because of the larger size... I've never seen any indication that size of box is a factor. Some soil and some do not. I believe that their early training by momma has a lot more to do with it.

I took New Zealand Giant to simply mean they were larger than average NZs. I certainly have never heard of such a breed.
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  #15  
Old 08/04/09, 10:22 AM
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I, too, think the box itself is plenty big for a NZ . My nest boxes are 15X10 and have plenty of room for a 12 lbs doe and have had up to 12 babies in there at once. The only problem I have with those cages, is that the opening is not big enough. I think the opening should be as big as the box.

Also, IF those are only attached by bungee cords, they could easily be removed when not in use. Also, how can just a bungee hold a 12 lb doe and a litter? You would think it would sag with them in it. How do the commercial producers who use this type of nest box attach them to the cage?

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  #16  
Old 08/04/09, 10:22 AM
 
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I'm pretty sure the bungee cords will hold. The rabbits are heavy.......but not that heavy. I've pulled those cords tight....very difficult to budge those boxes once in place. The fellow I got the cages from told us that's how he did it. Hopefully it works.

As far as the terminology I was just going by what I'd heard, I think. Perhaps there is no such critter as a New Zealand "Giant"........ Maybe just New Zealands and I misunderstood.
Jeezus...... I hope they're rabbits and not muskrats or something

I fabbed up a bigger nesting box and will put up some pictures later. I have noticed that when I just pop a nesting box in the cage without rigging it to the bottom the rabbits will hop in and hang out in it. Once rigged to the bottom port like designed they tend to ignore it...... not sure why that is and I hope they don't ignore it when the have their pups.

jkmlad & Lyndseyrk I hope you're right, I'm a horrible carpenter and wasn't looking forward to building a slew of bigger nesting boxes.

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  #17  
Old 08/24/09, 06:20 AM
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nesting boxes

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorWester View Post
I've never weighed a rabbit but the boxes are 40 cm by 22 cm by 14 1/2 cm

Here's a couple of pics, let me know what you think.







The boxes look great but I am concerned that they are taking away from her habitat space. My husband built our boxes on the side of the cage with sliding doors so we can open it when she needs to use it and close when not needed. they have lifting lids inorder to insure live births and can use it also when it is time to wean. We use small wire so her pellets will drop threw and add hay when the time is right. It seems to still give her the space she needs with an added extra room for baby time.
I think your bungie idea will work but I am concerned about her jumping down into the box with the babies. I think they feel more secure in an inclosed area where she has some privacy similar to her natural underground way of life.
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Old 08/24/09, 09:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by vmos View Post
My husband built our boxes on the side of the cage with sliding doors so we can open it when she needs to use it and close when not needed. they have lifting lids inorder to insure live births and can use it also when it is time to wean. We use small wire so her pellets will drop threw and add hay when the time is right. It seems to still give her the space she needs with an added extra room for baby time.
I'd so loooove to see pictures of your nest boxes. I've been thinking about building some that would attach on the side, with slider doors, but have no idea where to start. My nest boxes are driving me crazy . My does think they are toys to be tossed around.
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Old 08/24/09, 10:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by vikav View Post
My nest boxes are driving me crazy . My does think they are toys to be tossed around.
I was thinking about this. I know you prefer the metal boxes because they are easier to sanitize, but perhaps if they sat inside a simple wooden frame made of 2x4s, they would be more stable. The wood would also provide a bit of a step back up for those precocious popples who pop out early. Just an idea...
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Old 08/24/09, 11:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MaggieJ View Post
I was thinking about this. I know you prefer the metal boxes because they are easier to sanitize, but perhaps if they sat inside a simple wooden frame made of 2x4s, they would be more stable. The wood would also provide a bit of a step back up for those precocious popples who pop out early. Just an idea...
Good idea. I think, I can modify those boxes by attaching several clips or something like that to each corner on the bottom of the boxes, so these clips or whatever can protrude down through the floor wire and anchor the box in place, without attaching it permanently. The does can't lift the boxes, only push them around, so that should work, and I could just lift the box out of the cage if I need to. BTW, you should see those two crazy kits now. They climb out of the box easily now, even when there is no bedding in it I think, it's because they are just big for their age, because there is only two. It doesn't happen in bigger litters, as the kits are a bit smaller. I wanted to leave the box with the doe this morning, so did a test to see if the kits can handle the wire by putting them on the floor of the cage. Nope . Their poor feet just fall right through, and the doe tries to push them around like that, threatening to rip their poor stuck feet off. I've tried the cardboard thing, and decided against it, as the doe's pee was collecting in places and dripping around onto the floor. The whole thing was kinda gross. I'm just going to have to keep bringing them to her for feedings for several more days. They seem to be growing well, and she is feeding them whenever I bring them to her. In fact, she has become very friendly now, lets me pet her, does not attack me any more, even if I handle her kits right inside her cage. Oh, and the kits have now completely opened their eyes and have been trying to munch a little on some hay.

And my NZR doe is such a lazy butt. At feeding time, she pushes her nest box to the feeder, so she can eat without having to get out of the box. What a character

Before I had these nest boxes, I wanted some of the Extrona ones. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any anywhere. Still looking.
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Last edited by vikav; 08/24/09 at 11:07 AM.
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