Drop Nest Boxes

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Thinkinaboutit, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. Thinkinaboutit

    Thinkinaboutit Well-Known Member

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    The recent nest box discussion got me thinking about drop nest boxes. Having never raised rabbits before (but in the preparation stage), I'm wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are. Would these be something good for a beginner to use?


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  2. Al. Countryboy

    Al. Countryboy Well-Known Member

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    Up until a couple of months ago I had not seen any of these drop nests. We went to a place that raises meat rabbits and that is all he has and says that it is the only way to go. Of coarse he had a few hundred and they may be easier to handle with this many. I did see where one mom was peeing on her babies from above. :nono: I could also see where it is easier to look down into the nest to check on babbies with the drop nests instead of dragging the nest over to the door to check on babies. .I decided that since I only keep 4 adults for breeders that I would leave my set up like it is.
     

  3. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    We use drop baskets in our rabbitry. The biggest advantage is not having so many get out and dieing on the wire. We did have one that crawled out last spring. They can climb the wire like a cat kitten. When we used the standard nest boxes, we would loose a couple kits almost weekly. The drop basket won't keep the doe from stepping on the kits and you still have to watch for kits crawling away from the nest proper and getting between the nesting material and the wire. We really like that we can walk down a row and easily see what's going on in the nest. Also, it's nice not to have all those boxes to clean. Although, if you live in a colder climate, you will need to place a box in the drop basket during the winter. We don't have many really cold nights here, but we keep a few boxes for Jan. & Feb. The nest baskets are much cooler in the summer. The kits will spread out to get cooler regardless of box or nest, but it's easier and faster to see this and regather the kits to reduce the chance of the doe stepping on them if you use drop baskets.

    Good luck,

    MikeL
     
  4. Thinkinaboutit

    Thinkinaboutit Well-Known Member

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    How is this possible? I'm a complete newbie to rabbits so don't even know about the velocity or direction a rabbit's pee. I thought the drop nest boxes had no ceiling. :shrug: How can the pee get onto the babies?

    Can this disadvantage be addressed and solved?

    Are there any other disadvantages?

    Seeing as I'm starting out new, I'd like to do things as efficiently as possible from the start.

    Thanks so much for your input!


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  5. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In my limited experience, most does have a particular potty corner. It is usually a back corner but I suppose it is possible that the drop nest was installed too close to a doe's chosen spot, especially if she liked a front corner.
     
  6. Al. Countryboy

    Al. Countryboy Well-Known Member

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    The drop nests that I saw were in front of the door at the front. The people had an insert of think plywood mat. that set down in the drop nest.
    This was the only one out of around a hundred that was peeing on her babies.
    Beth, you know all of my bunnies pee at the front of their cages.
     
  7. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    Because there is no top on the dropped nesting area.

    Most people using droppped nesting areas will move the doe to
    another cage if she initially uses that area of the cage as her latrine.
    She is moved into a cage with the nesting area on the opposite side
    of the cage.

    Having litters in a conventional nesting box doesn't necesssarily
    prevent does from urinating on their kits either.

    Linda Welch
    Texas Rabbit Connection
     
  8. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    The only disadvantage I thought of was that predators could get at the boxes from underneath. It wouldn't have worked for me because I had a coyote problem.
     
  9. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm going to be trying some nest boxes that fit onto the front of the cage, where the door normally is. The cages I've bought used to be mink cages and the set up is for them, but it looks like it might adapt ok to rabbits. The nest boxes look like giant blue bird nest boxes, and hook securely onto the side of the cage. The nest boxes have flip up tops on them so you can check the litter.

    Jennifer
     
  10. Michael Leferink

    Michael Leferink Well-Known Member

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    As to does using the nest basket for a toilet, Linda's answer hit the nail on the head. We build our nest baskets into the front corner of the cage. Some are on the right and some are on the left. If a doe is using her right side basket for a toilet, we move her to a cage with a left side basket. Waiting until day 27 or 28 days after breeding, reduces the number of instances of peeing & pooping in the nest. We put two layers of cardboard in the bottom of the nest, then about three inches of pine shavings topped of with a couple handfulls of hay. The amount of nesting material used will depend on the temp's, more in winter and less in summer. The card board bottoms keep the kits legs from danglining out of the wire bottoms when they dig themselves deep into the nest. It also gives some cushion if the doe steps on a kit. We tried to line the sides with cardboard, but the does chewed it up and would place large pieces over their kits, so we stopped doing it.

    Dee,
    As for predators, I can't think of a reasonable way to build a rabbit cage that could stop a determined predator. Guard dogs, electric wire fencing, traps and exact shot placement are the only solutions I can think off. Coyotes and feral dogs are some of the worst I've had to deal with. It took awhile, but with the aid of my dogs, a strong flash light and an ability to shoot straight I finally took care of the problem. Still always have to be ready for new ones though. Good luck!

    Jennifer L,
    I'm sure you know this already. Mink eat rabbits, so you want to make sure you get all the mink smell off your cages or your rabbits may freak out.

    MikeL
     
  11. khowellrn

    khowellrn Well-Known Member

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    I have had foxes pull small bunnies right through the bottom of the cages. We have a fence around the rabbits area, to run chickens occasionally, but the foxes get right in there, and they must just persist until they get a nibble and then pull pieces through. We try to be vigilant, but sometimes....
    So nest boxes work better for us, and resting boards seem to help little ones find a safe spot to hide.
     
  12. MaggieJ

    MaggieJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We built a chain link covered frame (like an English fruit cage) to house our rabbit cages. While it would not protect from weasels or mink (not a major problem here) it keeps our rabbits safe from foxes, coyotes, raccoons and dogs. The structure is covered with a tarp against the weather and is "sewn" with steel wire to lengths of wire mesh laid on the ground to prevent anything digging under. So far, so good!