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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey, i have my first litter. it was unplanned the people who gave me the rabbits had let the buck and doe in the same cage. lucky guess on getting the nest box done in time. this may seem like an silly question, but how much time does a do spend feeding or tending the nest? i guess i have raised mostly cats and dog and large stock, i didn't know what to expect. also how can you tell if she is feeding enough?
she is an english spot. the box is 9.5" x 14".this was the widest the would fit through the cage door. is it big enough? she had five kits
thanks
 

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Amanda
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What do the kits look like? Are the fat like they have swallowed a grape, or are they skinny and wrinkly? If they look like they swallowed a grape, they are doing good. Mama rabbits don't tend their nest like other animals do. They feed 2 or 3 time a day.
 

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English Spots are not huge, so the box sounds about right. If she kindled in the box then it must have been acceptable. :)

Momma rabbits spend very little time with their babies. If you are used to dogs and cats, you may make the mistake of thinking she is not a good mother, but this is normal for rabbits. They are prey animals and their babies' survival depends on not attracting attention to the nest. This is instinctive behaviour even after a couple of thousand years of domestication.

Mother rabbits feed their kits once or twice in twenty-four hours, usually early morning and late evening. I have a doe and her five kits in the living room at the moment and she feeds about 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Then she covers them and turns her back on them as though they aren't even there. :whistle:

Later on, when the kits eyes open and they leave the nest she will interact with them a bit more: mostly grooming them and letting them use her for a trampoline. They will crawl under her upside down anytime they think they can get away with stealing a snack. Too funny to see little bunny hind feet waving in the air. :rotfl:

If you are worried that the kits (or popples as we like to call them on this forum) are not being fed, take them out of the nest one at a time. If they have been fed, their bellies will look like they have swallowed a grape... you may even think they look like they will burst. :eek: If their bellies look shrunken and wrinkled, they may not have been fed. Check again in a few hours because you could have looked right before dinner time.

You should check the nest once a day anyhow, just to make sure they are all alive and kicking. Occasionally one won't make it :( and it will decompose quickly in the heat of the nest.

Hope this is helpful. Have fun and enjoy the little rascals! :happy:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
hey.
thanks for your reply's. the logic of the prey animal makes sense. i have observed that behavior in wild prey. i have only inspected briefly, always practiced least contact possible. just look enough to make sure of no deaths but i will take the advice to do a more thorough inspection.
probably off subject, i have her in a hav-a-heart wire hutch 24x24. seems like not enough room with the nest box in there. i have a 30x36 wired hutch (from where i had a flem. giant). should i put her and the litter in that hutch? it is hard to reach the back.
 

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I know what you mean about 30 inches being too deep to easily reach to the back, but I'd move them anyway. As long as they are still in the nest box, the cramped quarters don't matter quite so much but once they are moving around, both doe and kits will be happier with the extra space and there is less chance of the kits being stepped on. Maybe combine the move with the nest clean out just before the babies' eyes open. I normally do a full clean out on Day 9 so that there is less chance of the kits developing "nest box eye" from exposure to soiled nesting materials.
 
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