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Rabbit nest preparations

Rabbit gathering hay

We recently decided it was time to try for a litter of rabbits.  Since that time, there have been few noticeable behavioral or physical changes in our doe.  Then...late last week, instinct has been kicking in and the hay that we have given her has changed from a food source to a source of material for constructing a nursery inside of her house/nesting box.  Last week when Dawn noticed the change in behavior, she quickly grabbed the camera to catch some photos of her constructing her nest.  It's actually quite interesting to watch.  She will sort through the hay using her mouth, then once she has a bundle she is happy with, she will shake and rub it side to side with her head.  Then, with a suitable bundle secured, off she goes into the house with her next batch.

Dawn has read that the doe should also pull fur from her coat to line the nest with some warm material.  It is said that she should begin doing this at any time in the week before the litter arrives, though our doe has not begun doing this yet.  We've also noticed that she has shaped a depression in the hay which is sort of like a bird nest visible in one of the photos below.  We're guessing that this is where she plans to deliver?  Unless it is just a random placement of hay that we're reading too much into.

We're presently debating if it will be cold enough that we need to make some accommodations to keep the kits warm.  We just had a cold front pass through today and our usually mild winter weather has taken a bit of a chilly turn.  We may put up some clear tarp and a heat source if we think it becomes warranted.

We had hoped that by the time of this post we would have photos of some kits and stories of how the doe and kits were doing.  However, I guess mother nature has decided that will have to wait till next time.  For now, here are a couple more photographs.

Rabbit nest

Mother rabbit

Shannon and Dawn will be sharing their experiences with raising meat rabbits on Tuesday afternoons. They homestead on three acres in Louisiana when time off from life and working as a sys admin permits.

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