How old are bunnies when they come out of the nest?

by Sarah
(Gwent, Wales)

Hi, our doe had 3 babies 10 days ago and today when I went down to check on mam and babies they were starting to crawl out of the nest so I put a glove on and put them back in the nest and they did the same thing again. They live in the shed in a double hutch. Mam uses the bottom for going to toilet.

I'm wondering how old are they when they start venturing out? They all have fur and the one has started to open its eyes I'm just afraid that they will get cold, I go down about 5 times a day. Will they be able to hold their temp? As I read this won't happen till they are about 5 weeks old. It's her first litter and our first rabbit. Many thanks Sarah

***** Karen Sez *****
10 days is still a bit young to be venturing out of the nest. Perhaps you do not actually have a nest structure, but only a mound of nesting materials? Is there any way you could create a 12cm - 15cm tall boundary (roughly 5 inches tall) to contain the kits for a few more days? Say, a board wedged into the cage that, along with two sides of the cage will form a triangle-shaped nest? A round cookie tin might even do the trick.

The kits only need a few more days confined to the nest, say until day 14, which is when kits, both wild and domestic, tend to start wandering out of the nest.

A question you might ask is, "Why are the kits wandering so soon?" Besides the question as to the actual nest, I also wonder if the kits are perhaps hungry? They may be trying to search out the mam's dinner table for another snack. If so, you could take a look at the food you're giving the doe, and ensure it has enough protein and fats so the doe can produce enough milk. She should be on full-feed fresh commercial rabbit pellets. If 15% or 16% protein, also add a tablespoon or two of raw black-oil sunflower seeds or raw whole oats to her ration.

Not sure where you got the info about the kits holding their temperature. According to Rabbit Production (Cheeke et al.) a one-week-old kit has enough fur to survive and stay warm. To be safe, I'd double that to two weeks.

Oh, and the gloves are probably not necessary. If the doe knows you and likes you, she will not be alarmed at your smell on the kits.

Just FYI: You gotta be real alert as to where your information comes from. The animal rights gang (that know very little how to care for animals) are flooding cyberspace with bogus information, and then trying to pretend they're experts. There's all kinds of nonsensical information on rabbit care available to the unsuspecting.

At Raising-Rabbits, we present solid, tried-and-true guidance that will result in excellent rabbit care and welfare. Glad you stopped by for a chat.

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Dec 19, 2011
kits coming out of the nest
by: sarah

Thank you sooooooooooooo much for the information. I will be buying some oats or black oil sunflower seeds to mix in with her food. She is having wagg at the moment with fresh veg. I should have put a nest box in as I think this is why they are crawling out of the nest. It's our first time me and mamma just thought the nest she made would have been enough but if there's a next time we'll put a nest box in.

We only bred her because she lost her friend and we're thinking of keeping 1 for company as long as they both get spade. Many thanks, Sarah, what a fabulous site xxx

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