My doe has decided to dig a burrow under her cage. She has a nesting box which she has had a litter in before but she is pregnant again and she has started nesting in there. I don't know whether to leave her to her natural instincts or not.
The only thing I'm really not sure about is if she will pull out the deceased kits herself or not as the burrow is so deep that I can't reach down and check on them. Please help! She is due soon. Should I fill it in and put mesh over it or leave her be. I don't want to leave dead kits down there and have it effect the others. ***** Karen Sez *****
Sounds like your doe intends to use her homemade burrow this time around.
What to do? I can tell you that the doe won't pull out any dead kits. Dead rabbit kits tend to get churned into and underneath the bedding by the activity of the living kits. In a burrow, I'd think that as they decompose, the fluids would become absorbed by the earth, therefore not posing a huge risk to the living kits. Hopefully the doe will provide enough bedding within the burrow to satisfactorily protect all the kits.
The biggest concern however, might be whether or not the doe will tunnel to the other side of your neighborhood, or whether she'll simply provide a burrow sufficient for her kits?
Whether you fill in her burrow and return her to her cage and nest box is your call. You'll have better control over the whole process if the doe uses her nestbox of course, however the kits will probably be okay in the burrow. You'll simply have to wait till the kits start popping out above-ground - around 2 weeks or so - to learn how many kits there are. That, plus plan ahead how you're going to catch the little guys to check them for health!