Changing bedding after kits are born

How soon after kits are born do you need to change the bedding? I changed mine like 2 hours before the babies were born, she was showing no sign of labor and had not yet nested....I thought it was odd as she has had a couple of litters before and started to nest like 4 days before giving birth...Should they be brought in the house? they are in a cage with a hutch outside.

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Feb 06, 2020
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No clue what I'm doing
by: Anonymous

Our doe unexpectedly had kits on Monday (had taken her to be done 2 years ago so complete shock). She is indoors as it is cold out and I wanted to build a new hutch anyway. She is in a puppy cage as a temporary measure and we had put a pet carrier in there so she had a quiet space. She used the carrier as her nest.

I've read lots of conflicting things. Some saying leave the kits alone, don't touch them at all, which is what I have done (I'm not even certain how many we have). The doe seems to be keeping the nest clean and feeding them. There is movement in the big mass of fur. It doesn't seem wet in the nest. They are now 3 days old.

Should I clean out the nest? Should I be checking on each of them? I had been going with the nature-knows-best theory (despite desperately wanting to see them). The doe seems to be happy and doing her job.

***** Karen Sez *****
Hi Anon, Thanks for checking in with us at Raising-Rabbits.com. Luckily for you, there is a lot of info available on the Raising Rabbits website. Here's where to look:
  • Taking Care of Baby Rabbits
  • We addressed your question directly in our last newsletter. Since you wrote to us as "Anonymous," we figured you wouldn't mind if we put your words into the mouth of "Meghan."
  • Our Rabbit Reproduction e-book is a wealth of information that goes considerably beyond what is found on the website.
  • Lastly, find a ton of information in Rabbit Raising Problem Solver. The entire Section III is all about rabbit reproduction, from mating to weaning.

Hope this helps!

Jan 28, 2020
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My baby kits
by: Anonymous

My doe just gave birth to a litter of kits that were unexpected. She has done this under a fun bridge. All the kits are fine, all survived but I am terrified that there isn't a suitable amount of room for her to feed them can I rebuild the nest in a birthing box or will this distress the doe?

***** Karen Sez *****
Is there enough room under that fun bridge for the doe to crouch over her litter? Because that is how she would normally feed her babies, by crouching over them. If you think yes, then give it a day and check the bellies of the babies the next morning. If they're roly poly, then no worries. If not, then move the kits and the nest to a better location. Most does have no trouble figuring things out. Enjoy your bunnies!

Apr 30, 2019
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I didnt know my doe was pregnant!
by: Anonymous

My doe had 2 kits. One died after a day and the other is 5 days old. The whole bottom of my 2 story cage is a nest. When can I clean the cage? The kit nestles in the fur and I'm afraid of cleaning out the fur used to make the nest.

***** Karen Sez *****
Your instincts are good - the singleton kit needs all that fur to stay warm. Wait till the kit is a full 2 weeks old before cleaning out the cage.

If you need more information:
Rabbit Reproduction E-Book
Rabbit Raising Problem Solver

Jan 18, 2019
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Do I clean the nest?
by: Anonymous

My rabbit gave birth 2 days ago. Just this morning I found one of the kits had died and was infested with maggots. Should I change the hay in the nest to reduce the risk of the others getting ill?

***** Karen Sez *****
Yes, it would be very smart to change out the hay, and if necessary rebuild the nest entirely. Keep the clean fur for lining and covering the new nest. Good luck with everything.

Jan 11, 2016
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Do I need to remove the male?
by: Anonymous

We moved our 2 rabbits indoors (due to the cold temps) in a flat bottom cage. We thought 1 was pregnant, but not sure. This morning there is a nest & I'm not sure how many kits. Should I remove the male & check the kits or will this upset her? Should I leave them all alone for a day or so? Thanks

***** Karen Sez *****
Yes, remove the male and check the kits. If the doe seems to get agitated while you check the kits, this is due to her maternal instincts. You can also remove her, temporarily. She'll be fine.

Problem is - the buck has probably already made the doe pregnant again, so keep an eye out for another kindle in 31 days. If she does get pregnant again, you'll need to remove the first litter in 4 weeks (28 days). No worries, this is how it works in the wild. For more info:

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver
Rabbit Reproduction

Unless you want to keep having bunnies, it might be smart to give the buck his own permanent home, or get him neutered (whichever you prefer).

Enjoy the bunnies!

Nov 05, 2015
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Changing bedding after kits are born
by: Michelle

Our doe and kits are in a non-wire bottom cage inside the house. The kits were born Sunday, November 1, 2015. How soon can we clean the cage? I don't know if it makes difference, but this is her first litter and she is 7 months old.

***** Karen Sez *****

If she's taking good care of the kits, then your doe will be fine with a cage clean. If she feeds them in the evening, then clean out the cage during the day when the doe won't need to be with her kits. Enjoy your bunnies!


Mar 22, 2011
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RE Changing the bedding
by: Anonymous

Am I right in thinking your doe has kindled in a hard-bottomed cage right in the hutch bedding? If so, I would fully expect your doe to keep the nest area of the hutch very clean. You might find that for the next 10 days to 2 weeks, you can simply spot-clean the hutch removing and replenishing the 'toilet' areas, and leave the nest area undisturbed.

It's March -- as long as the doe has pulled plenty of fur, her babies will be just fine outside with the doe.

If you're using a nest box in a wire cage, the situation is very similar. We don't expect you'd need to clean out the nest box at all, until you remove it entirely around the time the kits are 2 weeks old. But, some does seem to be not as good at housekeeping as others. So if necessary, you can gather up any damp nesting materials along with extra poo-marbles, and discard them. This will typically be found right inside the nest box but not down in the burrow.

For the genuine pig-of-a-doe, you CAN completely empty the nest box and replace all the nest materials. Use some of the cleanest fur to re-line the clean nest and put the babies back into the refreshed nest. Hopefully this will be a rare occurrence.

Either way, be sure you check in on the babies every day to be sure they're doing okay and that none of them have somehow died.

Good luck!

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