Does the rabbit nest need hay?

by April

I use wood chips in our rabbit hutch. I just found four newborn rabbits in the inside of the hutch with some fur around them. I am wondering if I should get some hay instead of wood chips? I also need to know if I need a nest box for her? I check our rabbits several times a day and can only figure she made her nest last night. She does not have a lot of fur on the babies. What should I do?

Thank you

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Jan 26, 2018
Natural nest
by: Anonymous

I have small cages and I cannot use nest boxes - can I use a lot of hay in her cage or not?

***** Karen Sez *****
Stuffing the entire cage floor with several inches of hay or straw is certainly a valid last-ditch solution. But it comes with significant drawbacks, which can be overcome with careful attention. Can your makeshift nesting arrangement keep the kits warm? Can YOU keep the cage clean without destroying the nest?

Can you obtain a bigger cage in which you CAN put a nesting box? If so, it would make your life a lot easier for subsequent litters, for both you and the does and litters.

See one or both of the resources linked below for complete rabbit care answers.

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver

Rabbit Reproduction E-Book

Feb 28, 2011
Hay Bales
by: Anonymous

Surely u would have had some hay already for the doe? I use bales of hay for my rabbits and my does seem to enjoy building a nest in the bale so they are warm and hidden.

Due a litter of kits today. Still no nest built but she might have them tonight. If not, then she didn't breed successfully. Sorry to hear of the loss of the kits. At least the mum is okay.

Nov 01, 2010
Mommy rabbit did not get milk
by: April

I am sorry to announce that all four babies died this weekend. Ruby our mommy rabbit did not produce milk. I tried to bottle feed babies but nothing worked. I am wondering is this common for first time mommy rabbits not to get milk? I also would like to know if she would be able to nurse future litters. We have two rabbits now and love them very much and would love to add to the family if it does not cause problems for Ruby the mother.

Oct 28, 2010
Can the bunnies fall out of the hutch?
by: Karen

Hi April,
I always feel most comfortable when my bunnies are inside a nest box. I fear they might crawl away and fall through some crack. Do you have a nest box? If not, you can purchase a plastic dish pan that's about 5 inches deep, and put it into a corner of the hutch as a nest for the bunnies.

- Put an inch of wood chips/shavings on the bottom.

- Fill the rest of the pan with grass hay (or mixed grass/alfalfa).

- Make a burrow into the middle of the hay.

- Gather up some of the wood chips that are under the bunnies, along with the fur that she's pulled, and place it all in the bottom of the 'burrow.'

- Place the bunnies into the burrow and cover them with the fur.

- If necessary, you can also pull a bit more fur from the doe's dewlap and/or tummy (she'll probably do that herself tonight, but just in case...).

I'm hopeful that if you stick the pan right where she put her babies, the doe will figure it all out just fine. Placing her in the nest might help her get a clue, too.

Good luck with everything!


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