One Doe, Two Nests

by PWalker
(Florida, USA)

Hi, We have 3 first time does who all delivered recently. They all appear healthy. My question is this. Why would one of my does have three babies at one end of the nesting box and three babies at the other end? I was so focused on the one set I did not even see the others for over a day. She also did not seem worried about covering one set while the other set was covered so well I did not even know they were there.

Do I need to worry about her separating the kits?

***** Karen Sez *****
Kinda funny that some does occasionally do this!

There is likely nothing to worry about. I suspect the doe simply got distracted, or she dropped the first three kits in one position, and then got herself turned around and dropped the last three while standing differently in the nest, forgetting to go back and finish tending to those first three kits. That's my guess, anyway.

This is exactly why checking the nest after a rabbit gives birth is so important. Even in the most temperate of environments, uncovered newborn kits can die of exposure, so checking the nest can save bunny lives, in your case, half the litter. You done good!

What to do now: Just put all the kits together into the warm and snug covered nest. The doe will do all the rest.

Plus, the chances are slim that she will do this again.

Enjoy your rabbits!

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Sep 29, 2021
by: Kaci

My mini lop gave birth to 7 kits three days ago. This is also her first ever litter. She’s feeding them well. I noticed she still had some babies in her tummy so I’ve been waiting for them to come along. She’s just started till build another nest where she had the first set of kits. Should I be worried about the first 7 babies maybe being left out?

Mar 03, 2020
Two nests
by: Anonymous

My little doe, Lady, Kindled while I was picking kids up from school today. She pulled out the fur and lined the nest and when I got back...two nests one with two smaller kits and one with a larger kit. I put them all together and am waiting to see what Lady does after the first feeding. Lady is a Netherland Dwarf.

Feb 27, 2020
Big litter.
by: Sharon Newhart

I once had a Holland Lop doe that made a nest at one end of the nest box, put 6 babies in it, then made a nest at the other end and put 6 babies in that one. All the the babies made it except one. They were all well fed, fat and sassy.

Do you think she did it to be able to feed each nest at a different time to ensure all babies had enough? It sure seemed that way.

I tried putting some of the babies together, but she kept them separated. She always had 5 in one and 6 in the other. If I took one from the nest of 6 and added to nest with only 5, she moved it back, so that the numbers stayed the same in the nest where she divided them.

She had never done this before even with 9 babies. She never had a litter that big again, nor did she make two nests again even though she had litters as high as 10.

Jan 27, 2019
I have the same
by: Anonymous

My doe kindled 3 kits 6 days ago. She has two in one nest and one in another. I tried moving the kit with the other two and she moved it back. She is feeding all the kits just separately. I’m so happy to have read you have the same thing as it’s the only info I can find on the internet and I was concerned.

***** Karen Sez *****
So far so good! Just ensure that the singleton kit is able to stay warm. It might be wise to keep trying to put all three kits into the same nest. Good luck with everything!

Aug 12, 2017
Doe moving kits
by: Enelson

I have a first time doe that kindled three days ago. Last night I noticed she seemed to be forming another hole in her nest box. This morning, I think after feeding since the kits were nice and round, two of the six kits were in this new hole. I assumed that these kits had gotten out of the nest some how and put them back. However after her evening feed, two kits were once again in the same spot and I watched mom cover them up. Should I move them back with the rest? Is there a reason she seems to be moving her kits? Mom was very protective of her new second nest also.

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

You *could* just leave the two nests alone. If in 24 hours one set of kits is thin and the other is round, you'll know to put all the kits back with the well-fed kits. If both groups are fat and sassy, then no problem.

It is hard to know if the doe is intentionally forming two nests for her kits, or if the normal activity of the kits has developed a second impression in the bedding which the doe thinks should be deeper. If after nursing the kits naturally huddle into two separate groups, the doe may then cover up both nests.

One thing you can be grateful for - it appears your doe has very good mothering instincts.

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