Rabbit had babies outside the nest

by Brooke

Hi there. We have a Holland Lop and she made a lovely nest with straw and her fur but then had 3 babies outside her box where it is not so warm.

I don't understand why she would make the nest only to not use it.

The babies did not come all at once either. This is her second litter and we have lost all the babies so far and I feel so bad. I don't know what we are doing wrong.

Thanks for any help you can give.

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

Sometimes there is no fathoming the reasoning of a pregnant female rabbit. Some does simply didn't inherit the maternal instincts they need to successfully raise successive litters of offspring.

On the other hand, did anything startle the doe while she was kindling? I wasn't there, maybe you remember some ruckus inside or outside, coyotes howling, raccoons prowling, the dog sniffing around the cage.

Here are two very good resources that will help you reliably sleuth out the problem:

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver
Rabbit Reproduction E-Book

I suggest giving your doe a third try (but no more than that). At kindling time, pay very close attention to her (from a distance). Is all quiet--no ruckus? Is she hopping into the box to kindle? Next time, if the doe drops them outside the box, you can remedy the situation fairly immediately by removing the doe from the cage, putting the kits into their nest, and then putting the doe back in the cage. I think she'll find her kits okay, but the question still remains: will she feed and care for them going forward?

Time will tell, and you might help her by ensuring a good intake of high fat and high protein feed. Supplement her pellets with black oil sunflower seeds and/or whole oats (organic) starting now and until the kits are 3-4 weeks old.

Best of luck with everything!

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