The rabbit nest is disappearing after just 7 days

by Ally Andrews
(Yorkshire, England)

Basil the dad

Basil the dad


My rabbit Mille has had some kits (don't know how many). They are 7 days old now. We were not expecting them because she only met a male once for about 2 minutes, her sister's baby boy, when we were cleaning them out. Myself and Mille don't really get on although she does let me stroke her and pick her up, but with a growl to start with. I think there are about 6 kits and when I first looked in, it looked like there were about 10.

There was a lot of fur and hay before but when I checked today there wasn't nearly as much fur in there as there was earlier. this is also her first litter.

So my questions are:

- What is happening to the nest?

- When can I get a look at the babies with us not really getting along?

- When can I handle the rabbits?

- What breed would you say mille is? I understand if you're not sure on this one.

- Can I take Mille out and put her in her run?

Thanks, Ally x

***** Karen Sez *****
Turn your back for 2 seconds, er - minutes, and look what happens. Lol, that's all it takes to produce baby rabbits.

What's happening to the nest? The activity within the nest, and the doe coming and going, is mixing the nest fur in with the bedding materials. It's a good thing that the kits are furred enough by 7 days to keep them plenty warm while they're all huddled together. But should they wish to, they can still burrow down a bit into the bedding and stay warm.

When can you get a look at the babies? Now, in fact, 7 days ago! You're the big bunny, Ally, and YOU run the show. Put Mille in her garden run, and check away. Mille will be just fine when you put her back in the hutch.

When can you handle the kits? Now. In fact, you can handle them when they are just born, at least enough to check the nest and make sure it is clean with no dead kits in there. If you're nervous about that, then hold and pet the doe well so you can get her smell on your hands. But, does it really matter, when your doe is very familiar with your scent and will not equate it with mortal danger?

What is Mille's breed? She is a mix of smaller breeds, maybe some dutch in there. While I don't know her exact mix, she apparently carries two 'broken' genes, the genes that produce spotting, resulting in her mostly white coloration.

Can you put Mille in her run? Yes, she'd probably be delighted for the time in the garden. She does not need to be with the kits 24/7. She will only feed them for 5-10 minutes per day.

Hope this helps... Enjoy your bunnies!

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Feb 27, 2020
Mom and kit interaction
by: Claire

We have a bunny this is her second litter, the first litter were all still born and it was devastating for my husband and I. She has now had her second litter and 3 little healthy kits. The kits are now about 7 days old and mom keeps going in to check on them and pulls them out of the nest. Not sure what she is doing and it doesn’t look like they have latched on to feed accidentally when mom pulls away. Basically should I be worried about the little kits?

Jun 19, 2015
kits scattering
by: Anonymous

Hi I would like to know what I can do to keep my kits from scattering. I've had to put them back in their nest at least five times now. I tried making a cardboard nesting box but she didn't like it. I also ended up messing up her nest so now I'm worried. The kits are about four days old but I can be around them twenty-four seven. I'm worried that they might get out during the night and freeze to death. If anyone has any ideas that seem useful don't be afraid of sharing! Thank you!

***** Karen Sez *****
The fact that you disrupted the nest should not be concerning. You can always reorganize it. It'll be fine.

How do you know the doe did not like the cardboard nest? Does ignore the nest entirely, all day long, until the 5-10 minutes per 24 hour period that they go to feed the babies. Actually, the problem with cardboard is that it is too easily destroyed. All this is explained at length in the Rabbit Raising Problem Solver book.

Kits will stay in the nest if the nest box is the correct size and shape. If you are not using a standard rabbit nesting box, then you can substitute a plastic dishpan which usually works well enough. Illustrations in the book.

Kits will stay in the nest as long as the nest conditions are comfortable. It's summertime - is it too hot inside the rabbit nest? If the kits get too hot, they'll look for relief.

You'll find more solutions in the Rabbit Raising Problem Solver.

Good luck with everything.

Sep 06, 2012
Me ajudem
by: Juliane

Olá, me chamo Juliane, moro em Porto Alegre,RS Brasil...
Adorei as informaçoes aqui!

Gostaria de saber porque minha coelha esta comendo os pelos do ninho, ela deu cria a 5 dias...minha coelha escolheu o porão da casa para dar cria, mas hoje quando fui dar uma olhada nos bebes tinha um fora do ninho, na escada, quase morto, todo gelado, acho que consegui salvar ele...o bebe coelho não tinha como sair do ninho,concerteza a coelha mae a tirou, entao eu resolvi trocar o ninho de lugar,tirar do porao e colocar mais perto, onde eu possa ficar olhando...Sera que ela esta comendo os pelos do ninho por esta nervosa? aguardo a resposta, obrigada!

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

Muito obrigada, e bem-vindo a nossa site!
I'll translate for our readers - hope I can do an okay job; I know I'm already scrambling words. (we lived in Limeira SP for a year...)

"I’d like to know why my rabbit is eating the fur in the nest. She gave birth 5 days ago…my rabbit chose the basement for giving birth, but today when I went to check the babies, one of them was outside the nest by the stairs, nearly dead, totally chilled. I think I managed to save it. The little kit didn’t have a way out of the nest; surely the doe threw it out, so I decided to remove the nest from that spot and place it where I could keep an eye on it. Could it be that she is eating the nest fur because she’s nervous?"

Juliane, I'd be interested to know what you're feeding that doe? Is it high enough in protein, fats and fiber? Especially fiber? We don't usually see does eating the nest fur, but then they get excellent quality commercial pellets. Are you seeing the doe eat the fur?? Sometimes fur-eating is due to not enough fiber - try offering it a safe branch to chew on or a handful of grass hay.

About the chilled kit - it likely was latched onto the doe's teat when she hopped out of the nest, so yes, it was the doe's fault, but it was not on purpose. And once the baby is outside the nest, the doe has no instincts for returning it to the nest.

You did well. And you'll like having the nest and kits closer where you can enjoy watching them grow bigger.

(Apologies for our inability to respond em Portugues - it's way too rusty.)

Jun 20, 2012
by: Marlene

Karen, just love your sense of humor. You can hold the bunnies NOW; you're the BIG bunny!

Ally, as the "parent" of our first litter, I understand your reluctance, but couldn't wait to get my hands on them. We have 8 little bunnies 18 days old and they are so much fun to watch and pet. This is the best site ever to find information. If your specific subject isn't addressed, Karen answers quickly, factually and respectfully. I am as entertained by her comments as the information given. Regardless of how silly our (newbies) questions may seem to more experienced rabbit owners, Karen has all the answers and treats our questions with importance. Keep searching her site. It's informative and entertaining. Thanks Karen!

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