A rabbit nesting box should be made of wood, although cardboard can also be used. Ensure the box or wood you use has not been treated with chemicals or substances (including paint). One inch of soft wood shavings should cover the bottom of the nesting box.
Pet rabbits may experience anxiety or panic when giving birth. Because of this, it is essential that the place where they give birth is prepared ahead of time and has everything they need for a smooth delivery. A crucial part of this is the nesting box.
Pre-made nesting boxes are available, but making one yourself is simple and cost-effective.
What You'll Learn
- 1 What Is A Nesting Box?
- 2 Most Important Elements For A Rabbit Nesting Box
- 3 Using Cardboard For a Nesting Box
- 4 Using Metal For a Nesting Box
- 5 Using Wood For a Nesting Box (The Best Option)
- 6 How to Prepare The Nesting Box
- 7 Things To Consider When Building a Rabbit Nesting Box
- 8 A Proper Nesting Box is Crucial
What Is A Nesting Box?
A nesting box is an enclosed space where a rabbit can give birth to their kits. It also houses the babies for a short time after they are born to provide additional protection.
A nesting box imitates the natural burrow where they would give birth in the wild. The burrows are typically slightly bigger than the rabbit’s actual body and lined with grass and the rabbit’s own fur that she pulls from her body.
If you are making a nesting box for your rabbit, you will want to ensure it is as similar as possible to a burrow they’d develop in the wild.
Most Important Elements For A Rabbit Nesting Box
The box should be approximately 12 to 14 inches in diameter. You will need to poke holes in the sides of the box. Also, the front of the box should only go approximately 4 inches above ground level (so you should cut it accordingly). This will allow the rabbit to move in and out as freely as she would like.
The most critical piece to consider is the physical structure of the box. There are several options you can use.
Using Cardboard For a Nesting Box
Cardboard can be used for the nesting box. This option may be tempting because of how simple it is to find, not to mention how cheap it is!
However, it is not the most durable material, and it has some issues that should be considered when thinking about what material to choose.
If you use cardboard for the box, it will only be a matter of time before urine soaks through the material. At this point, it will need to be entirely replaced by a new box.
Additionally, cardboard is a material that can easily be chewed and destroyed by rabbits, so there is a chance the box will quickly be ruined.
With this in mind, it may be best to only use cardboard as a temporary solution for a nesting box until you can set up something that will last longer.
Using Metal For a Nesting Box
You can use a metal box if that is the material that you have, but you must exercise caution. It is very important that you do not leave the box out in direct sunlight, especially when the rabbit and kits are inside. This will cause the box to overheat and is extremely dangerous.
Using Wood For a Nesting Box (The Best Option)
A wooden box is sturdier and not as sensitive to heat as metal, making it the ideal material for a nesting box when compared to cardboard, metal, or other materials. Using a peg board as the bottom of the box is also preferable.
How to Prepare The Nesting Box
The bottom of the box should have approximately one inch of soft wood shavings. Place straw on top of the shavings until the box is entirely filled. It is recommended to create a little burrow for your rabbit by using your fist or something similar to push down in one spot in the middle, creating a divot in the shavings.
It is normal if, once you introduce your rabbit to the nesting box, she starts to rearrange the materials inside. It’s important to let her do what she feels is natural. She will also very likely contribute to the nest by pulling out her fur and placing it around the box.
Things To Consider When Building a Rabbit Nesting Box
Ensure that your material has not been treated with chemicals or painted. The mother rabbit and babies could chew on it and potentially become sick.
The box must be heavy enough so that it can’t be tipped over or moved when the rabbit is moving around.
The nesting box should be placed in the rabbit’s cage approximately two to three days before the litter is due. It is important that you don’t place the nesting box too early because she will use the bathroom in the nesting box and try to eat what you have placed at the bottom of the box.
Nesting boxes can collect a lot of moisture, particularly in the first couple days after the babies are born. It is important to thoroughly clean the box by changing out all of the nesting material after a couple of days. Keep an eye on moisture to determine how frequently you should be changing it out after that.
The nesting box can be removed from the cage once the kits are able to jump out on their own regularly. This is usually done about two to three weeks after birth.
A Proper Nesting Box is Crucial
A rabbit’s nesting area is an essential part of the birthing process. If you are helping your rabbit prepare for birth, you should remember that the material, height, and bedding within the box are all essential details that need to be prepared for your rabbit. Keep it as clean as possible for a healthy mom and babies.