THE RIGHT TYPE NEST BOX
Over the years, Bergene Rabbitry has accumulated a lot of
various types of nest boxes. Some were bought from rabbit
equipment distributors while others were bought from rabbit
breeders going out of business. We have MEDAL type nest boxes
that have a removable bottom. The bottom is made of pegboard.
The perforated bottom allows the nest to stay dry and the
metal is very easy to clean after each kindling. However this
box measures 19 inches long and 9 inches wide. For my Dutch,
Holland Lops and Dwarf Hotots it works okay, but in some instances,
because of the length of the box the litter can move around
and become isolated. If the doe has the babies in the back
of the box and they break out they can get scattered in the
front or vice versa. Once scattered, they can become chilled
In the summer time, when heat might become a factor for the
babies in the nest box, we use a WIRE NEST BOX. It is made
of 1/2 by 1 floor wire and has a pegboard floor placed on
the bottom of the wire nest box. It measures 18 inches long
and 10 inches wide. This box is utilized in the months of
May thru September as in Kansas the temperatures and humidity
increases, making it imperative to keep a good air movement
in the nest to prevent the doe's litter from overheating.
In the summer time, it is good to get the babies out of the
nest box as soon as they are able and there little feet don't
fall thru the floor wire. The box is taken out at 2 - 3 weeks.
It is more sanitary for them to be on the clean floor wire
than to be in the next box. The nest box can be a breeding
place for bacteria in damp and humid conditions.
Now we describe the IDEAL NEST BOX. This is a nest box designed
and built by L & L Johnson rabbitry. L & L was Les and Louise
Johnson of Halstead, KS. Les and Louise both have passed away.
When they went out of rabbits, I purchased their nest boxes.
It is the best box I have ever used for kindling rabbits.
When I have a doe, that I absolutely have to save the litter
, then this is the box I use. It seems like this box is not
to big or not to small and the doe has her litter right in
the center of the nest box. The dimensions are such that the
doe does not lounge around in the box when her litter is there.
Some nest boxes can be to long, and then the doe will have
the litter in the back and then she sits in the front which
is not desirable. The IDEAL NEST BOX is built of solid inch
boards that measure 15 inches long, 11.5 inches wide, and
11 inches high. In the front is a U shape cut to allow the
doe in , but the bottom of the U is 6.5 inches from the floor,
so that the babies do not accidentally jump out. For large
breed rabbits, such as N.Z. White, Californian, Satins, American
Chins and Champagnes you may want to use a larger size box
to accommodate a 10 to 12 lb doe. If you have a smaller breed
in your Rabbitry, such as Dwarf Hotot or Netherland Dwarf,
they would require a smaller box measuring about 10" X 7".
Nest box materials used at the Bergene Rabbitry are basically
the same in the winter as in the summer, although more is
used in the winter than in the summer. We use either baled
hay or straw depending on what we have available. First I
will put a handful of shavings in the bottom and then stuff
the box with brome or prairie hay or straw. I work it in breaking
any long pieces with my hand and then work some additional
shavings amongst the hay. Finally, I punch a hole in the center
with my fist to prepare the opening for the doe. This is all
the material I put in the nest box, however I have heard that
other breeders have successfully used shredded newspaper or
fluffed up cotton balls to provide for lack of pulled fur
from the doe.
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