Rabbit Nest Boxes – best nest boxes for mother rabbits reviews 2018. Selection tips, brands, kindling info and more.
In the wild, rabbits dig a burrow to make a nest using straw, dry leaves and fur that it pulls from the chest and belly. The cozy shelter is well hidden from the view of predators. On the other hand, domesticated rabbits that live in backyard hutches retain some of their behavioral instincts but they get used to the breeder’s help.
The nest box replaces the burrow. It must be made of quality materials that are easy to clean and disinfect. On the market, you will find nest boxes made of galvanized sheet metal. Alternatively, you can opt for wooden rabbit nest boxes that are more affordable.
An opening with a handle allows you to inspect the condition of the rabbits, which are tireless nibblers. To prevent them from scratching the corners of the box, you can strengthen the nest with aluminum angles. A ledge is essential to prevent the rabbits from going astray.
Part 1 – Top 3 Rabbit Nest Boxes
This nest box is large enough to provide a comfortable space for your rabbit. It is fully assembled and works out of the box, thus eliminating the need to find special tools to assemble the unit. The product is made of wood and designed to last for many years.
Ware Manufacturing Wooden Nest Box for Rabbits is made of high-quality, all-natural wood. The material is not stained, thus making it safe for animals to chew. The unit comes with a durable lumber.
Constructed using premium quality lumber, the Ware Manufacturing Rabbit Den provides an ideal nesting space for your rabbit. The product is made of durable materials and can fit any hutch or cage. Rabbits can rest in a specially designed spot on the upper part of the box and hide on the bottom part. The red stain used on the nest box is safe for animals.
Part 2 – Nest Box Information
Tips for Selecting a Rabbit Nest Box
The rabbit’s shelter must be as spacious as possible. For one or two dwarf rabbits, the ideal dimensions of the cage are 100 by 60 centimeters while for larger rabbits, it is necessary to pick a larger unit. The dimensions of the cage must always allow the rabbit to jump, and therefore must reach a minimum height of 45-50 centimeters regardless of the size of the rabbit.
The hutch must open and dismount easily, thus allowing you to extract the rabbit without difficulty. The best cage designs consist of two parts: a bottom with raised edges. The bottom edges should be raised high enough so that litter and straw do not fall out of the box. It is better to opt for a solid bottom rather than a mesh bottom, which is better from a hygienic point of view but can damage the rabbit’s delicate feet.
The upper part of the cage may consist entirely of metal bars. Plastic coated bars must be avoided because the material may be dangerous for the animal if it chews and swallows it. The grid should be wide enough to ensure optimal aeration. Moisture and ammonia accumulating inside the cage could cause serious health problems for the animal.
Some models come with Plexiglas walls and a grid that opens on the upper part. It is preferable that rabbit nest boxes should have a detachable side wall so that the rabbit can enter and exit the cage with ease.
It is important to note that wooden cages soak with urine quickly. They are difficult to wash and disinfect properly and can be damaged by the rabbit’s nibbling. If you only have one rabbit, a simple, compact hutch may suit your pet’s needs. However, consider the comfort of your rabbit and let it out every day to stretch its legs.
If you want to allow your pet to frolic in the grass quietly, even when you are not there, opt for a hutch with an integrated enclosure. The animal is protected and can enjoy the greenery.
The choice of a hutch depends on the number of rabbits involved and their size. The cages must be cleaned regularly to prevent the spread of bacteria and to ensure the health of animals. A wide cage is preferable to accommodate several rabbits because a deep model is difficult to clean. Some accessories are essential in cages. A plastic or galvanized sheet feeder, a rack, a drinking trough to be placed high up and more.
Types of Rabbit Nest Boxes
The market is filled with different types of rabbit nest boxes, which offer many possibilities for breeders. Mesh fences are larger than the usual trellis cages. Depending on the amount of space available, these boxes can be built on a large surface, thus offering plenty of space for animals and creating many possibilities for decoration.
Wooden boxes are often used when keeping rabbits outdoors. However, these units are generally not large enough to provide a suitable environment for rabbits. As such, you can need to pick a unit with the ideal dimensions. It is also important to provide opportunities for the animals to venture outside to run, jump and dig.
In addition to prefabricated wooden cages, there is also the possibility of building a shelter that is suitable for your pets. This method is not only cheap but also versatile. If you have the opportunity to create a shelter adapted to your rabbits, it is worth considering.
Plastic boxes are generally rectangular and consist of a plastic tub surrounded by bars. They are available in many sizes. If you prefer this type of rabbit box, you can improve it by connecting two units to add a second floor and thus offer more space for your rabbit. To connect the two cages, you should remove the roof from the bottom and place the second unit on top.
The plastic tub will shift lower providing a stable base. An opening on the base of the second cage can be used by rabbits to access the additional space. It is important to check that the edges of the hole are not too sharp and that the animals will not get hurt. A ramp is an ideal solution to access the upper floor.
Nest Box Materials
Wooden cages are an affordable option but they can be chewed by rabbits allowing them to escape. The material is also known to absorb urine and water, which can make the nest box hazardous for the animal.
Plastic cages come with several advantages. They are lightweight, do not soak up fluids and are easy to clean. However, plastic is vulnerable to rabbit’s nibbling. Metal cages, on the other hand, provide optimal ventilation and easy access to sunlight. The base of metal boxes must be covered to protect the animal from temperature fluctuations. Some manufacturers offer boxes made of straw.
Wood vs Metal Designs
Although wooden rabbit nest boxes are cheaper than metal units, they can be damaged by fluids and a rabbit’s constant nibbling. Treated wooden cages can be hazardous to the animal’s health whereas metal units are known to provide good ventilation.
Nest Box Brands
The market is overflowing with reputable nest box brands from which to choose. These include Ware Manufacturing, PawHut, Triplex and Kaytee. Ware Manufacturing offers a variety of quality nest boxes to suit varying needs. The units are available in varying sizes and made of top-grade lumber. PawHut offers boxes that are easy to assemble and can accommodate multiple rabbits without compromising on comfort.
Nest Box Cost
High-quality nest boxes for rabbits cost between $7 and $300. High-end units come with multi-story designs that your rabbit will love.
Nest Box Plans
To build a proper nesting box, you need a detailed plan that specifies dimensions and basic features of the structure. You can find good plans online.
How to Build your Own Nest Box Step by Step
Building your own rabbit nest box will allow you to create a cage adapted to the needs of your little companion. With simple materials, you can make a classic cage for your rabbit.
Draw a plan to determine the layout, dimensions and features that make up the cage. Plan an area of approximately 1.5 square meters per rabbit and arrange several spaces for playing, resting and eating. Integrate elements like tunnels and caves.
Have a litter covered with granules or straw and make sure it is easily accessible. Treat the wood against moisture with a water-repellent and anti-mildew product.
Assemble the frames, which will make up the structure of the cage. Do not forget that one of the frames will create the door, so you need four frames (two sides, the roof, the bottom and the one in front). Fix the frames with a stapler and attach the base of the cage and wooden boards.
Attach the hinges to the door and take steps to create a new frame that will be the door. Proceed to attach wire mesh and screw the door to the hinges. Finish by installing the small anti-projection boards. Check that nothing can hurt the animal.
Part 3 – Kindling Information
Rabbit Gestation Cycle or Timeline
Reproduction of the domesticated rabbit poses no major problems for the novice breeder. However, you must familiarize with the animal’s behavior to avoid mistakes. One male is sufficient to fertilize 10 to 12 females.
Rabbits do not have a specific ovarian cycle. The heat periods are not clear and regular like most mammalian females. In theory, a rabbit can be fertilized for more than 20 days each month. Mating triggers the hormonal secretion necessary for this release of eggs. Some rabbits are hardly receptive but this state can be corrected.
These animals can breed all year round but the end of winter, spring and summer are ideal periods. In the fall, there is a drop in fertility. In large farms, light stimulation is applied by increasing the cycle of the day in the autumn, winter and early spring.
Kindling or Birthing Process
Kittens are usually born at night or in the early hours of the morning. They are very immature, hairless, eyes and ears closed, and they weigh on average between 30 and 80 grams in medium breeds.
The number of kittens born at a time depends on the breed. In dwarf breeds, it is on average four or five while in other breeds it can vary from eight to twelve. In general, there are fewer kittens at the first birth than during subsequent births.
Kindling usually occurs quickly (in 10 to 30 minutes) and human intervention is rarely necessary. The mother carefully licks her young and swallows the placenta. After a few minutes, the little rabbits start looking for a teat and suckling the milk. Since the rabbit only has eight to ten teats there may be breeding problems if the number of cubs is higher.
The rabbit behaves differently from other mammals with its young: it adopts an attitude that can be misinterpreted as a lack of interest in them. The female stays with her young only four or five minutes a day but this behavior is quite normal.
When the rabbit enters the crate, the young immediately flock to her teats, which they manage to spot due to pheromones produced near the teats. The baby bunnies swallow all the daily milk they need during the few minutes that the mother stays with them and the intake corresponds to 20 percent of their body weight.
Tips for Keeping Baby Bunnies safe from predators
Ensure that the enclosure will withstand predator attacks. Wire netting should be securely fastened to the ground and no gaps can be left between the wooden planks. Secure the hutch floor to prevent the rabbit from escaping by digging a hole in the ground.
Tips for Keeping Baby Bunnies Warm in the Winter
To keep kittens warm in the winter, cover the cage with an insulating blanket during the winter.
DIY Rabbit Bedding Materials
Some of the bedding material options include wood pellets, shredded cardboard, paper pulp, softwood litters and paper pellets.