Why Kathy uses the nest box set-up for her rab­bitry

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Feature Rabbit Housing - Kathy’s set-up,set- up, with yel­low­pip­ingyel­low pip­ing de­liv­er­ing fresh­wa­ter­fresh wa­ter from a tank.

IN MY set-up over the last 10 years, I have used a se­ries of nest boxes. You can make five nest boxes from one sheet of 4mmthick ply­wood and one sheet of 10-15mm ply­wood. Each box is 60cm long, 30cm wide, 30cm high at the front and 25cm high at the back. The door open­ing is traced from a 4-litre paint tin, raised 10cm from the floor of the nest box.

There are good rea­sons for this de­sign: this size fits a Flem­ish Gi­ant or NZ White doe snug­gly but not so she’s squashed in. With the smaller space I have found a rab­bit can eas­ily stay warm, and when they have a lit­ter you don’t have the prob­lem of lit­ters be­ing scat­tered and ba­bies not be­ing fed.

The door size and how far it is off the floor also has ad­van­tages: the size of the hole means as the doe comes out, the edge will wipe any kits off the nip­ples as she leaves the nest – if the door is larger, the ba­bies can be dragged out into the run where they can die of ex­po­sure.

With the door raised up 10cm from the floor of the nest box, the rab­bit won’t track, dig or pull the hay into the run, wast­ing the hay and mak­ing more clean­ing for you.

The kits can­not get out of the nest un­til they are about three weeks old, when they are big enough and ag­ile enough to move around in a larger space and then re­turn to the nest on their own.

KATHY’S TIP: a free cut­ting plan and build­ing plan is avail­able on the Rab­bit­nutz Stud Face­book page.

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