As with everything else here on The Welcome Homestead we try to build everything solid and with good quality material but time and wear and tear still have their effect on everything. We build the rabbit nest boxes out of ¾” plywood for durability and the thicker wood has a better insulating effect than thinner wood. We build them out of wood to also give the rabbits something to chew on as their teeth never stop growing and they need to constantly wear them down to avoid over growth. It’s also easier to screw thicker wood together without it splitting. Some of our nest boxes have been around since we first got rabbits in the winter of 2008 so some are in need of repair or replacement.
We start off with precut sections. The nest boxes for New Zealand rabbits will be about 12” wide, 12” high and 24” long. This gives the doe room to turn around in there but is still small enough to keep the kits in a confined enough space that they can easily find each other to group together for warmth.
When the box is completed we cut a piece of cage floor wire for the floor. It is ½”x1” 14 gauge galvanized wire which is strong enough to hold the weight of a 10-12 pound doe and her kits and the wire gap is small enough so the kits won’t fall or crawl through. It is screwed to the box with 1 ½” deck screws and washers. This will also let any urine drain out of the bottom of the nest box so the bedding will stay drier.
When the floor is fastened to the bottom of the box we need to keep it off the floor so any poop or straw won’t stick to the bottom of the box and any moisture has the ventilation it needs to dissipate. We have no idea what the brackets are from that we used for the front of the box but they are plastic and do the job nicely. On the rear of the box we used the plastic caps from water bottles. After some use we will see if they hold up but they can be replaced with something sturdier in the future if need be. They just happened to be what we had lying around and in the interest of doing things as cheaply as possible they did the trick for now.
The finished nest boxes were taken out to the colony and stuffed with fresh straw. Now all that needs to be done is the does need to fill them with baby rabbits and all will be well!