If you have just found out your pet rabbit is pregnant and you’re raising rabbits for the first time, you’ll need to start preparing for the birth! One of the best ways to do this is to provide your doe with a nesting box — a place where she can give birth to her babies and keep them warm and safe during their first few weeks.
The prospect of having baby bunnies in your home can seem a bit daunting, so finding the right nesting box which your mother rabbit will be comfortable in is very important. This will ensure the whole process is smoother and the baby rabbits are safe, secure and looked after.
Below, we have complied a buying guide of everything you need to know about rabbit nesting boxes, including their uses, what to look for when buying one and even some of our top picks out there on the market today. If you want to know more, keep reading on.
Why Does My Rabbit Need A Nesting Box?
If you have a pregnant doe at home, a nesting box is a necessity. These nesting boxes replicate burrows that rabbits would give birth in in the wild, often not being much bigger than the rabbit themselves and lined with grasses to create a soft and secure area for the baby rabbits to be born in.
Your doe needs a rabbit nesting box in her cage before she gives birth. This should be placed in their hutch at around 28 days gestation, a few days before she gives birth. If you place the nesting box in too early, she won’t understand what it is for as her motherly instincts won’t have kicked in yet.
Even if your rabbit is not pregnant and not preparing for the birth of babies, a nesting box can be a wonderful thing to place in their home. As we mentioned above, it is almost like a burrow to rabbits and replicates the life they would have had in the wild. It also doubles as a great place to hide, snooze, rest and stay warm, which is particularly important if you live in a cold climate and your bunny is outside.
Types Of Rabbit Nesting Boxes
There are a few different types of rabbit nesting boxes available. It will be up to you to decide which type is going to be best for your rabbit. This is often dependent on whether they are using it for birth, or just as a place to hang out!
A wooden nesting box is the most natural feeling to your rabbit. However, wood can be a bit more difficult to keep clean and sanitize. A clean environment is very important for mother rabbits and the kits.
A plastic nesting box is a good idea if you are worried about keeping your nesting box clean. They are much easier to keep sanitized. However, they are not always as durable and do not feel as natural to your rabbit.
A metal rabbit nesting box has two benefits: it is easy to clean and is sturdy and durable. However, again, they do not feel the most natural to mother rabbits.
A grass rabbit nesting box is not as common, and is often used as just a place for your rabbit to hide and play, rather than a space for a doe to give birth. However, as they are made of hay and grass, they are completely edible and very good for your rabbit’s teeth and digestive system.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Rabbit Nesting Box
There are a few things to consider when you are purchasing a rabbit nesting box to make sure you get the right one for your bunnies.
The most important factor to consider is the size of the rabbit nest box. Traditionally, these nesting boxes are not much bigger than does, and they just need enough space to move and turn around in. Too big, and the bunnies won’t feel safe and they will struggle to keep their babies warm.
However, if you are using a nesting box as a space for your rabbit’s to sleep or play in, the size is completely up to you! You may want to give them a lot of room, or you may want a smaller space that they can rest in.
As we have mentioned above, there are a few different materials your nesting box can be made out of. The most common are wood, plastic, metal and grass, although some homemade nesting boxes are made out of wire, too. The material of your nesting box will be dependant on what your rabbit likes and a few other factors, such as cleaning.
If your rabbit is giving birth, then the nesting box needs to be the right space for them. It needs to be the right size and the right material for them to feel comfortable in. However, if the nesting box is simply a place for your rabbit to enjoy, curl up in, and perhaps sleep in, then you have more freedom when it comes to purchasing one.
A rabbit nesting box is going to be no use if it breaks easily! Look for something sturdy and durable that will keep your rabbit safe. A rabbit nesting box needs to be kept in the rabbit cage for up to 3 weeks after your doe has given birth, so keep this in mind.
No matter what you are using the rabbit nesting box for, you want your rabbit to feel comfortable and warm inside. This is particularly important if your rabbit is giving birth, because the kits need to be kept at the right temperature. If your rabbit lives outside, they can use a rabbit nesting box to keep warm in the winter months.
What Goes In A Rabbit Nesting Box?
In the wild, the doe would place grasses she found in her nesting area, making it soft and warm before placing a final layer of her own fur pulled from her body.
When you are filling a rabbit nesting box, you should start with a pad of clean corrugated cardboard on the bottom of the box which has been cut to match the size of the floor. Then place half an inch of wood or pine shavings in the box, followed by any type of soft grass hay. The box should be filled quite high with hay, so it is warm and cozy for them! Bermuda grass or alfalfa hay is often advised.
Right before your doe is about to give birth, she will pull fur from her own body, just like she would do in the wild. She will actually use her breath to fluff the fur into a cotton-like lining, insulating the box and making the perfect space for her bunnies!
If you’re now ready to find the perfect rabbit nesting box for your rabbit, take a look at our top picks below, all available to you on Amazon.
The Best Rabbit Nesting Box & Hideaways Reviewed
This rabbit nesting box from Miller is made of metal and constructed from rust resistant galvanized steel. This means it is extra durable and will last a long time. Secure and comfortable, your rabbit will feel like they are in their burrow and is the perfect place for does to look after their young. It comes with a wooden floor that is easily removable for cleaning and soft under your rabbit’s paws. The edges of the box are also rolled, so your rabbits can easily get in and out of the box without hurting themselves. 18 inches long by 10 inches wide by 9.5 inches high, this rabbit nesting box is great for a range of rabbit breeds.
This rabbit nesting box from Ware Manufacturing is made of wood and is the perfect side and shape for a rabbit nesting box. Measuring 15” W x 12” D x 12” H, this box provides your rabbit with adequate space to move around, but also inside too big and keeps them feeling safe. When not being used as a nesting box, it can also be flipped upside down and used as a hideout! With a space for your rabbit to get easily in and out, this box is sturdy and durable but won’t harm your bun or their babies. Fully assembled and ready to use, this box is made in the USA and is 100% safe.
Another wooden nesting box from Ware Manufacturing, this box is 9″ W x 16.5” D x 9.75″ H. Great as a snug and secure place for your doe and their babies, this box is the perfect size for smaller rabbits to move around in while still feeling like they are safe. Completely safe for rabbits, this box is made of unstained wood which makes this box safe to chew. It is very sturdy and durable, and comes completely assembled and ready to use, great for getting ready for the birth!
This hay Bungalow from Oxbow is not specifically designed to be used as a nesting box, but more as a space for your rabbit to hide out and sleep. Made of 100% all-natural Timothy hay, this little house is 100% edible and encourages chewing within your bun, but is not easily to clean and therefore may not be sanitary enough to house kits. This bungalow will keep your bunny entertained throughout the day and replicates a burrow in the wild so they can feel comfortable and secure. It also supports your pet’s instinctual hiding behaviors. With no wires, chemicals or threads, it is completely safe for your rabbit too.
Suitable for small to medium rabbits, this grass house is another box that may not be suitable for birth, but is great as a hideaway for your pets. 100% natural, hand-woven and environmentally friendly, this house is completely edible and encourages chewing, which helps with your bun’s dental health. It also encourages their natural hiding behaviors and, with fun hidey-holes, you can keep your rabbit entertained by hiding treats for them to forage and discover. This house can be folded down easily for storage and transport, too.
These extra large grass houses from CalPalmy measure 14” x 11” x 10’’ and are big enough for your full size rabbit or several bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chinchillas and ferrets! Although these can be used for birth, these are better for just having around the rabbit hutch. This grass house gives rabbits the perfect place to hide and, 100% hand-crafted with natural grass blades, the natural scent of the grass will entice your rabbit and will make them want to nibble, gnaw and forage. This not only helps with their dental health but also keeps them entertained and free of boredom!
You can hide treats in the house and watch them try to find them, and the holes in the side of the house give them extra places to explore and hop through. This grass toy folds down flat for easy storage and transportability, too. You can buy in either a one or two pack.
This Wood House from Niteangel is made of wood and can be used either as a rabbit nesting box or as a hideout for your rabbit. Fairly small, this is designed for smaller breeds of rabbits, yet gives them a comfortable and safe and secure space to explore and rest. Made of natural, solid wood that is untreated, it is completely safe for your rabbit to chew on yet is still very durable and will last you a long time. With windows, you can easily look inside to see your rabbit and is can simply be removed for easy cleaning when needed.
Perfect for small rabbits, this grass house from SunGrow is great for providing your rabbit with a space for hiding, sleeping or resting. Made of hand-woven grass it is completely safe and non-toxic for your bunnies and even promotes gnawing and chewing, helping to wear down their teeth. Comfortable under their paws, this house can also be used to keep them entertained. You can hide treats around the house so they can dig and forage for them, aiding their natural instincts! While this could also be used as a nesting box, it can be difficult to clean because of the the grass floor.
Designed for the smallest rabbits, this rabbit nest from Lorchwise is made from handwoven, natural grass and is 100% safe and non-toxic. This means your rabbit can chew on it, promoting good dental health. Cozy and comfortable, your rabbit can curl up and hide in this nest, while also preparing for their babies to be born. It will keep them warm and provide them with a space that they cannot be disturbed in. The only downside to this rabbit nest is that it can be difficult to clean, which is an issue if your rabbit is giving birth.
It is such an exciting time when your female rabbit is about to give birth, and preparing for her properly is very important. The right rabbit nesting box will make her feel comfortable and give her and her kits somewhere warm to be that will keep them safe! Even if your rabbit isn’t pregnant, a rabbit nesting box can be a great play for your bunnies to hang out and play. With so many purposes, why not get one for your bun?!