How to Make a Bunny Nesting Box

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Although commercially made bunny nesting boxes aren't expensive, cheap or free ones are even better. That's the cost of your nest box if you have some scrap lumber, peg board and screws stowed away. You'll also need a small saw, screwdriver and measuring tape.

Measuring and Cutting A Nest Box

Start your bunny nesting box by cutting a 9-by-14.5-inch rectangle out of peg board to serve as the bottom. Using plywood or scrap lumber, cut two 9-by-14-inch rectangles for the sides of the box. To create a covered nest box, measure 4 5/8 inches on one of the sides, along the rectangle's length, then measure 5 inches along the rectangle's width. Connect both points with a straight line, then repeat the process on the other side. Cut a 9-by-4 5/8-inch square to serve as the top of the box. If you don't plan to cover the box, measure 5 inches along both sides, drawing a line reaching to the rectangle's top left corner. Cut along that line for both of the sides. Cut a 9-by-8.5-inch rectangle for the rear of the box and a 5-by-8.5-inch rectangle for the front.

Screwing It Together

Cut grooves into the back and both sides so that the peg board flooring slides out easily for cleaning. Screw the box together using a screw for each corner, using eight screws in total for an uncovered box. For a box with a top, you will need extra screws. A box of this size should serve the needs of a small to medium size rabbit. For larger bunnies, adjust the measurements accordingly.

Nest Boxes for the Not-So-Handy

If using any type of tools generally means you'll harm yourself in some way, don't despair. You can substitute a cardboard box. Choose one just a little bit larger than the mother, so she fits inside snugly. Cut a small doorway in one side that's sufficient for the rabbit to enter and exit. Leave a space of at least 1 inch from the bottom of the box to the doorway so tiny babies can't fall out. A cardboard nest is best used for does giving birth indoors. If your doe lives outside and your nest-building capabilities fall short, purchase a wooden nest box at a pet or farm supply store.

Lining the Nest Box

It's important that nest box lining materials attract the doe, keep the babies safe and warm and the box itself is easy to clean. In the wild, a doe constructs a nest out of her hair, leaves and grasses. You can put soft wood shavings in the bottom of the box for moisture absorption, then add timothy or grass hay to it for bedding. Fill the box over the top with bedding, then use your fist to create a "tunnel" in the middle. This tunnel should have bedding on the sides, top and bottom. At the back, move the bedding around so the tunnel opens to a small, private space. This type of nest most resembles what a wild rabbit would build.

What Not to Do

You might be quite proud of your creation, but resist the urge to apply paint or varnish. Although you can build nest boxes out of scrap lumber, don't use wood that has been treated with any substance. Mother and babies likely will gnaw on it, meaning you could end up with sick or dead bunnies.

Photo Credits

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Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.