Phoebe Appears to be Nesting

This morning when I went to feed and water the rabbits, there was a big, round circle of hay with a slight wallow in the center of Phoebe’s cage. When I came back out mid-day she had flattened it down. This is the second morning she has done this. Piper did this several times leading up to her kindling. The possible mating happened on May 29, so that puts her at 25 days, which was also when Piper started nest building. Phoebe and Piper share the same mother (not from the same litter, though) but had different fathers. In fact Leo is Phoebe’s father. But with Phoebe and Piper being sisters, it makes sense that they might share the drive to build a nest sooner. The books all say put the nest box in on day 28, but if I had waited that long with Piper it would have driven her crazy.

My son and I are going to make up one of the nest boxes and put it in her cage tonight. I know it is a little early, but we put it in early with Piper, too, because she was nest building like crazy and she calmed right down. I’ll monitor it closely so that she doesn’t decide to make it a litter box. It won’t go on the side of the cage she uses for that, so I doubt she will. But you never know. If she is indeed pregnant, and all signs point to yes, she might not know any better. This would be her first litter. I just want it to be a successful one. I know that rabbits can often lose a first litter because they don’t know what they are doing. If she is anything like Piper, though, she will make a great mother. And if she’s anything like Piper, she will take until day 33 to kindle. If she does, we are going to be up to our ears in rabbits.

I have to take some measurements of the shed this evening. I need to see if it is tall enough on the high end to build a stack-a-hutch or if we are just going to need to build another PVC hutch frame so that it fits properly in the shed. The shed has a roof that slants like a lean to even though it is free standing. Price-wise it’s a wash, so all that really matters is that it fits.

It has been sprinkling off and on all day, but I still wanted to have some of the rabbits outside in the tractors. I put the tarp over the top of one with a slight overhang on the sides so they could still see out and then put a wide board over the top of the other one, so they have plenty of shelter. If it were pouring I wouldn’t put them out, but it’s warm and sprinkling lightly enough that I sat outside for 20 minutes watching them before I went in. Today I have Piper and the kits in one (Piper actually wanted to come out, surprisingly) and Leo in the other.

I will weigh the kits tonight as they are six weeks old today and put it in tomorrow’s entry. How fast the time is going by! 8 more weeks and they will be at slaughtering age. And if Phoebe has a litter of at least that amount we will quickly be moving into eating rabbit once a week, assuming her litter size is anything like Piper’s.

Once we meet our needs, we have two people interested in buying meat. One is my daughter’s best friend’s mother and the other is the night hotel clerk and shuttle driver who my husband is picked up by every time he goes up to Alaska. If we can figure out how to get it up there, we will. I’m thinking maybe rabbit jerky might work if the guy is amenable to that, since it can go without being in a cooler, as it would be dried. I would have DH take up a sample to start with. In fact, we might do up several sample pouches for him to give out at work and see if anyone is interested in buying some.

The going rate at the food co-op for rabbit meat is $8.99 a pound. I think with jerky I could sell it for $6 or $7 for what starts out as half a pound before shrinkage. I should price conventional jerky in the store and see what it sells for, but it sounds about right. I’m starting to feel like this could really be something.

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13 thoughts on “Phoebe Appears to be Nesting

  1. Grace says:

    She may lose her litter, because she is so young and this is her first. Also, since she is so young, the kits might not grow well or survive. Piper was on her third litter so she was experienced. Piper might have lost her first litter, you never know (unless you do, haha).

    That said, I hope she does great, but I am also hoping that she is not indeed pregnant for her and the kits sake. And yours.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      I know she can, but I really hope she doesn’t. Piper’s first litter all survived according to the breeder I bought her from, and so did all of her second litter, which I bought, too.

      When I put the nesting box in tonight, she got all excited and jumped right in it and started rearranging it.

  2. That’s awesome news, the fact that she is nesting shows that all the right rabbit momma feelings are kicking in!

    She is perfectly able to have and raise a full litter of kits at her age, as a first time litter I would say 5 to 7 but she was also very ready and willing so could be 7 to 9.

    There is a slim chance that she will go though the motions, pull hair, build nest and then nothing but its rare..

    You are very correct, lines can be tracked, some tends to go early, some go ate, some go morning, some can go during the day etc.. sometimes weather and pressure changes can make them go.

    love the idea of the rabbit jerky..

    • LuckyRobin says:

      I noticed that her dewlap has grown larger seemingly overnight, so that’s another positive sign. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. That’s all we’ve been doing with this one. But at least she has the box now and she seemed very interested in it, getting in and moving hay around.

  3. My doe was bred on May 28th. Maybe they will have their litters on the same day. How old is Phoebe? If she is close to six months or over six months, she should be okay.

    • LuckyRobin says:

      That’s possible, certainly. Phoebe will be six months old on July 2nd, and she’d be giving birth very close to that date if she is indeed pregnant. I’m not sure which way I really want it to go. I want her to be a healthy doe first and foremost. But I really had been planning to breed her for the first time and rebreed Piper on the same day so if something did happen, the kits could be fostered. So if she’s not pregnant, that would be ideal. If she is, well, we’ll hopefully have some new babies to enjoy.

      • I have heard of does giving birth at four months old and it not ruining their health, but I have also heard about the other side of it. Hopefully, she’ll be a great mom and not let you down.

  4. At this point I’d say she’s almost definitely pregnant. Phantom pregnancies in rabbits tend to manifest at 14-21 days and are done by then.
    Also, you should look at jerky prices very differently. Once the meat is dryed you have a MUCH lighter product, like the raw meat weight is three times more. So like beef is around $5/lb but beef jerky is like $15/lb.

    Good luck!

  5. sojournable says:

    Oh no, no, no no. Phoebe and Piper have the same father, and Leo is married to Piper. Tell me you named them after Charmed characters, yes? Is there a Page, too? Now she really did have a different father… 😀

    • LuckyRobin says:

      LOL Yes, they are named after my favorite Charmed characters, but no, we don’t have a Paige or a Prue. We almost named Lola Prudence, but I just don’t like the name. And since Paige is my daughter’s best friend’s name, we thought naming a rabbit Paige would be a little weird.

      I was aiming for all space ship names with the other line of bunnies. It was going to be Serenity (from Firefly), Andromeda (from Andromeda), and Talyn (from Farscape). My daughter wanted Serenity because she likes the name. My son wanted to name Sweetie Belle just Belle from Once Upon a Time, but I wanted them to all start with the same letter if I couldn’t have space ship names for all of them. Sweetie Belle is a My Little Pony, but she’s the only one I don’t find annoying so we went with that. And we went with Starbuck for the buck from Battlestar Galactica, of course (the original, not the remake).

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