The alpaca fibre is long and strong, very strong and very long. The babies are constantly moving, jumping and kicking as they develop their muscles and coordination in the nest. They are not able to stand or walk for a few weeks, but they are always moving. They squiggle and wiggle and jiggle and what happened is the fibre got twisted around the babies, so tightly in one case, he died.There were actually 6 babies, though I originally thought 5. The one who died got tangled and could not get back to the others, so he got cold and died. The babies must stay together in the nest to keep their body temperature up. If they move too far away, they chill and just go to sleep - forever.
I had to use scissors to cut the alpaca off the babies. It was twisted around their legs and necks and bodies quite badly. The fibre also was wet. The babies drink milk from the mother rabbit only twice a day, once in the morning and once at night for a total of only about 5 minutes. But for their size, they are able to produce quite a bit of urine. The alpaca fibre somehow retained the moisture, while the original mother's nest would have allowed it to move away from the babies.
So, once I got them free, I saved what fur I could from the mother, discarded the alpaca, and made a nest of hay, similar to a large chicken's nest, then put the babies and mother's fur inside. The high sides will keep the babies from straying as they jump and move and develop and the fur will keep them warm. They are in the porch anyhow and it is not terribly cold in there, so they are going to be fine. But whew! I am glad I caught the problem as quickly as I did or they would have all died.
The mother rabbit is terribly messy. She does not use her litter box and spills her food and water all the time. I know she does not like to be in a cage but the cage is almost 18 square feet, so she is not cramped. The nest box does not take up that much room either. I will have to clean that cage at least weekly, but she is wild and containing her while cleaning might not be that easy. Oh the joys of winter kindling!