One of the does actually covered the entrance to her burrow every time she came back out and then dug it free when she went down to the kits. In the wild, this is the way the kits are protected from outside predators. The mother rabbit goes about her business during the day and will visit the kits towards evening when she feels it is safe. If she feels there is danger, she will run away and return much later, though she will come daily to nurse her babies.
This little mamma had 5 babies. I have caught only one and there are four running around the barnyard. Fortunately, I have trained the dogs to leave them alone. That is really hard for Robbie, so he just follows them around and herds them from place to place, but her really wants to catch them instead. They are getting a little bolder and I have the fishing net ready to pounce on them with. For their own protection from hawks and owls, they are safer in the large hoop cage than running free.
But then I noticed that the mamma rabbit was taking staw down to her burrow again. The little rabbits were busy running here and there, and would still visit mom at home, though she was no longer nursing them. Petey must have gotten her right before I took him out of there, because it sure seemed as though she was nest building again. Then I didn't see anything more, so figured it was a false alarm. But yesterday, I did see a little bunny. Today I spent some time at dusk lurking about the big cage. First one little bunny came up the rabbit hole, then 2 more, then 3 more and in total there were 9! Wow! They are eating and drinking on their own and trying to nurse, but Mamma bunny is not having anything to do with that. The moment I moved, they were gone in a flash back down the rabbit hole. I need to stay in the cage and then cover the hole before they go down it and catch them too. I know what they mean when they say multiply like rabbits. This Mamma has had 14 babies in a few months. It actually was 15 because I found a dead baby brought up from the burrow. It must have gotten cold and out of the nest and the Mamma brought it topside so as not to contaminate the den.
Rabbits have to be one of the cutest animals. They are sweet and gentle and soft and cuddly, and they taste excellent too. Unfortunately, I cannot sell all the rabbits. The ones I have left over have gone into the freezer and as much as I love them, I also love them roasted, sigh. Do you like rabbit? The photos were taken on the phone late in the day, but you can see the little ones starting to emerge from their burrow.