Pregnant Rabbits – Comprehensive Guide

Pregnant Rabbits - Comprehensive Guide

Pregnant Rabbits – When your bunny is pregnant and giving birth, it’s both an exciting and frightening time. Additionally, it’s a perplexing time, leaving you with numerous questions about rabbit pregnancy. Our family has had rabbits for decades and has produced countless litters of bunnies. The gestation period is between mating and giving birth to your rabbit, referred to as kindling. Pregnancy and gestation last between 28 and 32 days in rabbits, with an average of 30 days.

What are Pregnant Rabbits

When a female rabbit, referred to as a doe, is a sexually mature, sexually intact male rabbit and has mated with a sexually mature male rabbit, referred to as a buck, she can become pregnantOpens in a new tab.. Female rabbits mature sexually before male rabbits, and smaller breeds grow sexually before larger breeds.

Female rabbits of small or dwarf breeds can reach sexual maturity as early as three months, whereas larger breeds take longer. Female rabbit breeds of medium size can reach sexual maturity as early as four months, while giant breeds rabbits reach sexual maturity as early as five months. Boy rabbits mature sexually a few months later than female rabbits of the same size and age. Bear in mind that the ages listed above are the earliest dates at which bunnies have been observed to reach sexual maturity; they are not the average.

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baby bunnies – rabbit pregnancy

Complete Process of Rabbit Pregnancy

The nest box should be kept within the cage to make bedding for the newborn easier for the doe. At least 5 to 6 days before parturition, the nest must be provided. The nest box should be filled with nesting materials such as straw, grass, and wood shavings. Sawdust is not a suitable bedding material. A doe may pluck some of her hair to create a nest for her litter. Proper measures should be taken to ensure adequate nutrition and management during pregnancy. Increase the amount of feed consumed during the first 10 to 15 days of incubation. Ample fresh water should be available. As much as possible, environmental stresses should be avoided.

Kindling – Rabbit Pregnancy

The process by which a rabbit gives birth to a new baby is referred to as kindling. It is a physiological phenomenon that occurs naturally. Parturition frequently occurs late at night or early in the morning. It may not necessitate the keeper’s intervention. Typically, the process takes between 7 and 30 minutes to complete. Occasionally, not all litters will be born in succession. Some may be born several hours or even a day later. The pregnancy may need to be terminated via oxytocin injection.

The following parturition does lick the newborns and may consume the placenta. Baby rabbits will attempt to suckle from their mother. If there are eight puppies, all may be able to suckle, as the doe has eight teats. Baby rabbits that are unable to suckle may become weak and prone to disease.

Numerous of them may even succumb prematurely. Adequate food and water should be provided to ensure that the baby rabbits receive the maximum amount of milk possible. Rabbit used to nurse her young only once, usually at night or very early in the morning. From a single kindling, 6-12 baby children may be born.

When do Pregnant Rabbits Start Nesting?

Nesting is one of the most apparent signs that a rabbit is about to give birth. Around a week before she gives birth, the little mama will begin constructing her nest, which can help you establish a timeline if you weren’t sure when she conceived. Your rabbit will pile bedding into a corner or dig a small den for itself.

What are the Signs of Pregnant Rabbit?

Let’s begin with the earliest signs that your rabbit is pregnant and progress to the final signs that your rabbit is ready to give birth to her bunnies.

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rabbit pregnancy – she’s pregnant

Female Rabbit Becomes Cranky

Around day 10 of pregnancy, your bunny will become a little more grumpy. She is not going to want to be petted, and if there are any other rabbits or pets nearby with whom she used to cuddle, she’s going to push them away. A pregnant doe requires space, and she will obtain it even if she must be aggressive. Most pregnant rabbits will not want to be held at this point, even if they did just a few weeks ago. If your bunny becomes irritable, this is a good indication that she is pregnant.

Weigh Your Rabbit

Rabbits gain less weight during pregnancy than humans, probably because they are not pregnant for nearly as long. However, they do gain some weight. This is not the most accurate indicator of pregnancy, as we are talking about ounces gained during your bunny’s pregnancy.

rabbit pregnancy – rabbit is pregnant – newborn rabbits

Changings In Eating Habits

Pregnant bunnies eat more, so if you notice your doe spending more time at the hay rack or pellet bowl, this is a pretty good indication that she is pregnant. Throughout pregnancy, you should maintain a healthy diet consisting primarily of high-quality hay and a small number of high-quality pellets. While rabbits should always have access to unlimited hay, it is especially critical during pregnancy. Additionally, you may wish to increase their daily pellet serving to ensure they receive all necessary nutrition during gestation to raise healthy bunnies.

Bunny Starts Sleeping On Side

The loaf position is the most common sleeping position for a bunny, in which they sleep on their stomachs with their legs tucked beneath their bodies, resembling a loaf of bread. However, lying on their stomach frequently becomes uncomfortable when your bunny is pregnant, and they prefer to sleep on their side. While some rabbits sleep on their sides constantly, this could be a sign of pregnancy if your rabbit does not usually sleep on its side.

You Can Feel The Baby Bunnies

Palpating your rabbit is a term that refers to feeling for babies in its belly. It is one of the correct early methods of confirming that your rabbit is pregnant. Around three weeks after conception, you can usually feel baby bunnies in the doe’s belly. At ten days, experienced rabbitOpens in a new tab. breeders can palpate babies.

Learning to palpate your rabbit in a way that is safe for her and her offspring while remaining effective takes time. Once you’ve figured it out, it’s effortless to execute. While you are learning how to palpate rabbits, repeat the procedure at thirteen days and finally at seventeen days if you do not feel babies after ten days. As your palpation skills improve, you’ll be able to locate all the babies earlier and earlier.

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rabbit pregnancy – rabbit is pregnant – newborn rabbits

Steps To Palpate Your Rabbit

  • Practice on a non-pregnant rabbit to familiarize yourself with how an ordinary rabbit feels.
  • Begin by facing your rabbit’s head.
  • Calm your rabbit and support its head with one hand.
  • Cup their midsection with the other hand.
  • Feel with your thumb and forefinger for small grape-sized lumps that are the babies.

Ask Your Veterinarian To Perform An Ultrasound

Your veterinarian can perform an ultrasound to detect rabbit pregnancy as early as seven days after conception, though most veterinarians prefer to wait at least 12 days and up to 16 days. The average cost of abdominal ultrasound to detect pregnancy in a rabbit is $400. The machine is sophisticated and costly, and it requires more time from your veterinarian than a simple hand.

Have Your Veterinarian Palpate Your Rabbit

Around 13 days into your rabbit’s pregnancy, your veterinarian can easily confirm her pregnancy by palpating for the babies. This is a straightforward and safe procedure that you can learn independently, but your veterinarian will be well-versed in it. As a bonus, your vet will almost certainly teach you how to palpate your bunny during the office visit.

Rounded Belly

As your rabbit’s babies grow, you will notice a more rounded belly. A pregnant belly usually becomes visible around 20 days into the pregnancy. However, if your rabbit has long hair or began her pregnancy a little chubby, this sign of bunny pregnancy is much more challenging to detect.

You Can Feel Bunnies Kicking

Around 25 days into your rabbit’s pregnancy, her babies will be large enough that you can quickly feel them moving and kicking by gently laying your hand on her tummy. Take care when handling the bunnies, as the doe may not want to be touched, and the babies become more fragile than they were between 10 and 16 days into the pregnancy when you felt for them. Similarly, if your rabbit is not a long-haired variety, such as the French Angora, you can almost certainly see the bunnies moving and kicking as the mama rabbit relaxes on her side.

Early Nesting Behavior

Each mother rabbit begins the construction of her birthing nest at a different time. Some at the last minute, while others a few days in advance. On the other hand, many pregnant rabbit mothers will begin early nesting behavior days to weeks before being ready to kindle.

Early nesting behavior includes gathering hay or straw in a corner and building a deeper nest than they sleep on typically. Early nesting behavior does not involve stuffing the nest with fur. Early nesting behavior is a sign of pregnancy in your rabbit.

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rabbits reach sexual maturity – intact male rabbit – own fur – boy rabbit

No interest in Male Rabbit

The male rabbits are always attracted to female rabbits (they do breed similarly to rabbits). However, as a female rabbit nears the end of her gestation period, any nearby male rabbits lose interest in her. Hopefully, you have separated your female and male rabbits by now, but if not, you must do so immediately.

Weight Gain

Usually, pregnant rabbits gain very little weight. The variation is only a few ounces if you weigh them on day one and again shortly before birth. It will occur near the end of your bunny’s pregnancy; however, you shouldn’t place too much stock in this sign that your bunny is pregnant.Opens in a new tab.

What is Pregnant Rabbit Behavior?

Around a week before giving birth, a pregnant rabbit will exhibit nesting behavior. The most obvious sign that a rabbit is nesting is if she accumulates bedding or digs into a corner of the enclosure. Your rabbit may exhibit aggressive behavior and growl in response to being petted or stroked.

Do you have to Separate Rabbit when Pregnant?

Separate the male rabbit from the female rabbit to prevent them from mating. If you don’t separate them, the male rabbit will re-establish sexual contact with the mother after giving birth and with the female offspring when they reach sexual maturity. However, because the male and female are bonded, it is critical that the male can still see and nuzzle with the female through a secure physical barrier.

This relieves both rabbits of stress. Ensure that they are unable to reproduce! The primary reason to separate the male from the female is to become pregnant again within hours of kindling! Rabbits form powerful bonds with their mates, but they are also “induced ovulators”: mating induces ovulation and ensures pregnancy when they are together.

Do Rabbits Stop Eating before Giving Birth?

They rarely require human assistance during the birthing process, as it is instinctive. After ensuring that all babies are healthy and alive, attempt to leave the nest alone for the first few days – disconcerting a mother rabbit can cause her distress, and she may stop feeding her young.

What does a bunny’s inability to eat mean? The most common cause of appetite loss in rabbits is ileus, a gastrointestinal problem. 1 Ileus develops when normal peristalsis the contractions of the intestines that propel food through the digestive tract decreases or ceases.

At what Time of Day Do Rabbits Give Birth?

Parturition is the physical act of giving birth, and for the majority of rabbits, delivery occurs in the morning and lasts less than thirty minutes. When the entire litter is born, the doe pulls her own fur from her body to completely cover the litter in its nest.

Pregnant Rabbit Symptoms of Labor

The obvious sign that your rabbit is about to give birth is constructing a nest entirely out of her fur. This usually happens one to two days before birth. As labor progresses, your rabbit will spend more time in her nest and usually face the back, which is unusual for rabbits. You must avoid interfering with your rabbit while she is in labor. Even if she usually is sweet, she can be aggressive and even bite during this time. Allow her space.

How long are Domestic Rabbits Pregnant?

Domestic or domesticated rabbits, commonly referred to as pet rabbits, bunnies, buns, or bunny rabbits, are a subspecies of the European rabbit. A male rabbit is a buck, and a female rabbit is referred to as a doe, and a young rabbit is referred to as a kit or kitten. A pet rabbit, which is a member of the lagomorph family, is not a pet rodent.

Do Mother Rabbits Miss their Babies?

Because up to 85% of young rabbits die before reaching their first birthday, they have naturally evolved to rabbits mate frequently and mourn infrequently. Domesticated rabbits are more likely to express grief when a litter or bonded partner is lost. They often, however, do not respond at all. Do not be alarmed if your rabbit has waste and does not appear to be overly concerned with them. This is entirely normal and is a necessary part of the species’ survival strategy.

If left alone, a mother rabbit will not abandon her young completelyOpens in a new tab.. Unlike the parents of many animals, she will not sit with them. She’s more than likely to remain on the opposite side of the hutch. It will appear as though she is purposefully avoiding her infants.

This is a survival instinct inherited from wild rabbits. A wild rabbit will conceal her nest and avoid danger. This is to ensure that any predators target her rather than her young. At the end of each day, she’ll return to feed her young.

Can a Female Rabbit get Pregnant while She is Pregnant?

Although superfoetation is possible, it is typically reserved for mice and rabbits. Superfoetation is the process of becoming pregnant while already pregnant. It has been reported in mammals, including mice and rabbits, and a few possible human cases have been reported.

What are Pregnant Rabbit Birth Complications (Distress)?


Constant contractions, straining, and bloody or greenish-brown vaginal discharge are all signs of dystocia in rabbits. However, because obstetric complications are uncommon in rabbits and parturition occurs rapidly, and with little physical exertion, any sign of labor can be interpreted as a sign of dystocia.

Pregnancy Toxaemia

Pregnancy toxemia, also known as ketosis, is a condition that affects pregnant or lactating does (female rabbits), in which their dietary intake does not meet the pregnant female’s nutritional requirements. Pseudopregnancy (false pregnancy) can also be a factor in rare instances. This condition manifests abruptly and can be fatal if left untreated.

Why does it happen?

Pregnant have higher nutritional requirements than non-pregnant due to the energy demands of growing kits (baby rabbits) and preparing for lactation. If her dietary intake falls short of these energy requirements, the body begins mobilizing excessive amounts of fat to compensate. This results in an accumulation of ketones in the blood, resulting in the symptoms of pregnancy toxemia.

What are the symptoms?

Pregnancy toxemia in rabbits manifests itself in various ways, from mild symptoms that may go unnoticed to severe illness with rapid onset or even death. Among the most frequently encountered symptoms are:

  • Weakness
  • Dullness or lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abortion or stillbirth
  • Seizures
  • Sudden death

Is my pregnant rabbit at risk?

While any pregnant rabbit can develop pregnancy toxemia, certain factors increase the risk for specific individuals. Obese does near the end of their gestation or shortly after giving birth are particularly at risk, particularly young does pregnant with their first litter. Do those who are fed an inadequate or inappropriate diet are also susceptible to developing this condition? Stress, pain, and illness can all increase your risk of developing pregnancy toxemia by impairing your appetite and resulting in decreased food intake.

Can it be treated?

When pregnancy toxemia symptoms are detected early in the disease’s progression, treatment options include hospitalization for fluid therapy, assisted feeding, and supportive care. Treatment may be unsuccessful in more advanced and severe cases, resulting in the death of the rabbit and any unborn kits. Certain circumstances manifest exclusively as sudden death with no warning signs.

Final Thoughts

Rabbits should not bleed during the gestation period – or during a false pregnancy – except during labor. Consult a veterinarian if this occurs. Pregnant rabbits should have their enclosure instead of sharing with other rabbits. However, there are exceptions – for example, when same-sex pairs are specially bonded. You’d need to provide ample space for them and the kits.

Rabbits should not bleed during the gestation period – or during a false pregnancy – except during labor. Consult a veterinarian if this occurs. Pregnant rabbits should have their enclosure instead of sharing with other rabbits. However, there are exceptions – for example, when same-sex pairs are specially bonded. You’d need a lot of room to accommodate them and the kits.

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