Rabbit Breeders occasionally don’t fully understand the background of rabbits’ litter and may sell them to a new home without knowing if it has been spayed or neutered. And, if you want your rabbits to breed or adopt a rabbit and worry it might be pregnant, then you may need to know the symptoms of pregnancy. So, the question is how to tell if a rabbit is pregnant. What are the signs of pregnancy in rabbits? Let’s find out all the answers in this article.
Pregnant rabbit symptoms include gaining weight, mood swings, eating more than usual, or pulling off its fur. However, sometimes this behavior could indicate false pregnancy. Building a nest in the room corner is a primary sign of pregnancy, which means that your rabbit’s babies will arrive soon.
This article will briefly discuss signs of pregnancy in rabbits, how to take care of a rabbit, how many babies a rabbit can have, and many more. So, let’s get into it.
- 1 Pregnancy in rabbits.
- 2 Signs of pregnancy in rabbits.
- 3 For how many months is a rabbit pregnant?
- 4 How to take care of your pregnant doe ( female rabbit )?
- 5 How many babies can a rabbit have?
- 6 Conclusion:
Pregnancy in rabbits.
If your rabbit is gaining weight, has mood swings, and has a more rounded belly, then this means they are expecting.
Just like other mammals and humans, a pregnant rabbit would become a little bigger in its pregnancy.
However, it could become challenging to notice this with your naked eye until the end of the pregnancy.
In addition, until a rabbit gives birth, there may be few or no noticeable changes.
A pregnant rabbit can become aggressive and not want to be petted or stroked.
Also, a few hours before giving birth, it is possible to observe a rabbit pulling fur from its abdomen, flanks, and dewlap to line the nest.
When a rabbit is pregnant, they also start building its nest with the help of straw or hay.
Kindling refers to the newborn of a doe. Kindling typically happens in the early morning and takes about 15 minutes.
In addition, obstacles to childbirth are uncommon because it is a natural process.
Also read: Should I Neuter Or Spay My Rabbit?
Signs of pregnancy in rabbits.
Sometimes, female rabbits show signs of pregnancy, like pulling out their fur and nesting, which is in their habitat and is considered a false pregnancy.
In addition, when your female rabbit feels pregnant, this condition is a false pregnancy, which a doe can have in its breeding age.
Taking your rabbit to the veterinarian for confirmation is the best way to determine whether they are pregnant.
However, there are differences between false pregnancy and actual pregnancy in rabbits that you can discover with your naked eyes.
So, here are some signs that indicate your rabbit is pregnant:
1) Weight gain:
If your rabbit is pregnant, you may notice an enlarged belly as it may gain weight.
In addition, your rabbit’s stomach will develop after the kids are inside its belly, and the mammary gland will become more noticeable.
However, noticing the difference with your naked eyes could become challenging.
After reaching sexual maturity but before becoming pregnant, check the weight of your female rabbit before feeding once a week after it has given birth.
A digital scale will record their weight gain even if your female rabbit only adds a few ounces.
If your doe is gaining weight without changing its feed, it indicates your rabbit is pregnant.
In addition, your female rabbit should eat more frequently if it is having a litter since it requires extra nutrition at this time, which can be provided by alfalfa hay.
2) Mood swings:
If your rabbit is pregnant, it may have mood swings, resulting in aggression and not wanting to be held or pet.
Even if your rabbit is usually calm and friendly, pregnancy may bring on some aggressive behavior.
In addition, your doe would frequently bite or nip you and might forbid you from entering its territory.
During this time, you should be more careful and not try to hold or pet your rabbit if they don’t like it; instead, give your pet its own space to become normal.
While mood swings alone aren’t a solid indicator that your rabbit is carrying its babies, combined with other signs, it can show that its due date is coming near.
3) Building nest:
Building a nest is a solid sign that indicates your rabbit is pregnant.
Naturally, a pregnant rabbit will want to build a nest and may be seen collecting hay in a corner.
In addition, to layer the nest, your doe will also pull off its fur to make warm bedding for its babies.
Similarly, a rabbit will make a safe cage by carrying the hay in its mouth.
If you are unsure about the exact date of conception, a pregnant rabbit will start building its nest around a week before giving birth to its babies, which might help you establish a timeline.
To build the nest, your rabbit will pile bedding material in the corner of the room or dig to create a small den.
If they don’t like the bedding or are unsuitable for their babies, your doe may pull off its body fur to layer it.
She might even pluck off its body fur to extend the nest and create a blanket for its babies if there isn’t enough material available to meet its needs.
In addition, this behavior indicates that your rabbit’s babies will arrive soon.
4) Craving for food:
A pregnant rabbit will eat more than usual during its pregnancy.
In addition, your doe will eat more and desire more food, which is essential for them and their babies.
You should provide plenty of water, pellets, and hay to your rabbit during pregnancy.
A pregnant doe should be fed more food gradually, according to experts.
In addition, a pregnant doe or nurser should also have a lot of alfalfa hay since it is very nutritious and supplies the extra nutrients required.
Also read: How Much Food Should I Feed My Rabbit?
5) Feel its small ones:
The best way to check your rabbit is pregnant and having babies is to touch its abdomen with your fingers or hand softly.
In addition, you’ll start to feel tiny-sized babies after around ten days if your rabbit is indeed pregnant.
A female rabbit, usually known as a doe, won’t exhibit any outward pregnancy symptoms unless carrying a sizable litter.
The baby rabbits can be detectable inside your rabbit’s tummy two weeks after fertilization.
However, take care when handling them since too much pressure may harm the not fully-formed baby rabbits.
If it has been up to 14 days after the rabbit bred, do not examine the pregnant rabbit.
The developing fetuses may suffer harm as a result of doing so.
Instead, you shouldn’t try to visually inspect a pregnant rabbit on your own if you’re not a veterinarian or a professional animal breeder.
Till the day following birth, wait to check the babies and avoid touching them with your hands.
When checking them, lightly touch those that are dead with a stick.
At ten days old, their eyes finally open, but young rabbits are still blind and should be left with their mother.
For how many months is a rabbit pregnant?
A rabbit’s pregnancy lasts for 28 to 32 days.
Larger rabbit breeds have eight to twelve kits, whereas smaller rabbit breeds often have four or five kits.
When they are 12 weeks old, female rabbits can start having offspring, and they can carry them until they are four.
When a female rabbit (doe) delivers birth, this process is known as kindling which usually happens during the morning hours and takes around 15 minutes.
Obstacles rarely occur throughout the spontaneous process of giving birth in rabbits.
Once you have checked the young ones of your rabbit after delivery, try to leave the nest alone after a few days.
In addition, if you disturb a mother rabbit, it can become distressed or upset and stop feeding its young babies.
How to take care of your pregnant doe ( female rabbit )?
Although female rabbits are known for having extraordinary reproductive capacities, they nevertheless require a great deal of care and attention to carry their young ones to term safely.
So, here are some things that you need to consider to keep your pregnant rabbit comfortable and ensure their pregnancy goes smoothly.
Feed a high-quality diet:
Give your doe plenty of fresh greens and hay to nibble on daily, and provide timothy pellets as a supplement in its diet.
Giving your rabbit 1/4–1/8 cup of timothy pellets per 5 pounds of body weight is a good general rule.
You should provide as many vegetables or green leaves such as romaine lettuce, carrot tops, kohlrabi, bok choy, cilantro, watercress, basil, and mustard as your rabbit wants.
However, you need to take care of the pellet portion in your rabbit’s diet to avoid overweighting.
In addition, avoid overfeeding since fat and overweight rabbits may experience more difficulties during pregnancy and labor.
Also read: Do Rabbits Need Pellets?
Provide plenty of water:
It is essential to fill the water dish or bottle with fresh water for your female rabbit. In addition, you should refill it at least once daily.
Pregnant female rabbits should drink plenty of fluids to make enough milk for their young ones.
As your female rabbit starts to breastfeed, you’ll probably notice a rise in the water consumed by them daily.
Ensure that your rabbit continues to get regular exercise by taking frequent breaks.
It is essential to let your pregnant rabbit out of its cage for around 30 minutes to roam, play, or explore once or twice a day.
The movement will keep your rabbit’s blood circulating and ensure its developing children receive nourishment.
However, it would be best to keep an eye on your pregnant rabbit to avoid accidents and over-exercise.
In addition, if you are allowing your pregnant rabbit to roam freely, then you need to ensure that there are no harmful items which your rabbit can have access.
Sharp objects, electronic cords, and any tiny piece that could cause choking should be kept away from your rabbit.
Also read: Can Rabbits Roam Freely In The House?
Handle your rabbit with care:
It is essential to gently pick up your pregnant rabbit to move or hold them.
Place your rabbit’s lower chest in the curve of your arm, right above its front legs, and gently lift your pregnant rabbit by supporting her hindquarters with your hand from underneath.
In addition, to make sure your rabbit stays warm and safe, hold it close to your body.
When handling your female rabbit (doe), exercise caution. Avoid squeezing your pet or putting too much pressure on its belly.
If your rabbit is resisting your attempts to pick it up, consider covering it with a big towel before attempting to pick it up.
In addition, the rabbit will get more at ease in the darkness.
Separate from male rabbits:
You should keep your rabbits apart for a while if they are kept as companions in the same enclosure as a male rabbit could make your pregnant rabbi stressed out.
Put your female and male rabbits in cages that are close but separate from one another.
In addition, you should keep your pregnant rabbit in another cage but allow them to be close so they can see and smell each other by the wired barrier.
Separating your rabbits from each other and not allowing them to remain closer could be very stressful for them, which leads to depression, anxiety, and loss of appetite that causes a destructive impact on their kits.
After giving birth, most female rabbits can conceive again 48 to 72 hours later, so keeping them separate is essential unless you want them to breed again.
Also read: How To Choose A Second Rabbit?
Avoid stressful activities:
Maintain a quiet and calm environment around your rabbit as possible to ensure that it has a successful pregnancy and to help them avoid stress.
Rabbits are naturally prone to stress, but during pregnancy, they may feel even more anxious, resulting in the loss of the entire litter if they feel threatened.
In addition, you should keep any disturbances away from your rabbit’s cage and avoid making loud noises near it.
Also, if you have more than one pet in your house, you should keep them away from your pregnant rabbit’s enclosure.
Provide space and material for nesting:
Give your rabbit a sizable box and a lot of hay to create the nest according to its desire.
In addition, you should change the hay or other nesting material every 3-5 days or more frequently as necessary.
You need a box that is just large enough to accommodate the female rabbit completely.
Once your rabbit’s kits are born, you want the kids to remain around and not stray off.
Also, cleaning the area before birth is essential, especially if your female rabbit has the propensity to defecate in her nesting box.
How many babies can a rabbit have?
A single doe (female rabbit) can have 1 to 14 babies each time the female rabbit gives birth.
It is possible to become pregnant once more after a few days of giving birth to babies.
However, allowing the female rabbit (doe) to become pregnant immediately after giving birth is not a good idea.
Female rabbits hit puberty after 5 to 6 months and become mature to mate.
In addition, female rabbits reach sexual maturity at 5 to 6 months of age and can give birth to young for another four years.
The doe should be mated when its babies are four weeks old (1-month-old) so that they are eight weeks old ( 2 months ) when the following litter is born. In this manner, a doe can have six litters each year.
A litter of baby rabbits—known as kits—can contain up to 14 of them, with six being the typical number.
- If your rabbit is gaining weight, has mood swings, and has a more rounded belly, then this means they are expecting.
- However, it could become challenging to notice this with your naked eye until the end of the pregnancy.
- A pregnant rabbit can become aggressive and not want to be petted or stroked.
- A rabbit’s pregnancy lasts for 28 to 32 days.
- Larger rabbit breeds have eight to twelve kits, whereas smaller rabbit breeds often have four or five kits.