How to Induce Labor in Rabbits?

Is your female rabbit past her due date?

Typically, rabbits should give birth within 28-31 days after being pregnant. However, this timeline is just an estimate.

So, if your rabbit is past her due date, you can consider inducing labor. It should be noted, though, that this is not recommended.

Inducing Labor in Rabbits

Inducing labor in rabbits is typically done when your rabbit is overdue. It has been 31 days, and the rabbit has built her nest, but there are no babies.

If that is the case with your rabbit, you might consider induction. However, it is always recommended to let instead nature take control.

You need to be patient and trust the birthing process. It is not unusual for the doe to not give birth one or two days after the expected due date.

Wait to see if your doe gives birth naturally on her own. However, if she passes the 34th-day mark, you should consider induction.

It should be noted that before any induction method, you should talk to a veterinarian. Before trying any method, ask your rabbit’s doctor if it is safe for your doe.

Some methods can be dangerous if you are doing them by yourself. Hence, you should consult a professional who can guide you better.

Signs of Labor in Rabbits

First of all, you should look for signs of labor in your rabbits. If you don’t find any of these in your doe, you should consider induction.

However, stop induction if you see your female rabbit displaying any of these signs. Let the process take place naturally.

There are several things that indicate labor in your rabbits. For example, if your rabbit is territorial, she might be ready to give birth.

Additionally, a sign of labor if your doe pulls out her hair to make a nest. Other signs include being moody, digging, and having a loss of appetite.

Mood changes are pretty common in pregnant female rabbits. The closer to labor they are, the moodier they become.

This is because of her high hormones at the time. If you see her being aggressive, it’s likely she is about to give birth.

Lastly, if there’s any bleeding, it’s an obvious sign that your doe is in labor. Just change the bedding if possible to ensure everything is sanitary and clean.

The birthing process takes a couple of minutes only. Hence, you should be checking their bedding for any blood or kits.

How to Induce Labor in Rabbits

If you don’t notice any of the aforementioned signs of labor, you can consider induction.

However, let things process naturally if you see any bleeding, digging, unusual behavior, etc.

 You should also consider induction if it has been more than 34 days of gestation. Here’s what you can do to induce labor in rabbits:

Feed Them Raspberry Leaves

If you are trying to induce labor in rabbits at home, you should first consider something simple. This is why the best choice is to feed her raspberry leaves.

These leaves are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Hence, they can help flush out any harmful toxins.

Once the bad toxins are removed, the female rabbit will be much more comfortable. She will also likely be ready to give birth.

Additionally, raspberry leaves are also known to calm the nerves. This remedy is safe, simple, actually enjoyable, and helpful for the rabbit.

Just make sure to grind the leaves before feeding your doe properly. And make sure to not feed her with too much of these leaves.

If you are giving dried raspberry leaves, simply sprinkle them on top. However, if fresh, grind or chop them and then mix them with her hay.

Use Fresh or Dried Lavender

Using fresh or dried lavender is another simple, affordable, and safe remedy to induce labor in rabbits. If you have access to 100% organic and pure lavender, consider feeding it to your rabbit.

Chop it or grind it into small pieces to feed her by mixing it in her hay. The taste is enjoyable, and it will also help her eventually give birth.

If you don’t have pure lavender, you can use another trick. Boil lavender in water and then let the water cool down to room temperature.

Once done, spritz the lavender-infused water on the rabbit. You can also add a few drops of lavender to the rabbit’s hay.

The lavender will instantly rejuvenate and relax her. As a result, she will feel more comfortable giving birth.

Position a Nesting Box in Their Cage

A nesting box can create a safer environment for the rabbit and would be more comfortable. However, you should ensure that the box is big enough to accommodate the rabbit.

The nesting box can be placed inside her cage. Here, she can easily give birth.

However, make sure to add plenty of water as well.

Create a Comfortable Nesting Area for Your Rabbit

When the nesting area is not comfortable, it might delay the birthing process. Hence, you should take the necessary steps to make the nesting area conducive to birth.

When the environment is not comfortable, the doe may feel stressed and anxious. This would delay the birth.

Hence, you should create a comfortable nesting area by placing soft lining material. This can be old clothes or a soft towel.

You should also position the nesting area in a quiet, dark, and peaceful place. The rabbit’s nesting area should not be in a noisy place where there are interruptions. 

Consider Exercise

Sometimes exercise and physical movement are all that your rabbit needs to induce labor. Some form of activity may bring about contractions and allow her to give birth.

Allow your doe to run around and move in your living area or her playpen. Movement for an hour or so can potentially induce labor.

Put Your Rabbit Back with the Buck

You can consider putting your female rabbit back in the cage with a buck. The encounter with the buck and potential mating will increase her hormones.

A high level of hormones will be all she needs to give birth. Moreover, you won’t need to worry since she cannot get pregnant if she is already bred.  

Give Your Rabbit Plenty of Water

Just like with humans, hydration is critical to induce labor for rabbits. You should thus ensure that your rabbit has access to fresh water at all times before her birth.

The water will keep her hydrated and help induce healthy contractions.

Consider Oxytocin

When all else fails, you should consider oxytocin. This is a hormone that is used to induce birth.

Oxytocin is effective in inducing contractions, so it is used for humans as well. However, this should be the last measure because it can be potentially dangerous for rabbits.

You should definitely discuss this with a vet before giving your rabbit oxytocin. It can potentially upset their digestive system and even make them more stressed.

Final Words

Inducing labor in rabbits should only be done under certain conditions when absolutely necessary. The safest and healthiest methods for induction include raspberry leaves and lavender.

You should also make their environment and nesting area comfortable and stress-free. Hydration is also key when your rabbit is pregnant.

Lastly, you should always get in touch with a veterinarian when considering induction. They will be able to provide better guidance.

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