Rabbits have been kept as pets by pet lovers and animal enthusiasts for many years.
These creatures are very adorable and playful and can be a real joy to have around the house.
However, if there is one thing rabbits are known for, it is their ability to, well, as the saying goes, breed like rabbits.
Therefore, if you have both male and female rabbits at home, you should be wary about the signs of a pregnant rabbit.
This article will serve as a guide for understanding the signs of a pregnant rabbit.
We will outline a few telltale signs of a pregnant rabbit, after which the article will explain how you can prepare for the new arrivals in the best way possible.
4 Signs of a Pregnant Rabbit
If you are wondering whether or not your female rabbit (doe) is pregnant, or want to look out for the signs of a pregnant rabbit in the future, look no further.
Below are the most common signs and symptoms of a pregnant rabbit.
She’s Recently Been in Close Contact with a Male Rabbit
One of the most initially obvious signs of a pregnant female rabbit is that she has recently been in contact with an intact male rabbit.
Notably, rabbit bunnies remain in gestation for only about a month before they are conceived.
Therefore, if she has not been near a potential mate in the last month, she is definitely not pregnant.
However, if your female rabbit has been in close contact with a male within the last month, it is highly possible, even likely, that your rabbit is pregnant.
Even so, it is recommended to look out for the other signs before making a definitive call.
Your Rabbit is Gaining Abdominal Weight
As with any other animal, your rabbit will gain a bit of weight during pregnancy, specifically in the abdominal area.
While this may not be easy to determine with the naked eye, it is possible to track the changes in your doe’s weight using a digital scale.
At most, she will only gain a few ounces over the course of her pregnancy.
Make sure you always weigh your rabbit before feeding in order to ensure that the weight reading is consistent.
However, if you are still unsure about whether your rabbit is pregnant, you can take them to a vet.
To determine for sure whether or not a rabbit is pregnant, vets perform a simple inspection of the rabbit’s abdomen with their fingers.
This is known as palpating and involves using one’s fingers to feel for the babies inside the rabbit’s abdomen.
However, this inspection requires some skill, without which you could easily damage your rabbit’s fetuses.
Therefore, palpating is something that can and should only be done by a veterinarian or an experienced rabbit breeder.
Changes in Your Rabbit’s Mood
As with most other animals, a rabbit’s mood will change during pregnancy, and usually not for the better.
Pregnancy is a time when hormones levels are high, and this can make your rabbit rather aggressive, especially when being handled.
If you suspect that your rabbit is pregnant, be very careful when handling her and she might get aggressive and start biting.
Moodiness may not be a clear-cut sign that your rabbit is pregnant.
However, when coupled with some of the other signs, moodiness indicates that your rabbit’s due date is just around the corner.
If you are sure that your rabbit is pregnant, be sure to give her some space so that she can rest and keep her energy levels normal.
This is quite possibly the most obvious sign of a pregnant rabbit.
When she is pregnant, your rabbit will instinctually start creating a nest for her babies about a week before the due date.
During this time, your rabbit may start stacking grass and hay into a corner or may start digging a hole to make a small burrow.
Moreover, if she doesn’t find enough material with which to make bedding for her babies, she will rip out some of her furs and use that.
Nesting behavior is a sure-fire sign that your female rabbit is pregnant and that you can be expecting the litter to arrive any time soon.
You can even help the process along by providing her with hay that she can use to build her nest.
What to do if My Rabbit is Pregnant
If you have observed all of the signs of a pregnant rabbit in your little doe and have even got confirmation about her pregnancy from a vet, you can start preparing for the newly arriving litter.
During pregnancy, the female rabbit will require clean water, a well-balanced and nutritious diet, and lots of space to rest.
Moreover, if you want to avoid your rabbit digging a hole in your garden in which to give birth to her babies, you should ideally provide her with a nesting box.
This will give her a calm, warm place full of hay where she can have her privacy when the birthing time comes.
An important step to take when you know for sure that your rabbit is pregnant is to separate the male and female rabbits from one another.
This is because male rabbits often impregnate their female counterparts immediately after she has given birth to their litter.
As a rabbit owner, you do not want this to happen as it could make your doe very stressed out as she may find it difficult to finish weaning her current litter before the second one is born.
However, while it is essential to separate male and female rabbits during this time, it is important that they still have some chance to interact with one another.
This is because it may be very difficult to reintroduce them to one another at a later date if they are suddenly prevented from socializing.
Ideally, it would be best if you keep your male and female rabbits in separate hutches while keeping the hutches close together so that your rabbits can at least interact with one another to some degree.
Male rabbits have a tendency to try and mate with the female offspring that he himself has fathered.
Of course, you do not want this to happen, mostly for the sake of the young female.
Therefore, it is very important to separate the male rabbits from the offspring for the first few weeks to prevent this from happening.
How to Prepare for Baby Rabbits
Baby rabbits are formally known as kits and can be born in litters of 1 to 14 rabbits, although the average number of kits in a litter is around 6.
The baby rabbits are born blind, deaf, and hairless and will begin to develop properly after about 10 days of being in the world.
You can be sure that if your doe has space, privacy, and a healthy diet, you won’t need to do all that much to prepare for and take care of your newly arrived kits.
The mother rabbit will do all the heavy lifting for the first few weeks.
During this time, it is your job as the rabbit owner to make sure your female rabbit has everything she needs, including food, water, and a private space to keep her litter warm and well taken care of.
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