- Built a trust between u n the doe
Approximately 10 to 14 days after you first let an intact male and female rabbit interact, you need to check the doe for pregnancy. Make sure that your doe is eating a steady diet for the babies.
Gently palpate (touch or probe) the lower abdomen using your thumb and forefinger on the rabbit’s right side.
Feel for marble-sized bumps in the lower half of the abdomen, at shallow to mid-depth. If you feel one or more, the doe is pregnant. Don’t mistake pellets for babies.
Pregnant rabbits can be spayed, terminating the pregnancy and preventing further pregnancies. Rabbit overpopulation is a serious problem, and rabbits are the third most euthanized pet at shelters, after cats and dogs.
Place a nest box inside of doe’s cage at about day 28 of the pregnancy.
Give her a box when you see her pulling fur from her belly, or if you feed hay, carrying grass around in her mouth. Doe should kindle (give birth) approximately 2 days after you place the nest box in the cage.
- Some does don’t begin to pull fur until right before or during the birth; others start pulling fur about 4 days before the birth.the palm of your hand would line up with her tummy!
- It is a misconception that if a rabbit smells your scent on her babies, she will not care for them. You still should not disturb them too much, but make sure that they are all staying in the nesting box.
- Use your fingers and thumb in slow, massaging motions to feel deep into the belly, and give the doe’s abdominal muscles time to relax.
- Avoid palpating later in pregnancy, or be extremely gentle if you must, or you risk injuring the developing kits.
- Sometimes the rabbit will have lines going across the belly if she is pregnant.
- Don’t put your hand under her tummy, as it may agitate her.
- Put the nest box in about 3 days before she’s due. (The gestation period of a rabbit is 28-32 days.)
- Practice palpation on the rabbit before she is pregnant, so you can distinguish hard, tiny pellets and other normal lumps from blueberry-sized, round embryos.
- Never put your hand in front of the female rabbits face or she will try to bite it.
- Baby rabbits are called kits or kittens.
- Leave the doe in peace while she is caring for her babies.
- A pregnant doe may not like other males, she may even try to attack him.
- If the doe is in pain, chart it and time it to see how long the pain lasts for. If the instances of pain start getting close together, call your vet, as this might be the onset of labor for your rabbit.
- She’ll shed fur and put it on the kits but make sure there’s a hole so they can breathe.
- Make sure to check on the doe and her a lot regularly, but not too much. She will do most of the work herself and you don’t want to upset her. After she has her kits and recovers, lure her away from the nest with a treat and make sure all the kits are alive and healthy. Remove dead kits. You will not be able to tell their sexes for a while till they grow more mature.
- Does may go through phantom pregnancies. A doe may build a nest, get labour pains, and then try to push out her “babies” when she actually ends up pushing out her womb instead. If this happens with your doe, consult a vet immediately.
- Do not keep a buck with the kits or the buck may hurt the kits and the doe may hurt the buck.
- Don’t let any other male or female rabbit together with the babies
- Be careful that you don’t keep the doe and buck together over 11 days or a second uterine horn might get fertilized causing the babies to come out deformed.
- Have your vet’s phone number on hand just in case something goes wrong during the pregnancy, birth, or afterward.
- Don’t have the male in the cage when the female is giving birth.