Get excited because cute bunnies are coming soon! If you have a pet rabbit or raise rabbits for meat, you will at one point need rabbit nest boxes. Before you are ready to add your nesting box you will need to know how to tell if your rabbit is indeed pregnant. Follow along as we go over everything you need to know about rabbit pregnancy. You’ll also find out when rabbits start nesting!
Is My Rabbit Pregnant?
In the early stages of pregnancy you won’t be able to see many drastic changes, but soon you will be able to look for them. You can palpate your doe 10-14 days after breeding to see if you can feel some little embryos in there, they will feel like little marbles. This can be very hard to do especially for beginners. Don’t worry about that there are some other things to look for.
- Mood swings- This may be the most obvious sign in my opinino. You will notice a change in your doe’s behavior and this is completely normal so don’t take it personal. This has to do with those hormonal changes. She may not be as friendly if she was before pregnancy or vice versa. Mine flip their water bowls and move them around, and they even get mad at their feeder. It’s not good to see your rabbit aggravated but it sure does help me know if she is pregnant.
- A more rounded belly appearance- This is just like every other pregnant animal out there and may seem obvious but it is definitely a good thing to look for.
- Body weight- If you are like me and can’t palpate your rabbit to feel the babies, one thing you can pay attention to is weight gain in your doe. If you have fed a consistent diet and have monitored their weight before pregnancy then this should be an easy way for you to know if your doe is pregnant or not.
- Appetite change-Look for a decrease or increase in your doe’s appetite. Sometimes this could be an easy give away. My Rabbits will start eating more, and they have a new found love for their grass hay!
When Do Pregnant Rabbits Start Nesting?
Rabbits gestation is such a short time frame, if you don’t mark it down you may just miss the due date. Female rabbits start nesting within 5-7 days of her due date. I personally have noticed that 2 days is the most accurate number on our farm. So 2 days before my rabbits due date i like to add a nesting box.
What Is The Average Length Of Rabbit Pregnancy?
The average rabbit gestation period is 31 days but can range anywhere between 28-32 days. If your rabbit doesn’t deliver by day 32 many would recommend getting some veterinarian advice. If I personally don’t see any signs of stress or discomfort I give them a few more days. I always like to give them until 35 days gestation to rule out any late deliveries. I have had some go on day 32 with no issues. A good idea is to use this gestation calculator just to make sure you have the right due date.
False Pregnancy In Rabbits?
False pregnancies could be due to health problems but most of the time it is nothing to worry about. Despite what you might think false pregnancies are actually pretty common. Just because this is happening to your doe, don’t think that it is your doe’s fault, sometimes it could be the buck. With a poor diet, extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures a buck can become sterile, resulting in a false pregnancy in your doe. I had this happen due to extreme temperatures.
I do not breed in the heat because of this, we do everything we can to keep them cool. We have a huge fan to keep fresh air moving in and we place a frozen water bottle next to them to keep them cool. They don’t say anything but i know thy appreciate it. We have had a few false pregnancies and a good sign to us was that our rabbits start nesting between 14-21 day gestation. The first time we saw this we decided to let her go the full length of gestation and we ended up wasting a couple weeks with no new babies. So now you know when you see this, she needs to be bred again. Want to watch one of our rabbits give birth?! click HERE!
Pregnancy Diet? What Should I Feed?
A Rabbit’s Diet is one of the most important things to pay close attention to during pregnancy. I Make sure the mom has good nutrition the whole length of pregnancy. It’s a good idea to give them lots of clean water, free choice grass hay, and a high quality organic pellet. I like to go the extra mile and give them fresh herbs from our garden. Just be careful if you decide to do this, introduce fresh greens slowly as you do not want to cause diarrhea in your rabbit. You can also give them a little alfalfa hay as a treat.
Does My New Mommy Rabbit’s Diet Change After Delivery?
After delivery I like to keep her diet the same except I like to give them a tiny bit of oats as a reward for the great job she did. Don’t skip this, they look forward to it and wait for their treat. this will also help with their milk production. Also a note when those bunnies start to grow up. Around the 3 week mark is a good time to give free choice Pellet because those babies will start eating like crazy. You want to make sure mom is still getting enough.
When Do Young Female Rabbits Reach Sexual Maturity?
Young female rabbits can get pregnant as early as 12 weeks of age. However this does not mean they should be bred. A good practice is to wait to breed between 4-6 months of age. Waiting until 6 months is better for the health of your rabbit especially for small breeds.
When To Add Your Rabbit Nesting Box?
Now that you know when rabbits start nesting it’s time to make a nesting box. The nesting box will need to be added right before your doe delivers. The ideal time is two days before kindling. If you add it too late the babies will be born on the wire. If you add it too soon, your pregnant doe will most likely use it as a hide out box and a litter box or even as her little safe space.
The best way see if your mother rabbit is ready for her nesting box is to put a handful of hay in her nest. If she eats it or doesn’t care much about it she is not ready. If you see her go after the hay and start to stuff it in her mouth, that is a clear sign that she is ready. A pregnant rabbit will try to fit as much material in her mouth at one time when she is ready to build a nest. She will also start to pull out her own fur to keep her new babies warm. When you see this add the box and get excited for your new baby bunnies! I think this part is so cute!
Why We Raise Rabbits
We personally chose rabbits because of how quick we can get meat. Rabbits are also great for homesteaders who don’t have much room but still want their own meat. While we do have 30 acres, we still liked how they didn’t take up much space on our land. They also have a great amount of meat in relation to the amount of food they require. It is easy to afford a healthy diet for them because they don’t require much!
Rabbits typically have babies year around. In south Louisiana we choose not to breed during summer time since it’s too hot during that time of year. We choose to breed our rabbits in the fall, winter, and spring. Once we start in the fall we will breed them every 1-2 months after they have their babies. The babies are then ready to be butchered by 8-12 weeks old. We harvest the meat and keep the organs as well as the bones. We use every part that we can, so nothing goes to waste. This makes for a delicious and gut healing, rabbit bone broth.
Do you raise rabbits? Let me know the signs you look for when you suspect your rabbit is pregnant?