Hello, fellow animal lover! Rabbits are prolific animals. Just like how we often heard saying “breed like rabbits”, they can be breed and produce offspring once they are sexually mature or reach 6-8 months old. Small size bunny usually matures faster than the bigger one, and some smaller breeds even reach sexual maturity at the age of 3,5 month. Female rabbits don’t go into heat and release eggs within 13 hours after mating.
You can ensure their pregnancy by palpating the doe’s abdomen about 12 days after mating and feeling the fetuses like little grapes underneath the skin. The rabbits’ gestation period varies from 28 to 32 days. Like how they mature a bit late, larger breeds also gestate longer than smaller rabbits.
Now now, after knowing your does are finally eating for two, make sure you know how to take care of the soon-to-be-mother properly. Happy mother bunny will be giving birth to health litter, and what’s more delightful than that for you as an owner, right?
We’ve told you that they mostly pregnant for about 30 days, but how do we know actually if the labor time is near? There are several signs of that, but these 3 Important Signs of A Rabbit Before Giving Birth are what you need the most to know so take note!
Getting more aggressive
Some animals are sure aggressive naturally and so do rabbits. But your usually-calm-and-friendly does may also show aggressive behavior like such as biting, lunging, growling, or grunting towards you on their pregnancy. Some said that those behaviors are likely due to the hormonal change inside their body. Pregnant bunnies are easily getting stressed that also leads them to be more aggressive than usual. The closer your bunnies to labor, the more aggressive they are toward people as they don’t want to interact with people during labor.
Using gloves while handling your pregnant does may help to prevent you from getting hurt because of their scratch or bite. However, the glove may make the pregnant does become even more aggressive as it feels unfamiliar to them. We’d say that the best approach may bear with them until they deliver the kits and to give them some space. Still, keep an eye on them regularly, especially in the fourth week of their pregnancy because they can give birth during the night or day within that period.
Nesting here means that pregnant rabbits will prepare a place to give birth. They will be carrying hays in their mouth then pile them up to make bedding. Sometimes, they also push blankets or loose bedding you provided to make a comfortable space for laboring their kits. Note that pregnant rabbits build their nest depends on the cage environment they live in. The followings are the most common way of your pregnant does would build their nest:
- If you happen to keep them in an outdoor cage, they will dig dirt or soil and making a rabbit hole.
- Should you keep them in tall grass pen environment, they will dig their grass, greens, and foliage.
- If you put them in a square like a custom wire cage, you may help them by providing a nest box with a lot of hay to stack on.
Most female bunnies will be gathering hay and straw into their mouth like birds gathering twigs for their nest and that’s how you notice your pregnant does start nesting. If your rabbits exhibit nesting behavior, they will most likely give birth within a week.
A few days or hours before birthing, called kindling, most female rabbits may shed their bellies and backs fur out to line the nest, which can be worrying to beginner owners who don’t know what to expect from their pregnant does. Remember that this is normal, and they will line their nest box with the fur to keep the kits warm since they are born in vulnerable condition with no hair, no eyesight, and no hearing.
If your rabbits begin to pull their fur out, there is a possibility that the babies will be born within the next day or two. Again, we suggest you check on them frequently in the last week of their pregnancy every time they enter and exit the nest box. See if there are baby bunnies in the hay or whatever nesting material your rabbits built because who knows you may wake up to a litter of rabbits in the morning. Yeay!
Now you know what is 3 Important Signs of A Rabbit Before Giving Birth, note that some rabbits experience a false pregnancy, a condition where their body thinks it’s pregnant, despite that’s not the case. Rabbits with false pregnancy exhibit nesting behavior and act moody, just like a real pregnant rabbit would experience. Besides the lack of growing babies inside the rabbits, false pregnancy behaviors usually only last about two to three weeks, making it as the main way to tell whether or not your rabbits are experiencing a real pregnancy.
All in all, we know you must be excited to expect the new baby bunnies joining your household. However, don’t forget to share the energy to prepare yourself facing your rabbits’ pregnancy. Call your local vet immediately as you notice signs your rabbits are eating for two. Also, ask for advice related to rabbits pregnancy from your fellow owner will never hurt. That way, you can be more prepared by knowing dos and don’ts, as well as what should and shouldn’t you provide for the pregnant does. We sincerely wish you good luck.