Dear fellow animal lovers! Rabbits are cute, fluffy, and lovely animals so it is not surprising to know a lot of people want to pet this little fluffball at home. Though some others may have a different kind of affection for them—like loving the taste of their meat—we all can agree on rabbits being lovable and irresistible.
To raise rabbits, either for companionship or commercial purpose, understanding your rabbit’s behavior is important because we don’t speak the same language, right? hehe. Especially for the pregnant doe, she may behave quite different compared to when she doesn’t. But fear not, because here we have 5 unusual behaviors of a pregnant rabbit you should know.
- More Aggressive
Pregnant rabbits may show more aggressive behavior such as biting, lunging, growling, or grunting towards you whereas female rabbits usually behave calmly. That is possible because of the hormones changing inside of their bodies. You may want to use gloves while handling your pregnant does to avoid the biting, but some said that glove would make the pregnant does become even more aggressive as it feels unfamiliar to them. That being said, strangers may anger her more.
The littlest thing you can do is bare with them until they deliver the kits. However, you may want to lessen the likeliness of them being aggressive by handling the pregnant does with more care than usual. Understand what upset them so you can avoid it. If it is the first time for you to have a pregnant rabbit, always keep in touch with your local vet to help you through the pregnancy period.
- Get easily stressed
Rabbits’ instinct to be always ready to mate and breed is meant to survive. They are prey animals so they are vulnerable in the wild. Hence, being pregnant make them even more vulnerable to predators and the-soon-to-be-mommy will be more sensitive. Even the tiniest bit of distraction or anything that upset and discomfort her can lead to stress.
One of the best ways to keep her comfortable and prevent stress is by giving her space. You want to separate pregnant doe from other bunnies, moreover her mate (or any male bunny). Because rabbits are prolific animals, the buck may try to hump and mate the doe again, regardless of her being pregnant or not. Though it is possible to mate while being pregnant, we don’t encourage it because it can harm the doe.
- Bigger Appetite
Your rabbit is pregnant means she’s eating for two (usually even more than that) and she needs to eat more. Her body demands more foods and nutrition. Increase her diet portion, especially for hay and pellets. You want to provide her good quality and nutritious foods because what your rabbit eats is what makes her healthy, right? Although, remember to do the changing of her diet gradually as the rapid change may affect her intestinal environment.
Pregnant doe will also need more water. Make sure she has an unlimited amount of clean water during her pregnancy (or as long as you keep her with you).
Note that after giving birth, her appetite will back to normal again. That’s why by the end of her pregnancy period, you have to decrease her diet gradually, too.
- Digging around
While this is not commonly done by all rabbits, it is indeed one of unusual behavior of pregnant rabbit you should know. Your pregnant rabbits will build a nest for her giving birth and digging is one of the ways she makes her nest. Female rabbit builds her nest depends on the cage environment she lives in. The followings are some ways your pregnant does would build their nest:
- Digging the dirt or soil and making a rabbit hole. This would happen if you keep them in an outdoor cage.
- Digging their grass, greens, and foliage if you keep them in tall grass pen environment.
- Help them by providing a nest box with a lot of hay to pilling up if you put them in a square like a custom wire cage.
You may notice them start nesting when they gathering hay and straw into their mouth like a bird gathering twigs for its nest.
- Pulling her fur
Your pregnant doe will start pulling out her fur when the labor date is getting near. This behavior may be alarming for the new rabbit’s owner who doesn’t expect it. But don’t worry, the furs will be used in making her nest, too. Hence, both pulling fur and building a nest is meant to provide her kits with a safe and warm place after being born. Remember that newborn kittens can’t see, hear, naked, as well as regulate their own temperature yet until day 7.
You can use the last two points from this list of unusual behaviors of pregnant rabbit you should know as a sign to know the delivery day is coming. However, it can be a little confusing because some rabbits may just start nesting a day or night before labor, and some others may start about a week before. Plus, a female rabbit with a false-pregnancy may also show the same behavior. Check out signs of your rabbit giving birth then consult with your trusted vet to make sure.
All in all, those 5 unusual behaviors of pregnant rabbits are still manageable as long as you know what to do and we hope this article does help. The most important thing is to understand the way your rabbits behave with every little gesture they show. That will help both you and your rabbits to bond, even the unusual behavior won’t freak you out.
Again, we encourage you never hesitate to ask advice from other rabbits’ owner and your local vet, especially about your rabbits’ pregnancy. All for the sake of your beloved rabbits as we always say that happy animal, happy owner, right? Good luck!