Rabbits make wonderful pets, and keeping rabbits as pets has increased in popularity. Rabbits are easy to care for, are very clean animals that can be litter box trained, are very quiet, and can have very sweet personalities.
A female rabbit is called a doe. She can conceive at twelve weeks old, and can produce litters of ‘kits’ until she is four years old. Male rabbits, called ‘bucks’ can breed until seven years old. Pregnancy in rabbits can occur at any time of year, therefore, unneutered bucks and does should be kept separate.
Feeding Rabbits in Pregnancy
All rabbits should be fed nutritious food, but this is especially important when feeding a rabbit in pregnancy. A pregnant doe will need lots of clean water at all times, and nutritious food, including alfalfa hay, pelleted rabbit food and dark leafy vegetable greens.
Is A Rabbit Vet Needed?
Pregnancy for rabbits is only thirty one to thirty three days long. The doe usually gives birth, called kindling’, in the early morning hours and that usually only lasts for about fifteen minutes. Pregnancy for a rabbit is instinctual and she will rarely need human help. If there is any complications, a rabbit vet will be needed. A good rabbit vet should be helpful with pregnancy in your bunny and also any rabbit disease.
A rabbit litter can be as small as one and as large as fourteen, with six being the average. The babies are born blind, deaf and hairless, so they are quite helpless. The mother rabbit will need to be left alone for the first few days, as if she is disturbed, she may get distressed and stop feeding the babies. When the baby rabbits are ten days old, they will begin to grow hair and develop further. The mother rabbit will nurse the litter twice a day, at dawn and at dusk The babies will be fully weaned at about five or six weeks of age.
A female rabbit can be impregnated just hours after giving birth, so she needs to be kept separated from an unneutered male at this time. She and her litter should be kept separate from other rabbits.
Pregnancy Rabbit Behavior
Pregnancy rabbit behavior will cause her to build a nest, and she may try to dig a burrow. She will need a box with straw, where she can build a nest and feel privacy. Once her nest is built, she will pull out her own fur, to line the nest, so as to keep the babies warm. Although most pet rabbit behavior is gentle, pregnancy in rabbits may cause agitated behavior. She may become defensive, even refusing to be petted or growling. After the babies have arrived and matured a little, the pet rabbit will usually return to her normally sweet nature.
Pregnancy in rabbits can be a fun time, once the little ones have hair, their eyes are open and they are hopping around. They can then be handled carefully and the mother rabbit will have returned to a relaxed attitude.