Learn About Pet Rabbit Behavior And Care During Pregnancy

Learn About Rabbit Behavior And Care During Pregnancy
Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash


It’s a question we all have in our minds when our dear pet rabbit comes home pregnant one fine day – What to expect when your pet rabbit’s expecting? We all know that bunny rabbits reach sexual maturity at a very early age, around four or five months, and thus the pet parents should expect such accidents to happen more often than not. Unless your female rabbit is spayed, and any pet expert will recommend, to avoid unexpected pregnancies, get your rabbit’s reproductive organs removed.

Bunnies have a gestation period of anywhere from 27 days to 45 days. During the early stages of their pregnancy, there are not many tell-tale signs or differences in your pet rabbit. However, as the pregnancy progresses, bunny rabbits start exhibiting territorial and nesting behaviors. You may also notice some physical changes in them during the gestation period, the most common is a bulging belly and overall weight gain.

Rabbit Behavior During Pregnancy

In the beginning of their pregnancy, you may not see evident behavior or anything out of normal. As the pregnancy progresses, their bodies and their behavior show changes. They tend to become more aggressive and possessive in nature and their body shape changes. Pay attention to your rabbit’s body changes, body language and behaviors so you can take proper care for your pregnant rabbit.

You may notice the following behavior in your pet rabbits:

– If your pet rabbit is nesting, they will be seen gathering materials and plucking their own fur to prepare a nest for their babies. They tend to pluck fur from their dewlap and their chest.

– Rabbits will usually be seen frantic about building a nest before they are ready to deliver. And they would want to complete under any circumstances.

– A couple of weeks into their pregnancy, some rabbits may try to dig intensely into the corners of their outdoor enclosure. This is due to their burrowing instincts, to build a safe nest for their babies, from being in the wild.

– Rabbits’ body starts showing a protruding belly after 10-14 days. If you place your hand underneath their belly and lift up, you’ll be able to feel small grape-sized lumps.

– Your pregnant pet rabbit will start stealing from and growling at you. They’ll become grumpy throughout their gestation period.

How You Can Care Your Pet Rabbit During Pregnancy

Your pregnant pet rabbit will need the most care during their gestation period. From taking care of where they would nest, to their health needs and postpartum requirements is going to be your responsibility. Her instincts will guide her to be self-sufficient and do everything herself but any kind of help is always welcome. Plus, your pet rabbit is expected to be aggressive and scared when setting up and preparing for the impending delivery.

Here’s what you should do for your pet rabbit to help her through her pregnancy:

– Mother rabbits will have a bigger appetite. Feed them healthy food following a strict diet that consist of majority portion of hay and pellets. Add fresh veggies and fruits in the mix but in a small quantity. Refer to the diet chart below suitable for any pet rabbit.

– Provide only fresh drinking water and make sure she has access to plenty near her nest.

– Help your pet rabbit build the nest with the resources and materials they would need. Here’s the list of every type of material available that can be used by you to build or let your pet rabbit to build the nest.

– Make sure your pet rabbit exercises regularly to help with required blood flow and break down the sugar and nutrients in her body.

– Provide a huge box to the mother to create a nest it. This would prevent the new born wandering off outside the safe nest.

– Keep any unneutered male pet rabbit or the father of the babies away from the new mom. Their presence can be stressful to the mother rabbit. Additionally, if the unneutered male pet rabbit is around when she gives birth, he could mate with her again leading to another pregnancy right away. It’s beneficial to get your male rabbit neutered or female rabbit spayed if you do not want further surprise pregnancies.

– Do not stress the mother rabbit. Help them build their nest in a quiet and calm environment. And make sure she stays there more often than wandering outside in the wild.

– Give your pregnant rabbit the needed space. They do not prefer too much attention or holding during their gestation period. Avoid picking them or handling them. When you need to hold them, make sure you do it gently and carefully without hurting or scaring her.

Beware false pregnancy as in those cases as well the bunnies show signs of behavioral chances. Sometimes unspayed female bunnies have these false pregnancies. It’s impossible for a spayed bunny to be pregnant, but their bodies are convinced that they are because they had ovulated.

When they are going through having a false pregnancy, they will become moody and exhibit nesting behaviors. Treat them as you would be treating a pregnant bunny, as breaking their illusion may lead to mental imbalance and hazardous to their health.

Bottom Line

Although your bunny rabbit breaking the news of been pregnant might come as a shocker but you need to man up and be there for them in their need of hour. They would need you to help them prepare for the babies to come. From taking care of their needs to being affectionate, and showing patience to their tantrums, they’ll feel loved when you do whatever you can for them. The major focus for you during their gestation period will be to feed them healthy and safe nutritious food, supply clean and fresh water, help with nesting materials to build one in a secluded and safe place and get her checked by her vet once in a while.

A quick look at what you should ask the pet expert:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– How To Deal with False Pregnancy in Pet Rabbits?

Rabbits acknowledge that she isn’t pregnant around 3 weeks into the process. At this stage, she’ll start to act as though nothing happened. Until then, she needs empathy and support from you. Treat her as if she is really pregnant.

– How Do You Know When Your Pet Rabbit Is in Labor?

Rabbit pregnancy lasts approximately one month. If you know when your pet rabbit was bred, you can estimate her delivery date. Approximately a day or two before delivery, she will likely stop eating and show signs of restlessness and nervousness.

– What is a Pregnant Rabbit Called?

The female rabbit or a pregnant female rabbit is called a doe. When a pregnant female rabbit is giving birth, it is called kindling. And the new born baby rabbits are called kittens.

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