How Long Are Bunnies Pregnant?

Female rabbits (Does) can become pregnant when they are 12 weeks old and can continue to have babies up to the age of four years. Male rabbits (Bucks) can mate until they are seven years old.

Nest building – female rabbits instinctively build a nest using hay or straw when they are pregnant Fur pulling – soon-to-be mothers pull their own fur out to use as a blanket to keep the babies warm Aggressive behaviour – your rabbit may growl defensively, or refuse to be petted or stroked If you think your rabbit might be pregnant, we recommend taking them to the vet who will be able to confirm
or deny any suspicions.

After checking that all the babies are alive and well, try to leave the nest alone for the first few days –
disturbing a mother rabbit can cause her distress, and she may stop feeding her young. They
are born hairless, blind, and deaf, however after 10 days, they will begin to properly develop. The doe will nurse her kits twice a day at dawn and dusk, which only takes around five minutes due to the rich
quality of the mothers milk.

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

When your bunny is pregnant and expecting babies its an exciting and scary time. Its also a confusing time that leaves you with lots of questions about rabbit pregnancy. Weve had rabbits in our family for decades and have had countless litters of bunnies. In this article, Im going to answer the most common questions about your pregnant bunny.

Weve had rabbits in our family for decades and have had countless litters of bunnies . The gestation period is the time between when your rabbit mated and when she gives birth which is called kindling.

Female bunnies reach sexual maturity before male rabbits and smaller breeds of rabbits reach sexual maturity before larger breeds. Small or dwarf breed female rabbits can reach sexual maturity as young as 3 months old, while larger breeds of rabbits take longer to reach sexual maturity. Male rabbits reach sexual maturity a few months after females of the same size and age.

Keep in mind that the ages listed above are the earliest seen bunnies reach sexual maturity, not the average. Rabbit Breed SizeEarliest Sexual MaturityAverage Sexuality MaturitySmall or Dwarf Bunny4 Months6 to 7 MonthsMedium Sized Rabbit5 Months7 to 8 MonthsGiant Sized Rabbit6 Months8 to 10 MonthsTable Of Buck Breeding Maturity from RabbitPros.com You should keep these ages in mind so that you can avoid interaction between breeding mature female and male rabbits that havent yet been fixed. Im linking another article I wrote in case youd like to know more about the cost of getting a rabbit spayed or neutered .

Lets start with the earliest signs that you might see when your rabbit is pregnant and work our way to the last signs youll see before its actually time for your rabbit to give birth to her bunnies. At this point, most expectant rabbits will not want to be held, even if they loved it just a few weeks ago. A pregnant bunny will start eating more, so if you notice your doe spending more time at the hay rack or pellet bowl its a pretty good sign that she might be pregnant.

During pregnancy, you should continue a healthy diet that focuses on high-quality hay and limited high-quality pellets. In addition, you might want to increase their daily serving of pellets to ensure they have all the essential nutrition during gestation to raise healthy bunnies. The most common sleeping position for a bunny is the loaf position where they sleep on their tummy with legs tucked under their body, thus resembling a loaf of bread.

However, when your bunny is pregnant, laying on their tummy often becomes uncomfortable so they switch to a side-sleeping position. You can usually feel baby bunnies in the does belly at about weeks from conception. Learning to palpate your rabbit in a manner that is safe for your bunny, her babies, and still effective takes some time.

An abdominal ultrasound to detect pregnancy in a rabbit costs $400 on average. The machine is high-tech and expensive, and it takes more of your veterinarians time than a simple hand examination. As a side benefit, your vet will probably even teach you how to palpate your bunny as part of the office call.

About 25 days into your rabbits pregnancy, your does babies are going to be big enough that youll easily be able to feel them moving around and kicking by gently laying your hand on your rabbits tummy. All mother rabbits start building their birthing nest at different times. However, many expecting rabbit mums will start exhibiting early nesting behavior days to weeks before they are actually ready to kindle (give birth).

This hormone will drive her to build a true kindling nest complete with her own fur to keep her babies warm and snug. The final sign that your rabbit just might be pregnant is when she actually starts giving birth (called kindling). The most obvious sign that your rabbit is going into labor is building a nest complete with her own fur.

Rabbit Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby CareRabbits are prolific breeders. If you have both males and females and they havent been neutered, they can start to reproduce at ages as young as 4 to 6 months! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know if your rabbit is expecting.Are you concerned about your pet? Book a video consultation with an experienced veterinarian within minutes. Professional vet advice online Unlimited vet visits – for just $90 Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Rating: 4.9 – more than 1600 reviewsRating: 4.9 – more than 1300 reviewsRating: 4.9 – more than 1600 reviews Book Video Consultation Rabbit litters can range in size from 2 up to 12 baby rabbits, called kits. The smaller breeds tend to have smaller litters and the larger breeds will often have more kits per litter. Rabbits can get pregnant again as soon as theyre done nursing, so you may end up with more rabbits than you know what to do with! Check out our article on the benefits of spaying/neutering your rabbit.PregnancyFemale rabbits, called does, reach sexual maturity around 6 months of age, but some will develop faster and can get pregnant as young as 4 months old. Larger and giant breeds reach sexual maturity later, up to 12 months or so of age.The female will let the male know she is interested in breeding by lowering and flattening her back (lordosis), raising the pelvis, and showing the male her vulva area. They may be acting more hyper and will tense when touched in preparation for being mounted. The vulva itself will often enlarge and may develop a purple coloration. Temperature and daylight cycle often affect reproduction, and rabbits are more likely to get pregnant in the spring. However, this is not always the case in indoor rabbits where we control the temperature and lights.The average gestational period, the time the rabbits are pregnant, is typically 30-32 days. Rabbits can resorb fetuses if needed and this typically occurs at 11-21 days post-conception.Diet During Pregnancy and NursingThe does should have access to good nutrition before, during, and after their pregnancy. Continue to offer timothy hay and start adding in alfalfa hay and pellets. Check out our article on rabbit nutrition for more information.Birthing and Pre-Parturition ChangesYou may notice your female rabbit building a nest a few days or even the day she is going to give birth. The nest is typically made of hay, straw, and fur. The doe will pull fur from her belly, sides, and dewlap to use in the nest. You may notice the fur gets loose or pulls out easier up to 5 days before she gives birth. Be sure to provide a quiet area and ideally a covered box for your doe to make her nest in.Most rabbits will give birth in the early morning hours. The actual birth takes about 30 minutes in total. The doe will clean the kits, eat the placenta, and sever the umbilical cord on her own in most cases. She may continue to ingest afterbirth material for up to 5 days post parturition.NursingFemale rabbits nurse once daily, usually overnight, and the nursing period lasts for about 5 minutes in total. Does have 4 mammary glands, but may have more nipples in order to feed all their kits. The kits can drink up to 20% of their body weight at each feeding!The Baby Bunnies (Kits)The kits will bury themselves deep in the nest after feeding and you may not see the kits much at all initially. The kits will start eating the nesting at about 1 week of age and will have eaten the majority of it by 2 weeks of age. By 2.5 to 3 weeks of age, the kits will be out exploring more and starting to eat more hay.By 4 weeks, they are on their own! Be sure the kits have access to water by 3 weeks of age and water should always be available to the doe. You may need to place a water bottle lower down on the enclosure for the kits to access.The kits will start ingesting their moms fecal material at about 1.5 weeks of age. This is important to get the good bacteria they need into their GI tracts.Kits ears will be functional about 7 days after birth and their eyes open 10 days after birth.What if I dont see the kits nursing?Remember, kits typically only eat once every 24 hours for 3 to 5 minutes and this usually occurs overnight between 8 pm-6 am. This is not a time most people are up observing their bunnies. Does may not be the best moms on their first litter, so if you can, monitor the weight of the kits daily (again, this may be hard if they are buried in the nest and only come out to try and eat once a day). Consider placing a camera near the nest and use that to monitor activity and nursing so you can give the new family the privacy and peace they need.There are recipes for rabbit milk replacer and most use a base of a cat or dog milk replacer and add in additional ingredients to more closely resemble rabbit milk. Be sure to consult with us or your regular vet about the need to supplement feeding, appropriate recipes, and instructions for tube or syringe feeding.Baby bunnies found in the wild are rarely abandoned. The mom is just out foraging and keeping her nest location hidden by not hovering over it all day. Leave baby bunnies in the wild alone. Rabbits can become very upset if their young smells like another animal and may attack and kill the baby.Read more:Rabbit Housing TipsYour Rabbits Guide to Safe and Dangerous Plants to EatDo Rabbits Make Good Pets?Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding your rabbit’s pregnancy or another condition?Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.Dr. Tina PilgramLast updated: 2021-10-31

A Guide to Rabbit Pregnancy

Petplan takes a look at the process of rabbit pregnancy, with tips and advice on how you can tell if your rabbit is pregnant.

When can rabbits mate?

Female rabbits (Does) can become pregnant when they are 12 weeks old and can continue to have babies up to the age of four years. Male rabbits (Bucks) can mate until they are seven years old.Unlike most animals, rabbits can conceive at any time of year and for this reason, if you own unneutered bucks and does, you may want to keep them separate to avoid unwanted pregnancy or consider neutering your rabbits.

Preparing for the new arrivals

There are a few ways you can tell if your rabbit is pregnant:

Rabbit labour

A rabbit’s gestation period is typically between 31-33 days.When a doe gives birth, it is called kindling. Kindling takes around 15 minutes and usually occurs in the early hours of the morning. The process of giving birth is instinctive, so they hardly ever need human help.After checking that all the babies are alive and well, try to leave the nest alone for the first few days – disturbing a mother rabbit can cause her distress, and she may stop feeding her young.If you have any concerns, contact your vet.

Rabbit litters

Baby rabbits are called kits, and there can be between 1-14 kits in a litter, with six being the average number. They are born hairless, blind, and deaf, however after 10 days, they will begin to properly develop.The doe will nurse her kits twice a day at dawn and dusk, which only takes around five minutes due to the rich quality of the mother’s milk.Kits are usually fully weaned when they are between 4-6 weeks old. You should continue to keep a female rabbit separate from males during this time, as female rabbits can be re-impregnated hours after they have given birth!

Rabbit Breeding Age

Keep in mind that the ages listed above are the earliest seen bunnies reach sexual maturity, not the average.

Rabbits Getting Pregnant When Alone

I want to take a moment to state the obvious because with the questions we see here at Rabbit Pros, we’d discovered that it’s not obvious to everyone.

Signs That Your Rabbit Is Pregnant

Let’s start with the earliest signs that you might see when your rabbit is pregnant and work our way to the last signs you’ll see before it’s actually time for your rabbit to give birth to her bunnies.

Female Rabbit Becomes Cranky

Around day 10 of pregnancy, your bunny is going to start getting a little more cranky. She’s not going to want to be petted, and if there are other rabbits or other pets around that she used to cuddle with she’s going to start pushing them away.A pregnant doe needs her space, and she will get her space even if she has to be aggressive to do so.At this point, most expectant rabbits will not want to be held, even if they loved it just a few weeks ago.If your bunny is getting cranky, it’s a good sign she’s pregnant.

Weigh Your Rabbit

Rabbits don’t gain as much weight as humans when they are pregnant; probably because they are not pregnant for nearly as long. But they do gain a little weight.This isn’t the most accurate sign of pregnancy as we’re talking about ounces of weight gain over the course of your bunny’s pregnancy.

Changings In Eating Habits

A pregnant bunny will start eating more, so if you notice your doe spending more time at the hay rack or pellet bowl it’s a pretty good sign that she might be pregnant.During pregnancy, you should continue a healthy diet that focuses on high-quality hay and limited high-quality pellets. While rabbits should always have unlimited access to hay, it’s even more essential during pregnancy.In addition, you might want to increase their daily serving of pellets to ensure they have all the essential nutrition during gestation to raise healthy bunnies.

Bunny Starts Sleeping On Side

The most common sleeping position for a bunny is the loaf position where they sleep on their tummy with legs tucked under their body, thus resembling a loaf of bread.However, when your bunny is pregnant, laying on their tummy often becomes uncomfortable so they switch to a side-sleeping position. While some bunnies naturally sleep on their side all the time, but if your rabbit doesn’t normally sleep like this then it could be a sign of pregnancy.

You Can Feel The Baby Bunnies

Learning to palpate your rabbit in a manner that is safe for your bunny, her babies, and still effective takes some time. Once you figure it out, it’s super easy to do.As you are learning how to palpate rabbits, if you don’t feel babies at 10 days, be sure to try again at 13 days and finally at 17 days. As you get better at palpating your rabbit, you’ll be able to find the babies earlier and earlier.

Have Your Veterinarian Palpate Your Rabbit

At about 13 days into her pregnancy, your veterinarian can easily confirm your rabbit’s pregnancy by feeling for the babies, called palpating. This is a simple and safe procedure that you can learn on your own, but your veterinarian will have lots of experience with the procedure.As a side benefit, your vet will probably even teach you how to palpate your bunny as part of the office call.

Rounded Belly

As the babies grow in your rabbit, you will begin to see a more rounded belly.rabbit has long hair or started her pregnancy a little chubby, then it’s much harder to see this sign of bunny pregnancy.

Early Nesting Behavior

All mother rabbits start building their birthing nest at different times. Some at the last second, and others a few days before.However, many expecting rabbit mums will start exhibiting early nesting behavior days to weeks before they are actually ready to kindle (give birth).Early nesting behavior includes gathering hay and/or straw into a corner and starting be build a deeper nest than they normally sleep on. Early nesting behavior does not include adding lots of fur that that nest.Early nesting behavior is a sign that your rabbit is pregnant.

Disinterest From Male Rabbit

Male rabbits are always attracted to female rabbits (after all, they do breed like rabbits). However, as a female rabbit approaches the end of her gestation period, any male rabbits around will lose interest in her.Hopefully, by now you have already separated your female and male rabbits, but if not it is essential that you do so today.

Weight Gain

Rabbits normally gain very little weight during pregnancy. If you weighted them on day one and then again just before birth, the difference would be mere ounces.If it’s going to be noticeable, it’s going to be only towards the end of your bunny’s pregnancy though I wouldn’t count too strongly on this sign that your bunny is expecting babies.

Fur Pulling & True Nesting

Starting up to two days before giving birth, your rabbit is going to be flooded with a hormone that prepares her to give birth. This hormone will drive her to build a true kindling nest complete with her own fur to keep her babies warm and snug.Fortunately, the hormone not only drives her to pull her own hair out, but it loosens the hair on her belly and haunches. This makes it easy for her to remove a lot of fur to make a great nest for her babies.Hair pulling and nest building is the great sign of bunny pregnancy, and the last sign before birthing begins.

Birth

The final sign that your rabbit just might be pregnant is when she actually starts giving birth (called kindling). If you don’t know for sure by now…