How Do I Take Care Of My Pregnant Rabbit? Essential Tips and Tricks

Taking care of a pregnant rabbit can be a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Understanding rabbit pregnancy and providing attentive care are essential to ensure that both the doe and her future offspring are healthy and thriving.

By familiarizing yourself with the specific needs of your pregnant rabbit, you will be well-prepared to support her throughout this exciting journey.

Pregnant rabbits, or does, go through several stages which include pre-pregnancy care, pregnancy care, nesting, and birth, followed by postnatal care.

By understanding these stages and providing a clean, safe, and comfortable environment, you can help facilitate a healthy and successful pregnancy for your rabbit.

pregnant rabbit

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize the different stages of rabbit pregnancy and provide appropriate care and support throughout each stage
  • Prioritize the health and wellbeing of both the pregnant doe and her offspring by maintaining a clean, secure, and comfortable environment
  • Engage regularly with a veterinarian specializing in rabbits, to ensure the optimal health of your pregnant rabbit and her babies

Understanding Rabbit Pregnancy

Understanding rabbit pregnancy is crucial for rabbit owners, especially those who may have intact male and female rabbits.

Rabbit pregnancy, also known as gestation, typically lasts around 28-31 days. During this time, the pregnant rabbit, also called a doe, will exhibit various physical and behavioral changes.

It’s important to be aware of the signs of pregnancy in rabbits, which may include weight gain, nesting behavior, and changes in appetite.

Additionally, understanding the proper care and housing for a pregnant rabbit, as well as being prepared for the arrival of kits (baby rabbits), is essential.

Rabbit owners should also be aware of the potential risks and complications associated with rabbit pregnancy, such as pseudopregnancy (false pregnancy), dystocia (difficult or obstructed labor), and the need for proper nutrition and veterinary care during this time.

By understanding the intricacies of rabbit pregnancy, owners can provide appropriate care and support for their pregnant rabbits, ensuring the health and wellbeing of both the mother and her offspring.

How to Take Care of a Pregnant Rabbit

Stages of Pregnancy

Rabbit pregnancy lasts around 31 days and can be divided into three main stages: early, middle, and late pregnancy. During each stage, different signs and symptoms may be exhibited by your rabbit.

  • Early pregnancy (1-10 days): There are typically no obvious changes in your rabbit’s behavior during this stage.
  • Middle pregnancy (11-20 days): During this period, you might begin to notice changes in appetite and slight weight gain.
  • Late pregnancy (21-31 days): Your rabbit may become more territorial, start nesting behavior, and show physical changes such as belly swelling.

Signs of Pregnancy

When your rabbit is pregnant, you may observe the following symptoms:

  1. Increased appetite: Your rabbit might start eating more than usual.
  2. Weight gain: As the babies grow, your rabbit’s weight will increase.
  3. Nesting behavior: You’ll notice your rabbit gathering hay or other materials to create a nest.
  4. Territorial behavior: Pregnant rabbits tend to be more protective of their space.
  5. Palpation: From day 10 to 14, you might be able to feel the developing kits by carefully palpating your rabbit’s abdomen.
  6. Ultrasound or veterinarian confirmation: Consult your vet to confirm the pregnancy.
X ray of pregnant rabbit

It’s important to note that not all rabbits exhibit these symptoms. Therefore, always consult with your vet if you suspect your rabbit is pregnant.

False Pregnancy

Sometimes, rabbits can experience a false pregnancy. This is when your rabbit shows signs of pregnancy without actually being pregnant.

False pregnancies are common in rabbits and can be caused by hormonal imbalances or psychological factors. Some signs of false pregnancy include:

  • Nest building
  • Increased appetite
  • Swollen mammary glands
  • Mood changes

It’s crucial to consult with your vet if you’re unsure whether your rabbit is pregnant or experiencing a false pregnancy. They can provide guidance and proper care for both scenarios.

Pre-Pregnancy Care

Pre-pregnancy care for rabbits is an essential aspect of responsible rabbit ownership, especially for those considering breeding their rabbits.

This care encompasses various important elements aimed at ensuring the health and wellbeing of the potential mother (doe) and the subsequent litter of kits.

Choosing the Right Mate

When planning to breed rabbits, it’s essential to select a healthy male and female rabbit from compatible breeds.

This will ensure that the offspring have the best chance of thriving. Research the specific breed or consult with a specialist to make informed decisions on pairing rabbits.

Health Check and Vaccination

Before breeding, both rabbits should undergo a thorough health check by a veterinarian. Ensuring that both rabbits are healthy is critical for a successful pregnancy.

Visit a veterinarian who specializes in rabbits for advice on necessary health precautions. Vaccinations are important to keep your rabbits safe from potential illnesses.

Learn about which shots or vaccinations rabbits may need from a reliable source, like a vet’s advice on rabbit vaccinations.

Housing and Environment Preparation

Proper housing and environment are crucial for the well-being of a pregnant rabbit. A cage or hutch must be large enough to accommodate the female and her future offspring comfortably.

A minimum size of 25-30 inches (64-76 cm) x 15 inches (38 cm) is recommended. Also, consider both one-time and monthly expenses to anticipate the costs associated with owning rabbits.

Check out this guide on rabbit expenses for a detailed breakdown.

  • Provide clean bedding and avoid toxic materials
  • Ensure the cage or hutch is secure and predator-proof
  • Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level

Remember to schedule regular veterinary checkups as advised in this article on rabbit vet visits. Keeping both the male and female rabbits in top health will promote a successful and healthy pregnancy.

Caring for a Pregnant Rabbit

Caring for a pregnant rabbit is a crucial responsibility for rabbit owners, as it directly impacts the health and wellbeing of both the mother and her offspring.

In this section, we delve into the essential aspects of providing proper care for a pregnant rabbit, including creating a suitable nesting environment, ensuring proper nutrition, and Exercise and Activity.

By addressing these key elements, rabbit owners can provide the necessary support and care to ensure a successful and healthy pregnancy for their rabbit.


Proper nutrition is essential for your pregnant rabbit. A balanced diet with high-quality pellets, hay, and fresh vegetables must be provided.

Also, gradually increase the amount of food during pregnancy to accommodate the weight gain and growing kits inside her.

Safe Handling

Pregnant rabbits can be more sensitive and prone to stress, which can affect their health and the health of the kits.

To build trust and befriend a shy bunny, Expert Tips for Building Trust! suggests taking your time, being patient, and using a gentle approach.

When handling your pregnant rabbit, always pick her up gently and securely, and minimize stressful situations. Remember to choose the safest carrier when transporting her.

Exercise and Activity

Exercise is crucial for your pregnant rabbit’s wellbeing. Regular physical activity helps her maintain a healthy weight and prevents health issues.

However, due to her increased sensitivity, be cautious about her exercise routine during pregnancy. To ensure your rabbit gets enough exercise, consider following these simple tips for a happy bunny.

Pregnant rabbits should ideally be allowed out for exercise according to how often you should let your rabbit out.

Always keep an eye on your pregnant rabbit’s exercise activities, ensuring her safety while allowing her to roam and stretch comfortably.

Keeping stress levels low and ensuring a proper diet, handling, and exercise routine will significantly contribute to a healthy pregnancy for your rabbit and her kits.

Nesting and Birth

Nesting and birth are critical stages in the reproductive cycle of rabbits, requiring careful attention and preparation from the owner.

During the nesting phase, a pregnant rabbit, or doe, will exhibit specific behaviors indicating her readiness to give birth.

This includes creating a nest using hay, fur, and other soft materials to provide a comfortable and secure environment for her kits.

Part 2: Rabbit pregnancy & birth - nest boxes, kindling, and handling kits

Nesting Behavior

Nesting behavior in pregnant rabbits usually begins a few days before kindling (giving birth). Your pregnant rabbit may become more territorial and aggressive during this time.

She will begin gathering materials like straw and bedding and may even start fur pulling to line the nest. Keep an eye on her behavior to anticipate when she might give birth.

Preparing a Nesting Box

To help your rabbit feel comfortable and ready for the birthing process, it’s essential to provide her with a proper nesting box.

Make sure the box is spacious enough for her and her kits, and place it within her living area. Fill the box with a comfortable layer of straw or bedding, and she will likely rearrange it to her liking.

Nesting box1
Straw or beddingAmple

As a vet specializing in rabbits, I’ve often seen rabbits create cozy nests by adding their own fur, pulled from their chest and abdomen, as extra insulation for their newborns.

The Birthing Process

Kindling, or rabbit parturition, is generally quick and quiet.

Your rabbit may appear restless or uncomfortable just before giving birth. She will usually give birth to her kits when undisturbed and confident in her safety.

When your rabbit begins giving birth, it’s best to observe from a distance and avoid interfering.

The mother rabbit will clean her babies and feed them shortly after birth. It’s important to give her space and privacy during this crucial bonding period.

Remember, while it’s natural to be concerned about your pregnant rabbit, keeping her comfortable and providing a proper nesting environment is the key to ensuring a healthy birthing process.

Trust her instincts and your preparedness to navigate this exciting time.

Postnatal Care

Postnatal care is crucial for the health and wellbeing of both the mother rabbit (doe) and her newborn kits.

After the birth of the kits, the doe requires a supportive and stress-free environment to care for her offspring.

This involves providing a warm and secure nesting area, ensuring the doe has access to a balanced diet and fresh water, and monitoring her for any signs of distress or health issues.

Feeding the Baby Rabbits

After the birth of the kits, the mother rabbit will nurse her babies. Newborn rabbits should be fed twice daily with the mother’s milk.

If the doe is not producing enough milk, or if she is unable to care for her young, a milk replacer can be used. The following table outlines the daily feeding schedule:

Day of AgeMilk Amount
1-31-2 ml per kit
4-72-5 ml per kit
8-145-10 ml per kit
15-2110-15 ml per kit

Be sure to monitor and adjust the milk volumes as needed based on the size and growth of the kits. It is essential to maintain proper hygiene during feeding to prevent infections.

Health Check of Babies

Regularly inspect the baby rabbits for any signs of illness or injury. Check for healthy weight gain, hydration, and cleanliness around their eyes and noses.

Maintain a clean birthing area to help prevent the spread of disease and bacteria, which can lead to severe health problems.

It is important to be observant of the kits’ behavior. Lethargy, refusal to eat, and excessive crying are warning signs that may indicate sick kits, requiring immediate attention.

Housing and Care for Newborns

Proper housing is crucial for newborn rabbits. The mother rabbit needs a safe and comfortable space to nurse and care for her kits.

Ensure the enclosure has soft bedding material and plenty of space for the doe and her young.

Keep the babies warm by providing ample nesting material and maintain cleanliness by promptly removing any soiled hay or bedding.

As the kits grow, they will start to explore their surroundings. Create a rabbit-safe environment by providing hiding spots, toys, and ample room for them to hop and play.

Gradually introduce solid foods when the kits are around three weeks old, and always provide fresh water.

Remember that proper care for your pregnant rabbit and her newborn kits is necessary to ensure their health and happiness.

Preventing Unwanted Pregnancy

Preventing unwanted pregnancy in rabbits is a crucial aspect of responsible rabbit ownership, especially for individuals who keep both male and female rabbits.

Uncontrolled breeding can lead to overpopulation and strain resources, potentially resulting in health issues for the rabbits and their offspring.

Neutering and Spaying

To prevent unwanted litters in rabbits, it’s essential to neuter male rabbits and spay female rabbits. Neutering and spaying not only help control the rabbit population but also have health benefits.

For instance, spaying female rabbits reduces the risk of uterine cancer. It’s recommended to neuter male rabbits and spay female rabbits before they reach puberty.

When caring for your rabbit post-neuter or spay, it’s crucial to monitor their recovery and ensure they’re comfortable. Learn more about how to take care of your rabbit post-neuter or spay.

Adoption and Rescue

Adoption and rescue are also effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of homeless rabbits.

By adopting rabbits from shelters, you give them a second chance at a good life while controlling their population.

When adopting a rabbit, ensure that it comes from a reputable rescue organization or shelter.

Adopting a rabbit that has already been neutered or spayed makes it easier to introduce it to your existing rabbit without worrying about unwanted litters.

In summary, neutering and spaying your rabbits, as well as adopting from reputable shelters, can significantly help in preventing unwanted rabbit pregnancies and promoting a healthier rabbit population.

Expert Tips on Rabbit Pregnancy

Old rabbit care

Keep the environment clean: Pregnant rabbits are sensitive to their surroundings. Ensure their enclosure is regularly cleaned and avoid using toxic cleaning products.

As a vet specialising in rabbits, I’ve seen how drastically this can impact rabbit health.

Monitor your rabbit’s behavior: Pregnant rabbits might become cranky and dislike being touched or carried. Respect their space and observe any changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns.

Weigh your rabbit regularly: A pregnant rabbit will naturally gain weight, and monitoring it helps you keep track of their progress.

Visit your veterinarian for palpation and ultrasound: These will help confirm the pregnancy and provide an estimate of how many kits (baby bunnies) to expect.

Create a suitable birthing environment: Provide enough space for your doe and her kits. A comfortable nesting area is essential to support a pregnant rabbit.

The below table illustrates some important aspects to consider during rabbit pregnancy:

Clean environmentEnsure good health
Behavior monitoringAvoid stressing the mother
Regular weight checkTrack pregnancy progress
Vet appointmentsConfirm pregnancy and examine kits
Comfortable nesting areaSupport during birth

Remember, rabbits have a short gestation period of around 28-33 days, so being well-prepared is key in ensuring the health and well-being of both the mother and her kits.

As a rabbit-specialising vet, I’ve seen countless successful pregnancies when these tips are followed. Good luck with your pregnant rabbit, and may you both have a delightful experience!


Pregnant rabbits require special care and attention to ensure the well-being of both the mother and her future offspring.

By providing a clean and comfortable environment, a balanced diet, and regular vet checkups, you can support your rabbit throughout her pregnancy.

Remember the importance of a birthing environment (italic is for important keywords). Make sure to provide your rabbit with ample space and a nesting box.

Fill the box with soft materials like hay or straw, as this is where she will give birth.

In terms of diet, provide a good balance of hay, fresh vegetables, fruits, and a small number of pellets. Don’t forget to give your rabbit access to clean water at all times.

As a vet specializing in rabbits, I often advise my clients to:

  • Monitor their rabbit’s behavior for changes
  • Regularly clean the enclosure
  • Avoid using any toxic cleaning products

Following these guidelines ensures a healthy pregnancy and a safe birthing process for your rabbit.

As a rabbit owner, it’s essential to be attentive and vigilant during this critical stage. By doing so, you are setting the stage for a successful pregnancy and the arrival of healthy baby bunnies.


Q: How can I tell if my rabbit is pregnant? A: Signs of a pregnant rabbit may include: increased appetite, mood changes, or weight gain. You can also palpate the rabbit’s abdomen to feel for baby bunnies. Consult your veterinarian for assistance and confirmation.

Q: How should I prepare for a pregnant rabbit? A: Provide a safe, comfortable, and spacious environment for your pregnant rabbit. Create a nesting area with soft bedding and materials like hay or straw. Monitor her food intake and ensure she has access to fresh water at all times.

Q: What changes can I expect in my rabbit’s behavior during pregnancy? A: Your rabbit may become more protective and less social. Be mindful of sudden movements and loud noises, which can cause stress. Maintain a calm environment to keep her at ease during this period.

Q: What should a pregnant rabbit’s diet consist of? A: During pregnancy, rabbits require a diet high in nutrients. Provide her with a balanced diet that includes quality rabbit pellets, fresh vegetables, and a variety of hays like Timothy, Alfalfa, and Orchard Grass.

Q: When should I seek veterinary assistance during my rabbit’s pregnancy? A: If you notice any signs of distress, changes in appetite or water consumption, or unusual behaviors in your pregnant rabbit, consult your veterinarian as they can provide guidance and support throughout the pregnancy.

Important PointsKey Facts
Nesting EnvironmentSpacious, Soft Bedding
DietBalanced with Quality Rabbit Pellets, Vegetables, and Hays
BehaviorAvoid Sudden Movements and Loud Noises
Veterinary AssistanceConsult Vet for Pregnancy Confirmation, Ultrasound, and Check-Ups

As a vet specializing in rabbits, I often stress the importance of monitoring your rabbit’s health during pregnancy.

A proper diet, clean environment, and regular check-ups with a vet are crucial to ensure a successful pregnancy and the well-being of both the expecting mother and her baby bunnies.

Remember, every rabbit’s pregnancy experience is unique. Stay attentive and responsive to your rabbit’s needs throughout the process.

Maurice Alice

Dr. Maurice Alice is a veterinary expert with over 10 years of experience in exotic animal medicine, specializing in dental care for rabbits and rodents. He is dedicated to providing exceptional care for his patients and is passionate about promoting animal welfare.

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