Rabbits - Rabbit reproduction

It is worth remembering that your doe (female rabbit) could become pregnant from the age of 4 months, so be careful if she shares her hutch with an un-neutered buck (male rabbit). She may seem like she is still a baby to you, but she is now sexually mature and if you don’t want the patter of around 16 tiny feet, then you need to start planning. The pregnancy can be detected 12-14 days after mating, but if you think she may be pregnant you should contact your vet so they can check for you. After a 4-week gestation (any longer than 36 days take your rabbit to your vet), most rabbits produce a litter of 3-4 babies (kits).

You should increase her nutrition during her pregnancy, and start gradually introducing more carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, also increase her intake of rabbit pellets at this time.

You can provide your doe with a nesting box and this should be introduced approximately 7 days before she is due to give birth. This will keep her kits safe after they arrive as they are born deaf and blind and can’t regulate their own temperatures until they are 7 days old. 2-3 days before she gives birth she will start nesting, usual signs of this are her pulling out her fur and getting an area ready for the birth. Also, at this time you should start cutting back on her food, but always ensure she has a good supply of water.

Rabbits generally give birth in the morning, and are generally trouble free. If you have concerns , remember your vet is just a phone call away. After the birth ensure the area is kept quite and calm. Any loud noises, unusual lights etc., could make her nervous and cause her to harm or even eat her babies.

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