Caring for Your Pregnant Rabbit
Compared to some animals, rabbits have a higher reproductive potential; females are biologically active giving 11 litters per year. So, if you have a pregnant rabbit “mommie” at home, here are some tricks to help you take care of it.
Make Sure Your Doe Has a Comfortable Space for Her and Her Young
A pregnant rabbit can give birth to as many as 14 kits, or baby bunnies, at once, so she’ll need plenty of space. It is recommended that you keep your doe in a cage, crate, or hutch that measures at least 26-30 in (64-76 cm) x 15 in (38 cm). This will make it easier for her and her kits to move around, stretch, and exercise.
If your pet doesn’t already have a living space that measures at least 26-30 in (64-76 cm) x 15 in (38 cm), this is the time to build or purchase one.
Your doe’s maternity lodging should ideally be somewhat private, with as few bright light sources, noisy appliances, or other potentially nerve-racking distractions as possible in the surrounding area.
Inside Your Doe’s Cage, Place a Hay-Filled Nest Box
Place a small wooden crate, cardboard box, or another open container in one corner of the cage. Add 3-6 inches (7.6-15.2 cm) of soft grass hay to the bottom. Make sure the structure you use is large enough and low enough for your doe to easily come and go. She’ll hang out in this area until she’s ready to kindle or give birth.
You can also provide your doe with other comfortable nest-building materials, such as a layer of old rags or paper towels and shredded newspaper scraps. Your nesting materials will also help keep the newborn kits warm, which is critical for their survival.
If you’re not sure what size box to use for your pregnant doe, provide a variety of sizes so she can choose which one she prefers. Rabbits without a dark shelter will be more distressed because they will be unable to hide their young.
Note: If you don’t want to go into the trouble of making your own, a cheap plastic cat litter box can make an excellent nesting box.
Work on the Cage and Box
Replace hay and other nesting materials every 3-5 days, or more frequently if necessary. After you’ve removed the bedding, scrub any heavy stains with a soap solution made of warm water and mild, non-toxic soap, such as liquid castile soap.
Maintaining a sanitary delivery environment is essential, especially if your doe has a habit of pooping in her nesting box.
Disinfectants and other chemical cleaners should not be used in wooden or cardboard boxes. These substances are frequently poisonous to rabbits and can cause serious respiratory or digestive problems.
Avoid Any Activities That May Cause Stress to Your Rabbit
Rabbits are naturally sensitive to stress, but they may become even more so when pregnant, potentially resulting in the loss of the entire litter if the female is threatened. Make no loud noises near your rabbit’s cage, and keep any disruptions away from it. Pets should be kept away from your rabbit’s enclosure because they may appear to the mother as a predator.
Prepare to Separate the Doe From the Male Rabbits
Place your male and female rabbits in separate but adjoining cages, or place a soft barrier between them, such as chicken wire. This will prevent them from immediately coupling again. Remember that rabbits become very attached to their partners, so it’s critical that they can still see, touch, and interact with one another.
The majority of female rabbits can conceive again within 48-72 hours of giving birth. As a result, unless you’re encouraging your rabbits to breed, it’s best to keep the buck and doe apart. Allowing your male and female rabbits to be separated may be stressful for both of them.
In the worst-case scenario, it could even cause anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, and other issues that would impair their ability to raise their kits.