You’ve bought the breeding pair of rabbits. You’ve let them do their business. (Perhaps by accident, like us!) Then all you can do is wait and wonder for a month whether or not you’re going to be a fur baby mama. Right?
Not necessarily. Some indications of pregnancy in rabbits are not all that different from pregnancy in humans! While none of them are surefire, there are several different factors you can check to “test” for pregnancy in rabbits.
- Your doe is being moody. Rabbits undergo pregnancy hormones just like people, and may start acting cranky or mean. (Phew, it’s not just me.) Perhaps she is spending more time by herself, or even running from you when you come to her cage. Unusual behavior of this type may be a sign of pregnancy.
- You’ve got a nest-buiding fiend. If your doe is frantic to dig holes, gather hay, pull fur, or otherwise make a cozy nest, it’s likely she may be pregnant. Rabbits, like people, want to prepare for the arrival of their babies by making a safe and comfortable place.
- You can feel babies. In order to feel the baby rabbits, you must palpate your doe. This is best performed between 10-14 days gestation, when the babies are large enough to feel, but still small enough to be distinguished from the other internal organs. Palpation is done by gently securing the doe with one hand while feeling along the undersides of her abdomen for grape-sized lumps with the other hand. (Lumps on the sides are babies, and lumps in the center are poop pellets! Just a minor distinction. 😉 )
You must know that I have not been able to successfully palpate our doe, as she is quite irritable and won’t let us handle her right now. So, I present to you a video of someone more experienced than I performing this task:
As for our doe, my guess is that she’s likely pregnant. She’s not letting us handle her at all right now. Also, she usually visits us at the water bottles every morning, but recently she’s been hanging out in her nesting box almost nonstop. She’s been out of character and solitary- so perhaps we will have babies in March?
However, aside from a successful positive palpation or a blood test, it can be somewhat tricky to tell if your doe is actually pregnant. Rabbits don’t always get all that large during pregnancy (unless they have a big litter), so you can’t always see it. Rabbits also have this tricky little thing called false pregnancies- when they act hormonal and pregnant, and may even build a nest- but all to no avail.
So as you can see, pregnancy signs in rabbits can be a little bit of a guessing game. I’m getting the gist that it’s best to look at combined factors to make an educated guess on your doe’s status- and then wait 31 days to find out for sure. 😉
Here are more resources on checking your rabbit’s pregnancy status:
- 5 Clues to the Pregnant Rabbit
- Caring for Your Pregnant Rabbit
- Palpating Does to Determine Pregnancy
This post was shared at Front Porch Friday.