Occasionally, the owner is unaware their rabbit is pregnant until after the birth. This usually occurs when mating is unexpected. But do pregnant rabbits show any signs of it? You should put your pregnant rabbit in the birthing box as soon as you see any of the signs below.
Building a nest out of her own fur is a sure sign that your rabbit is getting ready to give birth. This often takes place one or two days before the expected date of delivery. As the birthing process progresses, you’ll notice that your rabbit spends more time than normal in her nest, with a quite unique behavior: she’ll be facing the back of the nest.
Pregnancy in a rabbit takes place over 31 days. Therefore, the easiest approach to anticipate when the bunny will give birth is to know when your doe was bred. Therefore, you should start looking for signs that your rabbit is about to give birth around the 25-day point.
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How To Tell If Your Rabbit Is In Labour?
You must leave your rabbit alone while she is giving birth. Even if she’s generally docile, she may become hostile and bite during this time. It’s fine if you give her some room to herself.
Rabbits would display these symptoms in labor:
Nesting indicates that a rabbit is getting ready to have babies. If you’re trying to estimate when the mother conceived but aren’t sure, you can use the moment she starts making her nest to estimate when she’ll give birth. When rabbits feel safe, they dig a little den or stack bedding. If she needs to, she may even use her hair to create a cover or expand the nest for the rabbits.
Your new pets are on their way and should arrive any day now. Provide her with a large quantity of hay and a box to work out of. The average gestational age is 31 days; thus, you should start watching for labor signs around day 28. She requires to be initiated by a doctor if her due date is more than 35 days away.
Although this may seem like a challenging time to remain away, mother rabbits have it all figured out. During delivery, a mother needs privacy; check on the babies once she’s finished. Since rabbit litter can grow rather large, you could discover as many as fifteen young.
It is hoped that every baby makes it; please remember to take out the kits that don’t make it. And then you should go hide out while she nurses and gets to know her new family. Spay or neuter her when you’re done having babies, and separate her from potential suitors for a while.
When pregnant rabbits build a nest, they inevitably pluck off tufts of fur. It is because young rabbits cannot protect themselves from the cold due to a lack of fur. Your rabbit will remove fur from its body, most often its legs and tummy, to use as bedding and warmth in its nest.
During the last few hours before having a baby, it is common for pregnant rabbits to pluck their fur. However, most women would do so in the final weeks of pregnancy. If you have rabbits, you should observe the fur they wrap around their newborns after they are born, but you can do so even before they are born.
You’ll need to pull the rabbit’s fur if it hasn’t been done. In order to keep the newborn bunnies warm, you can use the fur from your rabbit’s tummy and back.
There is no need for a pregnant rabbit to have any contact with humans. The stress of labour and delivery might cause a typically friendly rabbit to withdraw from others. Keep an eye out for her to retreat to the far back corner of her box and lie down with her back to the front.
It’s best not to bother a rabbit giving birth. Please keep checking on her, but do not try to handle her. She will probably grunt at you if you attempt. A rabbit’s grunt of discontent is a warning that should not be ignored lest it leads to a bite.
During the last 24 to 48 hours of your rabbit’s pregnancy, she may stop eating. There’s a chance she’ll also come across as fidgety and anxious. Babies are typically born to rabbits in the early hours of the morning.
A pregnant rabbit goes through many emotional ups and downs when she is about to give birth. They’re experiencing this since their hormones have started to fluctuate. Your rabbit may show aggressive behavior when approached too closely to her territory or when stroked.
Discontentment is the following warning sign. A sign that a female rabbit is going to give birth is that she gets more active than usual, jumping around more than usual and sometimes even attempting to escape the cage.
Just before giving birth, your rabbit may bleed a little. You can interpret this as a sign that your rabbit will give birth. If you want to give your rabbit a break, leaving the area for at least half an hour is best. In addition, you may have noticed that your pet is incessantly licking its vulva.
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How Long Is A Rabbit In Labour?
Doe won’t devote much time to the nesting box at first. Only 5-30 minutes of labour time will be spent in the box, turning around to face the back of the container. During this period, she needs to be left alone. Even the friendliest rabbits can feel irritated and distant from their human caretakers during childbirth.
It’s vital to keep an eye on pregnant female rabbits in the fourth week, as they may give birth at any time of day or night. As she enters and leaves the nest box, look among the hay or other nesting material to see if there are any baby birds.
4 Stages of Rabbit Labour (Pregnant Rabbit)
Stage One (False Labour)
False labour is the earliest sign of things to come and can start up to 5 days before the whole birthing period starts. Mild contractions lasting 15 to 60 seconds every few minutes will occur for as long as 24 hours.
There will be no cervical enlargement or peeling of the uterus cavity at this time, but it’s still a good idea to be nearby in case labour starts suddenly.
The first stage of labour consists of regular contractions occurring every 15 minutes to an hour and lasting anywhere from one hour to 24 hours.
Stage Two (Active Labour)
In the second phase of labour, the doe’s body starts to pull out her kits, accompanied by intense contractions and cervical dilatation (babies). Bloody vaginal discharge and a “popping” sensation are common around this period because the infants’ heads pass through the vaginal canal.
Time spent in the second stage of labour varies from 30 minutes to 3 hours, dependent on the size of the litter and the health of the mother.
Stage Three (Delivery)
After all the kits have been born, the mother enters the third stage of labour (babies). Observe the birthing process as the mother expels the amniotic sac and other remnants of the birthing process, followed by the placentas.
Stage Four (Rest)
After giving birth, the mother would relax for 30 minutes and clean up before attending to her kits (babies). At this stage, mothers typically show their babies a great deal of care and affection. They start eating and drinking again soon after giving birth as well.
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How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Rabbit During Labour?
Provide a safe, warm spot for the rabbit to roost. She’ll produce a lot of noise, giving her much-needed silence. Gently placing a box over a rabbit nesting in her bedding will help her feel safer and more secure. If the rabbit uses a box as a nest, you can place the entire box in a quiet location, such as a closet.
Food and water
Make sure there’s plenty of clean water and food for the rabbit in labour. Because the rabbit won’t be drinking as much water or consuming as much food, this is crucial.
Rabbits are notoriously difficult to monitor throughout childbirth, so check on the pregnant one frequently. Keep an eye on how much water and food the rabbit is getting, and ensure she has a safe spot to roost. You should contact your veterinarian immediately if you observe any drastic changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance.
Don’t panic; instead, keep an eye out for signs of labour and be ready to help. However, it is best to let things unfold naturally.
Providing Nesting Materials
A few days before giving birth, your rabbit will enter nesting behavior. She normally bunches fur, but you can join in the fun by giving her a hand. For the bottom, you can use a shoebox or a tiny animal bed.
Good nesting materials can also be supplied, such as extra hay, grass, recyclable paper sheeting, and waste paper. The best thing to do is to buy a nesting bed like Kaytee Clean & Cozy Bedding for Rabbits on Amazon.
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How To Help A Pregnant Rabbit Go Into Labour
What should you do if your pregnant rabbit refuses to give birth? Keep in mind I’m no vet, but here are four things to try:
Two days apart, I witnessed the same doe give birth to four newborns. The birth of a litter can sometimes take place over a few days. If she is not showing signs of strain and it has not been more than 32 or 33 days, then keep her in a low-stress setting and observe the results.
Remember to verify that you are still on schedule. Is it possible that you misread the calendar and counted forward only three weeks instead of four?
Put Her Back In With A Buck
If she is already pregnant, the interaction will trigger hormones that will induce her to give birth regardless.
Offer Her Lavender
According to some breeders, a rabbit’s labour can be induced by this. Don’t ever give it to a doe who isn’t far enough in her pregnancy to consume it safely. Compressions can also be stimulated by red raspberry leaves.
There are several signs that your rabbit is in labour, including fur-pulling to create a nest, aggression, hunger loss, excavation, and blood in the bedding. There wouldn’t be much time commitment for the rabbit during childbirth.
Therefore, most owners wouldn’t know their rabbit had given birth until they saw newborn kits. It is why you should constantly check on the nest on the day your rabbit is expected to give birth to ensure the safety of the kits and the nest.