Not sure if my rabbit is pregnant?

by Annalee
(Victoria, Australia)

I bred my two rabbits a couple of months ago, but it didn't take after several tries. The bunnies got along really well so I ended up leaving them together most of the time - keeping an eye on them for any signs of hostility.


On new years day the buck died of heat-stroke (I live in Australia and the temperature was 40 degrees Celsius - 105 Fahrenheit), and the doe was very sick.

So anyway, I'm beginning to suspect she's pregnant, some of the signs being:

Eating and drinking a lot - I'm having to refill her bowls as often as I did when there were two of them. She also eats a lot of grass when in her large pen.

Digging in her cage - there is no wire on the bottom and in one corner she has dug a small hole. This has been in slow progress for almost two weeks and has recently become rather burrow looking.

Over the past couple of days her belly has become rather round, although I'm not sure if this is due to pregnancy or because she has just been a little piggy lately!

If this does mean she is pregnant, could you tell me how far along you think she is? I know that at the least she would be 10 days pregnant, but I want to know when I can expect to be a grandma, and when I need to put a nesting box in etc.

She is also a very nervous bunny - very skittish around people, makes crazy eyes all the time, and I'm afraid she won't be a very good mummy. Is there anything I can do to make her feel more at ease?

Thank you!

***** Karen Sez *****
It's a hard call from here, Annalee. Here's why:

--Rabbit is burrowing. Could be nesting; it could also be the rabbit is hot and the burrow is significantly cooler than the ambient air.

--Rabbit is chubby. Could be the kits growing in the belly; could also be a false pregnancy, which can swell the belly as well. It is possible to overfeed a rabbit, but unless you're feeding a LOT of sweet people-food like apples and bananas, rabbits tend to self-regulate.

--Rabbit is drinking a lot. Yeah, but it's hot out...

Now what?
Your bunny has a burrow; she'll use it for her nest if she's pregnant. Just provide nesting materials, such as straw and hay. If she starts in with a "hay moustache" - carrying big mouthfuls of hay - that is yet another sign of pregnancy.

A rabbit that is ultra-skittish makes babies that are ultra-skittish. Once you have bunnies, you'll want to pay close attention to socializing the bunnies. Unless, of course, you decide the bunnies should go for people- or pet food.

We never advocate eating pet rabbits. We do advocate assigning a practical use to animals not destined to pethood. This serves several purposes:
--It relieves the shelters of crowding
--It saves money
--It provides raw meat for dogs and cats (saving money)
--It provides food for people (saving money)
--It serves as a safety hedge against food chain shortages.
--It could provide an excellent quality protein for soup kitchens that feed the homeless if you donated the meat for that purpose.

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