Palpating a rabbit - what am I feeling?

by Nisha

Hi, I have a question. My rabbit is a dwarf rabbit. So I'm not sure it is pregnant or not. I tried to check its belly, I can feel something like a grape shape. So am I feeling its baby head or just its bone? I'm afraid.

Moderator Comment:
I'm assuming you have reason to think your doe rabbit is pregnant, like, you bred her with a buck. Plus, sounds like you've done a bit of homework about rabbits and pregnancies, meaning, you know how to palpate the doe, but aren't quite sure what you're feeling.

Palpation is usually carried out around day 10-12, At this stage of pregnancy, each baby is approximately the size of a grape.

If you were to palpate a non-pregnant doe, you'd feel the soft insides of her abdomen, but would not feel any distinct structures. If you carefully palpated deeper and along her midline, say, near her backbone, you might feel the hard marbles that are her hard droppings. These are definitely hard, poo-sized (smaller than grapes), and lined up right down the middle.

The doe's womb is divided into two "horns." Each of these horns can contain babies. The grape-sized lumps that you're feeling for consist of the whole 'baby-package' -- the membrane sac that holds it all, the amniotic fluid, the placenta, and the baby. Because of all the fluid and membranes around the baby, it is very unlikely that a careful palpation will harm the babies, especially at day 10-12, so you don't have to be too afraid. :-)

In a dwarf rabbit, we imagine you could feel up to 6 grape-like lumps in their various spots along the uterus horns. Each lump is a single baby. Depending where in the horns are the little 'grapes' you're feeling, you are likely to feel them close to your fingertips, wide from the mid-line, and more toward the sides of her belly.

Hope this helps, Nisha, and we hope you enjoy your new litter of rabbits.

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Jun 07, 2011
Help me too??
by: meek help me plz

Hi, here's the deal - I had my buck for 11 months. I'm not sure what breed he is. I just bought a holland lop doe three months old i put her in the cage to play and he mounted her once later I let them both sleep in my room. Now I'm seeing her put on weight around her stomach so I palpated her and I felt a ball a little bigger than a grape could this be a baby bunny.

***Moderator Comment***
Heheh...yep, could very well be a baby bunny, Meek. God made it so His creation would work like He planned it, most of the time. If you put a mature buck with a mature (or almost mature) doe, biology produces a litter of babies. (It works the same way with people, so be careful the direction your feet take you, okay?)

So, is it a baby? we don't know for sure, of course. You could be seeing a false pregnancy, but there've been many small rabbits that have produced 'oops' litters at 4 months old! :-)

So, what to do now?

IF she's pregnant, you'd sure like to be prepared. So, get out your calendar. Circle the date that is 28 days after you let the two bunnies have their slumber party. Then, circle the date that is 3 days later (day 31 from the slumber party).
--Day 28 is when the nest box goes into your doe's nest.
--Day 31 is when she should give birth.

And most of all, don't worry about your doe. Most likely, both she and her bunnies will be fine.

Lastly, keep her away from that buck for a couple months after you wean the babies, to give her a chance to finish growing up!

Unless you 'fix' your rabbits, the only safe way to keep rabbits in pairs is to raise two sister does together. Rabbits are social, but only loosely so. You don't have to feel sorry that your two rabbits live apart. They're just fine.

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