Buck and doe met, don't know if my rabbit is pregnant!?!?!?!?

by Nina
(Pennsylvania )

I got my female lionhead rabbit, Cocoa, three years ago on Christmas. A few months after that, we got a male holland lop that we named Rocco and planned to get them fixed. Unfortunately, rabbits are not popular in the city and rabbit vets are far away/too expensive.

On November 24, I went downstairs in my basement where my rabbits live and found my female in the male's cage but the male not in there. I feel like they couldn't have been like that for long because knowing my female rabbit she would've been at the other side of the basement. Immediately I checked both of them for any signs of blood, there weren't any. Since that day I've been worrying and worrying that she might be pregnant.

I've read all these articles about pregnant rabbits and the only sign she shows is nest building. I feel like this is because her cage is next to the males. She eventually eats the hay she makes them out of. I've tried to palpate (I'm probably doing it wrong) and I've felt nothing at all. She hasn't been aggressive and still even lets me pet her and feel her sides and I can't feel anything. Her eating habits are normal as well.

A few times, I've had her in her play pen and she seemed lonely. I moved the pen close to my buck's cage and she ran up to him and started sniffing and when he would hop to another end of the cage, she would go where he went from the pen. I saw someone on YouTube pluck a little fur from her very pregnant rabbit (it's day 26 for me) and she got a handful of fur. I gently reached under her stomach and got some of her fur. I didn't get a clumpful, only a few strands. She still lets me hold her and pet her inside her cage (and she's pretty territorial) she's never been an aggressive rabbit, ever.

I don't own a wooden nest box and I am looking everywhere for a cardboard box. My main problem is when she gathers hay in her mouth, and makes a little nest, and then destroys it. So far she hasn't pulled fur (I'm guessing she's not going to yet) What do these signs sound like? Please help me I'm very worried about her!!!

***** Karen Sez *****

Whenever two intact rabbits get together, especially in winter, spring or summer, you'd best plan for a litter of babies. Cardboard is not the best material - you should be able to find a cheap plastic dishpan, which will be a perfect size for an emergency nest box.

When your doe builds a nest and then eats all the hay, she has probably been experiencing false pregnancies - something triggers her to ovulate, even if it is just the sight of her friend the buck. Now that the two have rendezvouzed, perhaps this time she'll actually kindle a litter. At any rate, you'll know in a few more days. You'll find all the explanations, photos, and info you need in our ebook, Rabbit Reproduction, if you think you need it. https://www.raising-rabbits.com/rabbit-reproduction.html

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Nov 22, 2021
Is my rabbit pregnant
by: Anonymous

I bred my Holland Lop doe and my Mini Lop buck on oct 17 I believe but I’m questioning if she’s pregnant or not. I had 4 fall offs for the first hour (I didn’t keep them together for that long I just decided to giver her a break after that), but then I brought her back and had one more fall off.

She is smaller than him so maybe he missed but whenever I checked her vent area it had a presence of sperm, but she hasn’t shown fur pulling and aggressive behavior but she has been laying on her sides quite often and digging at night.

***** Karen Sez *****
I trust you've provided a nest box and nesting materials? If you're right on the October 17 date, then your doe is on day 37. Does this doe have a track record for longer gestation (kindling beyond 32 or so days)?

Did she actually fail to conceive, despite multiple fall-offs? Can you feel kicking in her belly?

Or, is it possible she has a kit stuck in the birth canal, and therefore is having trouble delivering the litter?

I don't have answers from way over here; the only way to definitively get answers is to seek veterinary advice.

Some additional resources:
Rabbit Raising Problem Solver.
Rabbit Reproduction.

Good luck with everything!

Jun 21, 2018
I don’t know if my rabbit is pregnant
by: Amanda

Hello, so I got a rabbit from a breeder who was getting rid of her because she would not get pregnant. Although he picked her up after a few weeks and said she has gotten fat so he thinks she finally did get pregnant after all this time. He still was willing to rehome her to me because I already drove all the way out there to get her. He does not know the exact date she could have gotten pregnant but guess it is about a month ago. Because she so far along I can’t palpate her so my question is what can I do to tell if she is pregnant? She is sweet but doesn’t seem to enjoy me touching by her stomach, she also has not started building a nest but does stay in her cage more even though the door is open for her to free roam.

Aug 31, 2017
Is my Big Bun pregnant or just rude
by: Anonymous

Hello, so my rabbit was meeting a male on August first and she never lifted her butt for him so we took the buck home with us (I realized after a couple days he left that we probably shouldn't have put HIM in HER home).

So he had his little stay of about 2 or 3 days and left. When he WAS with her though she hated him just hated him. She would nip at him and he got to the point where he'd just given up and it was all just a vacation for him, now keep in mind they were in the same area for the night and day and I wasn't there all the time so they could of done it with out me noticing I guess...

But now day 31 has come and she is so rude to me (although she wasn't that nice to me to begin with) she HATES me putting my hand by her tummy and she always insists on grooming herself and even licking down there and tricking me that's she's giving birth. Also she ALWAYS sprawls her self out on the floor and sometimes I see little kicks below the rib cage but she doesn't look fat AT ALL! (She's a Grey Flemish giant.)

I heard somewhere that the bigger breeds tend to have the babies on day 33. Her nipples look weird and kind of crusty and her stomach is somewhat hard but she ALWAYS relaxes (never plays) and ALWAYS grooms herself. I think she's pregnant but I really don't know if the breeding took...

I gave her a choice of nesting boxes and she doesn't do ANYTHING with them! So if my rabbit is NOT indeed pregnant than is she just a mean lazy thing that hates me!😫

***** Karen Sez *****
If you see the little kicks, then she's pregnant. Congrats, once the kits are around 3 weeks old the doe will become more relaxed towards you. Enjoy the bunnies!

Jan 26, 2016
Is my lion head doe pregnant?
by: Anonymous

Okay, so I have a male Holland lop rabbit named bear, he is a very sweet rabbit and loves everyone and hes about a 10 months to a year old and I've had him for 6-8 months.

About a month ago I got a doe lion head named panther. She does not like to be picked up but is not aggressive in any way, she will simply run away or will hide her face.

So I put bear and panther on my bead and she starts to make this weird noise and I looked it up and it was apparently a stress call I think and every time he goes around her she makes that same noise. Bear has mounted her at least 10 times and has fallen off all the times he has tried to mount her, but when I try to feel for babies, I feel nothing.

This has happened maybe three weeks ago from today and I'm not sure if she is pregnant. She has built a nest but she lives outside in the garage in a big rabbit hutch with a heat lamp and she has her winter fur while bear is inside because he does not have his winter fur because we got the hutch with panther.

So they only meet on the weekends but she can not stand bear and will always make that weird noise but will let him mount her. She does lose some fur like very small clumps but she was doing that when I first got her and I do not see her carry hay in her mouth. Why does she make that call and is she pregnant?

***** Karen Sez *****
Well, that weird noise is probably the noise rabbits make when they're growling. It's a fairly typical doe's response to a buck. You're right - the doe is unhappy with the buck's advances, but since she let him mount her multiple times, I'd plan on kits, if I were you, even though she isn't carrying straw. (Just give her a few more days and you'll probably see a haystache.) Plus she's built a nest, you said? Yeah, you'll have your answers in another week or so.

Enjoy your rabbits. :-)

Oct 17, 2015
Bred doe no mood swings
by: Q Johnson

Hello I recently bred my Lionhead doe for the first time with one of my Holland Lop bucks. He mounted and fell off about five times about a week ago but every day since then I have returned her to him she has acted them same. In the past after breeding the doe will get in a bad mood after mating but this doe just continues to let him try to mount her again, but she will run away once he tries to hump her.

She allows me to play with her like I always did and she hardly makes a sound. Could it be that she's not pregnant? They are both about five months old.

***** Karen Sez *****
5 successful fall-offs usually means kits in 31 days! But let's brainstorm the options:

1) If you live down under, it's springtime; even more reason to expect success.

2) If you live in the northern hemisphere, then we're squarely in autumn, meaning more chance for failure.

3) 5 months is really young, however yours are small breeds, so I think age won't be a factor. (Even my Rex rabbits have sometimes been successful at age 5 months.)

4) There's always one doe in the bunch that defies expectations! Yes, we do expect does to get cranky when bred, but every now and again you'll encounter a sweetheart who stays sweet, delivers a lovely litter, and doesn't mind when you open her cage door and check her litter. Enjoy it!

What I DO know is that YOU will know in 31 days whether she 'took' or not, lol.

Jun 08, 2015
Can't tell if rabbit is pregnant
by: Mike

I have tried a few times to palpate my rabbit and can't seem to find any signs of pregnancy. She was placed in the cage with the male 40 days ago and looks significantly larger right now. They lived together for 20-30 days and then were separated when I built the second cage. Any advice?

***** Karen Sez *****

Placed in the cage 40 days ago, and lived with the buck for at least 20 days? And no babies??

Lessee - supposing the doe is not over the hill in menopause, and supposing she is generally healthy and without any hidden infections or parasites, I can think of several possibilities:

1) The doe is one of the one-in-ten-thousand that holds on to the kits till she can't any longer, and will kindle within a week at the latest. (I doubt this option.)

2) The doe experienced a false pregnancy initially, and then conceived a litter a couple days before you removed her from the buck's cage. This would mean that right now she is around 12 days along, and you should give her a nest box in 12 more days (earlier than usual, since the dates are imprecise).

3) The doe experienced a false pregnancy instead of a real one, and you removed her from the buck's cage before her hormones could right themselves and set the stage for a true pregnancy. Because the doe did not get pregnant but you fed her as though she were, she is getting fat (or fatter).

4) Which prompts me to ask: was the doe fat to start with? Excessive fat in the reproductive system makes conception very difficult.

5) The doe DID conceive, but the kits died and the doe has retained them instead of still-birthing them.

You can fix #1 and #2 with patience, #3 with re-breeding, and #4 with time and a diet. But #5 is a life-threatening problem requiring veterinary assistance (and even that might fail).

If you can't figure it out, a vet opinion should certainly help. Best of luck.

Feb 04, 2014
Is my bunny pregnant
by: sophie

Hi, I got two bunnies two weeks ago and was told they were both boys but when I saw Jet trying it with my other one I knew he was actually a she. I moved them apart and put them in different cages but now after two weeks she is making a nest and she acting horrible she doesn't wanna be held or touched. Could she be pregnant? Also when we first got her I couldn't feel her nipples when holding her and now I can. Please if someone could tell me if my bunny is pregnant.

***** Karen Sez *****
Glad you're asking, Sophie, and you were very smart to separate the rabbits right away. But there's no way for us to know for sure from way over here whether or not Jet is now pregnant. Plus, we'd have to ask you lots more questions to obtain more details and might still not know for sure.

From what you say, it wouldn't hurt to plan for a litter of bunnies, just in case, especially if your two rabbits are 4 months old or older. But, there are a couple alternative possibilities, depending on how old your two rabbits are:

--You saw dominance behavior, not actual mating. Behavior that looks like attempts to mate is done by both bucks and does, which means you might still have 2 bucks. (Except if one is making a nest, I doubt it in this case....)

--The rabbit making the nest is in the midst of a false pregnancy, which is every bit as convincing as a real pregnancy. If this is the case, she'll soon ignore the nest and there will be no babies.

Don't be afraid of a coming litter. It's a lot of fun to raise rabbits, especially if you've done your homework and educated yourself on what to expect and how to take care of the doe and babies. There is lots of free info on this website - now would be a great time to start reading and preparing.

Plus, you'll find a comprehensive resource in our Rabbit Reproduction e-book (https://www.raising-rabbits.com/rabbit-reproduction.html). It covers everything from mating to weaning, including how to tell the boys from the girls.

And, towards the end of April, 2014, our comprehensive Q&A book, Rabbit Raising Problem Solver, will finally be in bookstore shelves. This 300+ page book covers EVERYTHING, including taking care of and enjoying pet rabbits. You'd be real smart to get yourself a copy if you end up enjoying your two bunnies and even this new litter of bunnies. See https://www.raising-rabbits.com/rabbit-raising-problem-solver.html for more info.

Hope everything works out well for you!

Dec 23, 2013
No nest but pulled fur.
by: Anonymous

To hold the tub down I put two bricks on top of each other and it has lasted. I felt like today she might have babies because at first I was supposed to have school today but we got today off. I was half-right. When I went to check on her she had pulled hair and most of it was in her box thought some was still on the floor. She didn't make much of a nest though. I put a blanket on the side of her cage with her nest box and leave her alone for a while and I gave her more hay in case she's going to have them today.

Dec 22, 2013
Thank You :)
by: Nina

Thanks for the response! Today was day 28. I have a plastic tub I had to surround with bricks because my doe hates boxes being put in her cage. I put pine shavings and a lot of hay in last night because I was staying over someone's house (I'm 14 and have younger sisters and presents needed to be wrapped) this morning my mom told me my doe had flipped over the tub. There were no babies today. I thought that she might start to build her nest but even will all the hay I've given her, and I put the box back in for the night. She keeps confusing me thinking she's going to start building a nest, she is actually moving her bedding around to pick up the hay with her mouth and eat it. That's what she's done all day.

She has a plastic-bottom cage, but I'm afraid with all the hopping around and tendency to knock over her food bowl the kits might go all over. Lastly, I only have two rabbit cages and a play-pen. I've wanted to build a bigger cage, but we recently moved last year and had to clean up the basement. I don't know where I could put the kits once they're older, I don't trust the playpen.

I forgot to mention that the little nests I said she built, were all in this month before she destroyed them. (before they got out of their cages she has, too, but I knew they were false pregnancies) I feel like tomorrow she might have babies even though I still can't tell if she's pregnant.

***** Karen Sez *****
Maybe you can wire down the plastic tub somehow so it cannot be knocked over?

The babies will most likely arrive on day 31-32, if she's pregnant. Hoping it all goes well for you!

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