Can my doe get pregnant through her cage?

by Emma Johnson

Had 2 x rabbits was told both female. One day we saw them mating, took them to the vets and our suspicions were confirmed we had male and female. We separated them straight away, low and behold 28 days later she has 6 babies. All are beautiful and growing lovely she has been an excellent mum.

Today I noticed Poppy laying on her side as she did before she gave birth last time and I saw movement on her abdomen just like I could see the day before she gave birth last time. Is it possible that the male has impregnated her through the cage? They have not been together since we found out their sexes.

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

We've heard some very unlikely stories about rabbits getting impregnated through fencing. Seems hard to believe, but I'd better not be dogmatic about the possibilities.

You *might* be seeing the rolling motions of the intestines, which can easily be detected in rabbits lying on their sides. Guess we'll know in a few days, eh?

On the other hand, it is possible, though not real common, for a doe to become pregnant with a new litter just before giving birth to the first one.

Then again, maybe the doe DID get bred through cage wire?

Here's another tale from Shannon in Saskatchewan Canada.
Shannon explains:

I have a doe that I bred November 9 and successfully had a litter of 8 on December 10. She just had another litter today, February 6th. She has not been in contact with a buck other than thru the cage behind but he was moved some time ago.

Could she have stored the semen?

Is it normal for a doe to have two litters like this?

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

No, rabbits do not store semen. But, the buck is more than happy to continue mating with the doe throughout her pregnancy (if they are left together), and can be pregnant with a second litter while giving birth to a first one.

That said (as a starting point), If she gave birth on the 6th, she would have needed to be in contact with a buck in early January. (Because if she were pregnant on Dec 10 when giving birth, you would have seen that next litter 29-30 days later, on Jan 9-ish.)

As Ann Landers once famously said, "Somebody moved." Have you had any cage escapees, whether doe or buck? Rumor DOES have it that bucks have bred does through cage wire. I have personally seen does aching to breed, that back up with their hind ends directly against the cage wire with tails lifted, especially if the rabbit in the next cage is a buck.

I've never watched a buck consummate a mating through cage wire (since my cages are separated by at least a few inches), and I have a hard time grasping the logistics of such athleticism, but sometimes there has simply been no other explanation.

Have YOU actually watched rabbits mate through cage wire and then have a litter 31 days later? Can you prove it? Let us know!

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Jul 19, 2023
Can a solitary rabbit have kittens
by: Janine Mills

I’m sorry to say but yes it is possible. I had a giant Flemish doe and a mini lop buck. Obviously they mated and as a result a litter of kittens were born.

Then, our buck passed away.

Many months later, our doe gave birth to another similar litter.

This defied logic! I was told and read that does can store sperm until times are right (plenty of food) I was told several breeds including roo do this also. We were amazed. πŸ‡πŸ‡πŸ‡πŸ‡

Mar 18, 2020
I have witnessed through cage mating
by: Carla Carter

I couldn't believe it was happening, BUT I did see it and I wrote it on the doe's card. It definitely CAN happen!

Mar 20, 2016
by: Destiny

My mini rex was bred with a japanese harlequin will this decrease the size of her litter or hurt her when she gives birth because of the size difference between a japanese harlequin and a mini rex.

***** Karen Sez *****
Mixed breedings are done all the time, with little ill affects. It's hard to say how litter size will be affected.

I'm guessing the doe will hopefully not have too much trouble with the kindling, and that the size genetics will come into play as the kits grow. Hope so, anyway, for the sake of the poor doe!

Enjoy the babies.

Oct 24, 2012
Please someone help me out
by: DM

I have 2 rabbits which are kept in an enclosure with lots of mud. On 1 October they mated first time and then the buck would try to mount the doe after the first mating but she used to refuse him. The very next day they started to make a burrow. Then after 4 days (on 5 Oct) I saw them in type of fight in which they were trying to mount each other. Sometimes the doe used to mount him and sometimes the buck. This continued till 2 days each time I went to see them. After this they were calm on the next day and time went on till 24 Oct (today). During this period the buck used to try to mate her but she used to refuse. And today 24 Oct I saw the doe collecting lots of hay and grass in her mouth and taking it to the burrow, during this time the buck again tried to mount her and they started the same thing which they did on 5 Oct (i.e trying to mount each other), but here they used to sometimes be calm and the buck would mount her and mate and fall to his side. This happened thrice today and still half of the day is remaining.

Now, please if anyone of you people can make me understand what sort of things are going on with them. I worried about it as I was thinking that she is going to build the nest in the burrow, but again they are mating.

I have a few questions in my mind.

1. Was she pregnant at the first mating? (this is her first time as i have raised her to adulthood from when she was a cute little baby)

2. If not pregnant then why did she not allow the buck to mount for the rest of the 4 days?

3. After 4 days they again mated, and then did not allow the buck to mount for 20 days till today 24 Oct, and now again mating today after taking nesting materials to the burrow????????????

4. When will I get to see my little bunnies litter if she gives birth in the burrow?

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

The ways of rabbits can be fairly mysterious, sometimes!

Nevertheless, if this is day 24, it means just 1 more week of guessing until you should hopefully find out for sure whether your doe is pregnant. (I'm guessing yes.)

Nest in on day 28, and expect babies on day 31 in the evening. And separate the buck from the doe right away!

If the doe delivers in a burrow, you should expect (very cute) babies to start popping out into the fresh air along about 2 - 2 1/2 weeks old.


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