Do I need to separate the male and female rabbits after she gives birth?

I did not know she was pregnant and she had 8 and 1 passed. I thought I had two boys until I saw her nesting today and then a few hours later there were babies. I tried to move them because she had them in the litter box but then I moved them back so I did not upset her. Please help I don't know anything about this stuff.

***Karen Sez***
Yes! Move the boy out, or he might rebreed the girl right away. (It is probably already too late.)

I think your first instincts were correct - to move the kits out of the litter box. The mum knows you - she'll be okay. Just move the kits with the fur and straw and other nesting materials to the girl's 'bedroom' or clean area of the hutch. Don' be afraid - the doe only feeds the babies once a day, so if she seems to be 'ignoring' them, everything is still fine. Check the kits the next day - they should have nice round tummies by then.

Either of these two resources provides complete information on how to deal with surprise pregnancies and litters:

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver
Rabbit Reproduction E-Book

Good luck, and have fun!

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Jan 25, 2023
After Birth
by: Anonymous

After the Doe gives birth, how long do I have to wait till I can reintroduce the buck back with her and the babies? or is this not "allowed"?

******Leia sez******

There is an old saying, "breeds like rabbits." Never was a truer word spoken. Does have been known to get pregnant again immediately (the same day), after birth. When should the buck be allowed to visit her? When you are ready for more grandbuns in 31 days (normal rabbit pregnancy). Does can be quite profligate, having back to back to back litters, giving birth again before the previous litter is completely weaned.

We recommend at least 60 days between litters, which means no romance for 30 days after she gives birth. This gives her body time to recover and regain best condition so she and the new kits will be healthy. Pregnancy and nursing are very strenuous on does, so trying to nurse while she is pregnant again can be a bit much.

We have resources to help your doe be the best momma she can:

Our ebook, Rabbit Reproduction, tells you everything you need to know about where babies come from and how to take care of bunny and mama. Additionally, 2023 is Year of the Rabbit, so all of our ebooks are 30% off!

We also have Bunny Branola, a delicious supplement that gives does the extra nutrition they need during pregnancy and boosts milk production. Bunny Branola also helps to restore her body so that she's in prime condition to become a mother again when the time comes.

Daddy rabbit may be in the mood for love, but Momma says "I need a break!"

Sep 22, 2021
Lonely buck
by: Anonymous

Hi I have a buck who’s super friendly and lives alone, and I am a bit worried that he’s feeling lonely. I've wondered about getting another rabbit as a companion but would also consider breeding from him in the future.

Would you recommend getting a female as a companion and just keep them separate apart from supervised time together or would he still feel lonely once I split them into their own cages again? Just worried he might feel worse once he’s had a companion and then she is taken away.

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

That's quite the conundrum for you and your lonely buck. You can't get another buck as a companion without neutering both of them, and then you couldn't use your buck for breeding.

But if you get a doe, you can't leave him with the doe either, because they will be mating nonstop.

What you may not be taking into account is that supervised visits with a doe are also virtually impossible if you wish them not to mate. Have you ever seen the mating of rabbits? Blink, and you've missed it. And they will shamelessly mate right in front of you before you can even separate them.

I've had lots and lots of rabbits. I kept them ALL in their own cages but in the same barn together. The bucks got conjugal visits from time to time with those does that I put into their cage. I heard no weeping out of the buck cages, and the does were thrilled to raise their litters, until they weren't, and that was my clue to toss them into the buck's cage once again.

The entire first chapter of Rabbit Raising Problem Solver covers the true nature of rabbits in the wild, and what that looks like in our domestic rabbits. This might help you understand the true nature of our rabbits and unravel the anthropomorphism which tends to suck us in.

And, Rabbit Reproduction is like a manual on raising rabbits from conception all the way to weaning.

Enjoy your rabbits!

Apr 05, 2021
Separation of Doe and Buck
by: Anonymous

After about 4 months - from birth - my doe and buck rabbits started mating, so around one month later I was anticipating her giving birth. The problem was that the buck would be bothering her constantly, so I separated them.

When I let them out of the cage this morning, after a couple of minutes the doe jumped back in the cage - so she thinks I closed the door.
They didn't like it at first but after a few hours accepted it, e.g. they are housed outside the back door in a covered area but I put them in their cage at night. The cage is 3ft by 4ft by 3ft high, about 6" off the ground with rollers on the legs and fly wire on the walls and roof.

When I brought them lunch today, I divided it into 2 bowls and just placed the buck's bowl on the floor and put the doe's bowl inside the cage. Instead of trying to jump out, she just made a halfhearted move, so I just put my hand in front of her and she went back inside.

The good news - so far - is that I think that they have discovered a new thing: sleeping.

Feb 19, 2019
Two 2 month old New Zealand white bunnies
by: TerrieVill101

Hi, I have 2 lovely 2-month-old New Zealand white bunnies, I purchased them from another breeder, he said they were cousins. One boy, and one girl. At what age can they start breeding and at the age of 2 Months should I have them in separate cages or can I have them in the same cage? How many kits does a New Zealand bunny normally have?

***** Karen Sez *****
No need to separate the kits until around age 12 - 13 weeks (for the New Zealand breed and breeds of similar size). It would be smart to
not breed the kits until roughly 8 months of age, which is the age New Zealand rabbits are considered adults. New Zealand rabbits are a commercial meat breed, meaning the doe will tend to have 8 or more kits with every kindle. Good luck, and enjoy the rabbits!

Oct 14, 2017
need help please
by: Anonymous

so I have two lion head bunnies. A girl and boy and I came outside to clean their cage and found 2 baby kits, dead. My husband tried to warm them up, we brought them inside but nothing worked. I didn't know she was pregnant because I wasn't sure if she could have babies yet. Is there a reason she only had 2 kits? I thought they were suppose to have at least 3?

Also my bunnies live in the garage, and now the weather is starting to get a bit colder, will the babies be able to survive outside in the garage if I get the nesting box ready? or would my best bet be to bring them inside? I would like to keep them outside if I can because my husband has allergies but I don't want these babies to die so I will bring them in if they need to be.

***** Karen Sez *****
Lots of questions - they're all answered in this book:
Rabbit Raising Problem Solver

Jul 19, 2017
I Just Put Them Together
by: Anonymous

Today - literally today - I put my female and my male together and straight away they did what rabbits do. When or if they have babies, do I need to separate the dad from the babies? Will he kill them? I've bred guinea pigs before but never rabbits and I know that with guinea pigs you have to separate the dad straight away or else he will kill the babies. Is it the same with rabbits?

* If you do have to separate the parents, how long after the babies are born do I have to separate them? When can I put the dad back in with the mum and babies?

* Do I need to have one cage for boys + dad and one cage for girls + mum once babies are older? I am considering selling babies once they are born but do I need to keep them separate?

* Do male rabbits fight when put in the same cage as one another?

***** Karen Sez *****
Kudos to you for asking the questions now instead of later. :-)

Will the dad kill the babies? The answer to this is very individual to the buck. Some are great dads, some are not.

Regardless, unless you want back to back to back litters, the doe and buck should be separated at all times, except for that (brief!) interval during which "rabbits do what rabbits do." It makes some people feel better about their rabbits if they think the rabbits are not lonely. These folks let the rabbits remain together, and also experience the drawbacks.

If you want to leave them together for a time, keep a very close eye on them. This is because the doe may brutally school the buck when she gets tired of his continual advances, especially as her pregnancy advances and she becomes more cranky. There are more drawbacks than just this - see the resource below.

Once the kits are born, put the buck and doe together only when you are ready for the doe to get pregnant again.

Yes, male rabbits fight, sometimes to the death. It is not pretty. Don't put bucks and boy bunnies together.

Cages: Mom and dad each need a cage. The babies do not need to be separated initially so they can have a (big) cage. It is smart to separate a bunny into its own cage a day or two before selling it. This is to break up the stresses of weaning, separation from siblings, and being sold away from its familiar environment. This way you can subject the bunny to these stressors one at a time instead of all at once. In some instances, reducing the stress levels in this fashion might even save the bunny's life.

Tons more info about all of the above here:
Rabbit Raising Problem Solver

Good luck with everything!

Apr 13, 2017
How do I separate the rabbits in 1 cage
by: Anonymous

My rabbits are trying to mate but my female doesn't want to. She runs away every time the male comes close. The male also (I think) pulling and biting off her fur. How do I separate them and with what?

***** Karen Sez *****
You would need a huge cage if you intend to keep both rabbits in the same cage, separated by, say, a wire divider.

You'll need to buy or build another cage. Leave the doe in the bigger cage, and give the smaller one to the buck.

Apr 16, 2016
I need some help
by: Eduardo

So I thought I had both females until one had 5 babies.

They all passed and it upset me.

Now that I know their sex I will now be aware of any changes in my female. But I didn't separate them so he wouldn't get her pregnant right away, but for how long should they be separated for? It has been around a month now can I put them back together?

***** Karen Sez *****
I didn't quite follow your story exactly, as to when the rabbits were separated (since you said you didn't separate them). So, I'll just say this: IF the boy rabbit and the girl rabbit were in the same cage at the time you discovered the babies, then you need to give the girl rabbit a nest box now, since there is a good chance she was re-bred just as soon as she gave birth to the first babies. Expect a new litter of bunnies when the first litter is 31-32 days old.

Keep the buck and the doe separated for as long as you don't want babies. Because, as soon as you put them together, they'll mate again. It's what rabbits do.

If you had the buck neutered, he needs to be separated from the doe for 6 weeks, after which he will no longer be able to sire offspring.

Enjoy your rabbits!

Jan 30, 2015
Netherland Dwarf
by: Anonymous

Hello I have a Netherland Dwarf doe that I mated on January 7th she was very willing to mate. She was humping the male and everything before he started humping her and fell off six times. It's getting really close to her due date and starting to be really aggressive towards me and grunts every time I pet her are these signs that she is pregnant???

***** Karen Sez *****
Yep: Diagnosis is pregnant! :-)
Get that nest box in her cage by day 28, so she'll be able to prepare her nest in good time.

You'd best not worry about needing to pet her for the next few weeks - she's all into her pregnancy and her babies for now. Let her be, and she'll mellow out a couple weeks after her babies are born.

Enjoy your rabbits!

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