Too many false pregnancies

by Ronald

I have been several cases of false pregnancies, the rabbits mate and several times over, in about the middle of the time for kindling the rabbits pull fur which i thought was a good sign, scratch the pen and then at the end of date no young ones. What can I be doing wrong.


***** Karen Sez *****
That's very frustrating, I know. Sorry Ronald.

Have you palpated your does around day 10-12, meaning, are you sure they were pregnant to start with? (You *do* describe signs of pregnancy.)

If your does are pulling fur in the "middle" of the pregnancy, I think they are actually resorbing their babies. This 'looks' like a false pregnancy, because all you see is an empty nest box. It is more promising to see your doe pulling her fur after day 21.

If the does are resorbing their litters, then take a look at their food. Is it fresh? High enough in protein? High enough in vitamins and nutrients? Are you feeding a commercial rabbit pellet, and is the pellet fresh?

In the wild, rabbits don't resorb their fetuses until their nutritional status becomes drained from back-to-back breeding. In your case, Ronald, the problem doesn't sound like over-breeding, it sounds like a case of an inadequate feed ration in some regard.

But, there's also one other possibility - rabbits' dormant period. We're approaching springtime. If your rabbits' false pregnancies were all during the winter, then possibly the bucks were shooting blanks during their dormant period. If this is the cause, then you should start seeing bunnies in your nestboxes fairly soon. Hope so!

Good luck, and enjoy your rabbits...

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Jul 28, 2014
Could weather have anything to do with???
by: Carissa

I bred my doe around the 4th of July. She built her nest and pulled some fur shortly after. I changed the size of her bowl so she wasn't overwhelmed.

...But the problem we've been having here is the heat. Could that cause harm to her and babies??? We always make sure she (and the buck) have plenty of water. Also, since we bred her over the holiday, could the stress of hearing fireworks cause harm???

She is still fairly jumpy when I touch her belly.

***** Karen Sez *****
Water 24/7 during heat spells is certainly very critical for health, but your rabbits also need direct cooling measures. See our page:

To answer your question: YES--heat most certainly can cause harm to the doe and the litter growing in her belly. The kits can die, and then get reabsorbed into the rabbit's body.

And yes, fireworks can cause harm, but more typically, I'd expect that harm to come to the kits if the doe is kindling her litter during the fireworks, and she then harms her kits because she's stressed out.

In your rabbit's case: you said your doe was pulling fur shortly after breeding? This is an indication of a false pregnancy. Your doe may not have gotten pregnant in the first place. (You DO have doe and buck in separate cages, right?)

What to do:
--Since it is so hot, keep your rabbits cool.

--Give your doe a nest box 28 days after breeding just in case, but know that she is probably not pregnant. (Then again, maybe she is? Especially if she doesn't like you touching her.)

--Since pregnancy is a stress on the body, and the excessive heat can kill a rabbit, I suggest waiting to rebreed her until the high temps drop below 90F, unless you can keep her in a cool environment for the duration of the pregnancy and until she weans the kits.

Good luck with everything!

Mar 09, 2012
Mine did too
by: Anonymous

Hi my doe who Is hopefully pregnant pulled fur half way through Her pregnancy too I hope this isn't a bad sign! Today is day 28 so I went to put a nest box in earlier and she was very grumpy and grunting at me which shes never done before, so I'm hoping this is a good sign what do you think?

***** Karen Sez *****
Yep, good sign!

Mar 05, 2012
Prego feed
by: Luis R

I feed 8 oz of commercial feed a day to each of my 4 new Zealand whites (1 buck, 3 does). Buck is 5 months old, does 6 months old. I bred them for the first time 19 days ago. Nest boxes went in today. No fur pulling as of yet. I did not change the amount of feed. Do pregnant does need more feed during, and after pregnancy?

***** Karen Sez *****
Yes, more feed for does once you've determined they're actually pregnant.

(Some breeders say no, but the does are clearly needing more nutrition to build more babies.)

BTW: It's a bit early for nest boxes - aim for day 28, or simply ensure they don't use them for toilets in the meantime. Be prepared to clean them out a bit if they do.

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