If you’re one of the 3.2 million households that bought pets during lockdown, you may have opted for the humble rabbit. If you did, the thought of a bunch of kits (aka babies!) running around might be what you’ve always dreamed of. But how do you tell if your rabbit is pregnant? And if she is, what do you do about it?
If you’re one of the 900 thousand rabbit owners in the UK, read on to find out how to care for your pregnant rabbit.
Signs your rabbit might be pregnant
You can normally tell if your rabbit is pregnant if they start doing one of the following:
- Nest building – if your rabbit starts to build a nest using hay or straw, there’s a good chance they might be pregnant.
- Fur pulling – some pregnant rabbits will start pulling out their fur. This loose fur will then act as a blanket to help keep the kits warm.
- Show aggressive behaviour – pregnant rabbits may suddenly refuse to be petted or even growl defensively.
How to prepare
If your rabbit is expecting a litter, it’s important that you properly prepare.
Firstly, it’s important to make sure that your rabbit has ample fresh water and food. Then, you’ll need to ensure your rabbit has ample bedding. Begin by ensuring your rabbit has enough hay, shredded newspaper and old cloths that they can use for warmth and comfort. These materials will provide your rabbit with something to build a nest with. However, it’s important to use newspaper and feeding hay that is especially for rabbits and other small animals.
What to expect during labour?
As your rabbit starts going into labour, you’ll probably notice that she spends more time in her nest and will normally be facing the back of the nest, which is unusual. However, it’s no cause for concern if your rabbit is expecting.
During this time, your rabbit will want to be left alone, so you can support your rabbit during this time by checking up on her from a distance, and ensuring she has peace and quiet.
How to look after the baby rabbits
Once your baby rabbits are born, you might be wondering how to look after them. The good news is that it’s relatively simple!
Kits only eat once every 24 hours for around 3 to 5 minutes, so don’t panic if you can’t see your kits feeding. If you can, it’s a good idea to monitor the weight of your kits to ensure they are growing as they should. If not, you may need to supplement their diet with some rabbit milk replacer – but this should only be done under the supervision of a vet.
You should also make sure that you have placed the water bottle lower down in the hutch to ensure the kits always have access to fresh water.
And there you have it! If you’re welcoming some baby bunnies into the world, it can be daunting. But by following our complete guide, you’ll be proficient in kit care in no time.