Breeding a rabbit can have you filled with anxiety as you begin to anticipate when the date of delivery will be so it is understandable that you will have some questions about it. Even if you have had other animals as pets before you will realize that rabbits act differently during gestation and so it is important to understand their unique characters so that you can give the right care. To help you through this period, this post will discuss how long a rabbit’s gestation period is and some other questions you may have.
So, How Long Does a Rabbit’s Gestation Period Last?
A rabbit’s gestation period lasts mostly around 31 days. The expected time is between 28 days to 35 days, but it is almost always accurate that a doe’s gestation period will last for 31 days. Because they are at the bottom of the food chain, their gestation period is naturally short.
What You Need to Know About a Rabbits Gestation Period
During the gestation period which is from conception to delivery of litters, you need to be prepared to ensure that everything goes according to plan, this involves knowing what to expect from your rabbit when she is pregnant and how to care for them during those 31 days. With this in mind, we will proceed to tell you helpful information you could use to make sure your doe is in good hands while pregnant.
Rabbits reproduce often and having healthy litters and a healthy doe is the goal of any rabbit owner. Since rabbits have very short gestation, they can get pregnant easily and you may struggle with caring for them if you don’t know enough about this period.
The rabbit’s gestation period starts counting from the day of conception up to the day of delivery. This period is what spans 31 days and with intentional breeding, you can easily calculate your rabbit’s gestation period. This gestation period is the same for all rabbit breeds and because rabbits are known to breed very often, it is a healthy practice to be intentional about their breeding time so that you can calculate the gestation period correctly.
During pregnancy, your rabbit will show different signs that although mostly subtle will indicate that they are pregnant. Some of these signs can be seen in changes in their eating habits, weight gain, moodiness and digging around. However, you do not have to wait for any of these signs especially since they are usually subtle, with intentional breeding all you need to do is carry out the required check to find out if your rabbit is pregnant.
The usual behavioral changes by rabbits when they are pregnant is referred to as nesting, and depending only on these behavioral changes is unreliable because nesting occurs a week to delivery and also, does are known to sometimes depict signs of false pregnancy. This is when they wrongfully show signs of nesting while they are not pregnant.
After mating, you can expect to be able to notice signs of pregnancy from 11 days, it is at this time that you check for pregnancy. To do this, you will need to feel around the doe’s abdomen for tiny lumps, this is called palpation. Haven found out they are pregnant these are things you should do.
How To Take Care of Your Pregnant Rabbit
Taking care of a pregnant rabbit involves providing them with what is necessary to see to a healthy kindling. This care helps you ensure that the kits are healthy and the doe has all she needs to take care of them.
Providing food: When a doe is pregnant, it will eat more which usually accounts for weight gain, it is important that you adjust to this expectation. To do so, you need to provide more food for the rabbit so that it gets it’s required nutrients.
Separation: as soon as you know that your rabbit is pregnant, you will need to separate her from the buck because of their genetic build up. Rabbits have two ovaries and both can carries babies at the same time if she mates while pregnant, this will lead to an unhealthy formation and sometimes fatal to the doe.
Preparing the nest: since your doe is expecting, she will need a nest to keep her babies and sometimes a bigger cage. You should provide a nesting box that is easy to clean and comfortable.
How many litters can a rabbit have a year?
Without being controlled, rabbits can have up to seven litters in a year because they can breed almost immediately after giving birth contributing to the large population of rabbits. However, breeding of domesticated rabbits can be controlled by separating the buck from the doe, allowing the does recover before another breeding. This recovery can take anything from 60 to 90 days.
At what age is a doe mature enough to breed?
Averagely a doe is old enough to start mating at 6 months. This, however, differs according to the breed; larger rabbits take a longer time to mature (7 to 8 months) and smaller rabbits can take a shorter time to mature (5 months).
What are false pregnancies?
False pregnancies are when the rabbit starts to show behavioral signs of nesting when she is not pregnant. Usually, nesting occurs at a week to kindling (mostly in less than a week), if the doe does not deliver in a week of nesting, and/or you checked using palpation and didn’t feel anything then it should be a false pregnancy. In this case, you leave it to pass, which usually does in two weeks.
In conclusion, monitoring the gestation period of your rabbit will help you take precautions to ensure the delivery of a healthy litter. Because this can happen very often and improper steps can have fatal consequences, marking out the gestation period of a doe is a responsible move as a rabbit owner.