Yarmouth Veterinary Center

75 Willow Street
Yarmouth , ME 04096

(207)846-6515

www.yarmouthvetcenter.com

YVCipedia RABBITS

RABBIT REPRODUCTION

 

~ Accidental mating: If a litter is not wanted consider spaying in the early stages of pregnancy.

 

~ Pregnancy diagnosis: We can usually diagnose pregnancy by 6+ days with ultrasound, and 12 days by x-ray or palpation (feeling the abdomen).

 

~ Length of gestation: Range 30 - 33 days

 

~ Delivery: Does often give birth at night or early in the morning. The only evidence for the owner is a few drops of blood and movement in the nest.

 

~ Re-mating: The doe is fertile immediately after birth. If another pregnancy is not wanted the male should be removed.

 

~ Difficult deliveries: It is very unusual for an owner to witness delivery, and for a doe to have a difficult delivery. An early sign of impending delivery is pulling fur. If a doe is observed straining and there are no kits present then she is likely experiencing difficulty and a veterinary exam is needed.

 

~ Feeding: Does feed their kits once or, at most, twice daily. Feeding happens very quickly and is rarely witnessed by the owner. For this reason, owners will sometimes assume a litter has been abandoned when it hasn’t.

    ^ Kits should not be removed from the doe in the first 48 hours unless the doe is harming them or the doe is sick.

    ^ If the kits are unfed after 48 hours their skin will be wrinkled due to dehydration and they may be cold and weak. Now is the time to decide if they should be removed from the doe for hand-feeding.

    ^ 2 to 5 day old kits may be vocal and active when touched, and hungry.

 

~ Kits:

    ^ Are born blind, naked and helpless (altricial).

    ^ Should not be handled in the first few days. They can be examined by gently moving the nesting material away.

    ^ Eyes open at 10 to 12 days.

    ^ Kits may start to leave the nest when their eyes open, others are not seen until they are 3 weeks old.

    ^ Daily handling for very brief periods of time should start when the kits first leave the nest.

    ^ It is a bit unusual for all the kits in a litter to survive.

  

~ Sex determination: Is best done at 4 weeks old. Between 6 and 10 weeks can be somewhat difficult.

 

Yarmouth Vet Center