Many owners are not ready to handle their pet rabbit's pregnancy. Considering the high mortality rate of newborn bunnies, it is no surprise that many are confused as to what they should do. There are plenty of useful tips that owners can adopt and this starts by gathering the right information from reliable sources.
It is not encouraged to allow your bunny to get pregnant. There is already an overgrown of rabbit population in the world, and if you wanted another one, then you should consider getting them from an animal shelter. Bunnies may be cute but they grow up very fast and in many cases, they are abandoned when they are no longer cute.
However, if your rabbit is pregnant, there are good tips you can follow to care for them and raise the survival chances of its babies. A doe hide her pregnancy quite well. Even experienced vet sometimes made mistakes in their assessment when checking if there is pregnancy.
As a matter of fact, you can hardly notice any change of behaviour in the doe. The easiest way to tell if your female pet rabbit is pregnant is to see if she rejects the advancement of the buck. About two weeks after conceiving, you may be able to feel the foetus inside her womb. It feels marble-like.
The gestation period is between 28 to 31 days. During this time, just provide her with adequate food and water. She may begin her nesting process about one week before delivery. Some pet rabbits only started building her nest as little as three days or one day before delivery.
The doe build its nest by gathering hay and shredding newspaper. She will also pull fur from her own chest. Each rabbit's pregnancy may result in 7 to 13 kits (baby rabbits are called kits). It is not surprising to see the doe immediately leaving its kits after birthing. This may be inherited from their wild cousins to prevent attracting the attention of predator animals.
This may be the right time to check on the bunnies. Unlike other smaller animals, rabbits do not mind human touching their offspring. Check if the babies are warm. If they are not, then you can wrap warm water bottle with towel and place in the nest to help them stay warm.
As the mother rabbit nurse their young ones only twice a day and each nursing takes less than 5 minutes, you may need to play the role of surrogate parents. Suitable formulated milk powder and feeding bottle may be bought from pet store or from a vet.