Rabbits have earned quite the reputation, and for good reason, for being rapid reproducers. A female rabbit, who generally will have a litter of between one and 14 baby bunnies during each pregnancy, can become pregnant again, if left with an unaltered male, less than 24 hours after giving birth.
A rabbit hits sexual maturity between the age of 3 and 6 months. A young female rabbit, who isn't spayed, can become pregnant as soon as 120 days old. A male rabbit's testicles typically drop, allowing him to impregnate a female, within 10 to 14 weeks of age.
Because a pregnant rabbit's gestation generally spans between 28 and 31 days, a female could give birth every month.
Separate your male and female rabbits before the female gives birth to avoid another pregnancy.
Your Rabbit's Nest
A pregnant rabbit typically will pull out her fur and build a nest for her babies. If you notice the babies are scattering and not being fed by mama, you can provide your rabbit and her babies with a place to nest in their cage or pen:
- Use a cardboard or a wooden box that is not much bigger than mama rabbit.
- Carve out a door that your rabbit can comfortably hop through.
- Leave a minimum of 1 inch of cardboard or wood at the bottom of the doorway to deter newborns from wandering out of the box.
- Choose a corner of the box to put hay on which mama and the babies can sleep. Avoid placing the hay where your rabbit eliminates.
Always provide your rabbit with privacy and quiet so she can nurse her babies away from prying eyes.
Spay and Neuter
If you do not plan to breed, altering your rabbit will help to prevent behavioral and health issues:
- Unaltered females are prone to reproductive cancer beginning around 2 years of age. The risk increases as the rabbit ages.
- Both unaltered males and females will spray urine and drop poop pellets, due to hormones, to mark their territory.
- Altered rabbits typically have better litter box habits.
Never allow your rabbit to go without eating prior to a spay or any other surgery. Doing so could result in your rabbit developing gastrointestinal stasis, a potentially fatal illness.