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Rabbit Gestation and Birth


The average gestation period for rabbits is 31 days; however, it can vary from 29 to 35 days.

Pregnancy

Does should be pregnancy-checked 14 days after mating. If not pregnant, they can be re-bred immediately. If a doe exhibits kindling (or birthing) tendency 18 to 22 days after mating, it is a good sign of false pregnancy. Ovulation in domestic rabbits is induced by the act of mating. If egg cells are not fertilized, false pregnancy occurs.

Birth

Shortly before kindling, the doe will line the nest box with fur plucked from her body. Clean and disinfected nest boxes should be placed with the doe three days before she is due to kindle or when fur pulling is observed. Remove the nest box when rabbits are two weeks old.

The doe should not be disturbed until the young are a day old. At the time, the litter can be examined. Any deformed, dead or excess rabbits should be removed. Excess young can be transferred to a foster mother.

Weight

Bunnies should be weighed at 21 days to judge the doe's milk production and the offspring growth potential. Each bunny should weigh approximately 385 grams.

The young can be weaned at 4 weeks, but they may remain with the doe until 8 weeks. Shipping weight should be at least 4 lb.


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