I hope Gunga is pregnant. I want rabbit babies. I want to play with them as soon as they transition from weird hairless monsters into cute baby bunnies. And not long after that, I want to eat them.
After consulting my trusty Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, examining several internet sources including some hilarious or horrifying youtube videos, depending on your perspective, I bred Gunga. I know Jim Chee’s a proven sire of rabbits, but this was Gunga’s first round. It wasn’t pretty. I think (?) she eventually submitted. Or at least tolerated him briefly. But now that the deed is done, how do I know if she is preggers?
Research turned up several methods for determining if a rabbit is pregnant:
1) Mood– the doe starts lazing about more, grumbles and growls at you when you open the cage, and doesn’t want to be touched. This seems pretty simple, but as it happens, Gunga is already our most ornery, sleepy, ravenous, and standoffish rabbit. It’s hard to tell if her continued display of these fine qualities is pregnancy or just her normal delightful self.
2) Palpate the abdomen- if the does is pregnant, small marble-sized bumps can be felt within the rabbit’s abdomen between 10 and 14 days after breeding. The best method is to put the doe on a soft surface and run your hand over their lower abdomen. I tried this on the 10th day and on the 14th day. I probably should have tried the method before she was bred so I could tell if there were differences, because I could not feel a damn thing.
3) Nest-building– towards the end of the pregnancy, the doe might be spotted carrying around hay or ripping out her own fur to build a nest. This one isn’t of too much use yet, but I suppose better late than never for determining the pregnancy. If I see any nesting or carrying-of hair and straw bits, I will be very excited, but this method makes you wait practically to the end of the pregnancy anyway, so no instant gratification here.
4). Weight– weigh your doe before you breed her and then again part way through the pregnancy to see if she has put on weight. This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but also very confusing since everything I find recommends not picking up a pregnant doe. So I will not be using this method
But speaking of nests, I put together a wire mesh framed nest box to use for Gunga (fingers crossed), or whomever may kindle next. The nest box was inspired by this design. My nest box is not nearly so neat and precise, but it’s functional. The wire mesh offers great ventilation in the heat, but the box can also be lined with cardboard for colder weather.
So here’s where I stand right now. I have no idea if I have a pregnant bunny on my hands and I probably won’t know for sure until a few days before the birth or after the fact.
Did you know that female rabbits (does) “kindle” a litter of bunnies? Kindling!