Help! My bunny is nesting
The pet store sold us what we thought were two male rabbits but now we think one of
them is pregnant. Two days ago one began pulling out her own fur and collecting
towels and building a nest. What should we do?! Please help!
This is such a common question!!!!! Pet stores are notorious for selling rabbits without being able to sex them correctly. Never believe
what a pet store attendant tells you and always get a veterinary opinion after you have brought your bunnies home. Rabbits are very hard
to sex and many people can get it wrong. Male bunnies can father young at 3-4 months of age. Female bunnies can become pregnant
between 4-6 months of age.
So what do you do if you see the behaviour as above:
Separate the two bunnies but leave the one who is building the nest with her nest. If one of your bunnies does have a litter of babies, she
can become pregnant on the same day as she gives birth if the male is still in the same area. Just avoid this by any means!!!! You don't
want to end up with two unwanted litters.
As for the bunny who is building the nest, leave her alone and wait to see if she does give birth in the next two days. Dont interfere with her
or the nest. If you can see what's going on then great but don't move anything as she may abandon or kill the young.
Rabbit mothers have very rich milk and they will only feed their babies once a day very early in the morning and very quickly. You won't see
her do it but she is doing all the right things and knows how to raise her young. You will also notice that the mother bunny will stay far
away from the nest. This is an anti predatorial behaviour. The young have no scent so the young are safe as long as she stays away from
them. This means she will not sit with the babies or keep them warm like other animals do. Lots of people think that the mother has
abandoned the babies but this is not what she's doing. She's attempting to keep them safe from predators and her rich milk which she
feeds them once a day gets them through 24 hours without her attendance as long as the nest is nice & warm.
At about 3 weeks of age, the little babies are fully up & bouncing around. This is when you can touch them & play with them.
Now...... possibly & hopefully you have two female bunnies instead of two males. Males never do the nesting thing so one of your girls may
be having a phantom pregnancy. Female bunnies sometimes do still nest even though they're not pregnant. The dangers of nest building is
the amount of fur that a rabbit keeps in it's mouth may end up being swallowed if interrupted. This large amount of fur may cause stomach
blockages so if the pregnancy is false and you definitely know this, interupt the cycle of nesting. Remove the nest she is building, give her
some toys to play with, rearrange her room. These things will help to distract her from pulling and ingesting more fur.
So.... I would suggest (after finding out what's going to happen over the next few days) to consider having your bunnies desexed by an
experienced rabbit vet. Desexing your bunnies means healthier, happier & calmer buns without any issues of unwanted litters, aggression,
spraying, lunging, phantom pregnancies, etc.
Do Your Bit