Pregnant Rabbit Past her Due Date?

By Ellyn. Filed in Rabbit Care  |   
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Pregnant rabbit female building a nest

The calendar says it’s time for your doe to give birth.  She’s even built a nest.  But day 31 hits…and no babies.

What should you do now?

How to help a Pregnant Rabbit go into Labor

What should you do when your rabbit won’t have her babies?  What if she’s already delivered one or two kits, but seems to be retaining more?  Remember, I’m not a vet, but my four suggestions in a situation like this are:

1. Just wait. I’ve had a doe have two babies one day, then two more two days later. It’s not very unusual for a litter to be spread out over a couple days. If she’s not straining, and not over 32 or 33 days, just keep her in a low-stress environment and see what happens.  Also – double-check the due date.  Are you sure you didn’t accidentally count three weeks ahead instead of four on the calendar?

2. Take her out for some exercise. If her body gets active it often brings on contractions. Let her run around your living room or a playpen for an hour or so.

3. Put her back in with a buck. She won’t get pregnant if she is already bred, and the encounter will stimulate hormones that will likely cause her to deliver the litter.

4. Offer her lavender. They say that this will cause a rabbit to go into labor. Never give it to a doe that isn’t full term, as it can cause her to abort.

Some breeders will reach for a drug called Oxytocin when their rabbits are slow to deliver.  I never have.  For one thing, I don’t know where people get it, if not from a vet.  Second — why would you drug your rabbits if you don’t have to?  Rabbits are very sensitive to anything that might upset their digestive system, especially when already stressed from the pregnancy.  Administration of any drug can lead to diarrhea and death in short order.  Third, oxytocin is powerful stuff.  Used incorrectly, it can lead to a ruptured uterus or other big problems.

So that’s why I try one of the four methods listed above.  And you know what?  So far, they’ve always worked.

Stuck kits are another story

The above are the methods I try if a doe isn’t going into labor.  If you have a doe that is laboring, but not delivering; if she has stuck kits, that is another story.  If you give a doe that is already laboring oxytocin, or do something else to make her just “push harder,” this can easily lead to a prolapsed uterus, which is fatal.  If your doe has stuck kits, please refer to this article on the Nature Trail.

Another great idea any time a doe is due to deliver is to give her half a crushed Tums tablet dissolved in her water.  This — or simply a handful of alfalfa hay– will provide the calcium her body needs at a time like this.

Here’s wishing you a healthy doe and plenty of these little things:

Squirmy newborn rabbits

 

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