A pregnant rabbit usually starts nesting about one week before she gives birth, although this can vary greatly between 2-10 days. When nesting, she will pull soft materials (like straw, hay, and fur) into a secluded part of the cage or hutch.
As your pet rabbit’s due date approaches, you may wonder when they will start nesting. After all, you want to ensure that everything is ready for the big day!
Rabbits usually start to nest around one week before they are due to give birth. This gives them time to get everything ready for their new arrivals. However, there are some things that you can do to help your rabbit during this time.
Make sure you have a clean and spacious area for your rabbit to nest in, provide them with plenty of soft materials to build their nest, and keep an eye on them to ensure they are not overeating or getting too stressed.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Why Do Pregnant Rabbits Nest?
- 2 What Materials Do Rabbits Use To Build a Nest?
- 3 Rabbits Will Build a Nest in a Secluded Area
- 4 What Are The Signs Your Rabbit is About To Start Nesting?
- 5 Should You Help Your Rabbit Nest?
- 6 What to Do if Your Pregnant Rabbit Isn’t Nesting?
Why Do Pregnant Rabbits Nest?
Nesting is a strong instinct in pregnant animals (including humans), as it provides them with a safe and comfortable place to give birth and raise their offspring. It also helps keep the young warm and protected after birth.
Nesting provides three main benefits:
1) Provides a Safe Place For Birth:
Giving birth is a stressful event for any animal, and a safe and comfortable place to do so can help to reduce stress levels. The mother rabbit can build the nest as she wants when she gives birth.
2) Keeps Young Warm and Protected:
A nest helps to keep the young warm and protected from predators and the elements. This is especially important in the wild, where no one can help care for the young.
3) Provides Momma With a Comfortable Resting Spot:
Pregnancy and birth is a demanding time for any animal, and a comfortable resting spot can help the mother to relax and recharge her batteries.
What Materials Do Rabbits Use To Build a Nest?
It depends on the resources that are available to the rabbit. Rabbits are amazing at utilizing the materials that are available to them.
Grass, Straw, and Twigs:
These are some of the most common materials a rabbit uses when building a nest. These materials are easily found in the wild and are also common in many pet stores.
Leaves For Insulation
If the rabbit has access to leaves, they will often use them to line the nest. This helps to keep the young warm and protected from the cold.
Soft Material Such as Her Own Fur
Rabbits will often pull their own fur to line the nest. This helps keep the young warm and protected and has a calming effect on the mother.
Man-Made Material (Paper or Fabric)
If the rabbit has access to manufactured materials, they will often use them to line the nest. This is not as common in the wild, but it is more common in pet rabbits.
Rabbits Will Build a Nest in a Secluded Area
A rabbit will often build her nest in a secluded area, such as in the corner of the cage or hutch. This will provide the mother with protection and privacy when giving birth. The mother rabbit wants to build a nest away from predators.
What Are The Signs Your Rabbit is About To Start Nesting?
You will notice significant changes in your rabbit when she’s about to start nesting. About a week before she gives birth, her stress levels will go up, causing her to do the following:
More Digging and Chewing
The mother rabbit will start to dig and chew more as she’s looking for materials to build her nest. This is normal behavior and you shouldn’t worry about it.
You may notice fur missing on the mother rabbit. It’s natural for a mother rabbit to pull her own fur to use as nesting material.
She Will Be Very Active
The mother rabbit will be very active as she’s looking for the perfect spot to build her nest.
Kick Straw or Material Out of The Cage
If you notice the rabbit kicking straw or other materials out of the cage, it’s not that she wants them gone. She probably wants to use these items as nesting material.
Should You Help Your Rabbit Nest?
Once you notice the signs that your rabbit is starting to nest, you might be tempted to help. It’s ok to provide your rabbit with extra material they can use to build the nest, but it’s important to let her do all the work. Nesting is a natural process that helps to reduce stress levels, and it’s important for the mother to have this time to herself.
If you try to help too much, it can increase stress levels and make the mother rabbit more likely to abandon her nest.
What to Do if Your Pregnant Rabbit Isn’t Nesting?
If your pregnant rabbit isn’t nesting, there are a few things you can do to help her.
Make sure that she has a clean and spacious area to nest. This will help to reduce her stress levels and make it more likely that she will start nesting.
Provide Her With material
Provide her with plenty of soft materials to build her nest. This will give her everything she needs to get started.
Give Her Some Time
Most rabbits begin nesting about a week before they give birth. Still, it’s not unheard of for rabbits to wait until just a couple days before giving birth to start building the nest. The momma rabbit may just need more time.