May 20, 2014

Due Week

Black otter Rex doe nesting with hay and fur.
I hear people say that their rabbit is "due" some particular day (often "yesterday").  Unfortunately, with rabbits, the term "due date" is poorly used.  Besides the fact that different people express the due "date" as anywhere from 28 to 32 days after breeding (most people say it's 30 days), rabbits can give birth during a rather wide range of time (relative to their total gestation period).  For this reason, I say that a rabbit is due some week, between 28 and 35 days (4 and 5 weeks) after breeding.

A good example which illustrates the due week, is the pattern of birth I'm experiencing with my rabbits this week.  All of the does that were/are due were bred on the exact same day, within the span of an hour.  I gave nestboxes to all of them on day 27 (my standard practice).

Rex litter out of chocolate doe.
On day 30, Mosaic started nesting.  Day 31, she kindled 7 very healthy kits.  That same day, Godiva started nesting.  The afternoon of Day 32, Godiva delivered 6 kits, and Laurel started nesting.  The morning of Day 33, I discovered 6 kits from Laurel, and Iza had started nesting.  By that (this) afternoon, she had kindled her own litter of 6, and Princess had started nesting.  Another doe still has yet to start nesting, but some does wait until they're in active labor before they start nesting.

I have had does kindle as late as 35 days after their last breeding.  I've only had one doe that kindled before day 28 (she kindled on day 25), but have had a number kindle on day 28.  That's why I put the box in on day 27, and leave it in there until day 35.  Of course, if you can train yourself how to palpate (or get lessons from another breeder), you can save yourself some of the wait time.  I've never been very good at it, myself, though.