It is fairly safe to say that if you have a healthy buck and a doe living together, or in a place where they can reach each other, they will breed. If not today, it will only be a matter of time before it happens. Sometimes you will see the breeding occur (especially if it is an intentional breeding), but other times you may not*. For the sake of this article, however, we will just assume that you knew about the breeding and are now wondering if your little girl is soon to be a little mommy. Well, the first thing to do – if you are aware or guessing that the breeding took place – is to write down the date this happened. Note that the full gestational period (length of pregnancy) is 28-31 days. Now, count 10-14 days from the date of the breeding. When those days arrive (day 12 being the best), you can try to “palpate” your doe.
Palpating means that you will manually feel her stomach to check for babies. To do this, place your rabbit on a flat surface, or hold her like in the manner that you would hold a football – with her nose near the bend in your elbow. Next, place your hand under her body, around the underside of her stomach, with your palm facing up. Wrap your fingers the sides of her stomach and gently squeeze. You will need to feel all areas of her abdomen, and what you should feel is a small bunch of balls, about the size of marbles or grapes. In essence, imagine yourself holding a squishy water-balloon that has grapes inside of it and your goal is to find try to find the grapes without smashing them, or busting the balloon. In other words, if you feel a little clump of grapes – congratulations! She’s pregnant.
*If you are still not sure or are not comfortable with the results of your palpating efforts, other signs to watch for are changes in the doe’s attitude, changes in appetite, and unusual or significant measured weight gain. Or, there one sure way to be safe is just to treat her as if she is pregnant, and on the 26-27th day of pregnancy give her a nest box full of straw and leave it with her until day 35th day. That way all of your bases are covered.