3. Palpation of the Bred Doe

How do you tell if the doe is pregnant? The most reliable way is to palpate her abdomen. This techique is difficult to learn for someone who does not frequently breed a lot of rabbits, because it takes practice.


When it was been 10 days to two weeks past the breeding date, I will place the doe on a non-slip surface, facing me, and I will put my right hand over her ears and shoulders. Then I will place my left hand palm up under the abdomen just in front of the pelvic bones. I will gently press upward with my fingers, while pressing in from the side with my thumb. This will bring the embryos, if any, into position between my thumb and fingers. They feel something like grapes, and are about that size or larger. Having detected the developing kits, I will discontinue and return the doe to her cage. I will not palpate the rabbit’s left side with my right hand, because it is too easy to mistake a kidney for a kit on that side.

You can also check the doe’s vent. If she is in the early stages of pregnancy, her vent is usually small and pale, though she may pink up again towards the end of her 30-35 day pregnancy.

Always check again on the 28th day after breeding. If there is only 1 fetus, you may have missed it at 2 weeks. Or, the doe may have resorbed her litter. It is a good idea to leave a nestbox with the doe just in case she IS pregnant, but keeping it a secret.

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