Surprise Litter of Babies! What to do now?

by Dana Krempels, Ph.D.
University of Miami Biology Department

Many people purchase or adopt rabbits from sources that do not insist on spay/neuter beforehand, and even though the unsuspecting folks are assured that "they're both boys" or "they're both girls", and that the mounting behavior they observe is "just play"--we get surprises. If you come out one morning to find that your rabbit has given birth to a litter of babies, there are several steps you must take to ensure her health and the health and survival of her babies.

  • Step 1. Separate the parent rabbits so that the male can see/hear/interact with his mate, but not mate with her.
  • Step 2. Provide mama and her babies with a quiet, sheltered place where they will not be disturbed.

  • Step 3. Check the national House Rabbit Society web site's VETERINARIAN REFERRAL LISTINGS, find a rabbit-experienced vet near you, and set up an appointment to have papa neutered ASAP.

  • Step 4. Make sure mama has a varied bounty of unlimited food and water.

  • Step 5. Give mama a few weeks to recover from nursing once the babies are weaned, and then have her spayed by a competent rabbit vet.
  • Step 6. Buy a copy of The House Rabbit Handbook by Marinell Harriman.

  • It's available at most major bookstores for under $10, and is the most accurate, up-to-date rabbit book available. For more information on rabbit care, visit the House Rabbit Society, where volunteers are online to answer all your rabbit-related questions.

    Visit the H.A.R.E.

    Visit the National House Rabbit Society