Rabbits/rabbit nest


QUESTION: my rex doe has built her nest but not lined it with fur yet. this is very unusual for her she has had many litters and has always built the nest and the next morning its lined with fur and full of babies. its been three days and still empty nest. what do i do??

ANSWER: Dear Leslie,

She may be having a false pregnancy.  But keep an eye on her for signs of distress, and find a good rabbit vet here:


More importantly, please read:


I hope this helps.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks so much for taking you time to answer my questions!! i think maybe she wasn't bred on the date i thought she was and maybe will have her litter later. hopefully. i haven't seen any kind of distress i don't think so anyway what sings are you talking about? how can i tell if she is having a false pregnancy and if she is what do i do about it. i have felt for the baby bumps in her belly but cant feel anything (but i have never been able to detect the babies in this rabbit) i have another doe that i can palpitate very easily. but the doe in question i cant tell. i breed and raise rabbits to sell as pets for a hobby, and my daughter and i are starting to do shows in the spring. thanks so much for everything!

Dear Leslie,

Signs of distress and difficulting giving birth would include (but are not limited to):  hunching uncomfortably, lethargy, straining, as if to urinate, inappetence.  If this were a false pregnancy, she should not be producing blood.  Please see:


If she expressed blood from her vulva, then consider the possibility that she might have uterine cancer, which is very common in unspayed females.  Please see:


and I do urge you to read:  


There are so many homeless bunnies out there because of hobby breeding that rabbits are the third most relinquished animals at shelters in the U.S.  And those are the ones who aren't dumped in parks to fend for themselves.

I hope this helps.  


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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.

RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.


I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology

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