What Is: Kindling

Kindling in rabbits refers to the process of giving birth.

This term originates from the word “kindle”, which means to give birth to young (usually used in reference to rabbits), and comes from the Old Norse word ‘kynda‘ which meant “to kindle”.

The kindling process begins with the gestation period, which typically lasts around 28 to 31 days for rabbits.

As the time for kindling approaches, the doe usually exhibits signs that she’s about to give birth.

These signs may include changes in behavior like becoming more active or agitated, pulling fur to create a nest for her kits (baby rabbits), or becoming more protective or territorial.

The doe will generally kindle her litter in the early hours of the morning. A typical litter size can range anywhere from 1 to 14 kits, with the average being around 6.

However, the litter size can vary significantly depending on the breed and the individual rabbit.

After kindling, the doe will nurse her kits, but unlike many other mammals, does typically nurse their young only once or twice a day.

The milk is highly nutritious and allows the kits to grow rapidly.

You should provide a safe, comfortable, and quiet environment for the doe during this period, as stress or disturbances can potentially lead to complications, such as the doe not caring for her kits or, in extreme cases, harming them.

« Back to Rabbit Glossary