How To Tell A Rabbits Gender In Easy 3 Steps, With A Video

Learning how to tell a rabbits gender (called sexing rabbits by rabbit raisers) does take some practice so don’t feel like a failure if you get it wrong a few times. I have been raising rabbits for over 20 years now and only in the past 10 or so do I feel confident in my abilities to tell the gender of a young rabbit around the age of 3-4 weeks old.

One time I let someone push me into making a judgment too early and I had to take the rabbit back because it was the wrong gender. It’s okay you will make mistakes. Just own them and be willing to fix them no matter what you have to do.

how to tell a rabbits gender header image

And guess what. If you are raising rabbits and you are not sure of the genders. You can wait to tell people who are chomping at the bit to get one that you are waiting to the gender of a rabbit and as soon as you know you will share it with your audience.

If you have customers breathing down your neck and you are trying to make fast decisions you won’t get it right. So just be patent and practice.

Start Learning With An Adult Rabbit

It’s going to be easier to start learning with the larger or adult rabbits and slowly start learning with the small rabbits or baby bunnies. Adult female rabbits look pretty much the same at 4 weeks old as they do once they reach sexual maturity.

But an adult male rabbit is defiantly different in the genital region from 4 weeks of age to the time he sexually matures. Depending on the breed you are not going to notice the scrotal sac (family jewels) until they are about 4-6 months old. At this age you will also most likely have the penis emerge after applying gentle pressure above the genital opening.

What Age Can You Tell The Sex Of A Rabbit

Even the most experienced rabbit breeders can’t tell the sex of baby rabbits until they are 3 weeks of age minimum. So just be patent and don’t even try until your litter is at least that old.

Check And Recheck

Don’t go through a whole litter and make your judgments the first time and just assume they are all correct. Check and recheck the gender of your rabbit.

Often times I will check at three weeks old. Mark each rabbit with a sharpie in THEIR LEFT EAR the gender. I chose the left ear because this is the ear that we tattoo the ID number in for show rabbits. I have already created the habit to check that ear for info so why not keep it the same?

But then I will go back 5 to 7 days later and recheck the gender of each rabbit again. Its never a bad thing to double-check your work.

How To Sex A Lot Of Rabbits

If you have a large litter it can be hard to keep them all straight. Especially if the whole litter is the same color.

If this is the case I will have one travel carrier with all of the rabbits in it that need to be checked.

(ONLY if they are the same litter. NEVER put different litters together. They could start fighting with each other)

Then as I mark each rabbit I put them in the second carrier and once the first carrier is empty. I know I have checked them all.

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How To Tell The Sex Of Your Rabbit Step By Step

Place your rabbit on a low table (about waist-high) with a piece of carpet under them.

  • Sit the rabbit so they are facing you so when you go to “flip them” on its back its hind legs will be facing you. (Watch the video after this section to see how to flip a rabbit the right way. This takes practice to do and keep control of your rabbit with one hand.)
  • With your thumb and middle finger hold the rabbit’s tail in place.
  • While simultaneously applying firm pressure in a downward motion above the vertical slit you will see between the rabbit’s legs.
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What A Male Rabbit Looks Like

An adult male’s shaft will often stand taller and you most likely will see the penis emerge from the shaft.

The male rabbit’s testicles will likely be noticeable as well.

If the rabbit is young (under 12 weeks) then telling the gender of your rabbit is going to be a bit more challenging.

A young male rabbit can look somewhat like a female if not enough pressure is applied to the genital area. You should see more of a circular opening when done correctly.

(I realize these are very blurry but I had to grab the screenshots from the video. I would need three hands to take a clear picture. Sorry in advance)

What a male rabbit looks like

What A Girl Rabbit (Doe) Looks Like

Both young and old the girls look pretty much the same.

When you are using the same motion to flip your rabbit and apply sufficient pressure above the vent area the rabbit’s gender a doe should look like an upside-down U shape. If we are going to get weird about it they look a lot like a human female.

What A Female rabbit looks like

Physical Differences Between Bucks And Does

While there are not a ton of differences the skull shape for most breeds is different between bucks and does.

For some breeds like the french lop it is far more obvious but some breeds are not as easy to tell as this. But if you look at these two examples below. The buck on the lift has a much bolder face. The doe has a softer (when she’s not grumpy) and smaller skull than the male.

difference between a male and female rabbit skull.

As well as a doe rabbit for almost every breed has a dewlap. The bucks should not. Most new rabbit owners refer to as a “fat roll” or a double chin.

French lops are a great example of this. Some doe’s have HUGE dewlaps. Why? This is often the first place they start pulling fur from to line their nest with when they are due to have babies.

two does with dewlaps showing what they look like

How To Flip A Rabbit To Easily Restrain It

In order to tell the gender of a rabbit you need to learn how to flip the rabbit correctly and also be able to restrain it with one hand. This is one thing you should learn to master as a rabbit handler.

  • Sit the rabbit on a solid surface with a piece of carpeting so they don’t feel insecure.
  • Make sure the rabbit is facing you.
  • Use your dominant hand to use the scruff of the rabbit’s neck (loose skin) and use your non-dominant hand to move the rabbit’s rump closer to ultimately putting the rabbit on its back.
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Why You Would Want To Know The Rabbits Sex

  • If you have litters on your backyard farm or rabbitry you are going to want to separate litters by gender by 12 weeks old to avoid unwanted pregnancies as well as fighting between siblings. Smaller rabbit breeds can become pregnant as early as 4 months old. So you don’t want to press your luck because all it takes is a single mating that can happen in a matter of 5 seconds and your young rabbit is pregnant.
  • Knowing the sex of the rabbit will also explain behavior that you might not otherwise expect.
  • People at a pet store rarely know how to gender rabbits correctly. You don’t want to end up with one rabbit thinking you were getting male and it’s a female. There have been more accidental breedings this way because someone thought they were getting same-sex pairs.
  • You should never leave a pair of rabbits together. If they are unfixed they will continually breed and the doe will continually have litters. If she is not given nesting material and a nest box the kits will die from being exposed to the temperatures.

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You need to know how to tell the rabbit’s sex on your own. It’s not easy and the best way to get better at it is to practice. Larger rabbits will be easier to tell the gender so if you are at a rabbit show or event in person ask someone to either teach you who has larger rabbits or ask them if you can try learning with their rabbits.

Rabbit raisers love to share their knowledge and if you give it time you will be a pro at how to tell a rabbit’s gender.

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