Rabbits go through a breeding cycle which should be followed strictly in order to produce healthy babies. There are also many rules to be followed when breeding rabbits in order to produce the best rabbits possible. With the proper knowledge and understanding of the rabbit breeding cycle, as well as the limitations, a healthy litter of kits can be achieved.
What are the Basic Facts of Rabbit Mating? When it Comes to Mating in Rabbits, there are Plenty of Facts an Owner or Breeder Should Know. There is Quite a Bit of Terminology that Should be Known in Order to Understand the Language of Rabbit Mating. There is Another Name for Many Common Terms Used Within Mating. Female Rabbit, Male Rabbit, Father, Mother, Babies, Birth, and Mating All Have Another Name Commonly Used When Having an Educated Discussion About Rabbit Mating. The More You Understand This Basic Information on Rabbit Mating, the Better You Will be Able to Understand the Resources Associated with It.
|Mating two rabbits together||Breeding|
|Checking to see if doe is pregnant, or when she is bred again before being due to give birth||Testing|
|A box is put in the hutch that is lined with hay||Nesting|
|When the doe gives birth||Kindling|
|Period of time between breeding and kindling||Gestation period|
|More than one baby rabbit||Litter|
|Young rabbit is taken from mother||Weaning|
When beginning to mate rabbits, it is always a good idea to pay attention to the ancestry of the rabbits. Whoever will make the healthiest litter of kits is who should be paired together. Good productivity and good genetics are traits to look for before beginning the breeding process. A ratio of one buck to ten does is sufficient when mating rabbits. A buck can be used as many as two times per day.
You can order a booklet from the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association on tips for breeding specifically for your rabbit breed. This provides a standard of perfection to achieve the healthiest possible litter of kits. You also have the option to join the national association for the specific breed you are mating to get a complete guide on the breed.
What Does a Rabbit’s Breeding Cycle Look Like?
A Rabbit’s Breeding Cycle is Very Precise and Should be Followed Strictly to Ensure the Litter of Kits Turns Out as Healthy as Possible. Different Sized Breeds Begin Breeding at Different Ages in Their Lives. This is Important to Know, As Smaller and Medium Sized Rabbit Breeds Begin Reproducing Sooner than Larger Breeds. Also, there is a Period of Time Between Breeding and Kindling of About A Month Which Should be Noted When Breeding Rabbits. It is Important to Keep Records When Breeding Rabbits so You Have a Clear Understanding of When Your Rabbit was Last Bred So You Know When You Can Breed Again.
When you are ready to breed your pair, take the doe to the buck’s cage, not vice versa. The buck has less of a tendency to breed in the doe’s cage because he may become consumed with sniffing around the cage. A rabbit normally starts breeding around 6 months of age for small to medium-sized breeds. For heavy breeds, this age is typically around 8-9 months of age.
A doe and buck may differ slightly in the time they are ready to reproduce. A doe may be ready a month or so before the buck. The gestation period is 31 days. A nesting box should be placed in the doe’s cage around the 29th day after breeding. After the doe has given birth, she can usually be re-bred at 6 weeks. The litter is weened around 5-7 weeks.
A calendar with accurate records should be kept of the day the doe was bred. She should be tested for pregnancy between the 10th and 14th day following the initial breeding. The preferred method of doing this is by palpating the lower abdomen of the doe with your thumb and forefinger, which is a way to check for nodules approximately the size of a marble. Another method is to mate the doe again. The second method may cause problems though, because a doe has two uterine horns, both with the ability to be fertilized. If these are both fertilized, the hormonal imbalance will produce blobs rather than kits.
What else should you know about rabbit breeding?
- It is not recommended to keep more than one rabbit in a cage after they have exceeded 3 months of age. A rabbit will mature faster when it is alone. Also, they will not fight, and will not continue to breed, eliminating unexpected results.
- Before beginning the breeding process, check the bottom of the cages for diarrhea or loose stool. A rabbit should not be bred if they have a health condition that has not been treated.
- Check the genitals of both the doe and buck before breeding for any signs of infection or disease (extreme redness, discharge, sores, scabs).
- Some leave the doe and buck in the cage overnight, some place the doe in the buck’s cage for breeding and then remove the doe. If you choose to remove the doe, bring her back 1-12 hours later as this will increase likeliness of pregnancy, as well as number of offspring.
What are the Limits When it Comes to Rabbit Mating?
Since Rabbit Mating is a Very Specific Process, There Are Some Limitations that Should be Followed to Produce Healthy Kits. When it Comes to Choosing the Doe and Buck You Would Like to Breed, this Pair Should be Chosen Strategically. It is Important to Pay Attention to the Ancestry of a Rabbit When Choosing the Mate. Also, It Is a Good Idea to Match One Breed of Rabbit to Another. You Can Look at the Pedigrees and Records to Determine Which Rabbits Will Make the Best Pair as Well.
When you are deciding on a pair of rabbits to breed, it is very important to look at their relation to one another. If a pair of rabbits are brother and sister, they should not be bred. Other combinations within the same gene pool are okay; such as father-to-daughter, mother-to-son, and cousin-to-cousin. However, unless you have a wide knowledge of rabbit breeding, it is recommended to try to stay out of closely related pairs.
It is recommended to breed rabbits of the same breed. Unless you are breeding rabbits for meat and are looking for specific characteristics, doing genetic experiments, or do not care about the fate of the offspring for another reason. The offspring is unable to be sold as pedigree if their ancestry is not of the same breed reaching four generations back.
While you should not mate rabbits of different breeds, it is okay to mate rabbits of different colors. There are many possibilities when you begin mixing colors. Keep in mind that some of the produced offspring may not have colors that are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association. You may find it easiest to mate rabbits with the same color until you learn more about how different colors interact.
If a rabbit has some type of abnormality or genetic defect it is best not to breed them. Examples include: malocclusion (wolf teeth), moon eye (cloudy cornea), or produces offspring with a skull who does not come together (with the exception of dwarves, where around 25% are born too small with head and legs that may be deformed, also known as “peanuts”). If the rabbit carries a genetic defect or possibility for abnormalities, it should be eliminated as a potential mating partner.
When deciding to breed a pair of rabbits, one should prepare for the process by following the right steps. Thorough and proper research should be conducted in order to choose the most suitable pairing. The breeding cycle should also be understood before beginning the breeding process. With the proper knowledge and pairing, you can produce a healthy litter of kits from your rabbits.