Lou and Paula's Rabbits
Your Subtitle text

Rabbit Breeding

Your breed of choice depends on usage.  Some breeds are best suited for meat production, others are used for producing fur, and some are raised strictly for show purposes.

Young does of small and medium breeds are usually bred at five months.  Does of the giant breeds are usually bred after eight months of age.

Young bucks at first mating should be at least six months old for small breeds, and seven to ten months for medium and giant breeds.  For best results, the buck should not be used for service more than two or three times per week. Matings should be made in the hutch of the buck, with the doe returned to her own hutch after mating.  If no mating takes place, simply return the doe to the buck the next day, or until there is a successful mating.  Signs of false pregnancy such as the doe making a nest or pulling fur, may occur on the seventeeth or eighteenth day following an unsuccessful mating.  Re-breeding should take place at this time, and is usually successful. 

The average gestation period for rabbits is 31 days.  The hutch should be cleaned thoroughly about five days before the doe kindles, and a new box bedded deep with straw or pine shavings should be provided.

Litters of eight are ideal.  Larger litters should be culled to eight unless the doe is an exceptional mother and milk producer.  Young culled from these litters can be transferred to does kindling the same day with smaller litters.

Young rabbits should remain in the next box for about three weeks.  The next box should be kept sanitary by replacing the nesting material periodically.  Young are commonly nursed for six to eight weeks, although some commercial rabbits are weaned successfully at four weeks.  The doe can be rebred immediately if she is in good condition.

The purpose of a rabbitry building is to protect rabbits from extremes in the weather.  Rabbits are more vulnerable to hot weather than to cold because they have no natural way of perspiring.  Rabbits that become overheated may die.  During the winter months, keeping the newborn rabbits warm is the main concern.  Many rabbitries use insulation fans for cooling, and furnaces for heating to maintain proper temperatures.  Fans are also necessary to replace the ammonia-laden air (caused by urine)inside the rabbitry with fresh, outside air.  Before building rabbit housing, check with local, successful raisers to determine the best type of housing for your area and needs.  The major consideration when selecting a hutch or a cage is to get one that is self-cleaning.  Galvanized, wire cages are in widespread use in commercial rabbitries.  Today, most nest boxes are constructed of plywood, but may be wire with disposable liners.

Accurate records of matings, kindlings and feedings are an absolute must.  Care should be taken that breeding is permitted only among those animals of good stock and desirable characteristics.

Rabbits are very susceptible to a wide range of diseases, and disease prevention is a very crucial part of successful rabbit production.  Most rabbit diseases can be prevented by following strict saniation procedures.  Isolating newly acquired or diseased rabbits from the rest of the herd, cleaning and disenfecting cages, water lines, crocks or troughs regularly, and controlling flies, rats, and mice is extremely important.  Make sure that water is kept fresh and clean, and that feed does not become moldy.  Feed only as much as the rabbits will finish daily.

Website Builder