if so, consider this:
Before breeding, please ask yourself:-
Why breed your rabbit?
people can have a whole host of reasons why to breed their rabbit. They might want to experience the miracle of birth, want to start producing food for their table, want to get more fur/fibre animals, want to start showing rabbits and it could simply be that they want to make some money selling them.
Please… proceed carefully.
1. Let’s say you want to experience the miracle of birth… well.. rabbits kindle 28-35 days after breeding. The kindling (giving birth) can result in a litter of live babies. It can also result in a litter of dead babies, dead momma, momma not caring for her babies, babies having something wrong with them, a momma who won’t/can’t care for them, stuck kits, fetal giants, peanuts, max factor kits, and a whole host of other issues. Granted… 8 times out of 10 everything will work the way it was supposed to but are you truly willing to risk that 2 times out of 10 that it won’t? Can you afford the vet bills if you have a doe with a stuck kit? are you prepared to bottle feed kits? What if you see momma rabbit cleaning up a dead kit by eating it…..are you prepared for that or will it make you think that momma rabbit is a horrid creature? (she isn’t by the way, she’s just cleaning up).
2. you want to raise them for your table. YEAH! Rabbit meat is good. did you know that not everyone likes rabbit meat? Perhaps trying it out before you breed for it would be a good idea yes?
3. you want more fur/fibre animals. if you are a knitter/spinner…YEAH! Raise bunnies for your purpose. But.. let’s say you get more than you need. Where will those others be housed? Are you prepared to find them GOOD homes? people with angoras need to be particularly careful about finding good homes for their rabbits as a poorly maintained angora is NOT a good site to behold and is actual cruelty to the animal. (twisted matted wool can rip the skin).
4. you want to show your rabbits. Excellent aim. Showing rabbits is a great deal of fun. Not always so fun if you are consistently losing though. So if you want to show your rabbits, make sure they are worthy of breeding for show rabbits. Makes the game alot more fun to play. :)
5. You want to make some money. Well..there are PLENTY of people who will hate you for wanting to do that. make money off animals? well..you nasty person you. (I’m not one of them by the way). BUT can you live with people thinking of you as being a nasty person? being targetted by animal rights people?
I think selling animals to meet a need in the market place is just another form of legitimate business. And selling to the pet market doesn’t make you any more horrid than someone selling hamsters or cattle. But let’s just say you get 10 babies out of your doe and you are able to home 6 of them. What will you do with the remaining 4? answer it honestly.
DO NOT SAY that you will release them into the wild. THAT WOULD make you a VERY nasty and cruel person. Why? well… you are condemning said rabbit to..hunger, being eaten, being shot/poisoned when they dig holes against the foundation of your neighbours house, being hit on the road, and such like. So … no releasing them. What will you do with the offspring that you cannot sell?
“What will I achieve through breeding?”
It’s a good question to ask. There are plenty of people who will say that if you aren’t breeding to further the breed that you shouldn’t be breeding at all. They may have point. What’s the point in breeding mutt rabbit to mutt rabbit? No point at all…other than perhaps filling your table or selling cheap $5 rabbits as pets. And I won’t say you shouldn’t do that. But you DO need to consider what you hope to achieve.
Do you want to breed rabbits that are strong and healthy?
- I ask this because I had a fellow email me once. I have a doe that has snuffles. I want to get a baby off her that looks like her. Can I use my neighbours buck who looks a lot like her to get babies from her? I wrote him back and said.. Snuffles is MOSTLY an immunologically related illness. So basically any animal that shows signs of it is an animal that overall is a weak animal. So breeding it is NOT something you want to do. PLUS it’s highly contagious. If momma has, her babies will most likely get it, and you have a strong chance of giving it to poppa. So really it isn’t something you want to do.
Do you want to breed rabbits that are of good temperament?
- Let’s say you have a highly cage protective doe. One who will happily chase you out of the room. Do you really want to breed babies that will be like that? Or would you rather breed a rabbit who is happy to let you pet her? Who is happy to see you – one that comes over to check you out and let’s you do the same? (breeding the later is good, breeding the former well….not so good).
“Do I have the time commitment, knowledge and experience to proceed?”
well… do you? or do you know where to go for help?
What will you do if you have a rabbit that suddenly starts blowing snot? what will you do if you get fly strike? what will you do if your rabbit breaks it’s back doing something odd (or even something simple)? Do you know where to go for help when you need it?
Just so you know… there are numerous highly helpful groups out there who are willing to help as much as they can. Rabbittalk.com, Rabbit addict, and homesteading today just to name three that I know of.
IF YOU breed.. I will caution you .. highly highly caution you to avoid the pet rabbit boards, and the house rabbit society people. They will scourge you for daring to breed your rabbits. I don’t need that fuss and bother in my life, do you?
Do you know how to properly feed your rabbit, how to house your rabbit, how to build (or buy) a nestbox of the appropriate size for your rabbit, and how to monitor the health of your doe, your buck and any resultant babies?
“Do I have good, responsible and loving homes for the offspring?”
You MUST answer this question and seriously look at it.
If you breed your rabbits will you have homes for them?
If you don’t have homes for them, what will you do with them?
DO NOT release them into the wild.
DO NOT sell them live to a snake person – that’s just not a good way for any rabbit to go. (most snakes can learn to eat thawed prey).
So what will you do with them?
- Pay to dump them at the humane society?
- Give them to a rabbit rescue (who may choose not to support your poor decision making skills)?
- Will you eat them? Do you know how to humanely and safely kill a rabbit?
- Feed them to critters (aka dog/cat/ferret etc)? If selling for critter food please ensure they are deceased first as some people are less than kind.
Please be kind to the rabbits under your care. Think carefully before choosing to breed them.
Beyond personal experience, sources are as follows.