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Too OLD

Discussions and questions about how best to keep your breeding program running smoothly.
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Too OLD

Post Number:#1  Unread postby BunFamily » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:59 am


Is 3-4 years old too old for breeding

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Re: Too OLD

Post Number:#2  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:37 am


maybe, maybe not, depends on a lot of factors.. I have had some going strong at 6 or 7
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: Too OLD

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Rainey » Mon Apr 30, 2018 10:28 am


Casco is the only doe we have left that was kindled in our first year of breeding, 2014. She just had her first litter for this year and has had 3 each year for the past 3 years. Her sister had 3 litters in 2015 and again in 2016 but then didn't take last year although we thought she was successfully bred 2 different times. Don't know how long Casco can keep going but she is reliably easy to breed, kindles 7 to 9, and is a good mother. At this point all of our breeding stock are her offspring which raises some separate questions I'm still puzzling over about close breeding.
Also in answering the question of whether 3 or 4 years old is too old to breed, it might be relevant whether the rabbit has been bred previously, how often, how long ago.

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Re: Too OLD

Post Number:#4  Unread postby BunFamily » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:32 pm


she has had 2 litters when she was 2

-- Tue May 01, 2018 8:02 am --

Also How old does a mini lop female to be too have baby's?

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Re: Too OLD

Post Number:#5  Unread postby akane » Tue May 01, 2018 1:01 pm


It shouldn't be any more issue than usual for the older doe to carry and give birth but it can be extra difficult to get a doe to breed and become pregnant after a long break.

Small-medium breeds can breed quite young. I have had mini rex breed at 2 months before separating the litter once but that's uncommon and not suggested on purpose. 4-6months probably has the best luck of getting them pregnant easily and caring for the litter properly. If you wait too long you have the similar problem of giving them long breaks where they tend to get fatter so don't get pregnant as easily and may not be as willing to breed.
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Re: Too OLD

Post Number:#6  Unread postby hotzcatz » Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:52 pm


I'm finding out that older (well over a year old) does don't seem to conceive as easily as younger ones. If they manage to become pregnant, they seem to have their litters okay, it's just there will be many matings with no litters. They aren't fat, so it's not from being fat. There's just something about a doe that's older and never had a litter which seems to create some sort of fertility problem.

We have angoras, so we don't breed as often as the meat rabbit folks since the bunnies stick around for a long time and we don't want to end up with more rabbits than spaces for them. Generally, we have been letting the does get to be several years old before mating them for their first litter. Some never do have a litter, some will have a small litter after many multiple tries and with known (observed) solid matings.

We're now planning on sorting out the breeding stock at an earlier age and having the breeding doe(s) have at least one litter before she is a year old. Depending on how that litter shows up, the doe may be bred again or just go live in the wool herd. At the moment, we're still too early into this investigation of age-of-doe-at-first-breeding to have more than mere conjectures about it, but several folks who raise meat rabbits have mentioned this to me now that we've become aware of the possible problem.
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Re: Too OLD

Post Number:#7  Unread postby akane » Tue Sep 04, 2018 4:31 pm


Fat is hard to see on rabbits. They pack much of the fat into the abdomen first so under their skin and their overall shape may seem perfectly fine even when their internal organs are being surrounded by fat deposits. A visibly fat rabbit is a VERY out of shape rabbit. Keeping rabbits in floor colonies I realized even the typical caged rabbit is already fat. My lean rabbits weighed the same and dressed out the same muscle mass on the finished carcass but did not show as well for seeming skinny. They just had a slightly overall leaner appearing body with absolutely no extra fat and lots of developed muscling. I had to keep them in worse physical condition to show better. Since it doesn't seem to take much to reduce fertility in rabbits and fat isn't easily visible externally on them the number of rabbits not breeding as well due to fat deposits is a bit hard to truly determine.

It is usually well recognized though that for whatever reason long breaks from breeding do make it harder to get them willing to breed and successful pregnant. Regardless of the theory why. It's often best to breed early and not provide really long breaks. Seasonal weather would get in my way and cause me to breed the does back to back in spring and fall but when I had some ND indoors I just spaced the litters out farther and evenly instead. Then I could have a doe produce a litter every 3 months year round instead of cramming 2-4 litters in a row once or twice a year. They produce far more consistently even just without those 4-8month breaks. Entire years of delaying a first litter or gaps in the middle can sometimes be very frustrating to then get a litter. Of course a few rabbits just don't seem to miss a beat but I usually found them to be the exception and I finally just went to sticking everything that hadn't bred recently into the floor colonies for at least a few months before raising individually caged litters from those again. Aside from the occasional hiccups of keeping a group of rabbits peaceful it pretty much never failed.
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Re: Too OLD

Post Number:#8  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:17 pm


one breeding trick I have used quite successfully is, [assuming the meat breed 6+ lb rabbit is not already underweight] Cut rations back by 1/3, allow her to loose one lb, after she has lost one lb, return the rations to normal plus 25% for a week, then re-breed...
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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