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Would you keep these does?

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Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby Jim S » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:24 am


I bought a pregnant NZW doe last year, who delivered a litter of two.

She was transported about fifty miles to my home, and transitioned onto new food. I am open-minded about whether these could be factors, along with the time of year, which resulted in such a small litter.

Her previous owner sold her for a reason, however, and I have wondered if this is because she may be coming to the end of her reproductive life. I am going to breed her next week with my rex buck, and see how she does.

In the meantime, both of the litter are does, and both have grown really well. I'll report back on their 8 week weights next week, but I'm optimistic that the larger of the two will make 5 lb. The smaller probably won't be too far behind either.

I'm inclined to keep both of them as potential replacements for their mother. NZWs are not expensive here at about £20 each (circa $26), but there never really seem to be many of them for sale at any given time.

Would you be inclined to keep both of them, one of them, or none of them?

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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Rainey » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:56 pm


From the information given I see no reason not to keep them. Of course it would depend on their temperaments, whether they had any health problems or other disqualifies--long neck, pinched hips, etc. I have an idea of 'good enough' and try not to get distracted by some idea of 'perfect'. If you're just getting started raising for meat and these are the does you have, then I say start with them and you'll most likely have some rabbit for eating and keep any that are better than their mothers for future breeding.
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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:18 am


I agree with "Rainey",
and...
If it were me, I would give the doe another chance or two, and keep the does you have, and work with that...
It is very possible the doe is coming to the end of her productive life, however, her genetics will be passed on to the daughters.
It is not a "long project" to see what you actually have, in those genetics, ..before you decide to either keep, or discard...
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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Jim S » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:37 am


Those were also my thoughts. Very useful to get the perspectives of people with more experience, though, and I appreciate the responses!

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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby hotzcatz » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:44 pm


Absolutely keep the does and breed them to your local NZ buck. Outside genetics are a good thing. You could try breeding the original doe and see if she has a larger litter, it wouldn't take more than a month to see if she does.
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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Dwc77 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:48 pm


Probably should have asked how old she was before you bought her. There are other reasons why she only had two in a litter. If she has to much internal fat or maybe wasn't feed quality food. I've had does that would give me 10 or more in a litter their first year or two. But years three and four I might get 4 or 5. I've also had a younger does that was out of big litters give me 2 or 3 in a litter. I wouldn't be scared to give your 2 does a try. I always say they are rabbits not machines! Good luck

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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#7  Unread postby Jim S » Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:47 am


I did ask how old she was, how large her previous litters were, how many litters she'd had etc, and got answers to all of these. I suppose what I'm saying is that, in retrospect, I've only really got the previous owner's word that these answers are accurate.

The two does made 4lb, 10oz and 4lb, 4oz by 8 weeks, so not quite what I'd hoped, but still not bad, I think?

I'm going to re-breed the mother later this week, and we'll see how she does.

Another question - bearing in mind the circumstances I outlined in my first post on this thread, would you count this small litter as a strike, or give her a pass this time?

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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#8  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue Jan 07, 2020 6:21 am


Jim S wrote:I did ask how old she was, how large her previous litters were, how many litters she'd had etc, and got answers to all of these. I suppose what I'm saying is that, in retrospect, I've only really got the previous owner's word that these answers are accurate.

The two does made 4lb, 10oz and 4lb, 4oz by 8 weeks, so not quite what I'd hoped, but still not bad, I think?

I'm going to re-breed the mother later this week, and we'll see how she does.

Another question - bearing in mind the circumstances I outlined in my first post on this thread, would you count this small litter as a strike, or give her a pass this time?


If it were me, I would start evaluating her now,.. when you know how she is fed, housed, treated etc... If she fails a few times under your care- then "strike her out"
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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#9  Unread postby ladysown » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:30 am


just so you know, if you ever have a small litter, the doe can be rebred immediately. Two kits in a litter grow fast, and can be weaned at four weeks. it will give you a better chance at a big litter.
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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#10  Unread postby Jim S » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:17 am


ladysown wrote:just so you know, if you ever have a small litter, the doe can be rebred immediately. Two kits in a litter grow fast, and can be weaned at four weeks. it will give you a better chance at a big litter.


That is a very useful tip indeed, and I'll bear that in mind, if the same thing happens again. I definitely did not notice any nursing, or even attempts at nursing, by the time the kits were four weeks old. As a beginner, I assumed I might just have been missing this, but they did indeed appear to be weaned at four weeks.

I think they grew pretty fast, too. The larger of the two has just made 5lb, at eight weeks and four days, and the smaller is only just behind her. Is this also a product of a small litter size ie, do rabbits in small litters tend to grow noticeably faster, and if so, do they just reach adult weight sooner, or are they also more likely to grow into a larger than average rabbit?

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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#11  Unread postby Rainey » Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:56 pm


[quote="Jim S"
I think they grew pretty fast, too. The larger of the two has just made 5lb, at eight weeks and four days, and the smaller is only just behind her. Is this also a product of a small litter size ie, do rabbits in small litters tend to grow noticeably faster, and if so, do they just reach adult weight sooner, or are they also more likely to grow into a larger than average rabbit?[/quote]

Yes, in my experience a smaller litter does grow faster. Someone here on RT gave some advice I found helpful about weighing litters at about 5 weeks to help you see how good a milk producer the doe is. I've seen posts about kits still nursing up to 8weeks or beyond but I've never seen ours nursing after 4 or 5 weeks. So at that point we take the doe out so the kits can get all the feed they need without the doe getting overweight. And just for what it's worth, we've come to prefer litters of 6 to 8 because they grow out faster. As a newbie I was excited to have a doe kindle a litter of 12, but not so much these days. Our favorite doe kindled 7 to 9 every time until when she was 4 years old and she went down to 6, then 4 and that was the last time we bred her.

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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#12  Unread postby hotzcatz » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:09 pm


I've had different litter sizes depending on which buck was used, too, so there's a lot more variables than just the doe.
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Re: Would you keep these does?

Post Number:#13  Unread postby ladysown » Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:21 pm


weaning has nothing to do with when you breed a doe back. you breed a doe back when her condition and breeding readiness indicate a need to do so.

Your needs come into play as well, but if you want to keep your does breeding and not gaining weight...you breed back as soon as her condition dictates.

With small litters, that will be sooner (could be within one week of birth). With bigger litters you might go as long as 10 weeks post birth.

Most of my does (I predominately breed holland lops at the moment, I've done from large meat rabbits down to tiny polish as well).
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