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Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few questions

Addressing the special needs of the breeding doe and her kits. Includes nutrition, gestation, nest boxes and materials, and tips to ensure survival of the young.
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Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few questions

Post Number:#1  Unread postby SophieBunny » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:59 pm


Hi there everyone I’m new here

I have two pet rabbits, one male and one female. They are mixed breed and about 5 months old,
I wanted to breed them before I get them fixed. A few days ago I put them together for an hour to see what happened, the female was willing to mate and the male had about 6 fall offs with loud grunts. However I’m not sure if I saw here lifting for him. They are currently living in separate pens and are doing well. Here’s my questions:

Will she definitely be pregnant?

Do I need to put them together again? And what will happen if they breed again while she’s pregnant?

I just found out today that they are siblings and after reading many online posts about inbreeding I’m terrified that my female rabbit will die during labour or her babies will be deformed, can anyone comment on this?

It will be her first litter, is they’re anything bad that might happen that I should be prepared for?

thanks to everyone who reads this and answers my questions :)

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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#2  Unread postby Mero2305 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:58 pm


I would say you probably would have wanted to wait until about 6 months for your doe, but hopefully she’ll be ok.

6 falloffs is definitely great, with some of my does I’ll be happy to even get 4 in half an hour.

No you don’t need to put them back together. I have honestly read a few things when it comes to breeding her again after the initial process. Some say that she might get pregnant again one the other uterus (because they have 2 no idea honestly) others say that she wouldn’t get pregnant again if she already is so if anyone could clear that up for me that would be great.

I have yet to read more things in regards to the risks that involves breeding siblings. But from what I have heard being mentioned is that you want to avoid that at all costs... or something like that.

NOW of a first time mom, her maternal instincts might not kick in yet and is the case with lots of rabbits. I had one who’s instincts never liked in and am still trying to find a replacement for her. When their instincts don’t kick in, they might not make a nest/pull fur/nurse/something can’t think of more.

Anyway I hope your doe and kits turn out fine. Also I have a gestation calculator that I like to use for any of my animals (so far only have rabbits but am planning to get some sort of bird for meat and/or pet)
https://morningchores.com/gestation-calculator/

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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#3  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:10 am


Your doe is most likely pregnant.
You need to write the date down, and then make sure she has a nest box with bedding material in it, on day 28.
If you put the box in early, there is a good chance she will use it as a bathroom, and/or her bed.
Fears of defects, because of infrequent "inbreeding", are greatly exagerated.
If you were raising "breed stock" you should use a carefuly considered breeding plan.
Good luck, ...
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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#4  Unread postby Zass » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:02 am


^ all that

and mero, there is one uterus, but it is two horned. It's normal for every pregnancy to be spread out between both horns. (Think of it as having kits lined up on either side of her abdomen.) While rabbits CAN have double pregnancies, it's only as likely as it is for a person to become pregnant again for a second time while already pregnant. Possible, but unlikely. Most often, delayed development of kits, or the later expulsion of retained kits gets mistaken for a second pregnancy.

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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#5  Unread postby golden rabbitry » Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:33 pm


Along side that, if you haven't already, make sure to give her space. I know she's a pet but pregnant rabbits are grouchy and angry and not meant to be handled a bunch. Mero had a good point, normally you don't breed a rabbit of either gender before 6 months so it might be a bit of a rough ride. The biggest thing I see is people are too stressed about a pregnant pet rabbit and worry way to much. Nature is smarter than you think. Rabbits can give birth up to day 36, I had one have 7 healthy babies day 42, so don't freak out after day 31. And most of all, give her space in her last 2 weeks. Don't check every hour for a week straight, just see if she pulled fur and if the fur moves, that's it. Once she kindles, stillborn are normal, it's nothing you did wrong. If the kits body looks normal and is just cold, try warming it up and it might come back to life.

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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#6  Unread postby Mero2305 » Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:21 pm


YES Pregnant rabbits are like the meanest things EVER (well at least for me they are). I can’t even think about handling them with out someone else with me to hold them. I have like 5 bite marks and a billion scratches on my hands.This all includes giving them meds, cutting their nails (which I usually do a few days before their expected to give birth because I don’t want them to cut their kits skin, which has happened to me before)

Also as golden said stress will probably end up killing your kits because when you take them out of the nest, your ruining the incubation that keeps the kits at a temp necessary for them to live and grow.

And reheating kits is sort of normal I guess, just make sure that in the time that the mother is pregnant, to do as much research as you can, ask all the questions you need just do everything that you can. Also even after you do all the research, DON’T STRESS OUT WHEN THE BABIES COME. You might be a bit nerves in the beginning, that’s ok. Stress will play with your mind and make you think things that aren’t right.

Here’s a tip, when your doing research, have a google docs open or a pen(cil) and paper so if your ever doubtful of the information that your trying to recall, you always have something to go back to.

Also thanks Zass for clearing that up for me (I should probably take my own advice sometime, but I’m telling you Sophie so you don’t make the same mistake as me because I had a years worth of research that I have all stored in my head but it’s not reliable in the spur of the moment)

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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#7  Unread postby ladysown » Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:57 am


pregnant rabbits are NOT necessarily grumpy or mean.
I've been breeding rabbits forever. :) I rarely have grumpy pregnant does, they tend, for me... to either stay the same, or get even friendlier. Handle her as much as she will allow it up to about a week before she is due, then just let her be.

Give her a nestbox three days before due unless she demands it earlier. Never argue with a pregnant gal. :)

Breeding siblings is not a necessary horror show. She will most likely be fine, the kits will most likely be fine. IF there are genetic defects in the line, you'll learn about them and perhaps need to make hard decisions for the benefit of the rabbit. KEEP THAT foremost in your mind.

You can handle the kits from day one. They won't die from you handling them unless you are an idiot and keep them out in the cold or something for more than five minutes or drop them... and even dropping them won't necessarily kill them... will make them cry though. I don't expect you to be an idiot. :)

You did nothing wrong breeding her at five months. Does often start breeding at four months. You won't stunt their growth, hurt their bodies, nothing like that.

BUT this.. RELAX. Most of the time with first time moms one of two things happen.

1. She'll be a complete idiot and you'll lose the litter immediately or you will have interfere to help her figure things out.
2. she'll be a complete winner. THIS happens more often than the first.
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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#8  Unread postby Preitler » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:51 am


Same for me - the does are actually more mellow and laid back when pregnant, well, and tired out. But they do have a lot of urges and energy to burn. They dig as if there's no tommorow, I keep shoveling tunnels cloesed almost every day. I think that workout helps a lot to channel energies and I can imagine that mine would behave somewhat different if they couldn't do that.

There is this myth that a doe would reject a kit if being handled, due to smell. That is carried over from some wild animals, and not true at all for rabbits.

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Re: Hi I’m new to breeding rabbits and I have a few question

Post Number:#9  Unread postby hotzcatz » Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:01 am


No worries, things will be fine. Give her a nest box and a bunch of nesting material (grasses, hay, etc.) about three or four days before she's due and she should start gathering up the grasses and such and putting them in the nest. That's called a 'grass moustache' when she's carrying the grasses around in her mouth to put them in the nest box.

A calm and quiet area will go a long ways towards a good kindling. (that's the term when a doe has a litter). If she has her own quiet space to have the litter, she should be able to do everything she needs to do. After she has them, the doe will not stay with the babies, she will have them in the nest and then be on the other side of her hutch except for a few minutes several times a day when she's actively feeding them. The rest of the time she will stay away from the nest and that's normal.

She may not want to eat the day before she has a litter and she will be a pig afterwards. Feed her as much as she wants while she's pregnant and while she's nursing babies. Especially around week three and four after she has the babies. That's when they're the largest and eating the most and the demand on her is the highest. She will start weaning them around then and then the demand on her will go down. The babies should have as much as they want to eat until they're about five to six months old.

Also, if this is her first litter, there's a good chance something will happen to at least a few of them and she may lose the entire litter for one reason or another. We've lost litters when a doe didn't have them in the nest and they chilled to death. Make sure the nest area is rat proof, they will kill baby bunnies. Same for other predators like cats, dogs and whatever other predatory species you have around where you live. We had ants kill baby bunnies before, which was entirely unexpected.

As for the sibling x sibling cross, it's not desirable, but most likely nothing much will happen. A breeder will 'line breed' - which is one step off of inbreeding, after they have bred some desirable characteristics into their bunnies. Usually it's a parent to an offspring or a generational shift further out, but a sibling x sibling cross shouldn't create too much chaos. It's not a good thing, and isn't usually done intentionally.
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