Breeding challenges

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Mannbuns

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Alright I have read through tons of posts, old and new, about things to try with difficult breeders. Isn't it supposed to be easy to breed rabbits? Isn't there a saying, "multiply like rabbits?" Sigh. So we are still new to this, we got our first rabbits in July. We started with 2 does and a buck. The seller bred our does for us before we brought them home. One was a first time mom, the other a proven mom. I don't know the story about the buck. My husband did all the communication and doesn't seem to know if he had been proven. So we got our first 2 litters and they are all in the freezer except two that we saved to be new breeders. We bought one more rabbit from the same seller, brought her home pregnant. She was a great Mama. We have tried multiple times to rebreed our Mama's. My husband has been heading this project up so I'm not always in the loop with what his plans are. I don't know why we didn't rebreed the first 2 does after we weaned their litters, but we didn't. Maybe we waited too long. They have been completely unresponsive. And our buck, who just had a cushy life for several months without having a chance to test his manhood, gave up super fast or didn't even bother to try. We paid a lot of money for this young buck who was supposed to give us loads of litters. Our 3rd doe that we brought in, we tried to breed her with our buck more quickly and we're successful so we know he can do it. We thought maybe he was too far so we put him on a diet. Our first 2 ladies were overweight so they've been on a diet. Everyone has been looking good. We've had the lights on, used acv. Nothing. Or very little action anyway. Right now I'm sitting in the rabbitry watching with the buck not having attempted any contact. I'm also suspicious that he has snuffles. Double sigh. Why is this so hard?

I don't know if I'm expecting answers because I've read a lot and don't know that anyone will have a new suggestion I haven't seen. I guess I'm just lamenting to those who will understand? Is this guy just a super expensive dinner?

We did save a buck from one of our litters. He's about 6.5 months old. He's a new Zealand. Is he old enough to start breeding? He may be our savior. This has been a frustrating process and we wish we had just gotten chickens. 🤦🏼‍♀️
(Sorry for the length)
 

RabbitsOfTheCreek

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I honestly think the term should be changed to something more accurate like "Multiply like mice"

I've never thought that breeding rabbits was easy, many factors can make it even harder, heat, light, diet, weight, size, whether or not either or both of the rabbits want to breed, and a bunch of the time the rabbits aren't good mothers (Especially as a first-timer)
 

ladysown

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try taking them for a car ride down a bumpy road... amazingly it can work well. :)

As to your senior buck... if he's not at all interested and potentially sick... I would permanently shelve him OR house him in a larger than needed pen with your most docile doe for an extended period of time.

6.5 months might be okay for your young buck.. .they can and do start working at 3 months if housed with young ladies, but sometimes they need to mentally grow up. You needed to be CAREFUL with young bucks that a dominant doe doesn't permanently scare him off the ladies .
 

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Sorry they’re being so difficult!! Breeding times can be the most frustrating part now and again.

In my opinion, you could try with your younger buck. Do you know how much he weighs? That can sometimes give a better idea for when he might be ready, in addition to age. To go along with what @ladysown wrote, watch how he behaves with the does. Sometimes young bucks are just the right match for a feisty doe, and other times they need to wait/start with a gentler doe. How are your does behaving when in with your older buck? If they seem gentle it should go better.
 

MnCanary

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....As to your senior buck... if he's not at all interested and potentially sick... I would permanently shelve him OR house him in a larger than needed pen with your most docile doe for an extended period of time.....
I agree with ladysown. For me, at least, foolproof breeding has been when I put a buck and doe in a larger area that neither can claim as their territory. 'Larger Area' meaning 30 square feet or more. I use a hallway in the rabbit building that I can close off. I provide food and water, and several places for the doe to hide; like a box or something in a corner that she can get behind. The doe usually is skittish and hides for a day or so. But eventually (sometimes 2-3 days later) I'll see the two of them lying side by side. I've left them together for as long as two weeks.

I keep reading that the doe can damage the buck, but I've never seen this sort of aggression. I think being in a larger area, a non-territorial area, and providing hiding spaces must be the difference between war and peace between the two rabbits.
 

Mannbuns

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I don't Know the weight of the young buck but he's much smaller than our older does. Can a buck who's smaller get the job done? My husband put him in with our young doe (they're the same size) tonight and apparently he tried his darndest and she would not lift for him. The older does have not been aggressive with our older buck in that they have not attacked him. Sometimes there's a lot of chasing and then he may get a mount but they won't lift and he doesn't accomplish anything. Other times (most times) they just lay down. If he doesn't get the job done he's going to be the most expensive meal I've ever had!
Unfortunately we don't have a space to give them that's bigger. We do have a spare cage that no one has occupied for a while but that's the best I've got. I thought about putting them in our rabbit tractor in the grass but it's soggy out right now and I didn't want to have muddy rabbits. Maybe I need to get over that. :)
 
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Alright I have read through tons of posts, old and new, about things to try with difficult breeders. Isn't it supposed to be easy to breed rabbits? Isn't there a saying, "multiply like rabbits?" Sigh. So we are still new to this, we got our first rabbits in July. We started with 2 does and a buck. The seller bred our does for us before we brought them home. One was a first time mom, the other a proven mom. I don't know the story about the buck. My husband did all the communication and doesn't seem to know if he had been proven. So we got our first 2 litters and they are all in the freezer except two that we saved to be new breeders. We bought one more rabbit from the same seller, brought her home pregnant. She was a great Mama. We have tried multiple times to rebreed our Mama's. My husband has been heading this project up so I'm not always in the loop with what his plans are. I don't know why we didn't rebreed the first 2 does after we weaned their litters, but we didn't. Maybe we waited too long. They have been completely unresponsive. And our buck, who just had a cushy life for several months without having a chance to test his manhood, gave up super fast or didn't even bother to try. We paid a lot of money for this young buck who was supposed to give us loads of litters. Our 3rd doe that we brought in, we tried to breed her with our buck more quickly and we're successful so we know he can do it. We thought maybe he was too far so we put him on a diet. Our first 2 ladies were overweight so they've been on a diet. Everyone has been looking good. We've had the lights on, used acv. Nothing. Or very little action anyway. Right now I'm sitting in the rabbitry watching with the buck not having attempted any contact. I'm also suspicious that he has snuffles. Double sigh. Why is this so hard?

I don't know if I'm expecting answers because I've read a lot and don't know that anyone will have a new suggestion I haven't seen. I guess I'm just lamenting to those who will understand? Is this guy just a super expensive dinner?

We did save a buck from one of our litters. He's about 6.5 months old. He's a new Zealand. Is he old enough to start breeding? He may be our savior. This has been a frustrating process and we wish we had just gotten chickens. 🤦🏼‍♀️
(Sorry for the length)
Wow, what a bunch of trials! So sorry. The tricky part is that is could be any or all of a multitude of things.

First, this is the hardest time of year to get rabbits, especially does, bred. I don't know where you are, but especially if you're in a place where it gets cold and dark, this could be part of the issue. Even rabbits that are in a heated, lighted barn or garage still somehow know it's winter. Sometimes you can get them bred, but they tend to have all sorts of other issues. So there's that. By February/March, you may see a whole different side of your does, especially if you've got them trimmed down to a healthy weight.

It's true that re-breeding the does right after, or even before you wean the litter, makes it more likely they'll be interested. I usually rebreed the doe at 4-5 weeks and wean at 6-7 weeks. For some reason, having having the young bunnies in with them seems to keep them more in the mood. But not rebreeding quickly shouldn't mean your does won't breed at all.

Your buck's lack of interest is probably something else, though. While fat bucks can get too lazy to make much effort to breed, it doesn't usually set in till they're older, so it doesn't sound like that's the problem here. The first thing I'd do is check his vent. When we have had a buck that's not interested, or mounts a doe then loses interest and slides off, more often than not he has some issue going on - a little cut or a pimple or a sore on his vent or belly, or something else down there that makes him uncomfortable. Another problem we've encountered is when a buck has injured his feet, legs or back. Then, of course, it hurts to mount the doe.

On the other hand, if he's feeling lousy for some other reason - a gut ache, for instance - he will have zero libido. Is he eating normally? Have you changed feed, other than to reduce his ration to get him slimmed down? Is his belly big and distended while you can feel his spine and hips? And what makes you think he might have sniffles? Rabbits can get colds that aren't pasturellosis, and it does lay them low, just like it does to us, but it usually only lasts about the same amount of time, 7-10 days.

Finally, if you've had him in with the does unattended for any amount of time, and I'm talking even 30 seconds when you go to the other side of the room, prepare for bunnies to be born when you least expect it. I've lost track of the number of times I've had a doe kindle when I or someone else "knew" the doe hadn't been bred!
 

Mannbuns

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Wow, what a bunch of trials! So sorry. The tricky part is that is could be any or all of a multitude of things.

First, this is the hardest time of year to get rabbits, especially does, bred. I don't know where you are, but especially if you're in a place where it gets cold and dark, this could be part of the issue. Even rabbits that are in a heated, lighted barn or garage still somehow know it's winter. Sometimes you can get them bred, but they tend to have all sorts of other issues. So there's that. By February/March, you may see a whole different side of your does, especially if you've got them trimmed down to a healthy weight.

It's true that re-breeding the does right after, or even before you wean the litter, makes it more likely they'll be interested. I usually rebreed the doe at 4-5 weeks and wean at 6-7 weeks. For some reason, having having the young bunnies in with them seems to keep them more in the mood. But not rebreeding quickly shouldn't mean your does won't breed at all.

Your buck's lack of interest is probably something else, though. While fat bucks can get too lazy to make much effort to breed, it doesn't usually set in till they're older, so it doesn't sound like that's the problem here. The first thing I'd do is check his vent. When we have had a buck that's not interested, or mounts a doe then loses interest and slides off, more often than not he has some issue going on - a little cut or a pimple or a sore on his vent or belly, or something else down there that makes him uncomfortable. Another problem we've encountered is when a buck has injured his feet, legs or back. Then, of course, it hurts to mount the doe.

On the other hand, if he's feeling lousy for some other reason - a gut ache, for instance - he will have zero libido. Is he eating normally? Have you changed feed, other than to reduce his ration to get him slimmed down? Is his belly big and distended while you can feel his spine and hips? And what makes you think he might have sniffles? Rabbits can get colds that aren't pasturellosis, and it does lay them low, just like it does to us, but it usually only lasts about the same amount of time, 7-10 days.

Finally, if you've had him in with the does unattended for any amount of time, and I'm talking even 30 seconds when you go to the other side of the room, prepare for bunnies to be born when you least expect it. I've lost track of the number of times I've had a doe kindle when I or someone else "knew" the doe hadn't been bred!
Hmm. I haven't checked his belly. I can give him a better examination tomorrow. We've been trying to breed them over the course of 3 months or so. So it's not just that he suddenly isn't into it. The very first time we put a doe in with him, he did his thing right away, fell off and then screamed 3 times! It was disconcerting and funny and eerie. I read a bunch of posts where people said some bucks scream and it's fine. But we were concerned he hurt himself. And now I wonder if whatever happened did something to him? Physically or emotionally? Lol The doe did not get pregnant. And a month ago when he had successful fall offs with all 3 does, only one got pregnant. We are assuming it's because the 2 does were overweight.

The reason I think he has snuffles is because he's been sneezing with icky stuff coming out of his nose for 6 months. I am ashamed to admit I haven't prioritized finding a treatment for him. At first his eye was also leaky and I found evidence of ear mites. I got the mites cleared up and his eye stopped leaking but the sneezing and nose drip hasn't gone away. I read that rabbits don't get colds like people do, so I'm surprised to see you say they do.
We don't leave them alone unattended so we will know one way or another
 
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I don't Know the weight of the young buck but he's much smaller than our older does. Can a buck who's smaller get the job done? My husband put him in with our young doe (they're the same size) tonight and apparently he tried his darndest and she would not lift for him. The older does have not been aggressive with our older buck in that they have not attacked him. Sometimes there's a lot of chasing and then he may get a mount but they won't lift and he doesn't accomplish anything. Other times (most times) they just lay down. If he doesn't get the job done he's going to be the most expensive meal I've ever had!
Unfortunately we don't have a space to give them that's bigger. We do have a spare cage that no one has occupied for a while but that's the best I've got. I thought about putting them in our rabbit tractor in the grass but it's soggy out right now and I didn't want to have muddy rabbits. Maybe I need to get over that. :)
Well, that's hopeful! It doesn't sound like it's the bucks at all. Sometimes does will be picky about bucks, but usually if they reject one they'll be cooperative for another. It sounds more like your does are just not willing to breed right now, and like I said above, it may simply be the time of the year.

One thing you can try is what @ladysown suggested: take the does for a ride in carriers in your trunk or truck bed. You pretty much want to get them hot and bothered. :) Frequently when I come home from a day at a winter show (all day in a hot, busy building), all my does are lifting at the slightest provocation!

Other things you can try are to give them fresh greens daily, and/or you can switch the bucks' and the does' cages for a few days - put the buck in the doe's cage and vice versa.

However, I've actually quit breeding for December and January litters. They can breed, but it takes some convincing, and I have had my greatest litter losses during those months, so I just take a break. By the time the natural sunlight is coming back in February, everyone is usually raring to go.

One thing I am not found of is leaving the bucks and does together for very long. As @MnCanary noted, there is the issue of fights, which you get when there's nowhere for the rabbits to get away from each other or when the doe is very aggressive. But more concerning to me is the possibility of the doe getting re-bred over a period of a week or more, which occasionally results in two separate litters being conceived at different times in the two horns of the uterus. This can mean all the babies are delivered at one time, so you get healthy bunnies along with undeveloped, dying bunnies. Or else one of the litters dies inside the doe because she delivers the others too early or too late for them, and the bunnies mummify which can make the doe sick and/or kill her. I've only had the former happen a few times, when I used to bred does several times over the course of a week. The does had extended labors with some living and some very undeveloped kits. Now I breed the does once (several fall-offs), then again an hour later, which studies suggest results in better conception rates and larger litters.
 
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Hmm. I haven't checked his belly. I can give him a better examination tomorrow. We've been trying to breed them over the course of 3 months or so. So it's not just that he suddenly isn't into it. The very first time we put a doe in with him, he did his thing right away, fell off and then screamed 3 times! It was disconcerting and funny and eerie. I read a bunch of posts where people said some bucks scream and it's fine. But we were concerned he hurt himself. And now I wonder if whatever happened did something to him? Physically or emotionally? Lol The doe did not get pregnant. And a month ago when he had successful fall offs with all 3 does, only one got pregnant. We are assuming it's because the 2 does were overweight.

The reason I think he has snuffles is because he's been sneezing with icky stuff coming out of his nose for 6 months. I am ashamed to admit I haven't prioritized finding a treatment for him. At first his eye was also leaky and I found evidence of ear mites. I got the mites cleared up and his eye stopped leaking but the sneezing and nose drip hasn't gone away. I read that rabbits don't get colds like people do, so I'm surprised to see you say they do.
We don't leave them alone unattended so we will know one way or another
Interesting... Either bucks or does can scream during/after breeding, but three screams makes me wonder, like you, if something hurt him. (Yes, rabbits screams are freaky!!!) If he had a tender pimple or cut, it could certainly have hurt, and that would explain why he wasn't super excited to try again.

Snuffles is marked by white or colored snot coming out of the nose, but it pretty much has to be diagnosed by a culture to be 100% sure. If it was snuffles, very likely all of your rabbits would have it by now as it is extremely contagious. I'm not sure why people think rabbits can't get a cold, it's just a viral illness (don't know whether it's the same coronovirus that gives us colds, but it surely behaves the same way).
Here's an interesting summary of snuffles:

We've had rabbits get colds nearly every winter, especially young ones when they're already challenged by recent weaning or a move from one home to another, but their snot, if any, is clear; sometimes they just sneeze and cough. We give them VetRx drops in their nose and water for a week and it's usually resolved fairly quickly. If we do not treat them, it usually lasts longer, but it almost always resolves. (If it doesn't, we cull them.)

One more little bit of trivia, rabbits can be allergic to hay! (Or maybe it's the dust...) I had a white buck that had weepy eyes off and on for months, and I finally put it together with the timing of giving out hay. I ended up giving him human eye allergy drops, which helped him!

Anyway, with respiratory issues and ear mites, it sounds like your buck wasn't exactly the picture of fitness, so that may have added to his troubles with breeding. I'll be interested to hear if you find any problems with his vent. It occurs to me too that bucks with a split penis can have trouble breeding does. You might take a look at that too.
 
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MnCanary

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One thing I am not found of is leaving the bucks and does together for very long........
You mention the danger of a double pregnancy in does that have a buck around for more than a day. I haven't seen that, but I imagine it would take a lot of rabbit pregnancies to get some data.

I wonder if people that raise rabbits in a colony see does that have a double pregnancy. In the wild, which a colony mimics, there would always be a buck around in the warren.
 

Mannbuns

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Interesting... Either bucks or does can scream during/after breeding, but three screams makes me wonder, like you, if something hurt him. (Yes, rabbits screams are freaky!!!) If he had a tender pimple or cut, it could certainly have hurt, and that would explain why he wasn't super excited to try again.

Snuffles is marked by white or colored snot coming out of the nose, but it pretty much has to be diagnosed by a culture to be 100% sure. If it was snuffles, very likely all of your rabbits would have it by now as it is extremely contagious. I'm not sure why people think rabbits can't get a cold, it's just a viral illness (don't whether it's the same coronovirus that gives us colds, but it surely behaves the same way). We've had rabbits get colds nearly every winter, especially young ones when they're already challenged by recent weaning or a move from one home to another, but their snot, if any, is clear; sometimes they just sneeze and cough. We give them VetRx drops in their nose and water for a week and it's usually resolved fairly quickly. If we do not treat them, it usually lasts longer, but it almost always resolves. (If it doesn't, we cull them.)

One more little bit of trivia, rabbits can be allergic to hay! (Or maybe it's the dust...) I had a white buck that had weepy eyes off and on for months, and I finally put it together with the timing of giving out hay. I ended up giving him human eye allregy drops, which helped him!

Anyway, with respiratory issues and ear mites, it sounds like your buck wasn't exactly the picture of fitness, so that may have added to his troubles with breeding. I'll be interested to hear if you find any problems with his vent. It occurs to me too that bucks with a split penis can have trouble breeding does. You might take a look at that too.
I will look into the vet Rx and give that a try! The mucus coming out sometimes does look white, but he's a white rabbit so I am not 100% sure. We don't give hay yet, so it's not that.
Ok so if I'm looking at him, how will I tell if he has a split penus or a problem with his vent? Will it look obvious? Is there an online source with a video or pics I can use for reference? He does not love to be picked up, so this will be fun. 🤪
 
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You mention the danger of a double pregnancy in does that have a buck around for more than a day. I haven't seen that, but I imagine it would take a lot of rabbit pregnancies to get some data.

I wonder if people that raise rabbits in a colony see does that have a double pregnancy. In the wild, which a colony mimics, there would always be a buck around in the warren.
I don't think it's common, but it does happen. I am not concerned about a day or two or even three, but when you understand that rabbits are induced ovulators, and you spread breedings across a week or so, which approaches about a quarter of the gestational period, you can see it might impact the results. I've been raising Satins since the last century, haha, and I've had it happen a few times, which is why I changed my breeding practices. I suspect that domestic rabbits, especially meat breeds like cals and satins, which have been selectively bred for decades to be hyper-productive, are a lot more inclined to have all kinds of non-adaptive reproductive things happen than wild rabbits.

In a colony setting it might be very hard to keep track of double pregnancies, since as I understand it, the breeder is never quite sure when the doe is going to kindle, and the does dig burrows and hide the young, and can clean up "mistakes" without anyone being the wiser. When I have something go wrong in our wire cages, I usually catch it before the doe eats the evidence, so to speak. Also, because I know exactly when they're bred, I know exactly when to expect them to kindle, so I am able to keep much better tabs on what's going on than letting nature take its course.

I have no issue with colony breeding; in fact I think it might keep the rabbits quite happy and healthy if done right, and it is very pleasant to watch rabbits interact and do their rabbit things. I have never raised rabbits in a colony because I breed for show and do a lot of genetic breeding experiments, so I need to have detailed knowledge about who, when and how often my rabbits breed. I don't know anything about the issue of colony does being re-bred during pregnancy or right after kindling. I do know that in the wild, does are often re-bred immediately after kindling. It is apparently fine for them, but their breeding season is relatively short, and so are their lives.
 
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I will look into the vet Rx and give that a try! The mucus coming out sometimes does look white, but he's a white rabbit so I am not 100% sure. We don't give hay yet, so it's not that.
Ok so if I'm looking at him, how will I tell if he has a split penus or a problem with his vent? Will it look obvious? Is there an online source with a video or pics I can use for reference? He does not love to be picked up, so this will be fun. 🤪
If it's not hay, could it be dust? My barn gets pretty dusty sometimes, especially when the chickens get in.

To use VetRx, I clean their nose if needed, then put a drop in each nostril 1-2x daily, plus a few drops in the water bottle. If you hold them securely, they don't seem to mind too much, though they may be inclined to sneeze. Sometimes we also add grapefruit seed extract (GSE) to the water, but use that judiciously, both because it's very bitter and you don't want the rabbit to stop drinking, and because if you use it too long it seems to be more harmful than helpful. We thought we were seeing possible reproductive issues with extended use, although GSE is supposed to be helpful for reproduction. So, we use the VetRx for a week or two, but the GSE for only 2-3 days - about 2 drops in 16 ounces of water. I'm not actually sure how it works since the oil tends to sit on top of the water... so I usually just go with the VetRx.

A problem with his vent should be pretty apparent - a pimple, cut, or other signs of trauma and/or inflamation. It would probably be good to compare him to the younger buck.

I hate to say it, but since he was not the healthiest rabbit when you got him, I suppose there's a chance that he might have vent disease, also known as rabbit syphilis or venereal spirochetosis. This would be a real bummer because among other issues, it can spread. Like other verneral dsisease, it can have flares and remission periods. Usually it's pretty obvious after a while, because during a flare the rabbit gets crusty lesions on its vent, which can, though not necessarily, eventually spread to its face. During a flare, it definitely makes the rabbit uninterested in breeding, which is actually a good thing because he may infect any does he contacts.

Here's a site with some information:

Split penis presents in quite a variety of ways, but basically anything other than the "normal" tube is suspect. Sometimes the split is underneath and you really have to make an effort to express the penis all the way out and look underneath.

Here are a couple of sites with information and photos:

Do note that in young rabbits, you can see what looks like a split penis during their normal development. The way the organ develops is that it starts out looking like a doe's slit organ, then the tube progressively seals itself from the bottom up. It's when the tube does not seal itself up, or seals itself at the top and bottom but not in the middle, that you see a split penis. If it is still not sealed by the time they're breeding age, though, they would be culled (I've never actually had a problem with it). This is another thing I learned from an experienced ARBA judge - he disqualified my junior "doe" for being a buck, but told me to hang onto him and watch. Sure enough, he became a very beautiful, very normal and very productive Grand Champion.
 
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KelleyBee

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. Now I breed the does once (several fall-offs), then again an hour later, which studies suggest results in better conception rates and larger litters.
By chance, can you point us to these studies so those of us who like reading such things can? Thank you! 🙂
 

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I understand the frustration you are having with breeding. 'Breeding like rabbits' rarely describes domestic rabbit production. Breed can make a big difference, too, as the bucks of some breeds are more aggressive than others. My Champagne de Argent bucks were so laid back, they had no interest in breeding, period. Beautiful rabbits, no babies. Sometimes, you'll get a buck that just breeds every doe, and others that are fussy. My husband had one Silver Fox buck that wasn't the color genetics he was interested in, but that buck settled every doe every time. I had a Satin Angora buck that was a total dud. Wouldn't breed anyone. Then, one day I decided to try him again and he settled her right away, although he never bred another doe after that. A good buck is a real treasure, although sometimes the doe is the fussy one. I have a few does that would run like a demon away from a half dozen different bucks, and then happily flirt and breed with with the buck of their choice. It keeps things interesting, and makes every litter a treasure.

I find that often, if I don't breed a doe back after weaning her litter, she later has no interest in doing that again. It can be challenging to time everything. Also, if you live where it is hot out, bucks can become sterile after five days of 85 degree F weather, or three days of 90 degree F. It can last from six weeks to several months, depending on the buck and the weather. Timing the breedings so that the doe is already bred before the summer heat is an issue can help with that. Also, some use air conditioning for the bucks, or keep frozen tiles or water jugs in their pen to help keep the bucks cool in the heat.

That said, there are plenty of rabbits that breed without issue, and I'm sorry to hear that you've started off with such a difficult time. Don't give up on rabbits. I have a friend with several does that have refused to breed for years (they are now 4 and 5 years old). She switched to a colony set up, and both successfully had litters this year. Who knew?

A sick rabbit is generally not much interested in breeding, and it sounds like your buck is ill. That alone could be a problem. Many of the 'tricks' used to get rabbits interested involve the buck smelling the doe's pheromones, which doesn't work when the buck's nose is stuffed up. White snot is a sign of snuffles, and it is contagious. I would isolate him from the herd and not use him for breeding at this time anyway. A six month old buck is capable of breeding, but as has been said, he can either be super interested in breeding anything that moves, or easily dissuaded from breeding by an aggressive doe. Depends on the buck, junior bucks can go either way, I've had both.

This is a difficult time of the year to breed, as wild rabbits would not be breeding in the winter in the colder areas. You are using additional light, is it broad spectrum lighting? Sometimes having the full spectrum of light can be helpful, as opposed to cool or warm lights only (cool tends towards blue-white, while warm tends towards a more yellowish white light, the big fluorescent light fixtures are often blue-white, while the old incandescent light bulbs more yellowish). That, and the suggested additional greens (maybe a little parsley from the grocery store?) may help make the rabbits feel like spring has come, and it's time to breed.

Before breeding a doe, turn her over and check her vulva (the little 'slit' under the anus). While rabbits are induced ovulators, they also have mini hormone cycles as well. A doe with a pale, dry vulva isn't likely to be interested in breeding. A nice pink, moist vulva usually indicates a receptive doe, and a dark purplish red vulva often means the doe is just past her peak hormone cycle, try again in a few days.
 
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By chance, can you point us to these studies so those of us who like reading such things can? Thank you! 🙂
I'll try to get in touch with the gentleman, Randy Cler, who told me about the study (studies?), to see if there's a link. He is an extremely successful Cal breeder and ARBA judge.
 

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I have examined (as best as I can by myself) our buck. His vent looks fine and so does the tube. The area on either side of the penus is where his urethra is, yes? One side was kinda crusty and both sides looked like there was either tiny pieces of poop or dried blood. Is any of that normal?
 
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I have examined (as best as I can by myself) our buck. His vent looks fine and so does the tube. The area on either side of the penus is where his urethra is, yes? One side was kinda crusty and both sides looked like there was either tiny pieces of poop or dried blood. Is any of that normal?

Great news that there is no crust or damage.

It sounds like you may be describing the scent glands on either side of the vent. They often have some amount of yellowish-to-dark reddish oil in them; an accumulation sometimes looks like little balls or seeds. It could be mistaken for poop or blood. I don't usually do anything about it - the amounts come and go but the rabbit seems to take care of it. If it bothers you or gets gross, you can gently clean them up with a Q-tip.

Here is where the ventral scent glands are (there is also a scent gland under the chin). This image is from wikivet.net with my mark-ups:
Inked Scent Glands.jpg

The urethra is inside the rabbit; urine and semen both come out the same tube (the penis).
45ff2190802f9793d44160c4e551925c_XL-1398278637.jpg
I'm sorry I cannot credit the above diagram; it was on the internet without information about its origin.
 
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Regarding snuffles, here is another take on the situation:


I appreciate her experiences, as I am of the same mind regarding vets and rabbits. Fortunately I have not dealt with snuffles, but much of what she uses works for my rabbits with any respiratory issues.

Here's an image that would make me suspect pasteurellosis (snuffles), but it can't really be completely confirmed without a culture:
1670535525853.png
It's from a site that has good images of various problems you might encounter:
(Don't be scared, you probably won't see most of them, but I always like to be prepared. :) )
 
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