When to Start Breeding Rabbits

Wait to start breeding rabbits until your does are at an appropriate age, but be cognizant that complications can arise if you wait too long for your does to have their first litter.

  • When breeding rabbits, put the doe in the buck's cage, never the other way around, as does are territorial in nature and may injure or kill the buck.
    Photo by Fotolia/Lars Christensen
  • “The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver,” by Karen Patry, gives the first-time pet owner and the experienced livestock farmer alike information on raising the domestic rabbit.
    Cover courtesy Storey Publishing

The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver (Storey Publishing, 2014), by Karen Patry, addresses questions and concerns about housing, feeding and breeding rabbits at every stage in their lives. From choosing productive meat and fiber breeds to preparing a proper nest box and coaxing a fussy bunny to eat, you’ll find proven answers and humane solutions to your rabbit-raising quandaries. In the following excerpt “Is the Time Right?” from Chapter 6, “The Mechanics of Mating,” Patry teaches you how to determine when to breed your rabbits.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver.

What will a boy and girl rabbit do if you put them together? They will mate as soon as they are physically capable of doing so, which may be a whole lot younger than you thought possible. Which is why you need to know the First Rule of Raising Rabbits:

If you house intact bucks and does together, you will wake up one morning and find kits in the cage, whether you’re ready or not.

There’s a reason for the saying “breeding like rabbits.” Rabbits mate so fast it might make you blush. Blink and you’ll miss the mounting, the mating, and the fall-off. It doesn’t take long for the buck to get to work, because reproducing is a rabbit’s main goal in life. Even the youngsters test their skills by riding each other.

Most often, of course, rabbit breedings are planned. But are the animals ready for each other? Before popping the doe into the buck’s cage (never the other way around!), always perform a full health check on both of them. This prevents the transmission of rabbit syphilis and avoids unnecessary stress on rabbits that aren’t in condition to be bred.

4/21/2016 12:10:40 AM

Great article, very informative. Thanks for composing. Very helpful and timely might I add.

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