Deciding to Breed Bunny
You've decided that you'd like to mate your rabbit. Your first stop is the vet. We'll be writing this from the perspective of a doe owner, not a buck owner. The buck's only job is to remain disease-free and healthy. He cannot be introduced to temperatures over 80 degrees less than a month prior to mating. If at all possible, bring your boys inside during the hot months of the year if you keep your rabbits outside.
Breeding Bunny-The Checkup
Prior to breeding your rabbit for the first time, she should visit a veterinarian. The vet should check her over for eye problems, ear problems, teeth problems--all things that can be passed along to her babies, also known as kits. The vet should do a gentle examination of her torso and abdomen, as well as checking beneath her tail. This palpitation can find any number of issues--such as does that may actually be bucks internally. Hermaphroditic rabbits are rare, but they do turn up from time to time.
If your vet gives you the thumbs up to breed, it's time to find her dreamboat! Dreambun? ...Dreambun!
Breeding Bunny-Picking a Mate
Is your rabbit pedigreed? If so, finding a pedigreed male of the same breed is incredibly important. However, he can't just be any male. We will use standard rexes for an example.
Let's pretend that your doe is a broken red standard rex doe. Her pedigree states that she has white, red, broken red and castor rabbits in her genetic background. An appropriate mate for this rabbit, due to the desired color output of these rabbits, would be a red, white, broken red, castor, amber or orange male. A harlequin male with good red color may also be used. I would advise against using a chocolate or blue rabbit since these colors often wash out bold red kits. We'll talk more about rabbit color genetics in other articles.
Pregnancy is typically a very uneventful process for the average doe rabbit. Remember, in the wild these girls would still be on the move and trying to avoid predators. They can't really get weighed down like our predator pets do.
Rabbit pregnancy lasts about 30 days. On the evening of the 28th day after breeding, place a nest box with hay in it within the cage. Many does will begin pulling fur to line the nest, though others may wait until they are minutes from giving birth.
Birth usually takes place in the late afternoon or evening hours. If your rabbit is crying out during birth, you should get to a vet immediately. If there is profuse blood, get to a vet yesterday. The typical birth is about as uneventful as pregnancy. Rabbits are very quick and to the point, making sure that their little ones are comfortable and that they are finished. After allowing a quick suckle, don't be surprised if mom hops right off to go play with a toy or have a bite to eat.
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