Rabbit Reproduction and Breeding

Medium to large rabbit breeds reach sexual maturity in 4 to 4.5 months, giant types at 6 to 9 months, and small breeds (such as the Polish Dwarf and Dutch) around 3.5 to 4 months. The release of eggs in female rabbits is initiated by sexual interaction rather than a hormonal cycle as in humans. The rabbit has a mating receptivity cycle; rabbits are receptive to mating 14 out of every 16 days. When a doe's vagina is red and moist, she is most receptive. Non-receptive does have a white pink vaginal hue with little or no wetness. A veterinarian may be able to detect fetuses in the abdomen of a pregnant doe 12 days after breeding.

False pregnancy is prevalent in rabbits, in which the rabbit exhibits signs of pregnancy but is not pregnant.

Pregnancy lasts approximately 31 to 33 days. Does who have a small litter (typically four or fewer kits) appear to have lengthier pregnancies than does who have larger litters. If a doe hasn't given birth by the 32nd day of her pregnancy, your veterinarian may induce labor; otherwise, a dead litter may be delivered after the 34th day. Pregnant women may abort or reabsorb their fetuses due to nutritional deficits or illness.

After mating, nest boxes should be placed to the cage 28 to 29 days later. Boxes become polluted with urine and feces if they are added too soon. A few days before giving birth, He doe removes fur from her body and constructs a nest in the nest box.

Newborn Infant Care

Rabbit kits are born blind, deaf, and naked. They start to grow hair a few days after birth, and by day 10, their eyes and ears are open. Until roughly day 7, newborn bunnies are unable to regulate their body temperature. After giving birth, the doe can get pregnant again. Most rabbit breeders rebreed their rabbits 35 to 42 days after the birth of a litter.

The majority of medium- to large-sized female rabbits have 8 to 10 nipples, and many have 12 or more young. If a doe is unable to adequately nurse all of the kits, kits can be fostered by taking them from the nest box within the first three days and delivering them to a doe of similar age with a smaller litter. Fostered kits are normally accepted if they are mingled with the doe's kits and coated in the doe's hair. Moving the larger kits to the new litter rather than the younger ones boosts the chances of success. Does only breastfeed once or twice a day, and kits nurse for no more than 3 minutes at a time. Kits are weaned between the ages of 4 and 5 weeks.

Hand rearing kits is possible, but the mortality rate is significant. They must be kept warm, dry, and silent. If a nursing doe is not available to foster the kits, kitten milk replacer can be administered twice a day. Depending on the age and breed of the kits, feedings range from 12 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. Domestic rabbit kits are weaned at 6 weeks of age.

Young does may kill and devour their young for a variety of causes, such as anxiousness, neglect (failure to nurse), or severe cold. When dogs or predators visit a rabbitry, nervous does frequently kill and eat the young. Cannibalism of dead young happens naturally as a nest-cleaning instinct. If all management techniques are followed correctly yet the doe kills two litters in a row, she should not be used for breeding.

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