You see your cute little bunny in her cage and wonder, would another rabbit or rabbit babies be a good addition to the family?
Before you begin to think about making rabbit babies, visit your local animal shelter or call around to see if there is a rabbit rescue near by.
Adopting a rabbit from a rescue or animal shelter is the best way to add an additional family member, or maybe a few new family members! You’ll be able to grow your family and save the life of the rabbit(s) you adopt. It also allows for space to open up for another rabbit who is in need of care at the shelter or rescue.
Adopting a rabbit will not only bring you joy, but you’ll also be able to add to you family faster than if you were to breed your rabbits.
At Rabbit Hole Hay, we highly recommend you adopt to grow your family. Yet, we know that some are more interested in breeding their rabbits so if that’s you then below you’ll find a few things you need to be aware of before you begin.
Bunny breeding takes time and can be hard work. Having kits (babies) can take a toll on the mother (doe) while putting yourself in financial and emotional risk if something goes wrong with the birth. But if you decide that it is worth the risk, here are some tips on how to breed responsibly.
How Old Should The Rabbits Be For Mating?
Depending on the breed of your rabbit, along with their size and weight, the age of sexual maturity varies. Here's a guide on the when certain breeds reach their age of sexual maturity. The general opinion is that does (female) reach theirs at 5 to 6 months of age. After the age of your doe has been determined, she can mate at anytime of the year as they do not go into heat as other animals do.
It is important that the doe rabbit isn’t too much smaller than the buck (male) because then there might be some complications when kindling (birth) happens. Her weight and her being healthy are keys to a successful kindling.
Where Should The Rabbits Mate?
The fertile bunnies should be put in the male’s hutch or cage. This is done to prevent the female getting defensive of her territory. The male rabbit would also focus on smelling her cage than actually mating.
How Long Should This Process Take?
Leave the rabbits together for 5-10 minutes. Make sure that you stay and watch the process. If the female becomes aggressive or anxious, take her out of his cage right away. Basic rabbit care teaches you that you don’t want stressed out buns! Once the process is done, remove the doe from the buck's cage and place her back into her own cage.
Also, females can get pregnant twice because of the way their wombs are shaped. This can lead to a higher level of complications. This isn’t safe for the kits or the momma rabbit. You can check to see if she is pregnant before trying to mate again.
For people who are new at breeding, wait two weeks and check her abdomen gently. You should be able to feel her babies. Rabbits are only pregnant for 28-31 days. Once you think that your doe is pregnant we found a simple rabbit breeding calculator to help you plan ahead.
Note: Does can get pregnant again right after they give birth, so kept the buck away for at least 4 weeks after birth.
Other Things To Consider
Remember, if you are just wanting to add another rabbit or two to your family, adoption is a great option! During Easter and Christmas lots of people give rabbits as gifts without thinking about whether the receiver has the proper knowledge, time, or money to take care of a rabbit. Leaving so many to be placed back into a shelter or rescue. If you’re wondering when some of the best times to adopt are, try going in after Easter or Christmas and let the rabbit(s) know someone who knows what they’re doing and how to care for them actually wants them!
If you are still wanting to breed your rabbits, please do it safely and make sure that you have homes for the babies before you start the breeding process. It can become an expensive endeavor in providing the correct rabbit care and can potentially be life threatening every time your female rabbit is pregnant. Make sure that she is happy and healthy. You do not want a female rabbit that is angry and always sick, this will only breed unhealthy babies and will do damage to your momma rabbit.
We know you want the little bun in your life for a long time so please keep these breeding basics and rabbit care in mind when making these decisions.
No matter if you choose to adopt or breed, make sure your rabbit is receiving the proper nutrition and is healthy by feeding her quality Timothy Hay. Learn more by downloading the free offer below.