Rabbits make cute pets, and if you already have a male and a female, you might feel inclined to breed them. It’s not too difficult to breed pet rabbits, but it takes a lot of patience. Read on to learn how to breed rabbits and what to consider when you embark on this task.
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Getting Started With Breeding Pet Rabbits
When breeding rabbits, there are specific ways you should do things to ensure it goes smoothly.
Females are territorial, so you don’t want to bring a male to her cage to mate. She’s more likely to attack the male instead of mating with him. For rabbits with separate houses, you should always take the female to the male to mate.
You can ensure the rabbit’s mate by watching their actions. If the female is willing to mate, she lifts her tail. The male sees this signal and mounts her. He falls off when he finishes. Allow them to do their business several times before you take the female back to her cage.
Mating stimulates the female rabbit’s ovulation, so you should mate them again after about ten hours. This repetition makes it more likely that she’ll get pregnant and give birth to a large litter of bunnies.
You must observe when the male and female are together because they won’t always mate. Sometimes the female isn’t ready. Rabbits like dogs and cats don’t go into heat, so you never know when they’re ready to mate. You’ll have to try several days in a row if they don’t mate when you first put them together.
Things To Consider
People use the phrase “breed like rabbits” to imply something multiplies quickly, but that isn’t always the case. You might find yourself waiting for your rabbits to mate, and then you’ll have to wait even longer to see if the female is pregnant.
You shouldn’t mate rabbits that are siblings. That’s inbreeding and can lead to genetic problems and illnesses that impact your rabbit’s quality of life.
Knowing the best ways to encourage your rabbits to breed can help speed up the process. If your rabbits aren’t breeding, ensure you have everything right. When they feel healthy and comfortable, they’re more likely to mate.
Why Won’t Rabbits Breed?
Since you don’t know when rabbits want to mate, it’s hard to know why they’re not breeding. Sometimes they’re just not into it, but it might happen if you put them together for several days in a row. If you keep putting them together and they won’t breed, make sure you have all the conditions just right.
Rabbits won’t mate when it’s too hot outside. The act gets their blood pumping and will heat them even more, so it’s a lot of effort. Extreme heat can also cause males to go sterile temporarily. If you live in a hot climate, they might even stay sterile for the three months of summer.
For rabbits, anything above 85 degrees is too hot for pregnancy. Even if they mate in the heat, you’re unlikely to get a litter of rabbits from the process.
Rabbits are sensitive to daylight-like humans and chickens. They need a certain amount of light to trigger their circadian rhythm and get enough sleep. If they’re in the dark too much, they can feel depressed. As with humans, you can offset this feeling by using artificial light to stimulate them.
Add a light near their rabbit hutches in seasons when the day isn’t 12 hours long. The additional hours of light will help them feel healthier and get enough rest. As a result, they’ll feel more inclined to breed.
Overweight rabbits won’t mate because they’re infertile. You can change their diet and give them plenty of room for exercise to help them reach a healthy weight. They’re more likely to want to breed at that point, and those matings are more likely to lead to litters of bunnies.
Professional rabbit breeders keep a schedule for litters. They won’t breed a female rabbit who had a little less than 21 days ago. She needs time to nurse them, and breeding her again too quickly can lead to reproductive problems. She might have a smaller litter, or more bunnies might die because she has more than she can handle.
If you leave them alone, the babies wean from the mother by the time they’re four weeks old. You can then breed the mother again if you’re ready for another litter of rabbits.
Waiting too long between litters can also impact the likelihood that your rabbit gets pregnant. Once they’re out of practice, inspiring them to mate and have another litter can be hard. Keeping a schedule can help you take advantage of your rabbits’ health and youth.
How Can You Tell if Your Rabbit Is Pregnant?
Female rabbits won’t always get pregnant after mating. As previously mentioned, mating encourages ovulation, so the first time isn’t always enough. After several days of mating, you might still not know if your rabbit is pregnant.
A rabbit’s pregnancy lasts about 31 to 33 days. You might notice the female has a round belly close to the end of her pregnancy. Keeping track of when you breed your rabbits can help you track a pregnancy. Weight gain isn’t always noticeable, though, so some rabbit owners get a surprise when they see their rabbits having babies early one morning.
Sometimes it’s easier to tell your rabbit is pregnant by watching her behavior. She might not want you to hold her as much as before. She might also experience mood swings and react harshly to any rabbits that live with her.
She’ll pull fur from her body to line a nest for the litter. This step usually happens just a few hours before she gives birth, so you’ll have to watch it late at night. Litters are often born in the early morning. The birth only takes 15 minutes, so you’ll want to keep an eye on the rabbit if you think she’s pregnant, or else you’ll miss it.
You can take your rabbit to the vet to determine if she’s pregnant. The babies are about the size of a grape two weeks after a successful mating. The vet can also give you an idea of how many babies she might have. Small breeds of rabbits usually have four or five babies per litter. Larger breeds can have eight to 12 babies at once.
While it’s possible for you to feel the babies in the rabbit’s belly yourself, it’s dangerous. An inexperienced hand can harm the baby and the mother, so leave that to your vet. If you don’t want to take her to the vet, you can just wait and see if she gives birth.
Female rabbits can experience pseudopregnancy. They might breed with a sterile male or didn’t complete the mating process after the mounting. The action still causes a physiological response where the female feels pregnant. She’ll build a nest for her babies, even though she’s not pregnant.
A pseudopregnancy can last up to 17 days. During this period, the female won’t mate with another male because she thinks she’s pregnant. There’s nothing wrong with the pseudopregnancy period, but it will delay your chance of breeding your rabbits. You have to wait until the female realizes there are no babies and she’s ready to mate again.
How Old Do Bunnies Have to Be to Breed?
Small breeds of bunnies reach sexual maturity by the time they’re four or five months old. Larger breeds mature at anywhere from five to eight months of age. If your male and female rabbits live together, you should know that they can mate when they’re just a few months old.
While newborn bunnies can live together with no problem, you might want to separate them when they’re a month or two old. You also need to keep a male away from a litter of rabbits because he will try to mate with them.
The mother can stay with the babies to care for them, but the male must stay away from her. He’ll try to mate when she’s not ready for another litter.
Is Breeding Pet Rabbits Profitable?
Breeding pet rabbits is profitable, but it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes patience to breed rabbits so they and the offspring remain healthy.
Though it can be tough to consider, you should also know that not all rabbits are pets. You can also sell their meat and pelts for profit. If any babies die after birth, you can sell them to pet stores as snake food.
You can also make money from rabbit manure. It’s rich in nitrogen, so gardeners love using it in flower beds. Landscaping companies are also likely to use rabbit manure in their work.
While none of these methods will bring you immediate wealth, they’re good options to make money from a hobby you already enjoy. You can sell manure in between litters, for example, since your rabbits are sure to provide plenty of it.
Is Rabbit Breeding Legal?
Rabbit breeding is legal, but there are some guidelines. If you breed rabbits and sell over $500 worth to pet stores or wholesale buyers, you have to adhere to the Animal Welfare Act. Breeders who sell directly to customers don’t face this requirement.
You’ll need to check your local guidelines if you’re a breeder selling rabbits for meat. Some municipalities have laws regarding livestock. If you meet the requirements for properly raising animals in your area, you’ll have no problem selling rabbits as meat.
You need to consider the rabbits’ needs before you start breeding them. While they make wonderful pets, they also deserve to have a good life. Neutering rabbits gives them a better quality of life because it protects them from reproductive illnesses.
Breeding rabbits to sell as pets might be legal but choose their new homes carefully. You want to meet potential owners and learn about their experience with pets before sending them home with a baby bunny. Make sure they’ll take good care of their new pet so it has a good life.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Long Does It Take For Rabbits To Breed?
Rabbits can start breeding between 8-12 weeks of age. However, they should start breeding at around 4-5 months so that they can reach complete sexual maturity.
What Time Of Year Is The Best To Breed Rabbits?
You should breed rabbits in colder months like September, October, and December. Rabbits don’t do well with higher temperatures, and they should therefore be bred in colder months.
How Many Rabbits Can Live Together In A Cage?
Rabbits are social creatures. So, you can have 3-4 living in a single cage. But your cage should be spacious enough to accommodate them. Otherwise, it is better if you place them in pairs of two.
Conclusion For “How To Breed Pet Rabbits”
If you have a male and female rabbit who aren’t related, you can breed them. Selling baby bunnies is a great way to make some extra money. You can also keep the babies for yourself if you have the means to care for several rabbits at once.
Keeping track of a breeding schedule is the best way to mate your rabbits. You’ll know when they mated when the babies should be born, and when you can breed them again. This method ensures the rabbits all stay healthy and happy.
For more guides similar to this article about Rabbit Breeding, you can check out:
- The Best Animal Breeding Associations
- Why Do Animal Breeders Need To X-Ray?
- Is Animal Breeding Safe?
For more information about breeding Pet Rabbits, check out the video “Part 1: How to breed rabbits + telling the difference between bucks & does” down below: