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Anyone experianced with rasing meat rabbits? Have a few questions.

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by links_56, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. links_56

    links_56 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2008
    Mercer County, IL
    Hey everyone Ive been attempting to raise some meat rabbits for a few months now. I'm really having a hard time getting them to breed. The does won't lay down for the buck. I have 4 does and 1 buck. I had 2 bucks one was older but he was very mean and he tried to bite me a couple times then he bit hard into my forearm and wouldn't let go. Needless to say, he isn't around anymore. The does are 5 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 2.5 years old. I think the 5 month old might be bred finally, the others wont lay out for the buck they just ball up in the corner kind of. Ive tried switching their cages so they can get used to each others scent, that didn't work. Anyone have any advice? Thanks!
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Have the does had litters before? If they are older virgin does, it can be especially hard to get them to breed. Sometimes, does are just uncooperative, no matter their experience or age.

    I suggest attempting to table breed the does so that they can't run away from the buck. Put both the doe and the buck on a table and clamp your right hand over the does head/neck. With your left hand, slide the doe's rump back so she is stretched out. Make sure her tail is up, not clamped beneath her. With your left hand beneath the doe near her hind legs, gently raise the hind end of the doe slightly off the ground. This will help the buck successfully mate the doe.

    Table breeding usually works for me. Some bucks aren't interested in attempting to breed while you're so close by and while you're hands are on the doe, but my bucks will breed on the table.
     
  3. links_56

    links_56 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2008
    Mercer County, IL
    Thanks for the response! I have tried to "help" them breed in the cage. The buck will not do anything but smell her hind end when my hand is in there. Do you think this would be better on a table or he probably won't do anything if I am touching her. They are not virgin, they were supposed to be good proven does but who knows if the previous owner was telling the truth or just wanting to make a sale. I am still learning. Do you ever have to clean their anal scent glands? You table breed because the does won't lay out for you?
     
  4. links_56

    links_56 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2008
    Mercer County, IL
    What size is the table? Thanks.
     
  5. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    My guess would be that he won't be more willing on the table if he already doesn't like when you help breed in the cage. However, it is worth a try.
    I have never had to clean the scent glands nor heard of that being done. I table breed when my does hunch up in corners of the cage, run wildly away from the buck, or otherwise won't lay out and lift for the buck.
    Any size, really is fine. You just want a surface for both rabbits to be on. I use a large grooming/posing table that I have (about 2ft x 5 ft) but it doesn't have to be that big.
     
  6. links_56

    links_56 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mercer County, IL
    I can't thank you enough, information is such a valuable thing. Ill give the table trick a try!
     
  7. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Do you check the doe for readiness before you put her in the buck's cage?

    The "induced ovulator" thing only goes so far; rabbit does are more fertile and receptive in a cyclic manner. Before putting the doe in with the buck, you should flip her over, and press just in front of her vulva to expose a little of the tissue inside. What you want to see is bright red, and a little swollen looking - that is a doe at her hormonal peak; a doe like that usually breeds willingly and produces a nice sized litter. If the color is pale pink, you are wasting your time, even if you do a forced breeding (people have done studies and found that the conception rate for forced breedings is generally pretty low, so most breeders don't even bother). If the color is sort of purplish, the doe has gone past her peak, and her ripe eggs are aging; though she may breed, the number of kits in the litter may be low. I have had some does that never show a darker color than a deep rose and still bred and produced well, so to some degree, you have to know your doe.

    Since you are having this problem with all of your does, including some experienced ones, I have to wonder whether this may be a management problem. How much are you feeding these girls? Fat produces its own hormones; a doe that is too fat may not be experiencing the peaks and valleys that inspire breeding behavior. Netherland Dwarf breeders know this problem too well - breed a doe a couple of times, give her a break because of weather or whatever, she gains a little weight, and you may never get her to breed again! The usual rule of thumb is about one ounce of pellets per pound of normal body weight per day; some rabbits may not even need that much. Keeping a doe trim and fit is very important - so many does have died because of the metabolic mess of being overweight, some of the nicknames for the condition is "young doe's disease" and "fatty liver disease."

    And of course, since these are rabbits with breeding experience, I have to wonder about Rabbit Syphilis. Are there any scabby/pimply looking areas on these animals genitals? That will put a rabbit right off - a buck with vent disease (Treponemotosis) often won't even mount a doe. While highly contagious, it is also treatable with antibiotics. A word of caution - do not use antibiotics "just in case" with rabbits; rabbits are dependent on the beneficial bacteria in their digestive systems, and they can be killed off very easily.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015
  8. links_56

    links_56 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2008
    Mercer County, IL
    I have checked the Doe and she is nice and red and swollen, I haven't had them for very long really 2 months or so. The one doe was supposed to be bred when I got her and then she never had any kits and never showed any sign of wanting to build a nest. I think he bred the youngest one, she just laid out for him and he did it 2 times in the morning and fell over and 2 times in the evening and fell over. The one doe is shedding and I will have to see what color her vent is, the 1 year old doe is mean to the buck and tries to mount him and makes noises, when I had the old buck I was sure he bred her and she never had any kits either. I really think I screwed up buying rabbits when I wasn't 100 percent sure of their condition and I really didn't know what I was looking for, now I am getting the picture. If I could just get a couple litters I would be ecstatic. I tried to read as much as i could on the subject of raising them but they leave so much information out.
     
  9. links_56

    links_56 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 2, 2008
    Mercer County, IL
    Is there anything I can do other than keeping them on a healthy diet? How do you tell if they aren't able to have kits? Just in general, can you give any advice on what to look for when buying an older rabbit? The only thing I have given them is some meds for a liver disease. I just would like to get them as healthy as possible and see if they might breed then. I guess I might have to get some young rabbits and re start.
     

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