My adventures in rabbit breeding

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by balloonflower, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    21
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    So, I've posted a bit on a couple other threads, but I'll do a quick intro. I have had three Silver Fox buns for a little over a month now, and enjoying it. I did as much research as I could, and now to the point where practical experience and screwups will teach now. For getting started, we have a pretty small setup, so the plan is to only breed one doe at a time due to space and limited growout cages. The does are just over 6 months old, and I was planning to breed one as soon as I had a scale for weighing them first, and a larger kindling cage built (supplies are on the way and expected toward the end of the month). One of my previous queries in another rabbit thread had been about breeding age for SF's, which I have read different answers for--sometimes 6mo as mine are and sometimes as late as 9mo to allow for full growth before breeding. So I figure I would try one sooner, and have data to compare when I breed the other one later.

    Well, then the practicality of learning from mistakes comes in...a couple weeks ago my husband was supervising some grooming with our daughters, age 6 & 7. So he brought George and Apple in and left them with the girls while he went looking for something in the garage. Sure enough (and I can't blame him, because I've had a mixed pair out at the same time too) pretty soon my younger comes running to the kitchen--"Mom, come quick! They're fighting!" And nope--not fighting.

    So, I've been waiting for the point where I could try and detect pregnancy. We got our new hanging scale last week, but don't have a pre-breeding weight for comparison. The two does are sisters, so should be similar but I wouldn't expect them to be exact. I also don't have my cage supplies to make the little wire basket I have planned for weighing. So, we improvised. I'm not sure what the buns thought of being put in a bucket, but we got some weights yesterday (12 days after the oopsie). Apple weighs half a pound more than sis Paws. Interesting, but not completely conclusive--the Storey's guide seemed to say there should be about a pound difference. I'll continue weighing about every week and see what happens.

    Next test--putting Apple back in with George to see how she reacts--if she growled and resisted mating. The book did mention that it doesn't work with all females, and there was no growling or fuss at all. In fact George was busy before we even had the cage door shut and Apple didn't seem to care. I don't think I was expecting that fast! So, if Apple wasn't expecting before, she is probably now.

    Last, attempted palpation. Now, DH has been telling me for days now that he thought Apple's tummy was much firmer than Paws'. So we tried feeling for the "necklace". I honestly can't say that I felt any difference between the two girls, so we'll have to do that again in a few days.

    And now to the impatient watching and waiting stage. I made sure to record the dates of the two mating sessions, and have notifications in my calendar to have the nesting box ready (even if the larger cage may not be by the earlier date). And here we go!
     
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    23,603
    1,310
    396
    Jul 24, 2013
    Good luck with your breeding! Hopefully your (probably) pregnant doe has a beautiful, healthy litter.

    Just some thoughts:

    • During the grooming/breeding experience, do you know if the buck actually completed his breeding (usually signified by falling abruptly off the doe and sometimes grunting), or was he just humping the does? Sometimes, you'll get a litter without a "fall off," but usually not.
    • I've found that my large breed does gain 1/2 to 1 pound during pregnancy. For example, I had a doe kindle 10 babies two days ago, and she gained about 10 oz.
    • Palpating is hard, so even if you don't feel anything, she could still be pregnant. I've been raising rabbits for a little over three years and still can't always feel the embryos in a pregnant doe when palpating.
     
  3. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    21
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    He had the time to complete, based on how fast he went at it yesterday, and when I think back on the girls' yelling. I think I arrived to see the second attempt and picked him up at that point. (Hindsight I should have just let them have a full three times as I'd seen recommended, but wasn't thinking and just reacted). The second intentional mating I did make sure there were three obvious fall-offs.

    Thanks for the info on weights and palpating. I figured that it was something you had to learn to feel for, and think I might be a bit early for feeling much as a novice. Are larger breeds any harder to feel for, or doesn't it matter much. She's just over 9 pounds now.
     
  4. DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Chillin' With My Peeps

    310
    22
    71
    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern NY
  5. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Overrun With Chickens

    23,603
    1,310
    396
    Jul 24, 2013
    I think the large breeds are a little easier to feel kits in, since they seem to have more empty space inside of them. I can occasionally (barely) feel kits while palpating in my larger does (American Sables). However, I haven't been able to feel anything in my much smaller pregnant Mini Rex--their insides are just so packed together.

    Palpating is certainly a hard, learned skill. I know many people who are much better at it than me.
     
  6. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    21
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    So, now we got the scale out again one week later. Apple is up almost half a pound, so I can definitely think she's pregnant, though whether three weeks or one along, I wouldn't be sure of. Sis Paws is up a quarter pound, just growing still. Still didn't feel anything on attempts at palpating.

    So, still at watch and wait. I'll weigh again next Monday out of curiosity, and Tuesday will be the 28 day from the grooming-oops, so I'll get her nest box stocked w hay and see what happens.
     
  7. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    21
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    28 days today...and tonight we have hay-staching! I'm so excited!
     
  8. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,065
    161
    166
    Feb 21, 2016
    Cumbria, UK
    :fl
     
  9. balloonflower

    balloonflower Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    21
    74
    Jul 25, 2016
    DH had put some hay in the nest box yesterday, but I pulled it (nestbox) out this morning to add a bit more. She had obviously been in the box overnight because there was a hole in the hay down to the bottom. I stuffed the box pretty well, leaving enough room for her and added some of the fur I've saved from grooming. Watch and wait!
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  10. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    17,059
    1,537
    401
    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    99%+ of the live litters I've had were born on day 31 or 32, so don't get too anxious if things don't happen before then.[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by