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They don't always "breed like rabbits"

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by FoodFreedomNow, Jan 13, 2017.

  1. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Songster

    I had an interesting experience with a breeding buck and doe recently that led me to think that rabbits may have partner preferences much like other animals do (and won't just breed with any other rabbit). The doe is a REW New Zealand, a proven doe. She's not the easiest breeder, as she tends to run from the buck. The buck is a black Silver Fox, also proven, but not the most enthusiastic breeding buck. These two were bred once, successfully, but neither were particularly enthusiastic about it. Thereafter, I tried twice more to breed them at different times of the year, and they simply would not breed.

    I finally decided to try a new, unproven SF doe with the SF buck and he perked right up. Breeding went like clockwork, and she had a nice litter. I recently tried to breed him to another doe (a Chin) and he was, once again, uninterested. The Chin was bred to another buck ("old reliable" - lol).

    Has anyone else encountered something similar?

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I have only book reading experience at this point with rabbits. I have read that males and females can form bonds with each other that are pretty strong, so your observations seem to back that up.
    1 person likes this.
  3. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Songster

    Thanks for the input - it makes sense. I've noticed that the rabbits that are next to each other (I have does next to bucks, with a wire separator) generally seem to "like" each other. [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  4. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    Oh, yes, rabbits can have preferences. In fact, trying the doe with another buck is one of the things most often recommended when a doe seems like she should be ready but won't cooperate. Putting rabbits you are eventually intending to breed together in cages next to each other is also one of the old "tried and true" pieces of advice. On the other hand, I have sometimes had to move does to other cages when two simply couldn't stand each other - obviously, 1" x 2" wire doesn't make the grade as far as good fences making good neighbors.[​IMG]
    2 people like this.
  5. DutchBunny03

    DutchBunny03 Chirping

    Sep 22, 2016
    Northern NY
    Exactly. Another thing that usually works is switching the rabbit's hutches for a day or two, so they can pick up each other's scent. Be careful with putting rabbits too close with wire that has large spacing. If they don't fight, they could mate through the cage wire.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Zoomie

    Zoomie Songster

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    Well, I always kept my bucks on one side of the rabbitry and the does on the other... I did not ever keep a doe and a buck side by side. I never had an issue. The bucks were sort of competing with each other, because there was a buck right next door so they always bred their doe. However, with my sheep, I had a Jacob ram who refused to breed a Rambouliette ewe. Just would not have anything to do with her. To him, she was not "really" a sheep. He was an older ram and had always bred other Jacobs his whole life.

    Maybe try a younger buck with no experience. Perhaps your Silver Fox buck simply does not consider a chin or a New Zealand a "real" rabbit.

    BTW: used to raise Silver Fox and loved them! Glad to hear you have them.
    1 person likes this.
  7. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Songster

    LOL...that would explain the standoffishness. I guess the real test will be the next time I try to breed him to one of the SF does. [​IMG]

    I started with NZ, added Am Chin, and finally SF, and SF is my favorite, hands down. Very nice personalities and amazing growth rates.

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