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So you're thinking about breeding your pet rabbit?
by Andrea Austin,

Some rabbit owners enjoy breeding rabbits, either to sell to other potential rabbit owners or to show at special rabbit competitions. If you are interested in breeding, it’s important to consider this while you are selecting a rabbit, so that you can choose the appropriate type, breed, age and gender.

You should be sure to pick a rabbit who is extremely healthy, with a strong genetic background. It is also a good idea to keep records about the rabbit and his background for future reference.

It's usually a good idea to select rabbits to breed whose ancestry has evidence of good productivity and good genetics. That's where productivity records and pedigrees listing show winnings come in handy. Keep productivity and show records of your herd just for this purpose.

You also need to do your background research and make sure you know all the basics about how to mate rabbits.

To start with, a female rabbit is a doe and a male is a buck. When they become parents, they are referred to as the dam (mother) and the sire (father).

Rabbits can start breeding relatively young—at about 5 months for does and 6 months for bucks. This is the minimum recommended for small breeds of rabbits. Larger breeds should wait longer, since they take more time to reach sexual maturity.

Both rabbits must be in good health before attempting to breed. If you suspect any sort of medical condition, take your rabbit(s) to a vet and get him or her treated.

The golden rule is not to mate brothers to sisters, which can result in problems. However, it is generally fine to mate other familial combinations, although it may be preferable for new breeders to avoid breeding closely related pairs of rabbits.

When breeding quality rabbits, you should only put together a doe and buck of the same breed. Breeding will be more successful if you take the doe to the buck’s cage, since this way the buck will not be distracted by being in a new environment.

Here you have some options. Some breeders leave the animals together for the night, while others wait until the mating has occurred and then take the doe back to her cage. It’s up to you. Whichever route you take, it’s essential to keep a calendar so that you know exactly what happened and when.

It’s important to keep a calendar because rabbits have such a short gestation period—about 31 days. So, about 10 or 14 days after the first mating session, it will be time to test for pregnancy. You can do this by gently feeling the doe’s stomach; if you feel a small, marble-like object, the doe is pregnant. On the 29th day after mating, she will be getting ready to give birth, and should be placed in a nesting box (a place where she will give birth).

by Andrea Austin,

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