Breeding Techniques and Management
Rabbits have a high reproductive rate compared to other livestock. They become sexually mature within a few months of birth and have relatively short pregnancies. They produce large litters and are unique in that they can be rebred immediately after kindling (giving birth). With an intensive breeding program, a doe can be expected to have 60 weaned young a year. Such intensive breeding is not recommended, however, for the beginner and is seldom used in commercial production.
- Gestation(pregnancy) period in a rabbit ranges from 28 to 32 days with an average of approximately 30 days
- A male rabbit is known as a buck and it develops breeding capabilities at the age of 8 months
- An ideal male should continue to maintain Reproductive ability for at least 2 to 3 years
- A young male may be allowed to mate a female (Doe) at an interval of 3 to 4 days
- From 12 months of age on wards a male may mate 4 to 6 females in 7 days
- Two breeding males should not be kept in the same place as they will fight and cause injury
- The small female rabbit breed may accept mating at 3 to 4 months of age. The larger breed may accept mating at 8 to 9 months
- A female can be used for breeding up to the age of 3 years
- Rabbits belong to a group of mammals that do not ovulate spontaneously.
- Ovulation requires a stimulus of mating thus it is induced in nature
- Ovulation is likely to take place within the range of 9 to 13 hours and the average time frame is 10 hours
- The female should be taken to the cage of a male
- Approximate age of first mating for female is 5 to 6 months
- Early morning and early evening is the most conducive time for mating The best time for weaning the young ones is 6 weeks and each breeding cycle takes 65 to 75 days