You will agree with me that one of the basic reason for rearing rabbit is for them to multiply, rabbit are lovely animals, that can be reared both for commercial and for Pet.
Breeding rabbit is easy because of their short gestation period, which last for one month (30 to 33days) except for exceptional cases when there could be prolonged pregnancy.
Rabbit attain maturity at 5months, and by this stage, they are ready to mate and reproduce though, it is advisable to use a older buck of 7month and above to cross your Doe (female rabbit), this increases the quality of offsprings that comes out eventually, bigger/older buck have higher fertility, libido and vigor.
I have been farming Rabbit for about 8years now, I have had a lot of people buying rabbit from me, have set up Rabbit Farm for many clients, but there is always a major issue, and that is the breeding aspect, seems to always be somehow complicated for beginners, i will address the necessary issues’around the subject of rabbit breeding in this article today.
The Question from most people is, I have cross my rabbit but she reused to give birth, some will say, the male crossed her successfully 3 times, yet she refused to give birth, i know this can be very frustrating and disappointing, but why do female rabbit refuse to give birth or even get pregnant after success crossing?
There are many factors that could be responsible for this situation, and its important you know them as a farmer, so as to know what to do.
- Firstly, Your Rabbit may not be on heat (sexual desire), at the moment of crossing her. If this is the situation, she will not get pregnant, so you need to ensure she is on heat, and this is easy to know, a rabbit that is on heat, have a swollen pinkish vulva, sometimes its even swollen and expanded as if she wants to deliver baby, whereas, she is just getting ready to be mated. Also a rabbit on heat will desire to be crossed, or might have make attempt of climbing the Doe herself as a show that she is willing, at that point, she is most fertile and any successful crossing will lead to pregnancy.
- Another thing is, First time crossing in some rabbit does not lead to pregnancy, there is what we call Pseudo-pregnancy, which means (False pregnancy), it happens in female rabbit often, and it last for 17days, the rabbit might have been crossed, or not, she could be close to the buck’s hutch, and by the sensation, she can have pseudo-pregnancy, and even if she is crossed but not fertile, she will camouflage to be pregnant, and by 16 or 17days, she can even pour out her fur, as though she wants to give birth, but she will not give birth to anything, this is pseudo-pregnancy, but after the completion of the 17days, she is most fertile and any crossing by then, will lead to pregnancy.
So if you cross your female rabbit of 5month old for the first time and she refuse to give birth, don’t be discouraged, cross her again. Another way to curb the delay, is to palpate your rabbit 13days after successful crossing, the foetus would have develop in her womb and you will be able to feel it with your hands, at the region under her to stomach, close to her hip.
ANOTHER WAY TO ESCAPE THIS DELAY, is to take your rabbit back t the buck 10days after crossing, if she is not pregnant with the first crossing, she will allow the buck to cross her this tie and she will be pregnant.
What i have observed is, if your rabbit didn’t get pregnant with the first, then she will gain more body weight and become bigger, this is common with most young mature Doe. Some people out of frustration keep both the doe and buck together for two weeks inside the same cage, I discourage this, because you won’t know if they are successfully crossed, if she’s pregnant and if you are to prepare for her delivery or not, if you don’t seem them crossing, how will you know the expected delivery date (EDD).
The right thing to do is to take the Doe to the Buck hutch and give some minutes for them to get along and they cross immediately in your presence, i do allow 2 to 3 times crossing, and some hyper libido buck can even do 5 to 6 times crossing.
Normally, fertilization takes place in female rabbit 12hours after crossing, that is why if you return a doe to the buck, 24hours after a successful crossing, she will make some grunting sound and refuse further crossing, this is a sign of successful crossing and fertilization, which means the rabbit is now confirmed pregnant, another confirmation can be done on the 13th by palpating the rabbit with your hand.
- Poor Nutrition: Rabbit : Another reason why your rabbit refuse to get pregnant after mating is poor feeding, when she is not well fed, sometimes ago, i posted an article here on how to make good feed for rabbit, and the necessary ingredients you can use, Rabbit just like other mammals, perform the best under good management and nutrition. If your rabbit is not well fed, she may not get pregnant after crossing, or even the worse part is, she may not allow crossing by the buck, no matter how much attempt, she will not agree to be crossed, in such case, make available good pellet and hay to your rabbit and clean water.
I am always surprised when people say, they don’t give their rabbit water to drink, and worse of all, some people don’t give the nursing water to drink, yet she is losing a lot of water in her body to the breastfeeding tress, by her kits, how do you want her to recover?
I always recommend multivitamin inside your rabbit drinking water trough twice a week, and when you have a rabbit nursing many kits, like 7, 9, 10 and above, always include glucose inside her water to help reduce stress and energy lose.
It can be given her 3 times a week, while you give normal water on other days.
How do you know if your rabbit is not well fed?
the back will be full of bone, by touching the back region, you can easily feel the ribs from there, its a sign of malnutrition, under such condition, the rabbit can never allow for crossing. The solution is good quality feed, I am not in support of feeding 80% hay to your breeding stocks, this will not help their reproductive ability and their growth rate either.
You don’t have to fill their feed with fat inducing ingredients, but a good proportion of protein, fibre and other necessary ingredients can help your rabbit grow well and perform best, the easiest way to know a good well fed rabbit is the shining fur, the quality of the fur is a prove of been well fed. A good muscular development and body structure.
- Poor Performing Buck : If your Male Rabbit is not fertile enough or not performing well, then it can affect the conception of the female rabbit, just like it happens with every other mammals, rabbit are not the same in terms of libido ability, some are very very sharp and effective, while others are slow and easily get tired. This is not a big issue to correct in rabbit, if you have Let’s say 2 Buck and one is very sharp while the other is weak, just place them side by side, when you take the female to the sharp one, the weak one will be watching and learning, by the time you give him a chance to cross one day, he would have become over sharp too.
Another way to induce and stimulate libido in your male rabbit is to get Ginger, tumeric and GARLIC. We will make what we all Ginger, garlic and tumeric solution, cut the three above into small pieces at the same proportion, based on the volume you are making, soak them inside water for 3days or better still for 7days, afterwards, remove the residue and keep the water intact, apply little proportion inside the drinking water of the buck, this will enhance his libido and will begin to cross the doe more effectively, you can also give the doe, when she is nursing kits, because it is not just for enhancing libido, it is also an antibiotic and anticocci organic medication.
- Overweight Gain : This talks about excessive weight in the body, when your rabbit is too big, with excess fat due to the kind of feed give, the rabbit will find it difficult to conceive, this is why i always tell beginners, don’t buy or use chicken fed for rabbit, their digestive system is completely different from each other. Rabbit with over weight gain, will not conceive no matter how many time you cross her. The solution is to place the rabbi on green and hay only for a while, so that she can lose the excess fat and become lighter, that way, she will be able to conceive successfully. I must also state that, not crossing your Doe for a long period of time can make getting pregnant complicated, normally, mothers should be allowed time to rest after nursing a number of kits, but when you don’t cross a doe for 3month and above, it might be difficult to get her to have pregnancy.
Lastly, another reason why a female can refuse to allow the Buck to cross her or even be crossed but she never got pregnant is because she is infected, there are various forms of rabbit infected that can hinder them for reproducing successfully.
It could be an internal or external infection, it could be a parasite, coccidiosis, ear canker, a worm infection and so on.
If this is the situation, what is the solution?
Inject the Rabbit Ivermectin injection subcutaneously, to both deworm and eradicate external wounds or opening that may affect its reproductive ability.
How do I know if my rabbit mate is successful?
The sign to note is; The Buck will come on her, insert the penis in her vulva and she will make it easy for the buck by lifting her vulva up and laying her head down, this way, the buck will find it easy to penetrate her and the buck will fall off after releasing into her and most times, scream or make some sound, this process can happen 1, 2 ,3 or even more time, this is the sign of successfully crossing, but to confirm pregnancy, you can take the doe back to the Buck, 24hours after crossing, she will make some grunting noise and will not allow further crossing, no matter how much the buck attempt it, this is a sign of successful pregnancy, but to be double sure, you can palpate with your 13days after crossing, your hand will feel the babies inside, so make sure you do it gently, wishing you the best in your rabbitry endeavors, make sure you drop your questions below.