RABBIT FARMING IN NIGERIA: Pregnancy and Breeding


In today’s lecture, I want us to discuss about the pregnancy in rabbit for better understanding.

The normal gestation (pregnancy) period of a rabbit is 28-35 days. Although, exception may be observed on a few occasions to be later than 35days. The duration of gestation is also affected by the time of year, the size of the Doe and, above all, the size of the litter.

Pregnancy diagnosis may be carried out through gentle abdominal palpation as early as 8 days post mating as 1 to 1.5cm masses in the caudal ventral abdomen. At 18 days they should be around 2.5cm to 3cm in length.


In advanced countries where rabbitry is given much attention, some commercial farms use Radiography or Ultrasonography for pregnancy test. The best way to confirm pregnancy is to palpate the abdomen gently. I have promised you earlier to show practical way of palpating rabbit.

Pseudo pregnancy (False pregnancy) may occur in rabbit’s pregnancy, which lasts approximately 18 days. It can be caused by infertile mating, or the presence of a male nearby the room of a female. It makes a Doe to behave as if it is pregnant because it releases eggs without any spermatozoan to fertilize the egg.


It assumes states of pregnancy and at the end of pseudo pregnancy period at 18days, some of the affected Does shed furs as if they want to deliver.


If you are a good observer, you will notice it and expect to cross it again before it starts another circle of false pregnancy.


Many farmers run at a loss as a result of false pregnancy. It is very frustrating and business killing.

Another possible root cause is the practice of keeping Does of almost 4months old in a room. When they are in the mood for mating, they may be mounting each other and releasing egg after 8hours without a single spermatozoan to fertilize eggs.

Farmers are advised to avoid keeping matured Does together. Another cause is a sterile buck or failed attempts by buck can also trigger release of eggs. This causes challenge to farmers if not properly and timely stopped.

Another issue in breeding system is Reabsorption of embryo. A rabbit may be pregnant with about 8 developing fertilized eggs but as a result of deficiency of Protein, Vitamin and other nutrients, the body of rabbit may eventually reabsorb part of the number of fertilized eggs (foetus) and you will realize that the reabsorbed ones become hardened when palpated and stopped increasing in size. It later disintegrates and completely reabsorb.

This issue has caused several disagreements amongst inexperienced buyers and sellers of pregnant rabbits. In most cases, the rabbit reabsorbs all. During this period, rabbit can never conceive until when total reabsorption occurs.

Many farmers get frustrated during this period because they are unaware of the state of their Does. Reabsorption of embryo doesn’t occur at age 19days upward but miscarriage can occur if the Doe’s body doesn’t have enough nutrient to supply unborn kits. A good feed is not negotiable for a successful breeding system.

Thanks for following my lecture.

If you will like to learn how to get started with Rabbit Farming Business in Nigeria, click here.

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