Rabbity Goddness

Photo of Frühlingskabine’s Blackberry taken by Kimberly Oldenhage

Autumn brings with it the promise of new rabbit litters. We choose to breed our rabbits from fall to spring in order to give them a summer break during the hottest months. No one wants to be pregnant in the summer wearing a wool sweater. No one.

Three of our doe rabbits are bred, but with this being the first round of breeding for the season, I only expect one… maybe two litters right out the gate. Philly has pulled fur and made a nest which is very promising, as in my experience, does only pull fur if they are indeed pregnant. This will be Philly’s second litter so far in her lifetime, but I have confidence she will kindle (give birth) in the nest box and not on the wire.

Khaleesi is not exhibiting any signs, but given rabbits general orneriness, that doesn’t mean much. This would be her first litter so she may not be “with it” until the last minute. She has been spending the last few days using her nest box as a litter box and hay buffet. Typical newbie mother. Typical newbie rabbit mother anyways…

Blackberry was bred two weeks after both Philly and Khaleesi so she is not due until mid-September. Blackberry was about as easy to breed as her mother, Dandelion, was– which is: not easy at all. When deciding to breed a doe, I take into account both her physical and mental readiness. Philly was both physically and mentally ready to breed at just six months old (a very controversial subject, I know, so bring on the hate-mail) while Blackberry was not mentally ready to be bred until a little over a year old. Some does are ready before others, but when you have an angora with a fabulous, well-producing wool coat, you wait for that sucker no matter how long it takes to get a litter from her. And that’s just what I’ve done with Blackberry. I can’t wait to see how kits from her line turn out… I’ve waited plenty just for the opportunity.

Fingers crossed for my big girl Blackberry!

5 thoughts on “Rabbity Goddness

  1. I am new to rabbit husbandry. I have read a good deal about breeding age, etc. Some angora breeders say the does display signs as early as 4 months of age. False pregnancy, etc. I tried breeding my does at 8 months but they were in another false pregnancy and it didn’t take. I have tried re-breeding one of them again. If this breeding doesn’t result in a pregnancy, I will try another buck. I too am expecting 3 litters, though mine are not my German Angora this time (Pedigreed Californian). I did wait until the does were 8 months, but upon further reading, this could also cause problems waiting that long. What to do, what to do. I think you are on the right track. I on the other hand, and wondering if I let them get too complacent, a tad too fat and seriously frustrated. Best wishes on your upcoming delivery.

    • It seems like everyone has a VERY STRONG opinion on “appropriate” breeding ages. But that’s all they are… opinions. If you think about it, rabbits don’t abstain until they are 8 months old. A doe will simply refuse to breed if she is not ready or willing and will lay around promiscuously waiting for Mr. Right if she is. Nature knows best.

      The same goes for controlled breeding; which is really what it is when humans intervene. Even if you put a doe in with a buck, she won’t always be a willing participant and may refuse the buck. I have even had a doe try to castrate a buck when he tried to breed her! The doe will always tell you if she is ready no matter what age she is.

      Thank you so much for your comment! Good luck with your Californian litters and I hope all three took for you! 🙂

  2. Hey everyone, I’m not yet in bredding rabbits, But I will someday. But I’ll keep my fingers cross Sarah that all goes well for ya. Keep us posted! Have a wonderful day!
    Mare from the Funny Farm in Inverness, Fl. Oh I can say Sara-Lu is going to be A.I today. Hope that takes!!!!!! We’ll know in 9 months!!

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