of Raising Rabbits
rabbits is just like any other business. People in
the rabbit business have a language devoted to their
business. If you're confused when I use words like
nestbox, kindling, and palpation, keep reading. I'll
describe some of the words of the rabbit trade and
tell what they mean. If some of the words in my articles
have you confused, keep on reading.Hopefully by the
end of this article, you will have a grasp of the
language for raising rabbits.
moment a rabbit gives birth to her babies. When a
rabbit is due to kindle, this means she is going
to give birth to her babies in a matter of days or
hours. But a rabbit who is kindling is in the process
of giving birth to her babies. A typical rabbit builds
a nest before kindling.
Date: The date on which the rabbit is expected
to kindle. This date is usually 30-31 days after
the doe is bred to the buck, providing the mating
was a successful one. But not every rabbit kindles
30-31 days after being bred to the buck. Some rabbits
kindle earlier, while others kindle later. But
as a rule most rabbits kindle 30-31 days after
being mated to the buck. Which means the nestbox
should be put in the hutch three to four days before
the kindling date.
Mating: A method to determine whether a doe
has been bred by placing the doe in a buck's cage.
Fifteen to 17 days after mating, the doe is taken
back to the buck's hutch to determine if the doe
is bred. If she has been bred successfully, you'll
likely see one or more of these three signs: One,
The doe will not let the buck breed her. Two, The
doe growls or makes a lot of noise when the buck
comes near her. Three, the doe starts to physically
fight with the buck. These types of behavior are
the doe's way of telling the buck she is already
bred. If the doe growls when you touch her, don't
even bother taking her to the buck's hutch. Test
mating to prove conception is not always accurate,
but it can save time breeding does if the first
time doesn't work.
method to determine whether a doe has been bred by
feeling the doe's side. A person uses his or her
fingers to try to feel the babies inside the rabbit.
You gently try to feel for marbles with your fingertips.
Don't try this without reading a book that describes
how to do this. You may end up doing more damage
than good. If you push on the rabbit's side too hard
with your fingers, you could end up injuring the
babies. Palpation is done 15 to 20 days after the
breeding date. If a person gets really experienced
at palpation, this can be a really accurate method
of telling if a doe is pregnant.
Test: A method to determine whether a doe has
been bred by watching whether the doe will carry
hay in her mouth. This test is very simple to perform.
Throw a clump of hay in the cage with the expectant
mother. If she picks a lot of hay up in her mouth
and starts carrying it around, it's pretty safe
to say she's going to be a mother. The problem
with this test, it's only accurate about 4 to 5
days before kindling.
box that's put in the hutch for a rabbit to kindle
in. A nestbox can be made out of wood, metal, or
weld wire. For my rabbits, I usually use a weld wire
nestbox. In the winter, I use a cardboard nestbox
liner to keep the babies warm. Which nestbox is used
is up to the owner. Each nestbox has its good points
and bad points. There's also a type of nestbox that
you can attach to the bottom of the hutch when the
doe is close to kindling.
number of babies a rabbit gives birth to when she
kindles. This number can be as low as one or two
or as many as 15 to 20. One spring I had a New Zealand
White doe give birth to 19 babies. But an average
or ideal litter is one consisting of 8 to 12 babies.
Any more than this, and you can run into problems.
Transplanting: I use this method to transfer
babies from a very large litter to a very small
one. By doing this, I am helping more babies to
survive. The best way to do this is to put vanilla
extract on the foster mother's nose. By doing this,
she won't be able to smell the strange babies from
her own. By the time the vanilla extract wears
off, all the babies will smell the same to the
foster mother. Foster transplanting is best done
one to two days after kindling.
doe who has the uncanny knack of counting her babies.
If you foster transplant babies to her, she will
eventually end up with the original babies before
the foster transplanting. No matter how hard you
try, there is no way to trick this doe.
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