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When Rabbits just don't breed like rabbits..



From my Holland Lop breeding perspective but applies to other breeds too.

I know from experience that it's not always easy to produce babies. When dealing with breeding I've found some answers by talking to breeders and from my own experience that I thought I'd share.


  • Overweight:  Holland Lops should not be free fed. (Free Fed- don’t fill up their food dish. I limit my to approx. cup. This is about as much as a scooper that we use.) The only exception to free feeding is for does with litters. Does that are overweight are harder to get pregnant!


  • Season: Rabbits of course breed best in the spring/summer but if you want to have babies year round as in the winter/fall months. It does help to leave the lights on. Rabbits know it’s becoming winter by the length of day light. It’s also helpful for warm weather.


  • Boredom: Does that are tired of sitting in their cages with no activity just get into the mope attitude and never feel like doing anything and it just becomes habit to be boring. This is why you sometimes here breeders saying “take them to a show, or take them for a car ride” Sometimes even switching cages help. Switching cages with a buck so they smell the buck’s scent all over get’s them in the “mood”


  • Molting- Molting is stressful on all rabbits not just does. I usually find that my rabbits lack overall condition when they molt.


  • Out of Condition- This kind of brings together the overweight and molting as well as a few other points. Make sure there isn’t anything wrong with the doe or buck for that matter.


  • Feed: Feed has a lot to do with the condition of rabbits. There are lots of brands of feed out there but make sure what you’re buying is the good stuff. Make sure there is a least 17% protein. Are you feeding hay? Rabbits don’t do well on just pellets.  Oats also help rabbits. Oats do not put on fat it puts on flesh condition. Make sure the feed is fresh. Believe it or not rabbits are very picky eaters too. Make sure you’re feeding them a brand of feed they actually like to eat!


  • Ready to breed: Depending on the breed is the age they mature enough to be bred. I usually breed does when they are 8 months old. Older does can be harder to get bred but some breeders can say they’ve had does at 5 years of age producing. I’ve personally never kept a doe in production that was 5 years old. You can tell does are ready to be bred if they lift. Meaning their tail goes up and the butt too. That’s usually a good sign that they want to be bred.

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