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Rabbit breeding required thorough understanding of proper breeding & husbandry techniques
Netherland dwarf rabbits are loveable and pretty to play with. If you wish to breed your own bunch of dwarf bunnies, it’s important to know early that it is not as simple as it is in humans. However, rabbit breeding can be an interesting and rewarding hobby and even a profitable business. Before you breed rabbits make sure you have thorough understanding of proper breeding and husbandry techniques. Also, never breed your rabbit unless you have an arrangement in place for the babies (pet store, keep as breeding stock, rehome). There are only so many homes for the rabbits you do not need. Do not breed more babies than you can take care of.
Here is a simple 7-steps guide on how to see your venture through till you see the first new bunch of baby bunnies
First, ensure you have spacious cages. The doe and the buck should have separate cages. Remember to make one for the babies too. At the beginning, you may think you will always find homes for all the babies. But there are high chances you will find a special one you won’t mind keeping.
Furnish the cages properly. They should have plenty of toys as bunnies love playing. The hutches should have plenty supply of fresh water too. Choose the best hutches at the pet store near you.
Figure out the color and group of Netherland dwarfs you wish to breed. The breed comes in five sets of colors, choose the color you wish to rear. At the beginning, the variety and colors of your bunnies should match. It is important that you spend time researching on which group of breeds can be effectively bred. Some breed types when mated result to incurable diseases and death.
To achieve your plan, patience and discipline are required. So stick to it and you will achieve the desired outcome.
Choose the right rabbit sizes
The age at which rabbits are ready to breed varies depending on their size and breed. Generally rabbits are considered adults and ready to reproduce when they have reached 75-80% of their full adult size. For smaller breed like Netherland Dwarf, you can breed as early as 6 months of age.
You don’t want your doe to deliver through caesarean section. So it is important to choose a buck that is smaller in size than her. Otherwise, the babies will be larger than she can naturally deliver. Besides, paying for a C-section makes things unnecessarily expensive.
But ensure also that the buck is not too small that its ability to perform its procreative duties are hindered. That’s common sense, right?
Mating your Bunnies
The rule is to always keep the two rabbits in different hutches side by side. When ready to mate, the doe’s vent will be swollen and turn reddish. Then it is time to bring them together. Bring the doe to the buck’s cage. She is very territorial and may harm the buck if he is taken to her hutch. Wait for them to get things running on their own.
After the first mating, take the doe to her place and return her after about twenty minutes. Then try again. If the mating was successful, she will get growly at the buck and they will stay apart. Take her back to her house.
After mating date, wait for 10 to 14 days and touch the lower abdomen area. If she conceived, you will feel like she has grapes in her belly. And just like humans, she will be sleeping and eating more and getting rounder. And she will be moody too, so don’t be worried if she is not as receptive to touch as before.
It is time to feed her foods rich in calcium such as raspberries. Pregnant rabbits seem to like granola cereals having dried raspberries. Fortunately, they are readily available in most supermarkets.The gestation period for bunnies is usually 28-31 days. Simply put, the due date is normally a month after the date of successful mating.
A week before delivery, the doe will need a nest box. It is a survival instinct requirement that makes her feel her kits are safe. Nest boxes are hideout holes where the rabbit hides her babies. Out in the wild, rabbits hide their babies in burrows. The doe will also keep away from the kids for a good part of the day. Since baby bunnies have no scent, the mother bunny stays away from them so that in case a predator finds her, it won’t find them too. But she always stays at a close distance.
In ideal situations, the doe uses hay to build her nest in the nest box. However, in some cases, she will build it in your shoe closet or laundry. You need to monitor her and confine her to one area where all her conveniences are as close as possible.
Time for Baby Bunnies!
Soon before kindling, same as going into labor, she will be pulling fur from her teats and underbelly and line the nest with it. That is probably the last thing you will see before the babies. Rabbits like having their babies in private.
It is important that by the time it gets to this point you have read widely on handling rabbit delivery complications. Importantly, read on taking care of baby bunnies as it is a school of its own.