Breeding rabbits

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Because this is a wiki dedicated to general pet rabbit care, we believe all pet rabbits should be spayed and neutered and not given the opportunity to make more babies. With the amount of rabbits available for adoption in local shelters and rabbit rescues, we do not encourage the casual breeding of rabbits without obtaining the healthiest of stock available from reputable breeders, a clear goal in mind (e.g. for show or health), and a responsible plan for the babies that does not encourage dumping intact unwanted rabbits in the streets or in the shelters.

How easily can rabbits mate?

Rabbits can be sexually mature as young as 10 to 12 weeks old. Active mating only requires a few seconds to complete. Female rabbits can have new litters every 30 to 32 days if bred back-to-back as they can become pregnant again immediately after giving birth. Litter sizes average 5-8 kits, with larger breeds generally having larger litters.[1]

As a result, if you have two rabbits of opposite sexes, it is vitally important that they are kept separate with double fencing until the male is neutered for at least 6 weeks or the female rabbit is spayed. Rabbits may also successfully mate through a single layer of fencing.

When do rabbits ovulate?

Rabbits are reflex ovulators with no regular oestrous cycle. In the domestic rabbit, ovulation occurs about 8 to 12 hours after copulation.[2] Waves of follicles develop and regress on the ovaries and is reflected by periods of receptivity, usually for 12-14 days, followed by 2-4 days of non-receptivity.[3] This can vary, and some does can become receptive every 4-6 days during the breeding season—Jan to Sept in the northern hemisphere.[3] Does are also fertile immediately after kindling, especially during the summer months.[4]

Ovulation can also be induced by mechanical stimulation of the vagina or by the act of being mounted by another female, which can result in pseudopregnancy.[1]

Further reading

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Varga, M. (2013). Textbook of rabbit medicine. (2nd ed.).
  2. Lumpkin, S & Seidensticker, J. (2011). Rabbits: The animal answer guide.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Keeble, E. & Meredith, A. (2006). Rabbit medicine & surgery: Self-assessment color review.
  4. Harcourt-Brown, F. (2001). Textbook of rabbit medicine. (1st ed.).