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Rabbits Breeding Cycle Explained Step by Step

(Last Updated On: 14/04/2017)

Rabbits Breeding Cycle Explained Step by Step

Rabbit breeding refers to the mating of rabbits leading to reproduction. Babies of rabbits are known as kits. When one decides to go for breeding rabbits, they should be prepared for a lot of work as well as be sure that they know precisely what they aim to do with the kits once born. If an owner intends to keep the kits, they need to get extra hutches as these will be needed when the babies are weaned and also, there will be a need to buy some superfluous food. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is always a chance of technical hitches during the birthing process of the rabbits.

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Reasons for Breeding Rabbits

The reason for the breeding of rabbits is not only making money, rather, there can be many whys and wherefores that an owner desires to breed rabbits for. Before going for breeding, the owner needs to make sure that they are truly aware of the reason before making the decision to breed rabbits which could be money making or raising more rabbits to keep gifting to friends etc or for hunting purposes. This is essential so the owner the Doe (female rabbit) and the Buck (male rabbit) are selected according to the wanted characteristics

Choice of Doe and Buck

It is preliminary that the owner chooses the buck and doe after deciding the characteristics one has determined to be present in the kits that in order to avoid any undesirable traits. There are some issues that specially need to be looked into:

Genetic Background

It is a good idea to check the bloodline of rabbits, in order to make sure that they have a good quality genetic makeup. Both the doe and buck should not have any genetic flaws, have a good built and of course an adorable outlook. It will probably be a good notion if the owner selects those rabbits to breed that have an ancestry with evidence of decent productivity as well as good heredities.


One of the most important qualities to check is the nature of the rabbits’ breed, which will be passed on from the buck and the doe to the kits. It is not advisable to breed rabbits that have aggressive trends. Breeding aggressive does is chiefly not recommended, as one may have to scrutinize the kits or hutch later on.

Physical Characteristics

Owner also needs to look into the breeding pair warily so as to make sure that the male and the female Rabbits carry the physical traits that the owner wants to be present in the Kits. Also, there should be absence of any flaws, disfigurements or negative qualities such as blindness, colour of the rabbit etc.

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Breeding Age

The age when rabbits are ready to be bred will purely depend upon the breed of the rabbit one intends to breed. It is essential that rabbits are of age so that they have reached their sexual maturity and the doe is physically able to bear the strain of carrying and delivering the kits.

Small Breeds

Bucks are ready for mating at the age of six months whereas the doe is ready when five months old.

Medium Breeds

Buck will have to be seven months old and the doe will have to be of at least six months before being ready to be bred.

Large Breeds

The age of breeding for large rabbits will be eight months for doe and for the buck it will be nine months. It is essential that the rabbits are of age so that both the rabbits will have reached their sexual maturity and the doe will be physically able to bear the strain of carrying and delivering the kits


Inbreeding speaks of breeding rabbits that are closely related to each other, such as brother and sister, half-brother and half-sister or the parent and the offspring.

Breeding Siblings

Special care needs to be taken as it is vital that the owner should never ever breed sibling rabbits because this can be a source of congenital deformities.

Accidental Mating

If by chance, a buck mates with a sibling doe, it is possible that the young ones born may not be deformed, but at the very least, they will be frail, small and weak babies.

Mating between Parent and Offspring

It is likely that a fruitful mating between a doe with her father or between a buck with his mother will usually not lead to any abnormalities in the off springs.

Breeding Rabbits Process

1 Breeding Two Rabbits Mating - Rabbits Breeding Cycle Explained Step by Step

The Place for Mating

The process of breeding rabbits will start when the female is put in the male’s hutch by the owner.  Males should not be placed in the female’s cage since they are likely to get busy snooping about their environs rather than notice the female.  Also females are very territorial and can cause an injury to the male if a male is introduced into a female’s hutch.

The Time for Mating

Time needed depends on how long it takes for the male to breed with the female successfully. The doe and the buck should be left together for half an hour.

Once the female and the male are in cage together, the owner should observe the rabbit till the mating has taken place.  If one finds that the female is nervous, aggressive or is trying to get away from the buck, they should be alienated immediately.

Signs of Willingness for Mating

In the beginning, the buck will race the doe round the hutch, occasionally sniffing her rear and elating her tail with his nose. When the doe is willing to accept the buck she will lie down, flat, on the floor and will raise her tail and lift her rear end.

Sometimes, the excited buck might mount the doe at the wrong end, and sometimes even the doe will mount the buck, this is not an unusual behavior. Before getting accepted by the doe, the buck may have to mount the doe quite a few times.

The Mating

The buck will mount the doe and mate for about 20 seconds. When the mating the complete he will usually drop off the doe’s hind, will generally let out a grunt and will have a mouthful of the doe’s fur in his mouth. This behavior might seem rather aggressive; nevertheless it is completely standard of rabbits. This marks the end of the process and the doe can be returned to her cage.


As ovulation does not occur until more than a few hours, rebreeding of the same doe with the same buck should be done about almost eight hours after the first mating, in order to assure the occurrence of successful breeding and to capitalize on the litter size.


Rabbits do not ovulate on a steady cycle; they do not in point of fact, go into heat. The process that will essentially result in the doe producing the eggs necessary for fertilization will be the mating process itself. Ovulation will occur generally after 10 to 13 hours from breeding.

Even though does have no definite heat cycle, they will not always be ready to accept the buck. She will only agree in almost twelve out of every fourteen days. When the doe is prepared to breed, her vent area will become a dark pink, red or purple in color.

Health Check-up

It is vital to only breed healthy and joyful rabbits. If they are aggressive or unhealthy, then breeding rabbits should be avoided. Ensuring that the doe is healthy is especially required so as to avoid any uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. It is best to get the rabbit’s health checked by the vet, especially for vent disease preceding the breeding process. If any illness is suspected in either rabbit then it is essential to wait until they are hale and hearty before they are bred.


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