Its attributes to sexing and mating. Rabbits grow very fast and gain maturity earlier. They become suitable for breeding within 5 months of age. The gestation period of rabbits is less compared to other livestock animals. Generally, a doe gives birth  after every three months averaging 5-8 litters per birth. Gestation period is 28-31 days.
Mating and sexing – Mating it’s the physical aspect of breeding and sexing is differentiating between a male rabbit (Buck) and a female rabbit(Doe).

Rabbits are known for their quick and effective breeding in the wild. Because they are a prey species, it is important for them to have a lot of offspring in order for the species to survive. However, breeding rabbits at home can be a lot of work and may not be for everybody. If you are simply looking for a pet, it might not be a good idea to breed rabbits yourself. However, if you are looking to breed rabbits for food or attempting to reproduce a specialty breed, you will need to have a good breeding pair, prepare for success (or failure), and understand how much work you have ahead of you.

Rabbits are known for their quick and effective breeding in the wild. Because they are a prey species, it is important for them to have a lot of offspring in order for the species to survive. However, breeding rabbits at home can be a lot of work and may not be for everybody. If you are simply looking for a pet, it might not be a good idea to breed rabbits yourself. However, if you are looking to breed rabbits for food or attempting to reproduce a specialty breed, you will need to have a good breeding pair, prepare for success (or failure), and understand how much work you have ahead of you.

Decide why you want to breed rabbits.

  Breeding rabbits is a huge responsibility that takes time, commitment, and patience. Before you begin breeding rabbits, decide why you want to do this. Are you planning on selling them? Do you want them as pets? Are you breeding them for meat? Decide if this is something you truly want to commit to doing. If you don’t have the time, think you will get tired of it, or eventually want to send the rabbits to a shelter, rethink your plans.

  • Rabbits are the third most common animal in shelters, after dogs and cats. Other rabbits get released into the wild, where they die from predators, lack of care, or starvation.
  • Only a small percentage of rabbits at pet stores find safe, loving owners. They may be sold to inexperienced owners who may accidentally kill them.
  • Breeding rabbits won’t turn a significant profit. Plus, there isn’t a high demand for rabbits, especially as pets, because there are already so many pet rabbits trying to be sold.

Research available rabbit breeds.

There are a wide variety of rabbit breeds available to home breeders. Before you choose a rabbit just because it is cute, be sure that it will fulfill your needs. Here is some basic information about several common rabbit breeds (but this list is by no means exhaustive).

  • American: The American rabbit breed is a large-sized breed that is a good meat and fur breed. It is typically 9 – 12 pounds, a hardy breed, and they produce large litters.
  • Angora: There are several types of angora rabbits, including English, French, Giant, and Satin. These rabbits are typically bred for their wool. The wool is hand spun into yarn, which is knitted into light-weight and soft garments. Because of the nature of angora coats, this breed needs a lot of grooming, usually once or twice a week.
  • Flemish Giant: Flemish giant rabbits are the largest breed of rabbits. They can weigh up to 22 pounds. They come in seven colors, from black through white. Flemish giants were originally bred for meat and fur, but are now largely bred for show or as pets, as they are expensive to feed and have a very pleasant docile nature.
  • Chinchilla: The chinchilla rabbit breeds are typically bred for their fur but also make excellent pets. They are medium sized, from 9 to 12 pounds, and have docile and curious personalities. Above all, however, their fur is their winning feature, as it is exceedingly soft and enjoyable to pet.

Choose the right rabbits to breed.

The breed you choose might depend on availability, price, and preference. What you plan on doing with the rabbits also determines which breeds you choose. Some people want to sell and show the rabbits, while others want to keep them as pets, and others breed for meat.

  • If you want to sell or show the rabbits, make sure to mate rabbits of the same breed. If you are planning to sell the rabbits, mixed breeds have little value. Mixing the breeds when you mate the rabbits also lessens the quality of the stock. A rabbit can’t be considered pedigree if there is mixed-breed blood going back for 4 generations.
  • If you want the rabbits as pets, for meat, or even genetic experimentation, you can mix the breeds of rabbit.
  • Never breed brothers and sisters, father-daughters, mother-sons, cousins, and so on. Unless you have a lot of knowledge about genetics and inbreeding, try not to breed pairs that are too closely related.

Breed your rabbits at the proper age.

You want to start breeding does (female rabbits) when they are reaching maturity. For small-medium breeds, they can be bred at 5-6 months old. Larger breeds can be bred at 8-9 months. Bucks (male rabbits) are usually ready around 6 months old if a small breed, 7 months if medium, and 9 months for a large breed.

Ensure that you will have homes for the kits (babies) before you breed.

 Check that you will have spare hutches for when the kits are weaned, and that you will be able to afford the costs of breeding. Decide what you are going to do with the kits when they have been weaned.

  • Male and female kits must be separated when they are 10 weeks old. By 3-4 months old, rabbits need their own private cage. You must have enough cages for these animals in case you don’t sell them.
  • If you overcrowd young kits, they could fight and injure each other, or live in poor conditions that will affect their health.
  • You also should have a large, safe enclosed garden for the rabbits.
  • If you plan on selling the rabbits, try to talk to friends, other breeders, or advertise so that you can line up potential customers ahead of time.

Only breed from healthy, happy rabbits.

The physical condition of your rabbits when mating them is extremely important. Take your rabbits to a veterinarian before breeding them, just to make sure they are in tip top shape.

  • Rabbits should not be underweight or overweight because this affects the success of the breeding. You should monitor what you feed the rabbits and make sure you provide the best nutrition so they are healthy.
  • Check the cage of both the buck and doe for any evidence of diarrhea or loose stools. Check the genitals on both rabbits for any signs of disease of infection, such as extreme redness, discharge, sores, or scabs. These conditions need to be treated before breeding the rabbits.
  • If your rabbit is aggressive or unhealthy, don’t breed it. Breeding aggressive rabbits is not recommended.

Put the doe in the buck’s hutch.

A female’s cage will smell like her, so the buck may get distracted by the unfamiliar smells and try to mark the territory. They may also fight. Always take the female to the male

Leave the breeding pair together for half an hour. You want to give the rabbits time to mate, preferably 2-3 times. Having them mate multiple times can help with the litter size and the success of the breeding.

  • Some people breed them again after an hour or later the same day to ensure a mating instead of letting them breed 3 times in a single session.
  • If the female is anxious, aggressive, or trying to get away from the male, separate them immediately.
  • You may want to check the doe’s vent to make sure that the breeding didn’t misfire. If you find the doe’s back or tail wet, the breeding was not successful. Leave the rabbits in the cage and let them breed again.
  • It is not ideal for bucks and does to be left together for long periods of time. Although they may get along well, they may also fight if the doe becomes annoyed with the buck. Does have been known to castrate bucks. Contrary to popular belief, however, there is no danger of a doe becoming pregnant with two litters at once (unlike hares, which CAN carry two pregnancies, but the embryos are stored until she gives birth).
  • Many breeders like to rebreed the doe at 14 days, in case the first breeding was unsuccessful.

Feel the abdomen of the female to determine if it is pregnant.

Palpation is the best way of telling if a doe is pregnant or not. This is the method of using your hands to examine her body by feeling her abdomen to see if there are any babies inside. If she is pregnant, you will feel grape-sized embryos. For beginners, this method is most easily done 10-14 days after breeding.

  • Pregnancy lasts approximately 28-33 days depending on the breed. Dead litters are usually delivered after day 34, but does have been known to give birth to live kits up to day 40.
  • If the doe is not pregnant, you can breed her again immediately.

Provide plenty of extra hay and bedding.

Around day 22, a nesting box should be put in the doe’s cage. This is for the doe to build a nest with. The nesting box should have soft straw, hay, or pine shavings. Leave extra material around for her so she can make her nest. She will also pluck her chest and stomach hair to fill the nest.

  • The nesting box should be 18″ x 10″ x 10″. Cut the front into a V-shape or another opening that is 6″ high for the doe to get in and out of. Don’t put a roof on it. Make sure there is a small wire mesh bottom to allow urine and moisture to drain. Also place paper underneath to soak up the urine.
  • Make a hole in the hay at the back of the box to encourage the doe to make her nest back there. This can help protect the kits from the elements and protect them from the doe jumping in and out of the box.

Give the doe peace and quiet.

The mother needs a quiet, stress-free environment while pregnant. Don’t lift her up unless you absolutely have to. Unnecessary lifting can damage the litter. If you do lift her, don’t lift her by her stomach.

Expect the mother to give birth 32-33 days after breeding.

The mother will start nesting around days 29-32, and by day 32-33, she will give birth. Leave her to it if you do catch her giving birth, though chances are all will be done and cleaned up long before you are awake. Babies tend to be born before dawn.

  • Listen for cheeping. Kits sound like baby birds, and hearing them is one way to tell if the mother has given birth. You can also tell by seeing movement in the nest, or if the doe has a little blood on her nose.
  • The doe will clean the hutch to ensure no predators smell the blood or other scents and investigate.
  • Inspect the litter after they are born. Remove any dead kits. Do this daily to check for dead kits.
  • If you have bred multiple does at one time, you can foster kits with other mothers if one has too many and another has too few kits.

Seek veterinary care.

You may want to keep your pregnant doe under veterinary care while she is pregnant. Your vet can assess the doe’s health and the state of the pregnancy.

  • There can be complications with any pregnancy. Keep an eye on you pregnant rabbit and take her to the vet if she has not given birth by 32 days. If the pregnancy goes to long it could result in a dead litter.

Feed the doe more.

Once the kits are born, give her as much dry food as she likes, as feeding kits will drain her. Don’t stop with her vegetables, but don’t increase them. If you increased the food during the last week of pregnancy, don’t increase again until 3-4 days after giving birth. Stop completely if her droppings become loose.

Know how to treat the mother.

If the doe is happy for you to stroke her and is acting normally, and you have a very good relationship with her, it might be a good idea to let her out for a little exercise. You should let her out for about an hour if she is used to it. This will give you a chance to inspect the nest and remove any dead kits.

  • Be careful if you attempt to go near the nest if the doe doesn’t trust you or gets upset.
  • Some people say the doe will abandon the kits if you touch them, but others claim you can handle the babies without the mother being upset.

Check the temperature of the nest.

The temperature of the nest box should be around 100 degrees during week 1. If the nest is good and the cage temperature is 60-75 degrees, it will be fine. If the nest is too cold, the kits can freeze.

Check on the kits daily.

You want to check the kits during the day and night. Check them while they are feeding so you can make sure they are feeding normally. If they are not, you may need to give them supplementary feed. You also want to make sure they are eating well and gaining weight at the proper intervals.

  • Checking them multiple times daily can also help you catch any kits that have wandered out. If they are left unattended outside the nesting box, they can freeze and die.

Clean the hutch and box.

Poor conditions can cause kits to die. You want to make sure the nesting box isn’t overrun with urine and feces, and you want to make sure the hutch and outdoor run is clean and hygienic. Sometimes mothers can defecate a lot, which may attract flies. These flies can cause infections in young kits.

  • Change the nest material a week after the litter is born. Keep an eye on the litter the days after changing the hay. Kits have a tendency to leave the nest box after changing the hay, and if it is cold, they can freeze. Continue changing the hay every few days. Remove the box after 3 weeks.
  • Replace the paper when used as needed.

Keep the doe’s routine normal.

Let your doe out during the day, but keep in mind that she will have lost hair on her stomach and chest, and putting her on wet grass or out in the cold can be unwise.

Wean the litters at 6-8 weeks.

Remove the doe from the litter at 7 weeks. Put out food so that the kits can feed freely, ensuring that they get enough feed. At 8 weeks, move the kits into individual cages or in pairs. You can also move all the does to one cage and the bucks to another.

  • The period of weaning can be stressful for the mother and kits. Make sure that they are all have enough water and food. You can also add probiotics to the water, to help with the digestive health of the rabbits.

Feed the doe and the kits 3 ounces of regular feed.