Saturday, May 18, 2024
Rabbits

Rabbit Reproduction: Pregnancy, Kindling, Sexing, and Weaning

The rabbit reproduction stages include the different stages ranging from pregnancy, kindling, sexing and weaning. n the world of rabbit reproduction.

It’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in rabbit pregnancy, kindling, sexing, and weaning. These aspects are pivotal to successful rabbit breeding and maintaining a healthy rabbit population

Discussed below are the rabbit reproduction processes in the following stages of pregnancy, kindling, sexing, and weaning;

Rabbit Reproduction: Pregnancy, Kindling, Sexing, and Weaning

1. Rabbit Pregnancy

Pregnant does will often accept the buck during pregnancy, so refusal to mate cannot be used to confirm pregnancy. The first real confirmation of pregnancy can be obtained about 14 days after mating.

The doe should be relaxed and sit naturally. If fingers are then gently run along the abdomen, between the back legs small bead-like lumps can be felt if the doe is pregnant as shown in the image below, these are developing fetuses.

Inexperienced keepers should practice detecting pregnancy in does that are 20 days pregnant, at5 which stage the fetuses are easy to identify.

Rabbit Reproduction: Pregnancy, Kindling, Sexing, and Weaning
Testing for pregnancy by palpation

By around 28 days the mammary gland will have developed significantly and this can be regarded as the final confirmation of pregnancy. At around 29 days the doe will begin to remove fur from her abdomen to make a nest.

Pregnancy or gestation is the time from fertilization to the time of kindling or parturition which take 31 or 32 days. On average, the pregnancy period last 30 days in the common commercial breed. During this period the doe should be well fed and protected from stresses such as dogs and general noise.

Gestation period- this is the time from fertilization to the time of kindling or parturition which take 31 or 32 days. On average, the pregnancy period last 30 days in the common commercial breed.

About 4-5 days before kindling a nesting box should be brought in with some wood shaving of fine straw placed on the floor of the box. It will soon be found that the doe begins to remove hair from her abdomen and sides and place them in the box to prepare a warm cushion for the young ones soon to be born.

The young ones of rabbits are born naked and blind. Their mother uses the hairs in the box to cover them to keep them warm.

Read Also: Rabbit Health and Diseases and How to Minimize Major Stresses

2. Rabbit Kindling

The doe usually kindles or gives birth, at night. Once kindling has finished the doe will pluck more fur from her abdomen and cover the young rabbits. It is best to leave her undisturbed for 2-3 days after kindling unless there are obvious problems.

It is a good practice to have some cotton wool ready to cover the litter if the doe has not done this properly herself.

3. Rabbit Sexing

Sexing of rabbits can be done at any time from the moment of weaning. Close to the anal opening is another orifice (opening) which is the sexual aperture. In both sexes, there is no difference in the external look of this opening, but when the opening is pressed open with the aid of the thumb and forefinger, the difference becomes quite vivid.

In the female, a longitudinal slit will be seen, while in the male a round opening is observed and the penis can be seen protruding out of this opening. If sexing is delayed longer, the testes of the male would have developed fully and could be seen protruding out clearly from the body between the two hind legs.

This makes the identification of the male easy. Any rabbit not having these testes protruding out is female.

Rabbit Reproduction: Pregnancy, Kindling, Sexing, and Weaning

Another method of identifying fully grown rabbits is the size of the animal. The doe is usually smaller than the buck within the same breed and she is a lot more docile than her opposite sex.

Image (a): Lift from the scruff of the neck and support underneath, press gently where indicated.

Rabbit Reproduction: Pregnancy, Kindling, Sexing, and Weaning
Showing the male and female reproductive organs of the young rabbit.

Read Also: Rabbit’s Reproductive System (Male and Female)

4. Rabbit Weaning

Weaning is the separation of the doe and the young. It should be done around 6-8 weeks after kindling. The best method of weaning is to take the doe away from the litter. To do it the other way around will put too much stress on the litter.

The period after weaning is another critical time for the young rabbits and it is a time for feeding some concentrates if available. Small amounts of concentrate at this time will have a big effect on the growth rate.

As the rabbit grow they may be gradually taken off concentrates but their growth rate will slow as a result. The litter will soon require extra hutch space.

After weaning, the doe should be allowed time to recover her body condition before re-mating. Weekly weighing is the only sure method of checking that she is regaining her body reserves. Does can usually continue breeding until they are 3 to 4 years old.

Read Also: Selection for Rabbit Breeding Process and Rabbit Mating

In conclusion, reproduction is a complex process controlled by substances called hormones. Breeding stock should be selected from does who are good mothers and who have good body size and shape to ensure healthy offspring.

Reproduction is a complex process controlled by substances called hormones which are produced in endocrine glands in the boy, and in other parts of the body like the ovaries. Hormones are transported to the organ they controlled (target organ) by the blood circulation system.

The female reproductive system consists of the ovaries (2); oviducts or fallopian tubes (2); uteri (2); cervix; vagina; vulva ad Mammary glands- (8-10). While the male reproductive system consists of the testicles (2); vas deferens (2); Penis and associated glands.

Breeding stock should be selected from does who are good mothers and who have good body size and shape. The ratio of does to bucks should not exceed 10:1.

The first real confirmation of pregnancy can be obtained about 14 days after mating. The doe should be relaxed and sit naturally. If fingers are then gently run along the abdomen, between the back legs small bead-like lumps can be felt if the doe is pregnant, these are developing fetuses.

The doe usually kindles or gives birth, at night. Sexing of rabbits can be done at any time from the moment of weaning. Weaning is the separation of the doe and the young. It should be done around 6-8 weeks after kindling.

Read Also: 19 Medicinal Health Benefits Of Geranium viscosissimum (Sticky Geranium)

In summary, in the world of rabbit reproduction. It’s important to have a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in rabbit pregnancy, kindling, sexing, and weaning. These aspects are pivotal to successful rabbit breeding and maintaining a healthy rabbit population.

1. Understanding Rabbit Pregnancy: Rabbit gestation typically lasts for about 31 days, but it can vary slightly depending on the breed and individual characteristics.

During pregnancy, it’s crucial to provide the doe with a stress-free environment and a balanced diet to ensure the health of both the mother and the developing kits.

Regular check-ups by a veterinarian can also be beneficial in monitoring the progress of the pregnancy and identifying any potential complications early on.

2. The Process of Kindling: Kindling, the process of giving birth to a litter of kits, is a critical phase that demands special attention. Creating a comfortable, quiet, and secure nesting area is essential to minimize stress for the doe.

Providing ample bedding material, such as straw or hay, is crucial for maintaining a warm and cozy environment for the newborn kits.

Additionally, keeping a close eye on the doe during kindling and promptly removing any soiled bedding helps to maintain optimal hygiene for the young ones.

3. Determining Sex: Accurately sexing rabbits is imperative for managing breeding programs and preventing unwanted pregnancies. Sexing young rabbits can be challenging for beginners, but with practice and guidance, it becomes easier.

Professionals often rely on the examination of genitalia and the distance between the anus and the genital opening to distinguish between male and female rabbits. Training individuals to identify these subtle differences is crucial to ensure accurate sexing.

4. Ensuring Successful Weaning: Weaning marks a critical milestone in a young rabbit’s life. It is the process of transitioning kits from their mother’s milk to solid food.

Typically, weaning begins around 4 to 6 weeks of age, but it can vary depending on the breed and development of the kits. Introducing a high-quality pellet diet gradually, while still providing access to the mother’s milk, helps in the smooth transition to solid food.

Careful monitoring of the kits’ growth and health during the weaning process is essential to ensure their overall well-being.

In conclusion, mastering the intricacies of rabbit reproduction, from pregnancy to weaning, requires a deep understanding of the physiological and behavioral aspects of these delicate creatures.

Implementing best practices for each stage is vital to ensure the health and well-being of both the breeding rabbits and their offspring. Regular monitoring, maintaining hygiene, and providing a balanced diet are key factors in the successful management of rabbit reproduction.

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Agric4Profits

Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. Agric4Profits.com - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. WealthinWastes.com - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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