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  • Bitter sweet kindling

    In the early mornings, Danny almost never wakes up before me, but today Coco is anxious to get outside, so he opens the door and she rushes out to the garden we’ve made for ourselves on the back of the loft where we live.

    There are several rustic wire cages set up against the back wall of the loft.  Our bunnies are housed there temporarily.  Thinking back a couple of days, the grounds keeper had said he thought one of the rabbits was pregnant!  And - sure enough, on this morning, one of the rabbits has dropped a litter on her wire cage.  We had not prepared a nesting box for her!

    Kindling occurs 31 days after mating.  My brother Karl had been visiting us about a month prior and had moved the rabbits around (placing the does with the bucks).  Coco was the first to discover that some of the kindles had fallen through the wire at the bottom of the cages... Danny soon went outside to check on Coco – and found her sniffing around the rabbit hutches.  It wasn’t long before I woken from my slumber with a loud “honeeeyyyy”!!!

    Without going into lots of detail about the whole horrible ordeal, I’ll conclude by saying, I failed 3 of our does miserably and our first 3 rabbit litters yielded zero results.  There is a lot of preparation for rabbit breeding, let alone the knowledge required.

    Does are usually ready for mating at 8-10 months. Bucks can start as early as 6 months. One buck can mate up to 10 does.  We currently have 5 does and 2 bucks. Red being the buck that I plan to use for initial breeding (he’s brown and heavy and quite the charmer!)

    Mating rabbits in a hot environment, is not effective.  It’s best to mate them early in the morning or in the evening, taking the doe to the buck’s hutch.  The reverse would cause the doe to be defensive and she could even attack a buck brought to her hutch.  More on mating behavior soon.  For now, I’ll end by saying how exciting it was to see the tiny baby rabbits, although we didn’t get to see them grow up.  Lots of BIG lessons learned this time around!