My rabbits won't conceive

Baymule

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They are deficient in nutrients. What you are doing is not working. Rabbit pellet feed is designed for domestic rabbits. Stop giving the alfalfa cubes, they are not a balanced ration. Slowly introduce the pellets, a quick diet change can make them sick. You can give them vegetable treats, but make sure they eat their pellets first. A small tuna fish can is a good measurement, twice a day.

Go to the feed store and get mineral spools and salt spools for rabbits. It may take some time for them to assimilate the necessary minerals so that they become fertile and can hold a pregnancy.






Speaking of cage maintenance, is there any way to keep rabbits from dragging hay out of the hopper and then peeing on it? We waste so much hay.
In a word, no.
 

AmberLops

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I'll give pellets a go. I'm sure I can find somewhere to source the bags in bulk.

I've tried palpating and never had success, but I imagine I'm just not doing it right, since I couldn't even feel something on the definitely-pregnant ones I bought.

We check for babies pretty religiously, so I very doubt it's pests killing the babies. We never see any trace of them.

Speaking of cage maintenance, is there any way to keep rabbits from dragging hay out of the hopper and then peeing on it? We waste so much hay.
I have 40+ rabbits and a 50lb bag of feed lasts 3 weeks to a month. So your rabbits should be pretty easy :)
 

Ridgetop

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We culled one of our 4 females because she would refuse to have sex whatsoever, like she wouldn't let the buck mount ever, and we had to force breed her. That was a pain, so into the pot she went. While butchering, we noticed a two-pronged organ with lots of little "marbles" along it -- presumably the uterus? -- and so maybe she was pregnant then? But we have never managed any births.
Yes, you butchered the pregnant doe. Whether not not she would have eventually delivered a healthy litter is uncertain. Rabbits are one of the species that can "reabsorb" their pregnancies instead of miscarrying or aborting.

They are deficient in nutrients. What you are doing is not working. Rabbit pellet feed is designed for domestic rabbits. Stop giving the alfalfa cubes, they are not a balanced ration. Slowly introduce the pellets, a quick diet change can make them sick. You can give them vegetable treats, but make sure they eat their pellets first. A small tuna fish can is a good measurement, twice a day.
You need to put your rabbits on a 16% protein pellet feed. You can buy it in 50 b. bags. It lasts a long time for a small breeding operation. Most rabbit pellets are designed with a 16% protein base, some are as high as 18%. The 16% is adequate for breeding rabbits. If they are in an intensive production situation - having a litter every 8 to 10 weeks - you should use the 18%. For Silver Fox, which I believe weigh about the same as Californians, the measurement would be 1 cup per day of pellet. Rabbits usually eat at night so feed in the evening. If you are using wire cages with "J" feeders, get the screen bottom feeders. If you are feeding in a crock, dump the "fines" (pellet dust) out each night. Check everyday for rat poop in the feeders. Rabbits will not eat any feed that has been peed or pooed on, especially by rats. Make sure that your rabbits have a clean supply of water, rabbits cannot eat without water. If you want to give something extra and you are raising these bunnies for either meat or show, a 2 oz. feeding of rolled oats in the a.m. will put on hard flesh.

How old are these rabbits? I am not asking if they are too young to breed. Instead, it sounds like they are at least 18 months to 2 years old. In that case, they are too old to start breeding. You need to have rabbits breeding by the time they are 10-12 months old otherwise they stop conceiving. A rabbit reaches the end of its productive life around 3 years old and that is if they have been in constant production. Bucks can sometimes last to 5 years old but get more susceptible to heat induced sterility the older they get. The hardest thing for the 4-H and FFA kids to understand was that because of the short life span of rabbits they cannot be bred for the fair, kept as pets for a year, then bred the following year. It doesn't work.

Amberlops said - Start over - and that is what you will have to do since your does are all over 18 months old.

Amber lops suggested putting the does and bucks in carriers and driving around about 20 minutes, put them back in the cages and immediately breed them. That will work for breeds that are difficult breeders - Champagne D'Argent is one.

Could we need to clean the cage every day or some such? I've seen plenty of farms where the hutches are very "lived in."
If by "lived in" you mean dirty, NO. Rabbits need a clean cage area. Rabbits will establish a particular area in their cage where they will poop. I prefer to keep rabbits on a wire floor cage so everything falls through into manure pits. You can determine where in the cage the rabbit likes to poop by the little hill of pellets under that spot. Add sawdust every so often and you will have a great garden amendment. By the way, do not put the nest box in the spot where the doe likes to poop, the doe will poop in the nest box and won't want to have her kits in it.


They live outside and have plenty of sun-basking time.
How much "sun basking" time are you talking about? High heat will make your bucks go sterile. Bucks over a year old usually all go sterile during the summer in temperatures over 90 degrees. If you want to breed during the summer months you need to keep a young buck from a December litter for summer breeding. Rabbits do not like to be in the full sun and handle cold much better than they do heat. They need fresh air, but not direct sun, wind, or rain.
 

drgnfly447

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I also am having problems getting 2 of my NZ rabbits bred. They have plenty of water are fed a good pellet diet cages are clean. I will get a couple of fall offs and then my does start trying to hurt my bucks. They are housed outside with cover and large fans blowing on them. We put frozen water bottles in with them on the very hot days. I also have a couple of Flemish but have been told not to even try to breed them at least until the fall when temperatures start getting cooler. I'm not worried about them just my NZ . What else can I do? Oh yeah I forgot to mention that they are given plenty of hay.
 

Beekissed

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I also am having problems getting 2 of my NZ rabbits bred. They have plenty of water are fed a good pellet diet cages are clean. I will get a couple of fall offs and then my does start trying to hurt my bucks. They are housed outside with cover and large fans blowing on them. We put frozen water bottles in with them on the very hot days. I also have a couple of Flemish but have been told not to even try to breed them at least until the fall when temperatures start getting cooler. I'm not worried about them just my NZ . What else can I do? Oh yeah I forgot to mention that they are given plenty of hay.
Our NZ wouldn't come into heat when it was too hot...sounds like your girls aren't in heat(ready to breed) either, which is why they are attacking your bucks.

I'd hold off on breeding attempts until the fall and try again.
 

GypsyG

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I have had several friends who raise multiple breeds of rabbits tell me that silverfox are notorious for being hard to get bred the first time. That's why I don't have any.

If you are feeding any hay with fescue in it that can be a problem. I have found if rabbits are eating fescue they reabsorb their pregnancy shortly after the kits are palpable. Sometimes they will continue on with a false pregnancy and nest, sometimes they won't.

In the case of bucks being summer sterile, I give the bucks ginger tea in their water bottles and this will usually bring them around.

In the case of aggressive does, I have one big buck that has plenty of experience and doesn't take no sh**. If you are dealing with inexperienced rabbits on both sides of the equation it's kinda like blind leading the blind.
 

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