Rabbits were one of the first animals we added to our mini-farm. I did a lot of reading, and based on my research, it seemed like an easy proposition. Breed them, feed them, freeze them, and eat them. How hard could it be?
Wow, am I learning things the hard way! Our first three attempts at having baby rabbits were epic failures. First I decided they must be stressed from moving to their new home, then I figured I didn’t leave the does with the bucks long enough, then I figured the weather was too hot and the bucks were probably sterile. In reality, I have no clue why the does weren’t conceiving.
Fast forward a year later, and we’ve had two successful litters from all four does. It’s hard having babies in the winter since we live at high altitude and temps are dicey at least six months of the year, but if I want more than a litter or two from my girls, we really don’t have a choice. I bred all four does again in October when the brutal summer temperatures finally turned to fall, but surprise, surprise, I got not one baby out of any of them!
I’m trying one more time today before I throw up my hands in frustration. This time I stood and supervised the whole thing to make sure the boys got the job done, and I’m not convinced they did. Not for lack of trying, of course, but I saw only one successful “fall off the doe sideways and thump the floor in victory” out of either one of them. The rest of the time it looked more like frantic humping that got them nowhere. I’m going to give them a break, then put the does back in either tonight or tomorrow and see if things turn out any better. I’m fairly sure I’ll have one pregnant doe out of the bunch, but I really want those other three bred as well. If we fail again…well….maybe it’s time to start over with new breeding stock, although none of them are over two years old. And I’m really rather attached to all of them by now, so I sure hope I can keep them around (productively) a few more years!
Ah well, if nothing else, at least I got the cages cleaned out and scrubbed while the girls were off visiting the boys. We’ve got a cold front coming in later in the week, so I’m ready now to add fresh bedding before the freeze.