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  #1  
Old 11/26/10, 12:58 PM
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AI for Rabbits?

Has anyone here ever tried AI for their rabbits? I'm having problems lately with breeding my does. A good part is my fault I know for letting them go so long between breedings, but they are still young and I'd like to get them all bred again soon. The problem is, none of them are interested. I've tried 3 different bucks and though the boys try, try, try, the girls do not participate. They aren't mean to the bucks, they are just little prudes. I have tried holding the does (has worked in the past), but the bucks aren't interested if I'm in the middle. Go figure :-/

So yesterday after 2 more unsuccessful attempts, I was brainstorming what I could do differently, and thought about AI. Is it possible to collect the boys and AI my does? I've never used AI on anything before - can I collect and AI right then? If so, I doubt I would have any desire to store any (except maybe from my angora buck since they are so hard to find around here...that way if anything happened to him before I get a replacement, I wouldn't be totally out of luck). For just my own personal use at home, what would be required for proper storage?

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  #2  
Old 11/26/10, 05:23 PM
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i know it's possible, beyond that... no clue about how to go about doing it.

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  #3  
Old 11/26/10, 10:23 PM
 
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Here in the U.S., it's considered to be too expensive for practical usage, even though it is in widespread use in Europe. You could contact Dr. James McNitt (rabbit research scientist) for more details if you're still interested. Let me know and I'll give you his e-mail address.

Pat Lamar

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Old 11/26/10, 11:12 PM
 
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What do their genital area look like?

Light pink, purple, pink?

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  #5  
Old 11/27/10, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bunny Ranch View Post
What do their genital area look like?

Light pink, purple, pink?
Dark pink


Pat,
Thanks, but I can't afford expensive. Was just rolling ideas around in my head and thought maybe it was something a person could do relatively inexpensively at home if using strictly fresh.
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  #6  
Old 11/27/10, 06:33 PM
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if they are dark pink they are ready to breed, leave them with the buck untill its done,

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  #7  
Old 11/27/10, 06:53 PM
 
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It takes time.


How close are the does to the bucks?

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  #8  
Old 11/28/10, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by KSALguy View Post
if they are dark pink they are ready to breed, leave them with the buck untill its done,
I've left them for an hour+ at a time with the only result being a tired buck. I didn't think it wise to leave them all day while I'm at work, in case the doe decided to neuter my buck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Bunny Ranch View Post
It takes time.
How close are the does to the bucks?
I know it takes time, I'm just impatient after close to 3 months of this. It's highly irritating. I plan to keep trying...it's just that after repeated failures I tend to mull over other ideas, ya know?

Do you mean how close are their cages? I have a mix of cage types, so it varies. I have one doe and buck that share a wooden hutch, with only a dividing wall (half wood, half wire) between them. I have a set of 3 stacked cages, with a doe in the top cage, and bucks in both cages below her. My other does are anywhere from 3-6 feet from the nearest buck.

My californian doe did allow the buck to breed her on Thursday. She is not the youngest doe, nor is she the most recent to have a litter. She is slightly overweight though, so only time will tell if the breeding took.

My angora doe is the one I'm most concerned about getting bred. I only have the single breeding pair of angoras and I desperately want some babies to ensure I have replacements. Angoras are not easy to find in this area. My doe had her last litter this past June. She had 6 but 4 of those were stillborn or died shortly after birth. The 2 that survived didn't survive the extreme heat we had this summer. I've been trying since August to rebreed her, with no success. She is totally uninterested. If I had the convenience of doing so, I would just cull her....but unfortunately, I don't.
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  #9  
Old 11/28/10, 10:28 AM
 
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I am in Tennessee too. I think the weather has caused a lot of problems this summer. I have around 20 breeder does and until this week have not had but 5 or 6 litters all summer. That is with breeding 3 or 4 does every week. Some look like they breed and some don't, but either way no babies. This week I had 2 litters born on the nights it got below freezing (I think they do it on purpose).
So, don't give up maybe now that it is cold they will start having babies for you. Try a few more times. I know how frustrating it is.

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  #10  
Old 11/28/10, 08:23 PM
 
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AI can be done on rabbits but is best done on young does (virgin if possible) and then only is rare instances where the results are worth the effort due to the troubles. You can read this as high level winning show rabbits ;-) AI has been tried in the meat production of other countries with random results. normally ai in rabbits results in smaller litters and higher miss percentage vs. conventional breed methods. If you want to pursue this method look in to egg yolk semen extender. The only benefit I can really see other than selective breeding on show rabbits w/o risk to health is that you can breed many more does at the same time using one buck.

For what it's worth my 2 cents is to keep trying with natural breeding!

Best wishes,
Ryan

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  #11  
Old 11/28/10, 08:27 PM
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do you have controlled lighting? 14 hours a day is what they need. then you need to hold the does. do you know how to do it properly?
I posted instructions in detail on another rabbit thread, but don't remember which one. maybe someone else does?

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  #12  
Old 11/29/10, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ryan NC View Post
For what it's worth my 2 cents is to keep trying with natural breeding!
Oh I fully intend to keep trying with natural breeding anyway (and did all along). My OP was basically just a curiosity type question anyway, but from the info I've been given already, it seems that AI is out of the question - for me at least. I cant' afford (and I'm not willing) to put a lot of money into it. Was just wondering if it was something that could be done in the back yard so to speak, just to impregnate one or two does, with a handful of resources. Since the answer seems to be "no," then it's simply not an option for me.
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Old 11/29/10, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by lonelyfarmgirl View Post
do you have controlled lighting? 14 hours a day is what they need. then you need to hold the does. do you know how to do it properly?
I posted instructions in detail on another rabbit thread, but don't remember which one. maybe someone else does?
No, I don't have controlled lighting, nor the ability to do so at this time. The truth of whether 14 hours a day of daylight is needed is up for debate. Some argue that the temperature is more important. Someone on another thread mentioned a commercial rabbitry that doesn't use it in their barn.

I do know how to hold a doe properly...I have held does successfully in the past. The problem is not in holding the doe still, it's the fact that if I do hold the doe, then the buck wants no part of it at all.
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  #14  
Old 11/29/10, 09:38 AM
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Rabbits are induced ovulaters, like cats. That means that its the act of breeding that causes them to ovulate. Hence the reasoning behind at least three breedings. Rabbits do have a cycle of sorts in which they are more receptive at certain times, thats why we check vulva color. I breed dogs, and do a lot of AI, I personally wouldn't even try to AI rabbits, collecting the buck I don't feel would be simple. I did have a Flemish buck that I trained to table breed, I'd knock on the table and say 'load up' and he'd breed whatever I was holding. But it takes time to train a buck to do that, and some simply won't cooperate. I'll tell you what I'd do, I'd put my does on a hay diet for a few days, and take them for a ride. Seriously, some breeders swear by it, taking them for a car ride seems to kick in their survival instincts. Supposed to have something to do with the stress and the motion of the vehicle. Put them in a carrier and take them shopping with you, may work, may not. I'm more concerned about the possibility of fat around their ovaries due to their being older and unbred for a long time. Thats where the hay diet comes in. I had a friend of mine hold a few of my MR does, she couldn't get them bred for me. I got them back and they were pig fat, slimmed them up with the hay diet and got litters. These does are about 4 years old, so its not impossible. Good Luck

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Old 11/29/10, 09:55 AM
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My does are all under 2 years, but you may be right about fat around the ovaries. They are not grossly overweight by any means, but I know rabbits can store fat that you don't see.

Thanks for the idea about the car ride. I think I read something about that a long time ago and I had forgotten all about it. I seriously may give that a try!

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  #16  
Old 11/29/10, 05:03 PM
 
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I've heard that, too, and it does make sense. Animals do seem to want to breed when under stress (I've seen this in action with cows), and the vibration from the running vehicle resembles that of the sexual activity.

BTW, RabbitPatch... I know of more than just one large commercial rabbitry that doesn't use lights.

Pat Lamar

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  #17  
Old 11/29/10, 08:15 PM
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I dont have any controlled lighting, I just wondered if you used it. I can say, that during the 'darker' months of fall, winter, I have a lot of luck breeding on sunny days.

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  #18  
Old 11/30/10, 12:42 AM
 
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Next time, watch the temperatures, even on sunny days. Sunny days are not always warmer than cloudy days, but even a slight difference in temperatures can make a difference when breeding does. The warmer it gets (except for summer type heat), the more receptive the does will be. However, there's only so much sunlight that can be increased, so "lighting" is very limited in that respect and give only minimal results.

Pat Lamar

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  #19  
Old 12/08/10, 09:54 AM
 
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The old "Rabbit Production" book put out by OSU has some info on AI. The 5th edition has a little bit but the 6th edition has much more. I haven't seen the other editions.

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  #20  
Old 12/08/10, 07:34 PM
 
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Similar to the car ride in that it puts the rabbit in a different attitude from being in it a cage, I've had does become suddenly willing to breed by giving them some semi-free range time. I either let them loose in the fenced area where all my hutches are or bring them in the house and let them loose in a rabbit-proofed room. The excitement and fun of exploring seems to put them in the mood after a bit of running around playing. Does that acted the way described, not fighting but not interested, became very interested.

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