Any benefit to breeding wild rabbits with domestic?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Dixielee, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. Dixielee

    Dixielee Well-Known Member

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    I have never had rabbits but my husband has. We are the proud parents of 3 baby rabbits thanks to our dogs. Our retriever brought them home before their eyes were open. We have bottle fed them and now they are eating everything in sight. They love bananas, hope they are not bad for them! They will kill you over the clover.

    Anyway, we were wondering if now might be the time to get "into" rabbits, or just let them go when they are bigger. The dogs don't bother them, and they sniff noses thru the cage. Any advice would be welcome. We have chickens, goats and ducks, why not add a few more critters!
     
  2. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You can't breed domestic rabbits and wild rabbits together as the chromosome numbers is different. Domestic rabbits are European rabbits.

    If you want to get into rabbits I'd suggest using these little guys as your source of interest, but buy domestic rabbits to get started. Then let these guys go when they are a month old to be wild rabbits again.

    Congratulations on having such a soft mouthed dog! :) I wish my yellow lab pup would develop that way. She gets my baby pheasants that get out thinking they are nice "squeaky toys" and loses interest when they don't squeak any more. :(

    Jennifer
     

  3. x_xbirdie

    x_xbirdie Well-Known Member

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    Actually they can breed, but the offspring wouldn't be able to, because of that missing chromosome. You can compare them to a mule in the horse world. You can breed them, but the offspring couldn't be able to be bred. They'd be sterile
     
  4. Dixielee

    Dixielee Well-Known Member

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    Guess we will let the little guys go then. They are sooooo cute. Since we have had them since before they opened their eyes, do you think they will be OK to survive in the wild? We raised a squirrel a few years ago that had fallen out of a tree. He was so much fun, he took to being a wild squirrel very well, but still comes back to visit, brings his wife, but she is not so sure about us!
     
  5. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wild rabbits kick their bunnies out at about a month old, so yours should be fine to go. It's not like Mama Rabbit teaches them anything. They do have high losses, though, but that's the reason for litters . . .

    x x birdie, I didn't know that about the rabbit "mules". Thanks!

    Jennifer
     
  6. x_xbirdie

    x_xbirdie Well-Known Member

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    yeah, I didn't know until I asked on my yahoo group, becuase um well... a black buck of mine kinda escaped when I was taking him from a enighbor who didn't want him. I'm starting to see black babies, and everyone assured me they couldn't breed.
     
  7. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    Hybredized rabbits are possible but not really very common, they are from two differint spiecies and your right the resulting progeny SHOULD be steril, if you are seeing hybreds though it might be enteresting to catch one and see if you cant do an experiment,

    as to your wild american Cottentail bunnys i would release them in a reletively safe grassy field or your back yard and let them go back to being wild, they wont do you any good in captivity, but if you like rabbits i would reccomend getting some Domestic bunnys and starting there
     
  8. LAPinell

    LAPinell Member

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    My sister brought home two 'cuties' about a week ago and we've been bottle feeding them since. They are just adorable, and knowing my mom she will keep and spoil them for the rest of their lives. We've done the bottle (syringe)- feeding before and resulted with one of the sweetest Dutch does that I know.

    My question is is it okay to keep them? I know it won't hurt them and they'll be "domesticated" because of all the handling, but is it against the law to keep them? I know, my neighbor bottle-fed an orphaned deer and now that they let him out of the house he just sits on their doorstep begging for scraps like a dog. (He's real sweet too.) His wife has begged him to get 'Bucky' tagged, but I told her he might have to have a wild-life licence of some sort to do that. I know you have to have one to keep wild-cats and wild birds, I only assume its the same for rabbits and deer. I am right?
     
  9. rabbitgal

    rabbitgal Ex-homesteader

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    Well, according to "Rabbit Production", a college-level textbook on domestic rabbits and rabbitry management, domestic rabbits and wild cottontails can complete the mating act. However, during observation in the laboratory, the fertilized eggs never made it beyond the first few cell divisions because the wild cottontail and the domestic rabbit are different species with different numbers of chromosomes. Hope that clears up the crossbreeding question: it's a pretty common misconception, and one that I was also unsure about until I did some digging. :)

    Regarding wild cottontails, my advice would be to release them back into the wild. I know they're cute, but they are wild creatures. (And yes, it may be illegal to keep them.) Perhaps you could set out food and water for them until they can fend for themselves...I think the House Rabbit Society (www.rabbit.org) may have some information on wild bunnies.
     
  10. x_xbirdie

    x_xbirdie Well-Known Member

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    LAPinell, I've raised wild cottontails, they will survive in the wild even with all of your handling. I let mine loose in a feild next to our homestead (owned by a generous old man up the road, just ask before you use private property as a release site) and I visit them often, and see them there, surviving. They've even had baby bunnies! And in most states it IS illegal to keep them. It takes several generations for an animal to become domesticated.

    And as they are around 5- 8 weeks old, momma bunny kicks them out of the nest, so anytime or after that time is a great time to release them. DO NOT leave food/water out for them, becuase they'll never forage for their own food, and you'll end up with a pest problem. (learned that the hard way)

    Do the right thing for you and the bunnies, let them go in a safe enviroment.