Do does chase off suitors?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by frazzlehead, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Apologies for a slightly non-profit-production-oriented question, but you all do seem to be the appropriate experts. :)

    We have a female rabbit who lives outside with the chickens (she has a hutch with free access to the chicken run, and tends to spend most of her days in the coop with the chickens when it's cold, and periodically runs around the outdoor enclosure, and once in awhile actually goes into her own hutch).

    Someone had abandoned two bunnies, and so we took them in as we had lots of space for them and didn't mind if we had 'multiples' (although the deal was that we'd 'fix' whoever was in the minority if all remained, we don't want to add to the population of homeless bunnies). All 3 rabbits were introduced and all seemed well, there is plenty of space so we figured they could stake out separate turf if they wanted to. Wasn't sure on the sex of the two newcomers - one disappeared very shortly after arrival, I thought perhaps it was chased off in a competition for the doe's affections or was another doe and chased off for terrotrial fight reasons. The remaining newcomer seemed closely bonded with our female. They spent all their time cuddled up together, and it was determined we had a boy and a girl. Rabbits being what they are, I figure kits are inevitable. Then again, that doesn't seem like any guarantee, having read some of the other threads on difficulties in breeding!

    Today, the male has disappeared as well (escape is suspected). Would the doe have chased him off? I have felt her abdomen according to instructions read on the web, but I don't feel anything to indicate she's pregnant - she and the male have been together unrestricted for over a month now. She is about six months old, I've no idea on his age.

    So...

    Is she likely to be pregnant?

    Would she have chased off a buck that she seemed well bonded to, or is this just 'one of those things'?

    If we were to add another rabbit to this arrangement (everyone living in the chicken/rabbit area outside) would we need to ensure we have a fixed companion? Would adding a buck be a problem in this kind of arrangement unless he were fixed first?

    Just don't want to make the same mistake more than once. :) Any insight much appreciated!

    Thanks, and may you have many baby bunnies at your houses. :)
     
  2. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Hopefully you'll get some more experienced replies than mine, but I'll tell you my own thoughts (we've had rabbits about six months now, in a colony).

    Our does snuggle up to one another and groom each other very happily, so just because yours were snuggling doesn't mean they were a doe and a buck.

    I can't imagine one rabbit chasing off the other after they'd been getting along so well. I'd suspect escape. Rabbits are clever little Houdinis.

    Rabbits are social creatures, if they have "enough" room so in your position I think I might add another rabbit after figuring out the escape locations and closing them up. I'd get another female; that way you won't have to worry about babies. Our does get along great and have even shared a burrow to kindle.

    HOWEVER our does have been together since birth (2 littermates and 1 from a different litter but born about the same time) and I see others posting here that does in hutches will fight because they're quite territorial. I don't know if that's a result of the small territory (in which case it wouldn't pertain to you) or if it's just what does do if they weren't together from infancy (in which case it would pertain to you).
     

  3. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Thanks for your advice, we did actually check the sex of both and know we had a buck and a doe - we got asisstance from someone who knew what they were looking for!

    Yes, there's enough room ... we think we know where the escape location is so we'll block that off and then see about adding a new buddy in awhile.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. Jennifer L.

    Jennifer L. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If he didn't get eaten, that male is still around there close by. You might be able to catch him. I have four big dogs and an old house with stone foundation next door (read, rabbit escape heaven) and I almost always have a rabbit lose for extended periods. Seems like I catch one and a week later another one gets out for some reason. Anyway, see if you can find the buck.

    Jennifer