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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm seeing a couple of does having less babies the last few litters. One went from 8 born and raised to having just 5. Another from 4 to just 2. On that last one, we cut her rations a good bit (she seemed fat) and re-breed her about the 5th week after her last litter. Seems like IIRC I read somewhere that does really shouldn't have a break between litters and should be lean.

It's also been hot as hades around here, average temps for the last month in the 90's daily.

Any other things I should check on or try to improve the headcount on litters?
TIA

Lowdown3
 

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I've been told that bucks produce less sperm when it is hot sometimes going sterile. This is my first summer breeding and for the most part it hasn't been to hot here.That is more than likely what is going on with your dropping numbers.
 

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Many people feel that they get larger litters from their rabbits when they put the doe back with the buck a second time from one to twelve hours after the first breeding. Does are stimulated to ovulate by sexual activity, so a second mating while the eggs are descending increases the chance of them being fertilized. Perhaps you are already doing this, but if not it is worth a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the responses. We raised rabbits in Florida for about 5 years and I can't remember the numbers falling off in the summer this much- but admittedly I haven't been keeping records.

We usually put the doe back in later in the day after breeding #1 but usually doesn't mean always :) I'll have to be more dilligent and make sure that happens more.

No one sees the does being a bit fat as being a problem?
 

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MaggieJ said:
Many people feel that they get larger litters from their rabbits when they put the doe back with the buck a second time from one to twelve hours after the first breeding. Does are stimulated to ovulate by sexual activity, so a second mating while the eggs are descending increases the chance of them being fertilized. Perhaps you are already doing this, but if not it is worth a try.
I tried that. I got 16 the first time and 18 the second time, from a doe that almost always gave seven. Half starved, or died when I tried to bottlefeed them and didn't know to rub them with a damp cloth to get them to pee.
 

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No one sees the does being a bit fat as being a problem?
What do you consider to be a "bit fat"? How much overweight
is she?

Edited:
The age of the doe will often contribute to size of litter kindled.
A major reason for culling is the decrease in litter size as the doe
is nearing the end of her productive life.
 

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the issue about 'fat' is the effect the internal fat has on the does organs-- if what you 'feel' across the does back is muscle, do not confuse it with fat!!!

Also, heat will even affect fertility rates in many female animals--if her body is too stressed to carry her usual number, she may resorb a few, or even all the litter. A change in diet can alter her nutritional levels- giving her more or less of something she needs to concieve or maintain a pregnancy.
 

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susieM said:
I tried that. I got 16 the first time and 18 the second time, from a doe that almost always gave seven. Half starved, or died when I tried to bottlefeed them and didn't know to rub them with a damp cloth to get them to pee.
Hey Susie! Yes, that second round can backfire, if you are already getting good-sized litters. Personally, I prefer my does to have 7 - 9 kits, so I no longer do the second breeding. But if you are only getting 2 - 5, even double that is not going to be too many. At least, that was my thinking when I mentioned it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry I should have clarified, I was talking about the number first given birth to, not how many was left upon rearing. The low number included NO culls or momma kills.
 

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It gets in the 90's here during the summer and despite all that we do to keep the rabbits cool we almost always have smaller litters this time of year. We keep production records and management is pretty much the same year-round, so I believe heat does affect fertility rates in our barn.

Of course like several of you have pointed out, the girls *are* going to be stressed by heat. But I do get the impression that bucks' fertility might be affected even sooner...male seed is apparently *really* sensitive to changes in temp.

Sometimes I seriously consider building an air-conditioned shed. :rolleyes:
 

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rabbitgal said:
.

Of course like several of you have pointed out, the girls *are* going to be stressed by heat. But I do get the impression that bucks' fertility might be affected even sooner...male seed is apparently *really* sensitive to changes in temp.

QUOTE]

umm, that is WHY the male package is OUTSIDE the body-- keeps the 'factory' a bit cooler than body temp!!!!!
 
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