How to handle "maturing" young bucks?

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by MidwestMatthew, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. MidwestMatthew

    MidwestMatthew Well-Known Member

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    I've got three litters right now, and the little bucks in each of them are beginning to really bug their sisters and mothers. It's stressing all of them out and I don't want any accidental breeding going on, but the problem is I don't have enough extra cages to put the bucks from each litter into their own cage.

    The littermates seem to do OK with one another, but would I be asking for trouble to put all the young bucks together in one cage? They're within a week of the same age.
     
  2. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How old are these young bucks? They must be more than a few weeks old if they are wanting to be males? Are you raising these rabbits for food? Being you do not have any extra cages these young bucks are Good and tender fried! You can try them together---its according to how old they are, they might get along. But you do not want to put a lot of bucks in a single small cage---that would not be good. Try selling a few and take that money for some more cages.
     

  3. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    To some degree, mounting others is a normal behavior of both sexes. Many people are surprised to pick up these kits and often find females doing the mounting. It's a normal behavior that may be related to pecking order, developing maturity, excitement, and even a competitive act in lieu of a true fighting event which could lead to injury of both individuals.

    You must establish enough cage space and a production cycle that suits you as well as your animals. It's not just breeding that becomes a problem housing maturing kits in with siblings and dam, but fighting - rabbits can and will seriously harm each other from fighting. I once thought I could co-habitate some NZB sibling does in a 10'x2.5' grow out pen that I currently had empty. Everything was fine until one day when they were about 4 months old I went to feed and fur was thrown everywhere in the cage and one doe had her VULVA CHEWED OFF. OFF. (yes, she did live to reproduce normally, but her external genitalia was obviously a painful thing to lose!) Both does were scarred so significantly that even if the one hadn't had her vulva chewed off, neither could be show animals and could only be brood. Buyers had to trust me that the white spots were from injury and not just their traits genetically, which is also not an ideal situation.

    My production cycle involved a doe kindling every 8 weeks. She would be bred back 4 weeks after kindling, wean her litter at 6 weeks, and kindle 2 weeks after weaning her last litter. Kits were butchered at 8-10 weeks of age depending on my schedule mostly, though usually around 10 weeks. This allowed ample time advertising the (relatively few) animals that were sale quality and allowed me ample time to choose the (even fewer!) highest quality stock to keep for my own breeding program and show string. Be picky when keeping or selling. For example, my goals were production and growth so I started out with a growth rate goal that breeding stock HAD to be at least 5 lbs by 10 weeks in order for me to even think of keeping them for breeding or for sale no matter how pretty they were for show. ;) By the time I stopped breeding, 8 weeks was the goal for them to be 5 lbs.

    Now, this was just my production cycle but many people do it differently and that is quite OK. I pushed for production as I had great success breeding a lot and culling very hard. If I had a known cycle I could also easily plan for cage space needed by keeping my breeding groups and my weaning pens optimized at all times.
     
  4. MidwestMatthew

    MidwestMatthew Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for these replies. I appreciate the information!

    The problem for me is lack of space. Between zoning regulations and the layout of our property, I'm actually maxed out at 6 cages. With 4 adults, that only leaves me with 2 growout cages. I've been leaving kits with the does until butchering time, which seems to work well except that everyone gets all worked up once some mounting starts happening.

    Maybe I could just put some dividers into the growout cages to give each little guy his own space, since it sounds like I'm kind of living on borrowed time as far as them getting along is concerned!
     
  5. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well you should know your property, but have you thought of stacked cages? Or a couple cages right over "There"?

    Again how old are these young Rabbits---at what age do you usually butcher?
     
  6. Christopher McClung

    Christopher McClung Active Member

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    Thanks for the post. Someone just gave me 6 7 week old New Zelands and I was wondering about this very issue.
     
  7. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Put the bucks in one cage and the females in another until you do what ever you going to do----sell, slaughter or a breeding cage.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray Well-Known Member

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    ? If you don't have the room? butcher at ten weeks, no problem! been doing it for years! If you make a cage to feed them out. then leave them more than ten weeks. You will have problems! no mater what sex they are! If you have a dozen rabbits all same sex together in a close cage they will fight! Period! in my experience! Always butcher at ten weeks! problem solved! too young to breeding to take! mountings not. a problem. butcher at tenth week. If you need to keep some bucks together? a very large cage! with special hiding boxes where anyone can get away from the others if wanted and you'll be fine. I don't like keeping adult Doe together under any circumstances! generally ther will be one that will want to fight and cut up the others! if you keep sexes together? the doe will eventually castrate the bucks! with their teeth! bad idea adult rabbits should not be kept together in small cages! a Dirt warren system is somewhat different I read? I haven't and experience in outdoor warren pens on dirt? where they can dig their holes etc. best wishes! ray, butcher at ten weeks no problem! wait much longer you got problems! hehe live n learn! maybe move out of town? get a little place! acre or more! you'll live it,
     
  9. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That post is over 2 months old but I would like to know what happened??? How he handled it?