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As you know I have only 4 Does, Well my brother, Who at this time is Paying the bills ,As I Can't work. Has Said he would like rthe 3 older Does bred A S A P. But I still think its to hot. He says they are under the Shade trees. They should be cool enough! I don't think so. The tempriture has been in the 90-100 degree range!! Whats your thoughts??
 

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I wouldn't do it. Far too hot. Any woman who has ever been pregnant in summer will tell you that! Not only that, the chances of the buck being fertile in that kind of heat are reduced.

I bred my two does in a cool spell in early July, thinking that usually by early August here in Southern Ontario, at least the nights are cool. So, of course, now that they are nearly due to kindle, we have worse heat than we've had all summer. It's supposed to reach 93 today and only fall to 72 tonight. I'm regretting playing Russian roulette with the weather.

My buns are in the deep shade of a huge weeping willow tree and there is a breeze. I gave them ice bottles today and check them frequently. I've given them fresh water two or three times and it is time I looked in on them again. I think they will be okay, but I sure would hate to lose them the way so many others have lost rabbits due to the heat. If my buns get through this okay, you can be sure that I will be more careful in future.
 

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I bred mine late at night during 90 degree weather and by the looks of it they conceved.
What, in your estimate will the weather be like when they will kindle in a month?
I really don't blame your brother for wanting to start production, feed is expensive.
If you have been using ice bottles you probably have a good chance of having litters.
If you put them together and they don't conceive, your not out anything, really. Just keep in mind they were not the best circumstances when you rate your does for culling because of a miss.
 

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james dilley said:
As you know I have only 4 Does, Well my brother, Who at this time is Paying the bills ,As I Can't work. Has Said he would like rthe 3 older Does bred A S A P. But I still think its to hot. He says they are under the Shade trees. They should be cool enough! I don't think so. The tempriture has been in the 90-100 degree range!! Whats your thoughts??
James,
How old are your does and have they been bred before? I believe your in Texas? I'm in Louisiana and it is very hot and humid here. We have successfully bred and raised rabbits all year long. In +- 8 years, this is the first year we have not bred our rabbits during the summer. That is because of our health and not the heat. Rabbits are designed to be almost always bred and giving them too much time off can lead to fertility problems. There are some things you can do to make your rabbits more comfortable if you have not done so already. I'll explain what we do and maybe you can use it or modify it to your situation. Our rabbits are in hanging cages under shade. We run a box fan for every 3 - 4 cages. We have a soaker (sp?) hose on the roof and keep water trickling during the hottest time of the day. The maternity cages all have drop baskets installed instead of nest boxes. The does are taken to the bucks about 9 - 10 o'clock at night. A couple of our does will attack the buck once mating is complete, so they are removed as soon as the deed is done. The others are left all night and removed in the morning. Unless I see 3 - 4 matings right away, then they are removed at that time. We breed our does any time after they are 18 weeks old, as long as they weigh at least 7.5 lbs. In the summer it is very important not to let your does get over weight as this will decrease fertility. Bucks can go temporarily or even permanently sterile if the heat gets above 85 F for more than a few days. Of course it gets much hotter than that every year. The trick with bucks is to use them as often as possible. This seems to help keep them fertile. Another thing to do is to keep a new buck from a litter born in January. Young bucks seem to keep their fertility better during the heat of summer. After the litters are born you need to check the nest baskets every couple hours, if possible. Remove most of the fur and store it in zip lock bags. You can use it in the winter if a doe fails to pull enough fur. The kits will spread out in the nest to cool off and the doe is more likely to step on them. They will need to be put back into the bowl or nest proper. We have more kits stepped on during the summer, but checking them regularly keeps this to a minimum. If you have the freezer room you can freeze water bottles and put them in the cages. I would not put them in the nest box as the kits will get too cold and die. We don't use them, because we have drop baskets and the doe will push the ice bottle on top of the litter. We have +95% conception rate all year, so I know it can be done. We don't have the freezer space to store enough rabbit to give our small herd the summer off. Also, we hope one day to sell to a processor and will need heat tolerant rabbits so we can produce consistantly all year round.

Hope this helps,
MikeL

P.S.: Hang temperature gauges in your rabbit area, you might be surprised at the difference in temperature over just a few feet.
 

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If I only bred when it was cool enough we would only get 1 or 2 litters a year from each doe. Of course we get -0 temps in the winter too. So I took my chances and looks like the 4 does are bred, with due dates of AUg 8, 18 and 22nd.
The one we are really excited about will be the Cal/new zealand cross kits from our new buck and doe.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My set up right now Does NOT Allow the use of fans. The Electric service I have is 100 Amp. And theres times we don't have power. I plan on A genset next month. The rabbits seem comfy ,Even in 100 degree days Theres quite A bit of Airflow and they get water 3-4 times A Day, I just rewatered them 10 minutes ago. If the bucks are Sterile, There is A BUCK I can use for free. He is Spotted just like my one doe. He is A childs pet but A decent rabbit, He's kept in A A/C house. The Rabbits are fed 2X A day. They just Are basicly something right now to try and help me keep busy. But I Do like working with them. They Are NOT pets but breeding stock to me. So you think they might be O K to breed As theres only 3 that are about 7 months old the other is about 5 months.. I was thinking My Cali Buck on 2 and the free use buck on the Spotted!! PLz give some Guideance. Thanks I'll check back later
 

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James, will your brother compromise? Breed one doe. See how she handles it. It all is OK, then he's right, breed the rest. If she has a lot of difficulty, you've only put one of your does at risk. Just a thought. But then again, I'm one of those breeders that has a serious problem with 'anybody' not producing and earning their feed.
 

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James,
Your 7 mth. old does are certainly old enough to breed and your 5 mth. old doe is too, if she's between 7 - 8 lbs. Assuming they are commercial type/breed rabbits. I do not like to have just one doe kindle at a time. If she was to kindle and die or not milk, then you would not have another doe to foster the kits to. Since you have only four does, I advise breeding two now and the other two 2 - 3 weeks later. Re-breed 6 weeks after kindling and wean at 8 weeks after kindling. This will give your does two weeks by themselves before they kindle again. If your rabbits have good genetics and if your feeding quality pellets, you should have fryers weighing +- 5 lbs. at 10 weeks or less. You can breed/wean at different intervals as long as your does regain their condition fast enough. I do not recommend weaning younger than 4 weeks. Play with a calender and schedule your breedings to fit your needs. Always go by the does condition though. Some can handle 14 day re-breeds and some can not. We re-breed at 38 - 39 days, and we breed a group of does every two weeks. This way we have fryers to slaughter every two weeks. That's what works for us.

MikeL
 

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With that imformation, I will plan on breeding them this weekend. So Whats the bestTime of Day to breed??? And its What 28 days Right?? Nest boxes in after 24 days??As I say its been years since I have had Rabbits,
 

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I like to breed an hour or two after sun down, when the day time temperatures are above 80 F. The rest of the year, it really does not matter. What ever fits your daily schedule. The rabbits do seem to be most active just after sun rise and you may want to breed at that time during the winter. For me it's convenient to breed just before sundown during the winter.

You can re-breed at 28 days after kindle, if the doe has regained her condition. If you go with a 28 day re-breed, you will want to wean at 6 weeks. You will need to make sure you have enough grow out cages for the weanling's. If it takes more than 10 weeks for your fryers to reach slaughter weight, you should separate your buckling's from your doeling's. At about 10 weeks of age they will start to fight. Your does first litters may not grow as fast as you might expect. This has to do with milking. By the fourth litter your does should be at their best lactation and you should notice a faster growth rate at that time.

Your nest box and nesting material should be in place on day 27 after breeding. If you put it in earlier the doe may get use to lounging in it or she may use it for a toilet. If you put it in later, you risk having kits on the wire if she kindles early.

Good luck,
MikeL
 
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