retireing bunnies

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by Buffy in Dallas, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. Buffy in Dallas

    Buffy in Dallas Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Tx
    At what age should a doe be "retired" from breeding? I have 3 does that used to give me litters of 8 to 12 babies. Now at almost 4 years old they are having litters of 3 to 5 each. Could this be caused by age or is it something else?The buck I have is almost 4 years old too. I assume(maybe I shouldn't) that the problem isnt with him since the does are getting pregnant. They started having smaller litters after I gave them a 6 month "vacation" from breeding last summer and fall. They got a little fat and I had to put them on a diet. Could that be the problem? Should I just get new does? What do y'all think?
     
  2. Robin Pundzak

    Robin Pundzak Active Member

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    Western Pennsylvania
    4 years is old for a breeder doe. Many commercial rabbitries cull does at 1.5 to 2 years old. When litter size drops below 6 to 7 it's time to cull. The buck could also be part of the problem. Keeping track of his litter sizes is also important. Just the fact that the doe gets pregnant isn't good enough. Track the does that he is bred to and the size of their litters. If the older does have been good breeders, keep their offspring for replacements and cull the does. "Vacations" are a bad idea. The does get fat, have a hard time conceiving, kindling, and getting back in the loop. I'd keep replacement does, start fresh and keep an eye on the litter sizes to judge your buck's fertility.
    Robin
     

  3. Buffy in Dallas

    Buffy in Dallas Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the info. I know rabbits could live up to 10 years but didn't know how many of those are useful breeding years. I guess its time for a change.