Rabbits are not just adorable pets…
They’re one of the fastest breeders.
In case you’re wondering…
“How’s it possible with those tiny bodies?”
Well, this is the right article for you.
Read on to learn:
- How persistent breeding affects rabbit health.
- 13 intriguing reasons why rabbits mate so much.
- The most practical way to stop rabbits from constantly mating.
- And so much more…
Why do rabbits mate so much? 13 reasons
#1: They mature early
Depending on the breed, rabbits mature as early as ages 3-5 months.
But, male rabbits usually mature a month later than females.
The earlier rabbits develop, the earlier they become fertile or able to produce offspring.
Plus, rabbit hormones surge at the start of puberty.
According to LafeberVet, optimal sperm production for males occurs 40-70 days after maturity.
At this stage, male rabbits tend to show signs of sexual urge like:
#2: Female rabbits can get pregnant immediately
Does (female rabbits) pregnancy lasts up to 30-35 days.
And they can mate right after giving birth.
This is because there’s no regular estrus cycle (period of sexual arousal) for does.
Female rabbits ovulate hours after mating.
Plus, they can get pregnant twice, too.
This rarely happens, though.
But it’s possible because of their unique reproductive system.
Female rabbits have 2 separate uterine horns, each containing a cervix.
And the development of a rabbit fetus occurs in these horns.
#3: Male rabbits are always ready
Male rabbits have the urge to mate whenever there’s an opportunity.
They’re sexually active throughout the year.
But, female rabbits have a 1-2 day rest period.
It’s when they show no sexual interest at all.
This follows their 15-day receptivity or active sexual urge.
#4: Unlimited breeding season
Winter, spring, summer, or fall…
Rabbits can mate anytime.
In large rabbit farms, the breeding season in the US and the UK lasts from January to October.
As for pet owners, they’re able to breed their rabbits any time of the year.
Note: Breeding in summer or hot temperatures need cooling systems. This is to avoid heat stress in rabbits.
#5: The incredible buck
Male rabbits reach satisfaction not just once.
A study confirms this.
Results show that bucks can ejaculate (release semen during mating) 20 times or more in 8 hours.
This refers to the point of satiety (fullness) in a male rabbit.
Findings say that male rabbits can still ejaculate without mounting on a female’s back.
Or even without the physical act of mating.
But, the number of ejaculations did affect semen characteristics.
It took about 3 days to restore the male’s semen quality and volume.
Still, rabbit mating is a quick affair.
#6: Bucks’ oozing sex appeal
Male rabbits have the charm to make females think they’re expecting.
Their presence nearby can cause progesterone levels in females to increase.
This hormone tells the uterus to start prepping up and make room for the offspring.
The mammary glands will also swell as days go by to produce milk.
The doe will act as if she’s actually pregnant…
When in fact, she’s not.
And this can last up to 17-18 days.
This is pseudopregnancy.
A male’s presence is sometimes enough for this to occur.
#7: Does seek a male’s attention
It’s what rabbits rely on most of the time.
When in the mood, a doe will send signals to the buck that she’s ready.
She catches the male’s attention by lying flat on the floor.
Or by lifting her tail.
Then, they both start to sniff each other.
Validating the female’s invitation, bucks lick the doe’s genital area.
Sometimes, they mark females with urine.
And then, the magic happens in minutes!
#8: Their plant-based diet
In general, rabbits are herbivores (plant-eating animals).
But they can eat food that are rich in fatty acids to boost their fertility.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are healthy types of fat that rabbits must eat.
Results of a study show that foods containing PUFA help the following:
- Sperm movement and speed.
- Testosterone (male rabbit hormone) concentration.
Foods that are rich in PUFA include flaxseed and fish oil.
Rabbits also need omega-3 in their diet.
This is to avoid cardiac diseases, such as:
- Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats.
- Heart murmur or abnormal heart sounds.
Note: Seek professional advice about your rabbit’s food intake and dietary supplements.
Interesting read: 21 Human Foods Rabbits Can Eat Safely
#9: Love in the lab
A female rabbit can produce offspring without the act of mating.
This is possible with AI or artificial insemination.
Volumes of semen are collected from male rabbits regularly.
It undergoes a series of tests before being injected into females.
Does can give birth to up to 6 litters per year in commercial farms.
With the right conditions, each litter contains an average of 10 baby rabbits.
Moreover, researchers consider a rabbit’s natural behavior when undergoing AI.
This includes their receptivity and body language.
Simulating a natural habitat also helps them adjust to their surroundings.
For example, some labs set up artificial lighting to mimic their crepuscular traits.
It’s because rabbits are mostly active at dusk and dawn.
This is necessary for a stress-free AI procedure.
#10: Female rabbits leave clues
Does like to leave scent markings.
It’s either to mark their territory…
Or to let males know they’re available.
Pheromones are chemical substances.
Female rabbits give these off to send signals to males.
Does do this by spraying urine and dropping poop to attract the buck.
Rabbits have a powerful sense of smell.
So, it’s easier for male bunnies to tell when love is in the air.
#11: Libido-boosting treatments
“What else can’t science do?”
Rabbit farmers rely on faster methods for mass production.
This is possible with dietary multi-enzyme additives.
Enzymes are organic substances that speed up the rate of chemical reactions.
According to a study, enzyme supplements in a rabbit diet give positive effects:
- Improvement in sperm motility (movement).
- Decrease in abnormal and dead sperm count.
- Increase in blood testosterone (male rabbit hormone) levels.
Rabbit farmers include these additives in their rabbit’s diet to ensure fertility.
#12: Does turn bucks on
Bucks like to see their females with their own eyes.
And feel their magic touch.
A study confirms that bucks get a sexual urge when does are around.
Male rabbits show improvements in the following:
- Sexual drive.
- Semen volume.
- Lesser reaction time.
- Sperm production and quality.
This is now used as a low-cost breeding technique by production facilities.
#13: Sexually aggressive females
You often see does run away when they’re not in the mood.
They may look shy when they’re with males.
But when they get the chance, they don’t play hard to get.
A study shows that female rabbits perform mating actions toward males first.
They even do the same to other female bunnies, too.
This is because does are more territorial than males.
And this aggression sometimes lets them take the lead.
Neutering as a practical way to stop rabbits from mating
This is the go-to option for most rabbit owners to avoid an unwanted litter.
Neutering is a procedure for removing a male rabbit’s testicles.
On the other hand, spaying removes a doe’s ovaries and uterus.
Advantages of neutering/spaying your pet rabbits include:
- Avoid unwanted pregnancies.
- Reduce the risk of reproductive cancers.
- Reduce territorial aggression and other related behavior.
- Decrease frequent urine spraying or droppings outside the litter box.
Sexing your rabbits before neutering/spaying
Rabbits mature early.
Puberty starts as early as 12 weeks for some rabbit breeds.
That’s why it’s important to identify their gender (sexing) as soon as possible.
You may start separating them much earlier before they hit puberty.
But don’t remove baby rabbits from their mothers during the lactation (milking) period.
Note: Domestic rabbits are ideal for weaning (milk withdrawal) at 3-6 weeks old.
Here’s how to identify your rabbit’s gender.
- The penis emerges as you part the fur.
- The anus is right below the penis separately.
- The vulva will not emerge if you part the fur.
- The anus sits below the vulva together. It’s closest to the tail.
Watch this video on how to identify your rabbit’s gender:
How persistent breeding affects rabbit health
Breeding your rabbits can be a challenging journey…
And as a fur parent, it’s important to ensure your bunny’s safety.
Large rabbit farms rely on mass production to meet demand.
But, intensive breeding has effects on rabbit health.
In male rabbits, the number of ejaculations decreases their semen density and volume.
But, researchers claim that this has no direct effect on buck fertility.
Meanwhile, female rabbits can be prone to low fertility rates.
Especially during their second parturition (giving birth).
According to a study, this is due to energy deficiency.
A doe’s body still needs sufficient nutrients like protein and fat before breeding.
Lack of energy may affect the offspring during pregnancy until birth.
To add, pregnant does may also suffer from lack of nutrition.
This is due to improper feeding application before giving birth.
Note: It’s important to assess your rabbit’s overall health before breeding them.