Keywords: buck, doe, kit, lactation, ovulation, puberty, uterine adenocarcinoma

Key Points

Tright here is reality to the expression “breed prefer rabbits”.Male rabbits are additionally well-known as “bucks”.Female rabbits are additionally recognized as “does”.The doe is brought to the buck once reproduction rabbits.Rabbits have actually a relatively brief gestation period.Parturition in the rablittle is much better well-known as “kindling”.The newborn rablittle bit or “kit” is altricial.Rabbit milk is exceptionally wealthy.Weanling rabbits are fragile to condition.Juvenile rabbits reach puberty just after they undergo a maximal price of development.Sexual habits commonly manifests as territoriality.Endometrial adenocarcinoma is the most widespread neoplasia of female rabbits.

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Even in the neutered pet, rabbits draw very bit difference between sexual habits and social actions (Harrimale 1995). Normal actions choose territoriality, attention-seeking habits like honking and also circling, and nesting actions such as digging and also chewing, are all intimately tied to the instinctive drive to redevelop.

If you are reading this article as component of the Basic Rablittle bit Care Teaching Module, please go to the sections on male rabbits, female rabbits, newborn rablittle bit, and rablittle milk. Then take the brief quiz to test your knowledge.

“Breed prefer rabbits”

The prolific nature of the rabbit has connected them via fertility and the cycle of life and also death given that prehistoric times. In truth the idea of the Easter bunny probably developed from the medieval idea that rabbits, as a creator of life, introduced the dawn (Fig 1) (Mayer 2003).


Figure 1. Rabbits have actually been connected through fertility and the cycle of life considering that ancient times. Photograph credit: Elliott Brown through Flickr Creative Commons. Click image to enlarge.

One female rabbit have the right to perhaps provide as much as 60 young per year. Therefore fecundity, early on explorers lugged rabbits as a food source and also rabbits were also released on remote islands. Unfortunately the lack of predators permitted rabbit populations to rapidly reach pest numbers on some islands like New Zealand (O’Malley 2005).

Male rabbits

The head and also body of the undamaged, adult, male rabbit is mostly even more thickset than the doe (Richardchild 2000). The penile sheath is cylindrical and the penis can be quickly extruded in rabbits over 2 months of age. The scrotal sacs sit craniolateral to the penis (Fig 2). The scrotum is oblengthy and partially hairless, and also the testicles are relatively large through significant epididymal fat pads (O’Malley 2005).


Figure 2. The oblong, partially hairmuch less scrotal sacs sit craniolateral to the cylindrical penis. Picture credit: Dr. Matt Rosenbaum. Click photo to enlarge.

The testicles descend at some point between 10 to 14 weeks of age. The initially appearance have the right to vary through the individual, the breed, and eco-friendly temperature. The adult rabbit can retract the testes ago up into the abdomen via the open inguinal ring as soon as stressed or to regulate testicular temperature. Testes descfinish even more on hot days and also are brought closer to the body on cool days. This phenomenon can be distinguiburned from a true cryptorchid male by the absence of scrotal sac(s) (O’Malley 2005, Richardboy 2000).

Prior to castration of the male rabbit, elevation of the hindquarters or gentle pressure on the caudal abdomales will reason testicles to fall earlier into the scrotum. A closed castration approach is preferred to minimize the threat of post-operative inguinal hernia. If an open up surgical method is performed, the big, superficial inguinal ring should be closed.

Female rabbits

Adult females, especially tool and also big breed does, often build a dewlap or fold of skin beneath the chin. Older does tend to be larger than bucks of the exact same breed (Richardkid 2000).

The ovaries are elongated, and also are located fairly caudal in the rabbit. The oviducts are incredibly long and coiled. The duplex uterus is composed of two sepaprice uterine horns separated alengthy its size. There is no uterine body. The mesometrium is a site of significant fat storage in the rablittle, proportionally a lot higher than in various other companion animals. The two uterine horns communicate through two cervices, which sign up with to create a common vagina (O’Malley 2005). The rabbit vagina is fairly long and saccular (Vella 2012). The urethra enters the dorsal wall of the vagina; the clitoris sits on the ventral surface. The vulva shows up triangular via a slit-choose opening, and the appearance of this slit is offered to distinguish juvenile females from juvenile male rabbits.

If the urinary bladder is expressed while the rablittle bit is in dorsal recumbency, the fairly flaccid vagina can perhaps fill via urine. To minimize the hazard of contamicountry during ovariohysterectomy, the bladder is expressed after the patient is anesthetized however before the pet is inserted on its ago (Jenkins 2012). The suspensory ligaments are relatively lengthy, making exteriorization of the uterus relatively easy, but the huge amount of fat in the wide ligament still provides rablittle spays relatively complicated procedures, also in young does. The double cervices are not frequently removed during ovariohysterectomy, but removal is suggested for patients via cervicitis, neoplasia, or endometriosis (Jenkins 2012, O’Malley 2005).

The female rablittle is an induced ovulator. There is no continuous estrous cycle, rather ovulation occurs after mating. If coitus does not take place, the doe will vary in receptivity as ovarian follicles regress and also brand-new follicles mature. Periods of receptivity last all over from 5 to 14 days and also are followed by one to two days in which the doe will refuse to mate. This cycle repeats until conception occurs, although ovarian task decreases as photoduration decreases during the late summer to winter months (Vella 2012, Klaphake 2012, O’Malley 2005).

Vaginal smear cytology is not helpful for identification of doe receptivity (O’Malley 2005), yet the appearance of the vulva can administer a valuable clue. When the doe is receptive, the vulva is more swollen and also is regularly a pink-purple or reddish-purple shade (Klaphake 2012, O’Malley 2005). During anestrus the vulva appears narrowhead and also pale (O’Malley 2005).

Breeding rabbits

Both male and also female rabbits deserve to be rather territorial, and mating is finest accomplished if the doe is put in the buck’s enclocertain or if the pair are presented in neutral region (Bays 2006, Richardson 2000).

Upon advent, the buck follows the doe around, softly humming while sniffing and also licking her for approximately 30 secs (Vella 2012, Bays 2006). He may additionally spray the female through urine (Bays 2006). The receptive female will certainly hop around in circles or flatten to the floor (Bays 2006). Lordosis is observed as soon as push is used to her earlier (Bays 2006), while the non-receptive doe will run ameans from the buck, and also if cornered she might vocalize or even bite. Active mating begins once the buck grasps the female by the nape via his teeth. He then mounts the female rablittle, thrusting strongly till ejaculation occurs relatively conveniently. Afterwards the male emits a sharp cry or squeak, prior to falling onto his ago or side while the doe either runs ameans or starts to bite and kick the male (Video 1)(Bays 2006, Richardkid 2000).

Video 1. Rabbit reproduction is a brief affair

Ovulation occurs 10 to 13 hours after mating (Vella 2012, O’ Malley 2005, Richardson 2000). Although a single mating is often enough stimulus to stimulate ovulation, breeders often permit mating to happen numerous times over a 30-minute duration prior to returning the doe to her enclocertain. Despite her fecundity, the doe need to have no even more than 3 litters in one year (Richardson 2000). Refertile life varies with the breed, yet bucks are commonly bred for 5 to 6 years and does for around 3 years (Vella 3012).


When compared to hares through their 40 to 50 day pregnancy, rabbits have actually a fairly brief geterminal duration averaging 31 days. Gestation can array from 28 to 35 days (Vella 2012, Bays 2006, O’Malley 2005), but the danger of stillbirth rises by Day 32 (O’Malley 2005). Litter dimension arrays from four to 12 kits (Vella 2012, Bays 2006). Small breed rabbits tend to create smaller sized litters that are born after a reasonably lengthy geterminal period (Vella 2012). Larger litters are primarily born after a shorter gestation duration (O’Malley 2005). The fetus is palpable by Day 12 to 14 (Richardboy 2000).

Regardless of their high fertility rates, rabbits tend to suffer from a high incidence of embryonic mortality. Tbelow are many potential reasons for this problem including infection, heredity, trauma, drug use, poor nutrition, and also social or eco-friendly tension. Fetal death and also resorption is many likely to happen in subordinate does (Vella 2012, Klaphake 2012). The fetus is also at boosted danger on Day 13, as soon as placentation alters from yolk sac to hemochorial, and on Day 21 as soon as tbelow is a momentary reduction in blood circulation as the fetus transforms in form and also dimension (Klaphake 2012, O’Malley 2005).

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The doe starts to colony several days to a few hours before parturition. Hair epilates more quickly as estrogen levels climb and progesterone levels autumn, and also the doe plucks hair from her abdoguys, sides, and dewlap. She then offers the hair to line her swarm of hay and also straw (Fig 3) (Vella 2012, O’Malley 2005).