How Old Do Rabbits Have to Be to Breed?

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How Old Do Rabbits Have to Be to Breed?

Rabbits are well known for their quick breeding abilities. If you have a pair of rabbits at home, you will soon see their numbers increase.

But how old do rabbits have to be to breed? Well, the whole process isn’t as easy as it seems. 

Whether you are trying to breed rabbits for a unique species or just doing it for food, you need to understand a few things. These include checking the right time for breeding, effective rabbit breeding tips, and much more. 

This article will provide you with all the essential information related to rabbit breeding. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

How Old Do Rabbits Have to Be to Breed?

Rabbits mature quickly and may surprise you, but they start reproducing as young as 4 to 5 months old. On average, a female rabbit takes 31 days to give birth, and you can expect the number of offspring to be around 1 to 12. 

After giving birth, the female rabbit needs only a few days before she starts the breeding process again. The maximum number of litters a rabbit can have in a year is around 10 to 12, and each litter bears babies ranging from 1 to 12. 

The largest litter is by Giant Angora Rabbits, who make six or more kits per litter. As per a study, rabbits breed more during the summer or rainy season.

How Many Months Does a Rabbit Carry a Pregnancy?

Rabbits have a short gestation period and give birth within 28 to 31 days. After this time, the doe gives birth. This process is known as kindling.

Kindling usually lasts 15 to 20 minutes, and the whole birthing period is instinctive. That means the doe doesn’t need help during or after the pregnancy.

Once given birth, the mother rabbit separates herself from the young for a few days. It is suggested not to disturb the doe during this separation period because it can trigger depression.

What Happens If You Breed Rabbits Too Early? 

Two rabbits touching each other's noses
Two rabbits touching each other’s noses

The perfect age for rabbits to breed is 5 to 6 months. However, if you breed rabbits too early, you may face various consequences. 

Sometimes, the doe is immature and doesn’t know how to make a nest that will protect the young ones. This results in the death of the offspring. 

Additionally, you can lose the doe if she’s too young to give birth. So, keeping the pair away is suggested until they mature enough to breed.

How Many Times Do Rabbits Mate in a Day?

Although the difference of 11 hours between the first and second mating is enough, if the rabbits are young, you should perform breeding once a day. 

Exceeding this time limit may harm your rabbit’s fertility instead of increasing the number of offspring.

How Long Do You Leave Rabbits to Mate?

Many rabbit shelter owners let the rabbits mate every seven days to record mating attempts. 

Leave the female in a male rabbit hutch and let them alone for 30 minutes to one hour. This time is more than enough for a pair to mate correctly.

How Do You Know if a Rabbit Has Mated?

Two unique methods help you determine whether or not your pair has mated. The first is the testing method, and the second is the palpation method.

In the testing method, you leave the doe in the male cabinet again, and if the doe refuses to mate with the rabbit, she may be pregnant. However, this isn’t always authentic.

The palpation method works when you aren’t sure about the results of the testing method. You can determine the mating and pregnancy of the doe by slightly pressing your fingers on the abdomen of the doe. If you feel lumps and nodules, the doe is pregnant. 

You need to be proficient in feeling the nodules, so try to perform the palpation method repeatedly during the gestation period for a clear hint.

Will Two Male Rabbits Try to Mate?

Male rabbits have a dominant nature, and if you try to mate the same gender, one tries to dominate the other, sometimes resulting in no mating at all. 

To mate two male rabbits successfully, one needs to be more submissive. Male/ Male mating may work in some cases. 

However, it is one of the least successful matings. 

Will a Neutered Rabbit Try to Mate?

Neutered rabbits still face some hormonal changes that may awaken sexual desire in them. So, they may still mate with other male or female rabbits.

Neutering male rabbits is a procedure of performing surgical castration to make the mating successful between two males. The incisions are made on the scrotum to remove or cut the rabbit’s testicles.

Usually, to perform castration, the rabbit should be 5 to 6 months old. However, you can proceed with neutering if there’s sufficient testicular growth at three months old. 

Is it Okay to Breed Brother and Sister Rabbits?

You can breed brother and sister rabbits. Breeding rabbit siblings, also known as inbreeding, is preferred by some, while others don’t promote it. When you breed genetically related rabbits, it results in offspring having intensified genetic strengths and weaknesses.

If you aren’t going to increase the species and only do it for a meal, inbreeding isn’t harmful. 

Conversely, if you are building a whole community of a specific species through inbreeding, you will end up with rabbits that may be genetically weak and have genetic diseases. 

Only go for inbreeding if you know sufficiently about the species and their breeding standards.

Can You Breed Mother and Son Rabbits?

As mentioned, rabbits get sexually mature early; there are high chances that you may see a mother and son, or father and daughter, breeding. Inbreeding isn’t a great idea if your pair has any significant faults or diseases.

However, if your pair is genetically unique and doesn’t contain any diseases, breeding mother and son can result in the birth of multiple healthy bunnies. People who have rabbit shelters with healthy pairs often follow this practice.

5 Rabbits Breeding Tips

Now that you have got answers to some basic questions related to rabbit breeding, let’s discuss some helpful rabbit breeding tips:

Differentiate Genders

First, you need to differentiate between your male and female rabbits. This is a challenging step, but after spending some time closely with them, you can easily separate them.

Let them Mate

Two rabbits sleeping together
Two rabbits sleeping together

After separation, place one doe in the buck’s hutch. As soon as you unite the two, the breeding process starts. 

The rabbits chase each other in the cabinet, smelling each other, and the buck becomes dominant. You will soon hear exciting noises from the hutch that you never knew existed.

Once the buck has gotten onto the doe, he will bite her in the neck to maintain stability and start the procedure. 

Don’t worry; he isn’t hurting the doe. After the breeding is complete, you can place the doe back and feed her while the buck will need water.

However, if the doe is submissive, she will present herself for the breeding procedure. Remember that you should never leave an aggressive doe in the buck’s cage, or you will get them hurt. 

Check For Pregnancy

Your doe will typically get pregnant after a maximum of 3 mating sessions. There may be some physical indications, but you can’t be sure without a good ultrasound. 

The following are the indications of a pregnant doe:

  • You can quickly feel the babies by performing the palpation method.
  • The doe starts nesting for the babies.
  • She’s gaining some unusual weight.

If you are not sure, take your doe to the veterinarian and get them checked thoroughly. 

Prepare a Nesting Box

Soon after the doe gets pregnant, she prepares a warm home for her offspring. Sometimes, the doe may not have the proper equipment for this. So it’s your responsibility to provide them with an empty nesting box that they can use accordingly.

Ensure the box hasn’t been used before for anything and doesn’t have any specific smell. Otherwise, the doe will not start nesting in it.

Be Careful in the Gestation Period 

The gestation period of a rabbit lasts 28 to 31 days. During this time, the doe needs an adequate quantity of food because overeating can result in miscarriage. 

Also, avoid handling your doe during pregnancy time. When she’s about to give birth, you will see the doe pulling her fur to fill the nesting box. 

How Old Do Rabbits Have To Be To Breed

Final Thoughts 

So there you have it! 

When you’ve got a rabbit ready to breed, there are many factors to keep in mind. You’ve got to make sure your rabbit is healthy, that she’s in good shape, and that she’s ready to care for a litter of babies.

We hope this article has helped you understand how old rabbits have to be before they can procreate.

Photo of author


Jennifer Bourassa is a passionate animal lover and the founder of The Rabbit Retreat, a website dedicated to educating rabbit owners and providing them with the necessary resources to care for their furry friends. With over a decade of experience in rabbit care, Jennifer is a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate for these beloved pets. Jennifer's love for rabbits started when she adopted her first bunny, Thumper, and quickly realized the joy and challenges that come with rabbit ownership. Since then, she has made it her mission to help other rabbit owners navigate the ins and outs of bunny care, from feeding and grooming to housing and more. With The Rabbit Retreat, Jennifer hopes to build a community of like-minded rabbit enthusiasts who can share their experiences and support one another in providing the best possible care for their furry companions.