Rabbit conception ages?
(Zephyrhills, Florida, USA)
I read somewhere that if my female rabbit does not have sex before she reaches 4 months old she can get urinary cancer?? But I also read that if she gets pregnant this early (2 1/2 months) she can die giving birth?? I don't want her to die and I don't want her to get cancer so what should I do?
***** Karen Sez *****
Well, you've come to the right place for doing your research. Because your information is a little bit...skewed.
Let's set the record straight:
Cancer is very rare in rabbits before 2 years of age, and after that, the types of cancer a female rabbit is likely to contract does not include a urinary variety. You were probably thinking 'uterine,' which is one of the more common cancers in rabbit does. Even so, it is still rare before 2 years of age, and I am not aware of any correlation between the incidence of uterine cancer and the rabbit's age at first breeding.
Next, breeding a rabbit before 4 months old is always too early, and a 2 1/2 month old rabbit is still a 'pre-teen.' 999 of 1000 rabbits aged 2 1/2 months would not get pregnant even if a buck managed to hump it.
Smaller breed rabbits are just starting to experience "puberty" by four months. Rabbits in general will not even get pregnant until 4+ months old, though there are plenty of exceptions of course.
The best plan is to breed your does when they are adults, meaning at least 6 months old (8 months for the bigger breeds). Does can get pregnant and raise litters until they are somewhere between 2 1/2 - 4 years old, though as they age, their immune systems may weaken allowing various health challenges.
If you fear the occurrence of cancer, you can always get your rabbit neutered at around age 2.