Replacing does when time

by Dennis M. Johnson
(Loyalton, Ca)

I am just getting back, after many years, into the meat rabbit business. I plan to keep it small and mainly for our own use. I am starting out with one buck and two does until I get back in the hang of the business, and will go from there if needed. One question I do have though is when it is time to replace the does? Is it permissible to just keep one of the offspring as I have heard that it is okay to breed father to daughter without getting too inbred? Thank you for any and all information you can pass along.


***** Karen Sez *****
You'll need replacement does only when the breeders begin to miss litters and fail to perform up to par. They'll usually give you at least two good years. Some will give a third very good year.

If the current sire and dams are unrelated, then it is probably fine to keep daughters for replacement breeders.

As you've rightly heard, the inbreeding doesn't cause problems, but it is a really good way to discover if any problems are hiding in the genetic code.

When the time comes, be that much more careful about breeding granddaughters back to their grandsire. The inbreeding will be significantly tighter. Be sure that every trait you wish to keep is present in one or both of the animals, and that any traits you hope will drop off the face of the earth are NOT present in BOTH of the animals.

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Sep 14, 2012
When to replace does....when to replace bucks?
by: Anonymous

We are first time rabbit breeders. Must say that your site has been our source of most helpful information. We went to a local breeder (knowing nothing) He sold us a 2 year old doe & 2 year old buck at PREMIUM prices. Saying Doe's last 2 litters were 6 kits. Our first litter with her was 10, of which she saved 8. When I called him in our excitement over the first litter, there was silence. Now I know why. He told us usually bucks and does were good for 5 years. Thus a learning experience.

This being said, what is the productive years for the bucks?

***** Karen Sez *****
Is it possible to give the breeder the benefit of the doubt and figure perhaps his line of animals are exceptionally long-lived...?? He'd be sitting on a genetic gold mine if it were true.

You can make the best of it by saving replacement does from the 2-year-old doe. Though, the 2-year-old doe should be expected to give you at least one more decent year of reproduction.

The good news is that the bucks can 'papa' for considerably longer than 2 years. Just keep him lean and fit, so he will have the energy to perform. (Rabbits are as prone to heart disease as people are.) I've heard more than one tale of bucks siring litters being as old as 7 years.

Good luck with everything!

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