Autumn is on its way, along with the excitement for fall colors, crisp air, the harvest, and Thanksgiving. However, your rabbit is feeling the opposite effect, and your doe just can’t seem to get pregnant. Why is this happening? Rabbits don’t hibernate!
The reason your rabbit seems unable to breed properly is because autumn is a resting season for rabbits. As the plants begin to lose nutrients, so do rabbits, as their diets consist of these plants. Less nutrients combined with shorter days also triggers lower hormone levels in both bucks and does causing them to lose their breeding drive.
Most rabbitries and regular meat breeders utilize augmented lighting and feed supplements in order to avoid this rest period. This period is harder to avoid for most home breeders, so don’t worry if this is happening to you. For more information on seasonal drives, check out these resources:
Rabbits are typically considered an invasive species, however this is not the case for Washington’s wild pygmy rabbit. Most believe the the species almost went extinct due to a loss of habitat from increasing farmland in the northwestern states.
The species would have gone extinct in 2001 if it weren’t for biologists who captured the last one in an effort to recover their population. The last purely wild pygmy rabbit died in 2008, however with the combined effort of zoos, federal agencies, and universities, their extinction was prevented through selective breeding of the most resilient genes.
At first, biologists struggled with sustaining their population when the rabbits were introduced into a completely wild habitat right after being in captivity. So instead they put them in semi-wild enclosures to help the rabbits transition into the wild. However, reproduction rates slowed due to diseases entering their confined habitats. The recovery team had to adapt their enclosures to better prepare the rabbits for living in the wild, as well as preventing diseases.
The pygmy rabbits were eventually able to survive in the wild, however, wild fires remain a large threat. Fire destroys the ecosystem that pygmy rabbits live in, so a bad fire could decimate their population. Despite the threat, pygmy rabbits are surviving much better now than they did a few years back, but are still relatively endangered.
Click here to learn more good news about pygmy rabbits.
Q: "My rabbit just had babies but, I had to move the nest to my house because it was not in a safe place. She is acting tired and sore just laying around and eating a bit but, I’m just worried moving might have been traumatic for her. I’m worried that separating her from her mate is going to make her not want to take care of her babies. But I can’t have her mating again."
A: Rabbits do not think like people. Most does are relieved to not be pestered by the buck. But additionally, if there was any time between the kindling and removing her from the buck, she may already be re-bred despite your efforts to prevent it. These questions are answered at length in The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver starting on page 145.
Feeding raw rabbit meat to your pets is a great way to naturally feed them part of the nutrition they need. However, transitioning your pet to a raw diet can be hard! Some may have sensitivity to raw food, and some simply won’t eat it! Is a raw diet better than feeding my dog/cat dry food? How much raw food should I feed my dog or cat at one time? Does a raw diet contain all of the nutrients my pet needs? We've got you covered...
Click here to learn how to transition your pet to a raw diet while avoiding digestion issues.
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Your friends at Raising-Rabbits.com wish you a wonderful September 2019!
Enjoy your rabbits!