Medium weight angora rabbit breeds from 9 to 12 pounds can begin to breed between 6 and 7 months of age, with male rabbits maturing one month later than their female counterpart.
Since external heat indications are not always obviously present in adults, the caregiver must follow a strict schedule during breeding.
A single buck can service approximately 10, but not more than two or three times a week. Place the female angora in the buck’s enclosure to breed.
Never bring the buck into the doe’s enclosure as she will fight to protect her territory. Mating must occur immediately, and once done, the doe must be returned to its enclosure.
The average gestation period lasts from 31 to 32 days. Twenty-eight days after a successful breeding, place the nest box in the rabbit hutch and you will soon see a litter of kits adorning the space.
An average commercial litter consists of 8 to 10 kits. Forty-eight hours after birth, the caregiver must take note and count the kits. Make sure all the kits are living and if any of the kits are unlucky in continued existence, remove its case from the trash right away.
Remove the nest box from the rabbit hutch 5 to 21 days after birth. Young rabbits will be weaned in approximately 30 days, so you should expect an average of five litters a year for each doe. With proper management, a good doe can continue to produce maximum size litters for 2 to 3 years.
A multitude of Angoras reared all at once kept and raised primarily to produce wool. Harvesting, gathering, and collection of Angora hairs requires a specific set of skills along with the application of long-standing harvesting and collection techniques.
These efficient and historically proven techniques reached the peak of specialization in France when they once held the prestige of being the pioneer producer and exporter of angora wool worldwide.
Taking the place of France in China, now in the full development of this specialization.
Basic Rabbit Breeding Information
Medium to large breeds of rabbits are sexually mature at 4 to 4.5 months, giant breeds at 6 to 9 months, and small breeds such as Dutch and Polish dwarf at 3.5 to 4 months old.
The eggs released in female rabbits are activated by sexual intercourse and not by a cycle of hormones, like us humans. The rabbit has a receptive mating cycle. That is, rabbits are receptive to the mating act approximately 14 out of 16 days.
A doe is more receptive to mating when her vagina is red and wet. On the other hand, if that doesn’t respond to male courtship, it shows a whitish-pink vagina color with little or no moisture.
One technique to detect pregnancy in a doe is to feel the doe’s abdomen for grape-sized embryos in the womb. The proper time to analyze the buns in the oven is 12 days after breeding. False pregnancy is when the rabbit shows signs of pregnancy but is not pregnant, it is quite common in rabbits.
Angora breeders and keepers strongly recommend the careful selection of breeding rabbits whose ancestry has historically shown good productivity and good genetics.
This is a time when productivity records and pedigree listing show useful earnings. Keep a productivity file and display records of your herd for this purpose only.
A female Angora pregnancy usually lasts for about a month until the mother is ready to give birth to her baby bunnies that are around or about 31 to 33 days old. It appears that with a small litter of four or less you have longer pregnancies than those that produce more litter.
If a doe has not given birth by the 32nd day of her pregnancy, her vet is likely to induce labor.
Otherwise, a dead litter is almost always delivered sometime after the 34th day. There are times when a pregnant deer aborts or reabsorbs fetuses due to illness or lack of nutrition.
Mating Behavior Of Rabbits
Rabbits are active breeders and are known to produce numerous amounts of kits in short periods of time. Due to this busy active group, there are notable concerns of overpopulation with wild and domestic rabbits worldwide.
Due to this reality, it is crucial that we uncover the facts of the rabbit’s mating behaviors and routine to gain a better awareness and understanding of when and how often a rabbit breeds.
The rabbit mating season begins during the warm seasons to allow newborn bunnies in the wild the best chance of survival. During the spring and summer seasons, the amount of available light triggers an increase and release of hormones in rabbits that begin to change the behavior of a rabbit.
Male bucks will begin to act more aggressively and frantically as hormones activate their sex drives. They will compete with the other male rabbits in the cage for the favors of the rabbits of the opposite sex.
Typically, the most dominant rabbits are the most successful breeders in this competition and can commonly mate with more females.
Once a male successfully gains the attention of a female, the doe positions herself on the ground and begins to lift her tail. The buck then rides her and bites down hard on the nape of her neck. The mating takes about twenty seconds, then the male frees the doe from the bite and will lose consciousness, probably with a bit of hair.
Once pregnant with buns, the gestation period lasts for about a month. The female will give birth to three to eight bunnies, all blind and hairless. The female rabbit can and can be born a few times a year.
The nesting box should be placed inside the rabbit’s enclosure on day 28 (3 days before scheduled activation). Placing the nesting box earlier will often result in the loss of a large amount of bedding because rabbits like to dig or use the nesting box as a toilet.
Place the box with soft hay and/or pine shavings about 3 days before the doe is due to kiln. You may notice that the doe pulls her hair out of her dewlap (the roll under her chin) and creates a cozy bed for her young. The buns should appear 28 to 31 days after a successful mating.
The doe will spend a lot of time out of the nesting box and will only feed the kits twice a day. Kits should be in and out of the box often after about 3 weeks.
The keeper can then safely remove the nesting box from the enclosure. Be sure to clean and disinfect the nesting box for the next batch of kits. It is also recommended to assign a nesting box to each deer exclusively to avoid possible cross-contamination.
Diet And Labor Process For Pregnant Angora Rabbits
The fact that angora rabbits require specialized care and a specific diet for them to thrive well.
The measure of time spent on Angora rabbit production labor can be subdivided into five categories:
- Food distribution
- Hair harvesting, gathering, and collection
- Clean up and disinfection of enclosures, hutches, cages
- Preventive or curative healthcare (vaccinations)
Food distribution or feeding of Angoras is not and need not be labor intensive given as the breeder only provides high-quality, balanced feed in feeders that are easily accessible.
To illustrate an example, an Angora keeper will dedicate 40 minutes per day and 210 hours per year to distribute food to a production unit of 400 Angora rabbits.
The time is multiplied twice for the distribution of coarse food such as cereals and hay. Consider daily transportation, forage or straw screening, and food distribution, and this increases the time spent feeding the workforce to 400 hours per year, including fasting days.
The process of harvesting, gathering and collecting hair is the operation that requires the most time.
The calculation of the labor time spent should include not only the actual removal of the hair by cutting, shearing or plucking but also the transport of the rabbit from its rabbit hutch to the collection table.
After that, the grooming phase should be added to remove debris and/or vegetation matter from the coat, after which, weigh the different degrees of hair, document, place the rabbit back in its hutch, and finally employ measures of post-harvest heat stress reduction. In summary, about 1,000 hours per year are required for a production unit of 400 rabbits.
Consideration should be given to the time it takes to fully dispose of and dispose of dirty litter from cabins and wire mesh enclosures. Add to this the time it takes to perform the disinfection procedures for each space.
And finally, the amount of time it takes to sweep the rabbit hutches and rabbit enclosures totals at least 250 hours of cleaning work per year.
Veterinary care is primarily a preventive measure; Inoculations and general disease detection and prevention can take up to 175 hours of time on vet visits per year.
Reproduction-related tasks, such as breeding animal management, gestation and lit control, sexing of newborn rabbits, and weaning would also require 175 hours a year of general reproductive work.
In total, a production unit of 400 angora rabbits would require an angora breeder to work 2,000 hours of work per year under normal production conditions.
Raising Baby Rabbits
Angora kits are born naked, blind and deaf. Then they begin to show hair a few days after birth. Eyes and ears open on day 10.
Rabbits as newborns are not able to regulate their body temperature until about the seventh day. Resuscitation can occur at any time after giving birth. People who raise rabbits for show or as pets like to re-breed 35 to 42 days after the birth of a litter.
Almost all medium to large female rabbits have 8 to 10 nipples, and many of them give birth to 12 or more kits.
In the event that a doe cannot effectively breastfeed all kits, those kits can be encouraged by feeding them to a doe of approximately the same age with a smaller litter within the first 3 days after kindling.
If the breeding kits are mixed with the foster doe’s own kits and covered with the foster’s hair, the rest commonly accept them.
Migration of larger kits to the new litter, and not smaller kits, increases the chances of success. The kits would breastfeed for less than 3 minutes at a time and would breastfeed only 1 to 2 times a day. Kits wean between 4 and 5 weeks of age
The newborn should be kept warm, dry and in a calm environment. Substitute doe’s milk for a formula of 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1/2 cup water, 1 egg yolk, and 1 tablespoon corn syrup.
The feeding ratio varies from 1/2 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, depending on the age of the kits or uses a kitten milk substitute. The kits begin to eat vegetables around the 15th to the 18th. It is possible to raise kits by hand.
Young does sometimes kills and eats her young for various reasons, such as lack of lactation and nutritional deficiency. Predators, like dogs, enter a rabbit often and cause nervous mothers to kill and eat the young.
The cannibalism of dead kits occurs as a natural nest cleaning instinct. In case a keeper is aware of all proper management practices and the doe continues to kill 2 litters in succession, it should not be used for breeding.