Breeding Rabbits as pets?

Discussion in 'General Rabbit Discussion' started by FamousBunny22, Jun 7, 2018.

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  1. Jun 7, 2018 #1

    FamousBunny22

    FamousBunny22

    FamousBunny22

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    So ever since I got my bunny after the first vet visit, where they asked if we were going to neuter her and I saw an estimate and heard the statistic that they have a highth chance of uterine cancer if they aren't neutered, I started to do alot of research. What I found was alot of different opinions and some facts that said maybe neutering her right away, the 6 weeks she was at the time they were going to wait a few months. Now I had thought about breeding her before this but I didn't know what the bunny community really thought about breeding rabbits as pets. What I found was their is more than one bunny community.


    There are those who believe rabbits are overpopulated and should never be bred. Those who breed for meat. Those who breed for show and only to improve the breed. Those who breed for pets. Those who just have bunnies as pets and no intention of breeding on purpose. And then those who breed to get a specific outcome. And way more, everyome had their own opinion on breeding and raising their bunnies.


    I would like to breed my bunny, Dusty, she's 1 years old and she's a lionhead. The breeder I got her from said she was a Lionhead, I don't have pedigree papers. Someone said that her line is mixed meaning she's not a purebred and I shouldn't breed her. Another said she would breed her.


    Let me be specific, I am not interested in showing any of my rabbits, I am not interested in a specific outcome, I am not interested in breeding for profit, I am not interested in breeding to improve the breed, I am interested in breeding her because it's a natural process and due to the fact that they are NOT overpopulated there should be no reason why I take that away from her.

    What I want to know is their anything in their genetics, that would say I shouldn't breed her with another Lionhead or any other bunny? Any health concerns, disorders, anything that would harm them?

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  2. Jun 7, 2018 #2

    Preitler

    Preitler

    Preitler

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    Well, that's a rather wide topic.

    I like to distiguish between breeding and multiplying. For me, breeding means that there is a goal, or purpose. Just producing more rabbits just because they can is something I would reconsider. It's your animal, your responsibility, she isn't actually entitled to have a litter, and, as far as I know, wouldn't miss it if she is neutered.

    Healthy, friendly pet rabbits are nothing that occurs naturally, no natural process did that, they exist because the best got selected for many generations. One, or a few generations of random pairing might not undo that, so no big problem there if you have good rabbits to start with.
    But you should have a realistic plan about what to do with the offspring beforehand, most likely you can't keep them all, finding good homes can be difficult.
    Not all my meat mutts are really bred for character (although my 10lbs buck is my perfect free range house bunny), and my favorite doe, a lovely, rather small, strong, dominant pighead, causes very diverse characters in her litters, I wouldn't dare to sell some of those kits as pets, or even as lifestock - it takes the fun out of it when your rabbit is mean or skittish. And dumping them on other people isn't an option for me, I rarely get to sell rabbits (it's somewhat difficult here, alone in my road with about 20 houses we are 3 breeders...)

    Breeding isn't just an enchanting, romantic natural process, it's life, with all consequences, involving problems, blood, pain and death. (It's an experience I could do without removing a stillborne litter, their mother still plucking fur to make a warm nest). You might want to put aside the funds to afford an emergency vet visit.

    About genetic problems, well, not that I know something that's specific for lionheads, but I'm not into pet breeds.

    About that cancer meme: IMHO that's something that got blown out of proportion by people wth an agenda on a crusade, gets repeatet all over the internet (like those deadly apple seeds) and everyone is eager to top off the scary numbers - but there is almost no scientific base ("A vet said.." is not scientific), and what I see clearly is that it's not happening that way.
    Truth seems to be, their cancer rate is higher than in humans, they are not sturdy animals and didn't evolve to get old but to multiply. From the numbers I found (not the copy/paste stuff) it'smore like about double as with humans, about 20-30% (abnormalties, not necessary life ending cancer) in their lifetime. (but we're catching up really fast, doubled our rate in 50 or 60 years).
    Still very high, and a good reason to neuter. But only one good reason, there are many better (false pregnancies are no fun to watch, and no fun for the rabbit, not understanding), but it's easier to scare people with numbers than with more abstract arguments.
    To point it out again: this is my opinion, and it isn't very popular.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  3. Jun 7, 2018 #3

    FamousBunny22

    FamousBunny22

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    It's not about entitlement it's about if she can have babies then why not because there are no health concerns that's what I'm trying to figure out.


    As to the cancer statistics everyone has a different one and no article is going to say the same thing I have looked at several different resources and I've come to the conclusion that due to the high cost of this procedure I cannot do it at the moment. If I find a vet that will give me a lower estimate I will do it if I no longer plan to breed her.

    I'm currently looking to see in my area if there are abundance of rabbits in shelters and rescues if there are I'm not going to breed her if there aren't then I might.

    There are many levels to look at when breeding I'm only looking for health concerns as I'm not interested in breeding for show or any other reason.
     
  4. Jun 7, 2018 #4

    Preitler

    Preitler

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    That's a good intention, but it's not what you're going to do, unless you start a rabbitry. Breeding for a goal like health means generations of rabbits, selecting the best, culling (=removing from the breeding stock in whatever way) the rest.
    Getting a litter from a random pair with no knowledge about their lines is just that, getting a litter. As I said, that isn't a problem in itself, rabbits evolved to multiply, that's what they are best at. First timers more often have problems having a successful litter than experienced does, but normally that doesn't harm the doe.
    Just be aware what you are doing, without the sugarcoating.

    When it comes to selling, you might monitor craiglist (or whatever is your local variant) about how long Oooops-litters need to sell, and how many rabbits get sold/postet per week.

    Although, when neutering one rabbit puts already financial strain on you (maybe shelters can give advice where it's cheaper), you really should plan carefully about getting a bunch of animals. I had an intact doe as house bunny for 8 months, never ever do I try that again, she destroyed so much - she's a perfectly happy and healthy outdoor bunny now, digs tunnles like no other...
    There are things that can go wrong, you might get stuck with too many males for too long, need extra cages to seperate, etc.
    I was lucky for years, but things happen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  5. Jun 8, 2018 #5

    woahlookitsme

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    From experience I wouldn’t. Why would you want to if you like her just the way she is. Carrying and giving birth are very hard things on the body. Also not to mention what hormones can do to a female rabbit. Since she is a year she may stay sweet and be a great mom or she could be super protective and it might change her personality forever. Cancer is a very real thing in female rabbits especially those that are not in a continued breeding program. I totally understand money being an issue and some of the estimates for spays can be very high. I second asking your local shelter that has some rabbits to see what they might recommend and also call around to different clinics to see if they have any different referrals.

    As far as health issues lionheads as a breed don’t have any more than a normal bunny. Every bunny is different of course and you never know what they could have in their background. If you breed your bun im not saying by her having one litter your causing an issue but if you do choose to have one you need to be prepared for the outcomes. Rabbit breeding is not a pretty thing and doesn’t always go 100% right. We have had many things happen to our litters and moms over the years and sadly a majority of them are learning experiences. If you breed your bun you need to be prepared emotionally if her babies are born dead or if she doesn’t feed them and they slowly die one by one from starvation. It is the saddest thing in the world to watch a newborn die because Mom won’t feed it and you have to be prepared for this. First time moms have a bad rep for not taking care of their babies. Most of the time we were able to foster the babies to another mom. Hand feeding was not once successful for us and I would not recommend trying it unless you are experienced or have some guidance. You also need to be prepared to potentially loose Mom. Luckily and tragically we only had one mom that died while trying to give birth. It is rare but it can happen.

    I don’t mean to scare you but you must be prepared for anything that could happen and you are so lucky if all goes well. I commend you for coming on here and asking for opinions and it sounds like you are doing your homework.

    I did also want to ask if you were to breed who would you even breed her to? Would you be getting a second bunny to breed her with? If so that comes with a whole other set of things to consider. It is usually not possible to just borrow a buck to breed with. Reputable Rabbit breeders are not going to just loan their buck out to anyone wanting to breed. You usually have to find the right breeder that wants to help you enough to get you started in a breed and that’s mostly with showing and can happen if you buy a doe from that breeder. I’m sure there’s a backyard breeder that will let someone borrow a buck but how do you know if that buck has any diseases or potential genetic issues.

    You’re doing the right thing by asking questions definitely and sorry to make such a lengthy response. I hope it helped
     
  6. Jun 9, 2018 #6

    Popsicles

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    I agree that breeding carries far more risks to your bunny’s health and happiness than it would benefits - she won’t miss out by not having a litter. I also appreciate that the cost of spay is a concern, but you could find that there are equal, if not increased, costs associated with finding a buck to breed, feeding her properly through pregnancy and lactation, plus medical bills if anything goes wrong with Mum or babies. I am a vet student and would still be reluctant to get on the rollercoaster of breeding with my own animals, and I commend the emotional strength of people who do.
    If you do decide to go through with breeding, I agree with @Preitler that you need to think about homes for the babies, and where you will advertise these?
    With regards to health issues, because you don’t have papers to know her lineage, it is impossible to know if there are genetic abnormalities or potential recessive genes that might come to light when bred, particularly if you are breeding with another non-pedigree.
    Of course it is your prerogative to decide whether to breed your rabbit, and im glad you’re asking questions and doing your research :)
     
  7. Jun 18, 2018 #7

    squidpop

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    "I am interested in breeding her because it's a natural process and due to the fact that they are NOT overpopulated there should be no reason why I take that away from her.

    What I want to know is their anything in their genetics, that would say I shouldn't breed her with another Lionhead or any other bunny? Any health concerns, disorders, anything that would harm them? "


    __________

    Ok, so if I read you right you want her to be happy and have babies because that would make her happy.

    First genetic thing I can think of is.... you do not want babies getting stuck going through the birth canal, so choose a smaller male that is purebred not mix breed because with a mix breed, you never know how big babies born will be with a mixed breed it will be a mixture of small and large. So my advice is breed to small purebred male rabbit.

    Second, if you want them to be other peoples pets... then breed the best pet rabbit? I breed pet bunnies and I know people want lighter colours and fluffy, also with a good nature. Therefore I breed Jersey Woolies-small and fluffy and good natured.
    I know I can find homes right away.

    Also, I breed purebred, so Jersey Wooly to Jersey Wooly because I know exactly what size I will get.
    I also breed pretty colours. Blue eyed white, to solids, so I get blue, fawn, vienna marked, and white with blue eyes.

    I also breed Jersey Woolies because they only have 3-4 babies. So I have no problem finding homes for litters of 3-4 babies. When I sell my babies its actually a lot of work just to sell 3-4 because of all the instructions and back and fourth with people and people wanting to come over and see them before they buy them... I can't imagine how it would be if I bred a flemish giant and hed 12 babies all at once.... I would have a nervous wreck.

    Having babies, to me, just 3-4 is a lot of work, I worry about them constantly. Like you've got to check that they all have fat bellies and are fed everyday, and if you discover ones not getting fed and don't know why... you have to research what to do etc... its a lot of work.

    Also, not a good thing to do if you do not have money... because emergency unexpected things happen and you may have vet bills. One baby I had got scratched by mothers toe nails, scratch got infected- trip to vet so expect vet bills.

    Also, if you get a male bunny you have to have a seperate cage for him you can't leave him with the doe after they breed. After she's pregnant her hormones will change and some, not all, does will get grouchy and aggressive and attack the male. I've read more than one story of people leaving male with female and female getting fed up and biting the males penis. So have a seperate cage for the male.
     

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