Discouraging Breeding

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ilovetoeatchocolate

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Hello,

I don't know if you have the same passion for rabbits but I love them. It breaks my heart to see them homeless at the shelter that I volunteer at. It breaks my heart to see ads for them on the internet based buy/sell sites and when they are brought back to the pet store. It seems like there needs to be some rabbit education out there that is distributed to people before they buy a rabbit so that they know that this will be a 14 year commitment. I also see so many ads on kijiji saying searching for a male rabbit to breed my pet rabbit. This is a shame that people will continue to breed when there are so many homeless rabbits in Manitoba. Every single week we get a rabbit in at the shelter that someone has thought it wasa great idea to "set free." So when I see these ads for people looking to breed their rabbits I contact them and let them know of the over population problem. I would love to know some of the things that could go wrong when breeding rabbits or when they give birth so that I can communicate this to them. Can anyone tell me this information?

Thanks,

Shannon
 

Jashaira

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Alot can go wrong but one that sticks in my mind is the time I took home the class bunny with out asking my mom first. I thought it would be ok to stick her in with Thumper my 2 year old cali. buck. She was a small mix about 5lb or so. He did what all male do and tried to breed with her and she ran around trying to get away from him. I left and went in the house and came bac 2hr latter and she was just laying there. I took her in the house and she was floping all over. My mom saw her and took her to the vets. We had to put her down she had a broken back.

Now I had no clue what I was doing I was young and foolish at the time. After that my mom got my into to FFA and 4H so I could learn.
 

Starlight Rabbitry

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I have been breeding Dutch and Jersey Woolies for 18 years now. There are MANY things that can go wrong. Some of the things that I have had to deal with are:

Stuck kits - If the kit is breeched or is too large for the doe to pass, the kit can become stuck in the birth canal or even half-way out. If the kit does not pass, it will become toxic to the doe.

Not all does make good mothers. I have had the SWEETEST rabbits KILL their babies for seemingly no reason. Not fun when you go to look at the newly born babies and all you find are body parts...not going into detail here...

Health problems - I have had babies born with bad teeth, missing ears or missing other body parts. The vet bills can stack up.

Need to be aware when the doe starts to show contractions. If the doe has contractions for a long time and nothing is "happening", she will need to go to the vet. If she is allowed to continue without a vet's help, she will become too tired to push with the contractions and the babies will die along with the doe.

I have had two does die while giving birth. They were both fine when I went to bed and when I awokethe next morning, they were dead.



I don't have time to list them all...hopefully another breeder will add to this list. Basically, you need a LOT of extra cages and MONEY for vet bills and food.

Sharon


 

naturestee

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Also, if something happens to the mom and she can't feed the babies (such as she died but babies lived), raising orphaned rabbits is difficult and heartbreaking. It can also be expensive because they're more prone to diarrhea problems. I had a pair of siblings- one didn't last the week and the other cost me several hundred dollars plus literal round-the-clock care to keep alive for the first two months.

Rabbits can get a form of syphilis (not contagious to humans), which is transferred through physical contact. I raised two litters for the Humane Society from a mom who had syphilis but no visible symptoms. Some of the babies had symptoms, including two whose genitals became very swollen and painful. I thought I was going to loose the first one. Again, vet bills and keeping a close eye on the babies at all times.

Baby rabbits are not as easy to rehome as people think. My darling, well-socialized foster babies were in the shelter for months before being adopted. Even the ones with rex fur! Certain colors are unpopular with pet owners (brown, black, red eyed white) and mixed breeds often are adopted last. In overcrowded shelters, it means they're more likely to be euthanized even if they're friendly and healthy.

Oh, and dwarf breeds can have peanut babies, which is a fatal genetic problem. They all die. And there's other genetic issues like malocclusion that can cause problems for the rabbits and lots of vet bills.

Edit: also pregnancy toxemia and mastitis. They're nasty infections.
 

tonyshuman

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Thanks for your work trying to educate would-be "backyard breeders." The thing that scares me the most is a stuck kit or retained kits. You can lose the bunny that you love because you decided to breed her. The majority of bunnies that show up in our shelter were not bred by professionsals--by which I mean reputable breeders who are breeding for show and to improve the breed, like Sharon, Cathy, and many of our members--but by backyard breeders or accidents.
 

polly

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Another thing dwarfs can have are max factor babies where they can be born with frog legs ( disformed back legs) and alien eyes it requires the baby to be put to sleep as it can be painful for them ( sorry to be blunt but the eyes scab over and it pushes against the eyeball)
Stuck kits are horrific esp if you have little or no experience.
I have also lost a rabbit after it giving birth.
 

tonyshuman

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I can't even imagine how painful it would be to experience the max factor/peanut babies, plus potential cannabalism by the mother, kit rejection, etc. :cry1:
 

Jashaira

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I remember I bred my one doe and the night she went into to labor we had a bizzard. I went to go check on her and she had her babies but they were frozen together very sad. I also had a litter of babies a few years ago and my ground hog got out and ate all the babies. I was so upset over that one I sold the ground hog so fast I could not even look at her. Now it was a rescue bunny I got and she came to be bred but still it was a sad thing.
 

ilovetoeatchocolate

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Jashaira wrote:
I remember I bred my one doe and the night she went into to labor we had a bizzard. I went to go check on her and she had her babies but they were frozen together very sad. I also had a litter of babies a few years ago and my ground hog got out and ate all the babies. I was so upset over that one I sold the ground hog so fast I could not even look at her. Now it was a rescue bunny I got and she came to be bred but still it was a sad thing.
Jashaira, do you not have a heated place for your rabbits where they would not freeze? I would think that this would be a basic need for them in the winter?
 

BlueGiants

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My concern is that people who would be so callous as to "advertise" for any buck to breed their doe, probably don't care one twit about rabbit over population or the things that can go wrong with their doe... They are doing it for purely selfish reasons.
 

Jashaira

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Well just so you know I was 14 at that time living in MA and it was a freeze that was not suposed to happen.

As for the ground hog this was years ago and in FL it wasn't I got one for a motherday presant.
 
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I agree with BlueGiants. You can point out to these people all the negatives, but they obviously are not concerned if they intend to breed. You can cite statistics about unwanted rabbits, life span, incidence of cancer and behavioral issues as well, but this would likely fall on deaf ears.

So what about coming at it from the angle of an economic analysis? I think many people think breeding animals is an easy way to make a quick buck (no pun intended). However, if you provided a breakdown of all the costs involved to care for rabbits properly, perhaps they would realize it's not a money-maker.

I think this would hold true even if they just provided the basics - food and shelter. Rabbits in my area typically are sold by these people for about $30. If you take into account the time spent as well, I can't imagine the 'profit', if there is any, being more than a few cents per day.

I'd be very interested to see what you come up with, if you are willing to share it here. Good luck.
 

BlueGiants

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PROFIT????? :roflmao:

Oh yeah, right! Making a profit from breeding rabbits? Really? Some people do that?

:sigh:I must be doing something seriously wrong! :foreheadsmack:

(Sorry, that was just my sarcasm coming out...)

In all honestly, those kinds of people probably will make a profit. Because they will NOT seek medical help or medication if the rabbit gets sick. They will not care about proper care, good health ornutritional feeding. Babies are born, they sell them for $30 and they figure this is easy money. So they breed the doe again. And if the doe dies, they'll get another one...

Those are the rabbits that end up shelters and dumped by the side of the road. No thought or responsiblity to the rabbit, from the day it's born.... :(
 
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Actually, it's those kinds of people I meant to address. Those who *think* they'll make a profit. If they could be shown that even with the basics (food, litter, etc.) and no vet care, they would not make money, then maybe they'd rethink it.

I'm not suggesting that reputable breeders are motivated by money. However, I think the backyard types are, and should be shown that it's not viable as a business. Perhaps that would stop them, where concern for the animals themselves clearly won't. You are absolutely right, it's a selfish thing to do. Show them it's not worth their while, and maybe, just maybe, you can stop one or two.
 

Jashaira

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The way I look at is the same as with breeding chinchillas (or any pet for that matter). It take tons of money to even get started. I had 30+ chinchillas some that I paid over $600 for one chinchilla. I paid $150 per 3 hole cage I hade about 10 of them not including the baby cages. I had 3 10 hole carriers at $100 each. I spent over 4k for the barn and ac put in it. At the most I sold the Kits for $200 mostly $150 and under. That is not including the bottle water, food, hay and most important vet cost. I would never get that money back. Then again I was not in it for money just trying to breed a better chinchilla with a nice body and fur and win at the shows.
 
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Obviously, this is a "pet peeve" of mine. But if you go to the rescue forum on this site, or the pet abuse site, you will see that these backyard breeders are a major cause of the rabbit overpopulation problem.

They think they can pick up a few bucks by doing this - not so! Even if you house a healthy adult pair, and provide them with the basics only, a litter is NOT going to "return your investment". You will always pay more, in food, litter, etc. than you could ever make, assuming there were homes for your irresponsibly produced buns.

I really try not to think about how much my buns cost me per month, but I have seen breakdowns. Even assuming seven healthy kits (ha ha), your initial investment is NOT returned.

If people are doing this for selfish (profit) reasons, they need to be shown that it is in no way a money-maker! The costs of feeding a nursing doe plus her litter would more than negate sales of $20/$30 per bun!

I see, over and over again, on this forum and others, that these backyard breeders simply get overwhelmed by the numbers. They think they are supporting the adult pair only, but then they have 20+ unwanted kits. These are the ones you read about on the abuse pages - "I got overwhelmed, couldn't keep up, so I set them free".

The latest ad on my local animal listings was "meat rabbits,$3/lb."

I know I'm preaching to the converted here, but if you could all take the time to respond to one ad that says "breeding stock", either for sale or wanted, we could save countless lives...
 

Erins Rabbits

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The latest ad on my local animal listings was "meat rabbits,$3/lb."

I know I'm preaching to the converted here, but if you could all take the time to respond to one ad that says "breeding stock", either for sale or wanted, we could save countless lives...
Firstly, I want to address the meat rabbit thing- for one- off topic. Two, breaking the site rules. We're not allowed to talk about or views on animals used for food, as all it does is cause arguments. I've gotten warning PMs more than once about this.

Next-

I sell breeding stock FREQUENTLY. I have Several rabbits that are for breeding only. I have at least 3 breeding does at any one time, does that don't come to shows. It just so happens that a lot of my culls are defined as breeding stock. I'd honestly rather they be put to use for their good genes than speutered to live in a pet home. This is one BIG reason I don't sell pets. I like to hear that my stock has been producing well for someone else, and only when and IF they stop producing, should they be put in a pet home. That's my general thought. If a doe is still popping out healthy, big, litters and she's maintaining condition, by all means, she should be breeding. I've got a three year old doe that handles her litters better than any other doe I've bred- and until she becomes unreceptive, I expect to breed her. (That KILLER head. Omg.)

That being said- I won't sell to someone with the characteristics of a backyard breeder, because I've found that these people are generally unknowledgeable, something I've witnessed on this very forum.... I WILL however, sell to someone who is producing for shows or for their own table. Breeding stock for shows and meat is a lot different than breeding stock to pop out a few, mixed breed rabbits that will end up in the shelter ultimately.

Just my 2c.
 

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