Do rabbits come into oestrus/heat/season?

Discussion in 'The Rabbitry and Show Room' started by CiaraPatricia, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. Feb 17, 2011 #1

    CiaraPatricia

    CiaraPatricia

    CiaraPatricia

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    In college (veterinary nursing) we learn that rabbits have signs of oestrus, but some people say they don't come into heat at all.



    I know they're induced ovulators, but so are cats and cats come into heat. Of course during their breeding season they keep coming into heat very often if they're not bred. So I was thinking maybe that's the same with rabbits?



    I have two females living together at the moment who started showing signs of being ready to mate at the start of January (mounting each other) and the calmed down for a while, and then started again . . . so it seems like they're coming in and out of heat regularly. One is in a false pregnancy now though cos she built a nest and pulled fur.



    And I've had rabbits that didn't want to mate at certain times, but sometimes wanted to right away. Is that to do with being in heat, or just being inexperienced, etc? I've heard of breeders saying to look out for signs of oestrus to know when to mate, or to house them next to males to bring them into oestrus, etc.



    So what do people think? Are they constantly ready to mate during breeding season? Or do they just come into heat very very often during breeding season?
     
  2. Feb 18, 2011 #2

    missyscove

    missyscove

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    This article is a little less than recent (2003) but gives some good information.
    http://www.medirabbit.com/EN/Uro_gen_diseases/generalities/female_organ.PDF

    I checked in my reproduction textbook too and couldn't find any specifics. Rabbits are mentioned as induced ovulators and their unique reproductive structure (duplex with two cervices) is discussed but there is no mention of their estrus. My understanding is that once a doe is mature, she is essentially in continual estrus, but I'll see what other information I can dig up.
     
  3. Feb 18, 2011 #3

    woahlookitsme

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    From what i've experience and the little we've talked about rabbits in Animal Reproduction class. Rabbits are induced ovulators. This is why we as breeders put the buck in with the doe and stimulate the doe to start producing follicles. Then an our later we put the buck back in to allow the sperm to have a chance to reach an oocyte.

    As far as a specific number that rabbits come into heat, there are non breeding rabbits who do show symptoms of estrogen production via follicles but i do not have any non breeding rabbits and/or never counted how many times in a year per say.

    But to see if a doe is ready we look at vulva color. If its light pink this means shes not ready if its dark red then she is. This may help you a little in your research or if you can think of a reason for this? Im guessing blood flow has something to do with this?
     
  4. Feb 18, 2011 #4

    missyscove

    missyscove

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    It's not so much that induced ovulators produce follicles, but rather that stimulation (usually via copulation) stimulates the LH surge that causes dominant antral or graffian follicles to rupture (ovulation).
     
  5. Feb 18, 2011 #5

    Flash Gordon

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    i know nothing about this i just wanted to say i just took my flemish giant female in 2 days ago for her spay surgery and they charged me extra cuz they said she was in heat..and i have no un neutered males in my home..so she supposedly was in heat without any kinda male influence..or whatever.just thought id share that:)
     
  6. Feb 18, 2011 #6

    CiaraPatricia

    CiaraPatricia

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    woahlookitsme wrote:
    That's interesting cos the same kinda thing happens to dogs when they're in heat.



    From watching my rabbits, I'd guess that they come in and out of heat, but are almost always in heat, like cats are if they don't breed. Like they come almost straight back into heat in they don't mate.



    But I could be wrong, my friend says they're never in heat, or that they're always in heat, not sure which!


     

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