December 23, 2012 by Mark Oliver Howes
I know that what I’m about to write will draw opinions of differing range, so I want to preface it by saying that this is what works here on the half-acre. It may not work for you.
I’ve read post after post on discussion boards about rabbit breeding. I generally read the same answers over and over again. Bring the doe to the buck’s cage. Don’t leave the doe in with the buck too long. Never bring the buck to the doe’s cage, as she will get territorial and neuter him, attack him, etc..
I’m here to tell you that (most of) those answers are myths. Housing a buck and doe together can have many beneficial results.
Rosie Bell (doe) was born in December, 2011 to Easter, otherwise known as “Superpsychocrackheadbunny”. Easter was insane. No other way of explaining it. The buck that she mated with had no personality. Meat on feet, really. The results, it seemed, were doomed from the beginning.
Out came Rosie Bell. Within a short time, she was one of the most delightful bunnies I’d ever met. I let her run with the chickens a lot. When I walked into the run, she would approach me and put her front paws on my leg like a dog. I’d reach down and pet her. She was an absolute joy.
Then came sexual maturity.
She turned from the sweetest bunny ever to a replica of her crack head mom. She would thump, growl and run away when I opened the cage to pet or feed her. I attempted to sell her at a swap, but nobody would buy her because of her poor personality.
Rice, my New Zealand buck, is great. Very well tempered. Likes attention.
As he was coming into maturity, I had a difficult time getting him to, *ahem*, “close the deal” with a doe, if you will. The action was there, just not the final fall-off and squeal. Against much advice, I left him in with Rosie Bell for a month. She did, in fact, have a litter.
What I noticed was that her old behavior was disappearing She began approaching the cage door with Rice. When I was scratching his head, she’d nudge me and ask for me to scratch her’s as well. I’m not sure if it was jealousy or roll modeling.
I might add that after the initial contact, both rabbits settled into cohabitation quite well. They groom each other and cuddle a lot. Does he bother her for the things he wants? Occasionally. But, she more readily submits. They are absolutely happier together.
My angoras are the same way. Sunny and Issy are inseparable. Sunny is an absolute grumpy mess when he isn’t with his girl, but he’s happy when he is with her. Issy, although grumpy all the time, can often be seen grooming Sunny and cuddling up next to him.
No fighting. No territorial behavior. Just happy rabbits.
Of course, when you house rabbits together, there’s almost always a result.
Breed your bunnies responsibly. Let your bunnies live happy lives.
Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,
Mike Oscar Hotel