will sibling bunnies try to breed?

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We picked up two 6 month old rabbits at the auction last month. One buck, one doe. I assume they are from the same litter. We put them in with Willie, a buck rabbit that someone gave us a couple of years ago, who until now has only had chickens for companions, which has been interesting. We were hoping that Willie would take a shine to the new doe and we'd soon have baby bunnies. Nothing's happened yet that I can tell, but I'm wondering if Ol' Willie might get any competition from the young buck. Should I separate them? They seem to get along ok, but we're obviously not rabbit experts yet. Learn-as-you-go homesteading, you know.

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-- chuck in md (woah@mission4me.com), December 04, 2001


yes,, seperate them,,unless you want ALOT fo bunnies all over the place

-- stan (sopal@net-port.com), December 04, 2001.

Yes sibling animals will try to breed -- they don't understand the concept of siblings (or parents).

Your bucks and does should be separated. And probably separate your bucks. I believe you should bring the doe to the buck until the deed is done. You might want to check old posts here about rabbit raising.


-- MissJudi (jselig@clemson.edu), December 04, 2001.

Yes, they will most definitely breed. From my experience, rabbits don't care too much for company, unlike goats, sheep, cows, and just about any other mammal. They're very territorial, especially the does. They need their own space. I imagine bucks would fight each other if kept together, but I've never tried, so can't say for sure. It is best to bring the doe to the buck when time to breed. If you put a buck in a doe's cage (her territory) she will probably fight him, and I've even heard of some does killing bucks that were put in their cages.

Hope all goes well for you! Enjoy your bunnies!

-- Cheryl in KS (cherylmccoy@rocketmail.com), December 04, 2001.

Yes they will breed their siblings!! Please seperate them as bunnies are very territorial when they are mature (over 6 months they are definately mature) It could be that with the three of them together the doe may have even had babies but without a nest and privacy felt threatened and ate them. (Natures way when conditions are not safe) They can also injury each other fatally when they are fighting. Denise

-- Denise K. (Rabbitmom2@webbworks.com), December 04, 2001.

Yikes! I guess I need to separate them. Now all I need to do is figure out which of the siblings is the female! The plan was to breed the sister and eat the brother, as soon as one had babies so that we could figure out which is which!

BTW, they also share a 16' x 8' run with a few ducks. This shouldn't cause a problem, from what I understand. We don't keep the rabbits in cages, they have the top half of a dog house with straw in it for bedding, otherwise they just run around. Willie has never had a problem with this arrangement, and seemed pretty friendly with the couple of chickens and ducks that we kept in with him. The ducks get let out to run around the yard during the day and only get put in the pen at night.

Thanks for the help,

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-- chuck in md (woah@mission4me.com), December 04, 2001.

In reading your response to others, I see that you are unsure which is the doe. Are you absolutely sure that you have a doe? Even the people who sold the rabbits to you could have made a mistake. I am surprised that you were able to put two bucks together who were not raised as siblings, and no serious fighting occurred. I have read that sometimes when rabbits are kept together the buck is likely to destroy the babies. Any chance this may have happened? If there are indeed two bucks, with some animals (I don't know if this applies to rabbits) the buck who thought he did not father the babies might destroy them. We raise lots of rabbits for meat production; for sure siblings will mate if left together, they don't know the difference. We always have kept the breeding animals in separate cages, and only take the doe to the buck's pen for breeding, then back to her own cage. I have seen books about rabbit raising with very clear pictures showing how to tell a buck from a doe. Perhaps you can find one at the library or at your local feed store.

-- Dianne Wood (woodgoat@pacifier.com), December 04, 2001.

Everyone already answered the question about the mating siblings..and I agree, but no one has commented on you having poultry in with rabbits...not a good idea health wise..the rabbits can get sick.

-- Jenny (auntjenny6@aol.com), December 04, 2001.

chuck, My brother and I learned how to sex rabbits after my dad kept buying "does" who turned out to be bucks. At 6 months old their is no problem telling the difference between the two. If you carefully turn the rabbit over(they will scratch with their toes), you can see appendeges on each side of where they urinate. they look like folds of skin unless they are relaxed then they look like testicles. those belong to the buck. the does do not have them. On baby rabbits, I always checked the outlet. If it was a circle it was a buck; if it was a slit or exclaimation mark it was a doe. If you could not tell for sure it was usually a buck. I would look or have someone who can tell the difference look so you know for sure what you have and then go from there. My rabbits would hate being in with my ducks which are very very messy.

-- Karen in Kansas (kansasgoats@iwon.com), December 04, 2001.

I read somewhere that Buck bunnies don't have nipples. Really. I guess they are a no nonsense kind of animal. I guess you can check them when they are born for this. I have rabbits to eat but check at the other end to separate. I have been wrong more than once. And yes, brothers and sisters like each other just FINE, thank you very much!

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), December 05, 2001.

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