Click on the picture below
to see a pair of Mini Rex rabbits mating on YouTube:

 
 
DID YOU KNOW...

Artificial Insemination
This method of mating is used in very large commercial breeding operations. Artificial insemination is changing from day to day due to the growing technological advances. One of the benefits of this type of mating is that one buck can inseminate, get pregnant, a larger number of does. The buck’s sperm is collected and preserved, to be used at a later time, or used at that moment on several does. An artificial insemination breeding program is often coupled with extensive technology which allows producers to determine the fertility of bucks prior to mating the doe, and it often speeds up the procedure overall. This is a very expensive system to implement and maintain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mating Process
Once you have completed the pre-mating examination for both rabbits and determined that they are able to breed, the mating process can begin. Make sure to use your record book to record which animals were mated and when the event occurred.

  1. The doe is ALWAYS placed into the buck’s cage. This minimizes the distraction of the buck being moved to a new location. This, in turn, makes the mating act more effective.
  2. When the female is placed in the cage they may either both choose to play, the male may chase the doe around the cage while sniffing at her, or the doe may simply lay still.
  3. The male will then mount the doe from behind and proceed to make rapid pelvic thrusts.
  4. If the female is receptive, she will raise her hindquarters in response.
  5. The buck will violently thrust his hindquarters forward, pick up his front limbs and will throw himself backwards off the doe.

NOTE:  Mating HAS NOT OCCURRED, UNLESS the male throws himself off. Most bucks will also proceed to thump their hind feet after the act is complete.

  1. After mating has occurred, remove the doe from the buck’s cage and return her to her own cage.
  2. Be sure to record the event on the doe and buck’s breeding cards as well as the breeding sheet in your record book.

If the mating act does not occur after the male has attempted mating for several minutes (approximately 15 minutes), the doe should be removed and mating attempted again in twenty-four hours.

Re-mating the doe approximately six to twelve hours after the initial mating will increase the conception rate and litter size. However, it is important that you DO NOT FORCE MATE!!! The conception rate and litter size is decreased by forced mating as compared to natural mating and could potentially hurt the doe!

 

Additional Mating Considerations:

Anatomy of the reproductive tract
For more detailed information on the reproductive track of rabbits, refer to pages 108-111 in The Domestic Rabbit, Chapter 3 in The Rabbit Husbandry Health and Production, or any other reputable source.

Temperature
Remember that environmental temperatures higher than 85˚F can have serious effect on the reproductive success of the male rabbit. When adult males have been exposed to temperatures higher than 85˚F for at least 5 consecutive days total sterility can occur. The sterility will last for sixty to ninety days. The bucks will mate with the does, but the does will not conceive. This can lead to a waste of resources and time. Take these necessary precautions to prevent this situation:

  • keep males in the coolest part of the rabbitry
  • trim the fur/wool from the scrotal area (be very careful as you do this!)