It is better to mate the doe when her young (litter) are 4 weeks old so that they are 8 weeks old when the next litter is born. In this way one doe can produce 6 litters a year. Two weeks after mating you can feel the young through the side of the doe’s belly.
Traditionally people keep all their rabbits together. A doe can have 1 litter of babies every 30 days after she hits the age of maturity (6 months for small breed rabbits, 9 months for large breed rabbits). She can continue to breed until she’s around 4 years of age (4 years is close to middle age for rabbits). So…a little math:
48 months – 6 months = 42 months (small breeds) = 42 litters in her life
48 months – 9 months = 39 months (large breeds) = 39 litters in her life
But this is if she is in a breeding mill (or a wild rabbit)…most reputable breeders will let the babies stay with the mom until they are at least 6–8 weeks old…this is because the babies rely on the mother’s milk to help with digestion. Taking them too soon can result in stomach issues. This is also why babies who lose their mothers don’t tend to survive, and if they do, end up with stomach issues for the rest of their lives.
How Many Litters Can A Rabbit Have In A Year
The maximum number of litters a rabbit can have in one year is 12. The average rabbit litter size is 6 bunnies which means that a female rabbit that is constantly around male rabbits will have on average 72 baby rabbits. The maximum number of baby rabbits that rabbits can have in a single year is 168. We know this because the maximum number of litters a rabbit could have is 12 per year, and a super large litter size is 14 babies. It is very unlikely that any single doe would have this many babies in a year.
Not only is 168 babies in a single year unlikely, but I’m also comfortable saying that isn’t ever going to really happen. This many litters would be very unhealthy for a doe and, honestly, she probably wouldn’t survive the entire year. So instead, let’s dig into how many litters and babies a female rabbit can safely have in a year.
Breeding Season Of Rabbit
Some people say that the ideal period for rabbit breeding is from March to September, but it is all about the temperature, the feeding, and the sunlight hours of a day. Those factors will determine when the rabbits mate. Typically, the breeding season of rabbits is not really clear because does do not come into heat as other animals. They will accept mating at any time of the year. After the babies are born, a doe can mate again and become pregnant the next day.
That’s why people always say “breeding like rabbits”. For example, after a doe gives birth to her babies, the young will reach their sexual maturity at average 6 months, so at the same time, those new mature rabbits can have their babies in the same year.
Gestation Period Of Rabbit
The gestation period of a rabbit varies from 27 to 32 days (around 1 month) depending on the breed. A doe usually has a litter of between 1 to 12 babies (kits), but the average number is around 6. Some might not manage to survive their birth because of their bad health and development.
How Often Do Rabbits Breed
A female rabbit is one of a handful of animals that do not need to be in ‘heat’ to be fertile; instead, they are Induced Ovulators. Induced ovulation is the process where coitus (e.g. some form of genital stimulation) causes a surge of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) which causes the female to become fertile. Induced Ovulators are somewhat rare, and include not only rabbits, but cats, ferrets, and camels.
We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale that a woman will not get pregnant while she’s nursing. I don’t think that’s actually true for humans, and I know it’s not true for rabbits. Rabbits can get pregnant while still nursing their most recent litter of bunnies, sometimes immediately after giving birth. Still, even with the physical ability to be fertile at any time, it is not the best strategy to keep your does pregnant year around. It takes a lot of energy to nurse baby bunnies, and those babies won’t be ready to wean until they are 3 to 6 weeks old (though many breeders prefer 6 to 8 weeks before weaning). While a doe can be impregnated while still nursing babies, it’s not a good idea.
How Many Litters Can A Rabbit Have In A Lifetime
A single female rabbit can have 1-14 babies per litter, but let’s be conservative and say that the average litter size is six. We’ll also make the assumption (remember, this is all hypothetical) that only half of those are females, and we will calculate the potential fecundity of our bunny population only from these hypothetical three females per litter, since females are the limiting factor in a population when it comes to making babies. We’re also assuming no mortality, since we’re talking about potential reproduction with no set environmental carrying capacity. (Since a rabbit can easily live seven years and beyond, this isn’t unreasonable.)
Rabbit gestation lasts 28-31 days, and because they are induced ovulators, mother rabbits can be impregnated again within minutes of giving birth. This means that mama could, hypothetically, have one litter per month if she is constantly with a male rabbit. If our “starter bunny” begins reproducing at six months of age (again, not an unreasonable estimate), and has babies for seven years, then by the end of the first year:
One mother rabbit x 3 female babies x 12 months = 36 female babies (plus your original mama makes 37) Let’s add the new babies to the reproductive population at the beginning of the following year. At that point, their average age would be six months–the time of their first litter. (This works if you consider this to be averaging the new females’ reproductive output.) If–starting at the beginning of Year Two each of the Year One female rabbits produces an average of 3 female offspring per month, then by the
End of Year Two:
37 mother rabbits x 3 female babies x 12 months = 1332 female babies
(plus your original 37 will equal a total of 1369 total)
End of Year Three:
1369 mother rabbits x 3 female babies x 12 months = 49,284 female babies
(49,284 + last year’s 1369 = 50,653 total)
End of Year Four:
50,653 x 3 x 12 months = 1,823,508 female babies
(1,823,508 + last year’s 49,284 = 1,872,792 total)
End of Year Five:
1,823,508 x 3 x 12 months = 67,420,512 female babies
(67,420,412 + last year’s 1,872,792 = 69,293,304 total)
End of Year Six:
69,293,304 x 3 x 12 months = 2,494,558,944 female babies
(2,494,558,944 + last year’s 69,293,304= 2,563,852,248 total)
2,563,853,248 x 3 x 12 = 92,298,716,930 female babies
(92,298,716,930 + last year’s 2,563,852,248 = 94,862,569,180!