Oct 27, 2017

Rabbit Reproduction

We have all heard about 'breeding like rabbits', but few know how prolific rabbits really are.
First, When a doe lets a buck know that she is ready to mate, he circles her, shows off his tail, and sometimes urinates on her. This is what passes for foreplay. Then, the act itself lasts about 20-40 seconds. A buck can mate up to 7 times a week effectively, sometimes twice a day.

The average rabbit reaches sexual maturity at 3-8 months old. They are receptive to mating about 14 of every 16 days. Their breeding season lasts three-quarters of the year, and a doe does not have a 'heat' cycle. They are ready to mate anytime. They also do not have a menstrual cycle, so pregnancy can happen anytime. The act of intercourse stimulates ovulation.

Rabbits gestate for about 29 to 31 days, and usually have litters of between 4 and 12 babies. Once the babies are born, a doe can mate and get pregnant again as soon as the following day. If they maintain a pace like that and all the babies survive, the large-litter breeds can have about 100 babies per season. During October through December, some rabbits go into molting and many do not conceive.

Incidentally, a rabbit is the only edible farm animal able to produce 1,000% of its own weight in offspring per year.

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