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Re-domesticating rabbits... I've got questions

 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1252
Location: Maine (zone 5)
65
forest garden hugelkultur
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Over the last two months a couple of rabbits have taken up residency here at my place. They must have been a pet or breeding pair from somebody who either lost them or "freed" them. So anyway, they've eaten enough of my garden that I can safely say they are mine and I've earned their trust enough to be able to pick them up. In an effort to save the rest of my garden and to provide nice housing for them, I've placed them in captivity. Winter is coming and I don't need them digging into my basement crawlspace. They settled right into the temporary housing I made as if they've known it all along.
For sure one is male and the other female. Oddly, they don't like being away from one another. I tried setting them up in separate cages, but they make a bunch of noise. Once I put them together, they seem more relaxed. I'm not sure what to make of this and suspect it doesn't bode well if I intend to breed them.
I'm in the process of building a legit outdoor hutch and some new hanging cages are coming in the mail soon. I think I'll separate them and then see what happens from there.

With all hat being said: What is the likelihood of them actually being a fertile breeding pair worth keeping? All the equipment seems present on the male and the female is in really good shape as well. Maybe a little on the heavy side but really fit.

What is the likelihood that the female is already pregnant? Wouldn't she be more intolerant of the male if she were? Her belly is pretty fat and she's been digging holes all under my porch to lay in.

Any other ideas or suggestions are welcomed. I've read a couple books on rabbits and of course "the internet" so... considering the circumstances, what else should I be doing?
 
Kdan Horton
Posts: 34
Location: North West Georgia
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Trust me, if they've been together and they have all their "equipment", she's pregnant. She'll need a place to nest and then she'll pull all the hare off her chest and then you'll have more rabbits. If they've been together and she is pregnant, she may be preparing the next batch already. I've had a serious breeder get pregnant while she was already pregnant. It's amazing. 4 litters/22 kitts in less than 4 months and we did everything we could to keep them apart. Personally, I think he was flinging it through the wire. We had to "fix" her to make her stop, she was pretty skinny and bald after number 4.

 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1252
Location: Maine (zone 5)
65
forest garden hugelkultur
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You were right. The doe gave birth just a few hours ago. Seems to have done a decent job of making a nest and so far all seems ok. It's going to get down around 45 degrees tonight, so I hope she has good instincts to keep them warm. I'll know a bit more in the morning when I check the nest for the first time. Thanks for the feedback. I keep reading that rabbits are rabbits... just let them do their thing. Almost seems too easy.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1252
Location: Maine (zone 5)
65
forest garden hugelkultur
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16 days old and enjoying life.

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three white. three black. all cute
 
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