The ideal age of Buck and Doe to start breeding is 10-12 months and 4-6 months respectively. Rabbits do not ovulate on a regular cycle; as a result they do not actually go into heat. The mating of the rabbit will cause the doe to produce the eggs necessary for fertilization, usually 10-13 hours after breeding has occurred. This phenomenon is called as Induced Ovulation.
Although the does has no actual heat cycle, she will only accept the buck in about 12 out of every 14 days. When a successful connection happens, the buck will literally fall to its side, and will usually let out a grunt. When she is ready to breed her vent area will be a dark pink, red or purple. At least 14 hours of light daily have been found beneficial. Provide artificial light in winter when daylight hours are less than 14 hours. A 40-watt bulb every 10 feet works satisfactorily. Use a time clock for ease and accuracy. This lighting program provides better conception in winter. . A Cyclic Breeding Program is recommended in an ideal broiler rabbit farming though inbreeding is not objectionable. Using Bucks from different units is always beneficial.
The best way to determine if the doe is pregnant is to palpatate the doe. Palpating the doe correctly to determine pregnancy takes practice and should be done after 12 days from mating.
The average pregnancy period is 30 days. With the nearing delivery the doe will start making nest by pulling her fur and placing in nest box. The average fecundity rate is 6-8 pups. The pups are ‘Altricial’ i.e. deaf, dumb and blind at the time of birth. Care should be taken that adlibitum feed and water is available in the cages before during delivery period. Water deficiency at the time of delivery can lead to Cannibalism. In broiler rabbits the survival rate of young ones till maturity or slaughter age is 85-90%.
The Doe can be rebred after 15 days from delivery even though the pups from previous litter are with her. Care should be taken that Bucks and Does are always housed separately. Housing does together leads to ‘Pseudopregnancy’, bucks and does together leads to castration of bucks by does and only bucks together leads to fight and injuries.