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Old 04-01-2004, 01:26 PM
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what is the youngest age that rabbits can mate?


Every where I read, I get a different answer..... so I'm gonna try asking all of you. I have a female mini rex born Jan 6 and a male holland lop born Dec 5. I made an appointment to get them spayed and neutered on May 3. I thought this would be pretty good timing cuz she would be almost 4 months old and he would be almost 5 months. Well I just took them out of the hutch to play in the yard for a few and I caught him trying to mate with her. ACK!!! He's not even 4 month old yet! Can this happen already??? I have them in the same cage and have no means of separating them. What , oh what do I do? Can she get pregnant being this young? Please help!
~ Debrya
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Old 04-02-2004, 06:32 AM
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Oh my. looks like you've got sexually active bunnies. I haven't much knowledge about how early rabbits mate. What I know is they mate a lot, because they're the most hunted. Also, if you're their target, they circle your feet over and over again. At first it's cute, but then they do it a lot, and spray. The first time mine sprayed, was when he went after the cat, boy was she mad at him. If I lift my feet when he begins circling, he THUMPS, angrily. Circling can also be a sign of just wanting to play, so they'll do it even after being fixed. All I can suggest is keep them away from eachother. Maybe another user on this forum knows more about how early they mate, or how early they get pregnant. All I know is I had to get mine neutured, because he was very sexually frustrated, and the spraying became an annoyance.
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Old 04-04-2004, 01:45 AM
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Thanks for your input! Right after I posted my question to this board, I called the vet clinic where I have the spay/neuter appointments scheduled and asked the gal there if she knew the answer to my question. (BTW - the neuter is only gonna cost $25 and the spay, $50! Total bargain!) She told me that it depends on the season and since it is springtime, the female could possibly get pregnant before she is even 3 months old. This was not the answer I wanted to hear! I decided to email the breeder I bought my bunnies from. She told me that it is unlikely that she is pregnant now but give a couple weeks and she could be.

So I went to my hubby and said, "Ok... we have 3 choices. One - we keep them together and prepare for babies. Two - I can take the male in to get neutered tomorrow at a different clinic but it will cost $100. Three - we somehow separate them and hope she isn't already pregnant." We decided to separate them. Since the female does well with a litter box, I set her up in the bathroom. Hubby didn't like that idea so we ran out and bought one of those portable type cages. Now she is in there.

I feel awful for separating them... they are such good buddies and great cage mates. I still take them out to play in the yard together though. Yesterday when I took them out for the first time since the separating, they pretty much just ran to each other as if going in for a hug. They definitely miss each other. I did have to watch him like a hawk though! Everytime he got near her, I had to give him a nudge and make sure no action took place! Today he was on his best behavior during playtime! It was like he was trying to prove to me that he could behave so that maybe I might put her back in the hutch with him.... HA! Nope, not happening!

I hope this month flies by fast. Their appointment isn't til May 3rd and shortly after that I can let her back in the hutch again.

Thanks! I love this board! Wish I could figure out how to post a pic..... I have some cute ones of my bunnies.

~ Debrya
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Old 04-05-2004, 11:52 AM
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O my, you will have to let us know how it turns out. I was wondering almost the exact opposite question....how old is too old to breed a bunny for the first time. With ratties there gets to be an age where I just would not even consider breeding a girl for the first time...say perhaps ten months.
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:11 AM
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Hi Debrya,
Were you able to find out if your girl is pregnant? If so, couldn't you just neuter your male and leave your female alone? If they are your only rabbits (unless you are planning to get more), you could do that regardless of whether she's pregnant. That would save you the extra $50 and she wouldn't have to go thru the pain of surgery!
Just a suggestion. Sorry for butting in.

~Nellie
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Old 04-14-2004, 01:03 AM
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Hi Nellie...

Well I'm not sure if she is pregnant. She does seem chubbier but she has always had a belly on her compared to the male! I don't even know how to tell if a bunny is pregnant!

And you are right, we were gonna only neuter the male... that's what the breeder suggested when we first got them. But then I read how females have an 80% chance of getting cancer by the time they are 3 years old if they aren't spayed... so that's why we decided to have her done too. I'd rather put her thru a little pain now than have her live a short life.

I will say that they really miss each other. Yesterday when I brought them out to play, the male was just smothering her with kisses. He did behave though! I can't wait to put them back in the same cage again!

But guess what happened today? I was out in the backyard raking up some weeds cuz we are getting ready to plant a garden behind our shed when I heard a "mew". I thought "oh no!" Two weeks ago I found a pregnant cat in our yard eating my dog's food. Well good ole prego cat had babies under our shed! I don't recognize this cat as being one of the neighborhood cats either. So what to do? Leave them there? If we do, our dog will have them for lunch when they are big enough to crawl out. Or do we get them outta there and bring them inside, like set them up inside our bathroom? Then we could maybe post a sign that says we found a mama cat and her babies. We decided that it might be best to bring them in. We coaxed mama out with some food and put her in a cat carrier. We dug a hole under the shed and our 11 year old neighbor crawled under and picked one baby up with a washcloth and handed it to me. I opened the carrier to give mama her baby when she pushed the door wide open and escaped. Oh no! We tried to catch her but to no avail. So we put baby back and left the backyard in hopes she would come back. She did come back. Whew! So now we are wondering what to do next. We are back and square one again. Leave them alone? Or bring them in? From past kitty experience, I know that kittens born outside generally grow up to be uncuddly and antisocial. Kittens born indoors are usually the nice, cuddly, playful kind. So yeah I'm stressing over this! I'm still leaning toward the bring them in and then put a sign up at the beginning of our subdivision that says, "FOUND: Mama cat with kittens! Please call!"

Sheesh, why do I all of a sudden have tons of animal stress? First with the bunnies... now with a cat that isn't even mine!

So hey, if you or anyone has any other suggestions... I'd love to hear them. Thanks!

~ Debrya
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Old 04-14-2004, 01:39 AM
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I would still get them both done....you eliminate serious health probelms in both sexes by spaying/neutering. I just want to ask how come you are getting them done so young for? Does your vet usually do them this young? It is generally recommended that they don't get done until they are 6 months of age. I'm just curious that's all.
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Old 04-14-2004, 02:49 AM
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Well I don't know. The vet told me that they do it all the time... as young as 3 months old even but they like to wait until they are 4 months old. When I bought them, the breeder recommended sometime between 4-6 months. I had initially had an appointment for this month to have them both done but then decided to postpone their appointment cuz I thought they were too young. She will be 4 months old and he will be 5 months old as of May 3. I have since read about the 6 month recommendation. So now I am toying with changing their appointments again. Should I have him done at 6 months and then wait a month and have her done at 6 months? I don't know. All I know is that I really want to get her out of the teeny cage she is living in and back in the hutch. This separating thing is not easy.

When we bought the bunnies, we were initially only gonna get one. But then the breeder told us that it is good for bunnies to have a friend and male and female cagemates work out best. I told her I didn't want babies and she said all we had to do was neuter him sometime between 4-6 months of age and she recommended a great vet. I thought cool! Sounded easy. So yeah, we took them both. Little did I know that the male would become sexually active before the neutering took place. Eek! It all sounded easy but wow, it hasn't been easy at all. I'm sure it will all work out..... it's just timing eveything out that has been the challenge.

But hey, RSBunny, I appreciate your concern. It makes it all really confusing when you have a vet and breeder that tell you one thing but then tons of literature that tell you another. I'm curious as to why I read about the 6 month thing. Is there a reason why it is recommended to wait til they are 6 months old? I would think that if there was a major health risk that the vets wouldn't do it. If you or anyone else knows why, I'd love to know. Cuz now I'm not sure what to do... keep the appointments or change them again?

~ Debrya
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Old 04-14-2004, 12:09 PM
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I know how hard it is to separate 2 bonded bunnies. Eventhough my male and female were in seperate cages at the time, my boy bunny was severely depressed when she left to get spayed. During her recovery I put a chair by her cage and my boy bunny would go and sit there and visit with her all day, it was so cute.
Technically they could be altered as soon as their reproductive organs develope, but most vet like to wait until they are 6 months old because it is more risky to operate on a younger rabbit. if your male is 5 months old, and his testicles have descended, it should be okay, he's not extremely young. If you have any concerns, you should tell your vet and see what they says about it. You should definately get your female done too, it's a worthwhile surgery for a pet rabbit.
As for the mother cat, you could try to move them to a safe location, somewhere quiet around your house. If it appears to be a stray you could always take her and her babies to a local shelter so they will receive proper care. If you still can't catch her, you might have to call your shelter and get them to catch her. We had a stray cat and her 2 kittens living under our porch once, the mother and one of the babies were completely wild so we had to get the spca to catch them, the other one was friendly and old enough to be seperated so we gave it to a good home. Good luck with all your new animals.
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Old 04-14-2004, 11:40 PM
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I would just ring the vet that you are taking them too and ask how many rabbits they do at the ages yours are, their success rate and why they are happy to do them so young. As long as they do it all the time, are following the right procedures and are successful then you shouldn't have a problem! Most vet clinics won't do them until they are 6 months but the RSPCA here does young ones when they get them (which is hardly ever) and they are fine cause they have the equipment to cope with it so as long as you are confident in your vet and confident in your decision then stick with it! Is there any way that you can put the cages together with something in the middle to stop any action through bars so they can still see each other and communicate? It might help with them being seperated that's all! Oh and your breeder was right....rabbits do need friends!
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Old 04-15-2004, 12:44 PM
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Lor ----
I have heard the same as you... as long as the male bunnies testicles have descended, then he can and is ready to be neutered. So I don't really have any quams about having him done at the age of 5 months. I am still leary about the female though. I'm still toying with postponing her appointment... just not sure yet. I did tell my vet my concern of operating on them when they are so young but she assured me that it is quite alright. She does it all the time and with great success. But I still just don't know yet.

As far as putting their cages by each other. I'm not sure if it is possible. The male is outside in the hutch which sits a couple feet off the ground. The female is inside in one of those portable cages that has no legs. We weren't able to put a screen in to divide the hutch cuz of where the door is located on it so that is why we bought this portable one for her for the mean time. All I can do is take them out daily to play with each other. He really does miss her though... gave her tons of kisses again yesterday and followed her every bunny hop around the yard. Yes, this separating thing is so hard!!!

As for the mama cat. Yesterday I coaxed her out again with some food. I was able to get her inside and put her in our bathroom. I tried to reach under the shed to get the babies out but my arm was 2 feet too short! Just then my hubby got home from work and he tried to reach them but couldn't either. So what to do? I went and got my daughter from school cuz only she could squeeze under there to reach them! So yep, all 4 babies are now safe. They are in our bathroom with mommy. Now I just have to make some signs to put up around the neighborhood. Mama must belong to someone. She doesn't seem like a typical stray. She is really sweet and lovable.

I find this all very ironic. In regard to my bunnies, I have been repeating over and over again that I don't want babies... I don't want babies... I don't want babies. And what do I end up with? Babies! Only not baby bunnies... baby kitties! So weird! :tongue2:

~ Debrya
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:36 PM
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Suggestions To Your Situation


First, it is always a good idea to go to the library and find a book that discusses rabbit care, rabbit breeding, etc, rather than post a question online to which many people without experience will put in their 2 cents. I am not saying that anyone's response was not thoughtful, but it is worth the effort to seek the facts from a reliable source. Calling the clinic is not a good source either. They don't raise rabbits; they only operate on them.

When rabbits hump each other at a young age, they are just playing most of the time.

It's not usually something to be alarmed about.

My experience is that the rabbits are not "serious" about their humping until they are about 8-12 months old. But don't quote me on that. Go to the library and find a book.

When rabbits do mate, if you blink, you will miss it. It is that quick.

It is never a good idea to house a rabbit in a room such as a bathroom. Why not get a couple cages, put each rabbit in each cage, and put the cages next to each other? Problem solved and your rabbits are safe in their cages.

Even after your rabbits are "fixed", you may not be able to keep them in the same cage. They may fight. When rabbits fight, they fight to the death. They will kill each other if you put them in the same cage; even after they are fixed.

Sounds like you could use a good book on how to raise rabbits. Try library or Amazon.com


That's just my 2 cents. :-)

Last edited by ChaseHunter; 08-10-2011 at 04:36 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:00 PM
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Please look at the dates of posts...this was posted back in 2004 so I'm sure the original poster's issue has been resolved by now.

Smaller breeds of rabbits can become sexually mature and able to become pregnant sometimes as young as 12 weeks, or just 3 months. Around 6 -7 months is more 'normal', especially for larger breeds, but if you don't want your rabbits to breed you should keep them separate once they are weaned until they are spayed/neutered.

Vets do much more than 'just operate' on animals and should be knowledgeable about the species they work with, especially if you are taking your rabbit to an experienced rabbit savvy vet.

There is a bonding process that takes place before you put two bunnies in the same cage. If you take the time to properly bond them, you should not have to worry about them fighting.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:21 PM
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The Date of The Original Post Is Not Relevant


Blogs like this are for the benefit of the public; not just for the original poster. Any information provided can be viewed by the public at any time. Therefore, as new information becomes available, it should be shared. Thanks for your 2 cents.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:29 PM
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By the way, the original poster did not state that she was using a veterinary animal hospital. She said she was using a spay/neuter vet clinic which usually does nothing but snip, cut, and stitch. Given the rates of $20 and $50, it sounds like a non-profit spay/neuter clinic which has a veterinarian managing the facility but that does nothing but spay and neuter and does not treat rabbits.

Also, she did not say that she spoke to the vet. She said she called the clinic and spoke to the person who answered the phone who is never the veterinarian with knowledge.

Further, few veterinarians are skilled in treating rabbits. And even those who say they know how to treat rabbits, don't have experience and are just reading from a Vet Medical book after you bring your rabbit in, describe its symptoms, and have a brief examination.

You are so eager to put your 2 cents in that you didn't even pick up on these important points which is why people should go to the library for accurate information.
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baby bunnies, cage mate, holland lop, litter box, local shelter, mini rex, seperate cages, vet clinic




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