Rabbits are known to be extensive breeders. A female rabbit can give birth to nearly 60 healthy kits in a single year. They do not have any particular breeding season and can give birth and mate at any time.
So, how do the rabbits give birth? A rabbit usually gives birth to a litter. A doe will have a pregnancy of 31 to 33 days. They will start to build nests as they approach their labour time. In general, female rabbits make a warm and comforting nest with twigs, leaves, hay and even their own fur. They prepare to give birth properly. The mother usually eats and drinks to ensure it goes through a stressful labour period without harming its own children.
A female will start to push the babies through its vaginal path and cut down their umbilical cord herself. Then, she repeats the procedure till the last kit of the litter comes out. After the procedure, the mother gradually grooms each of her babies and proceeds to nurse them.
How do they breed?
Rabbit breeding is quite special because of the nature of the dogs or females. These females are induced ovulators, and they need external stimulation to release their eggs. They do not undergo any estrus cycle, and hence they usually do not have any wattage egg. Hence, menstrual bleeding does not occur in them.
Usually, the rabbits become territorial if they become adults and may become aggressive if they do not get a chance to mate. A male rabbit will continue moving around a female and lick her or sniff her. If the female responds by hopping or laying on the floor, the buck proceeds to mate. Rabbits usually mate for only a few minutes. After mating, the male usually emits a sharp cry and falls on its side. On the other hand, the dog might run off fast. In some cases, the doe is also seen kicking the buck after mating.
This external stimulation causes a female to release her eggs. In general, females release the eggs only after receiving the sperm. The eggs are usually fertilized after 10 to 13 hours of mating. The female starts to display signs of pregnancy within four to five days.
Its mammary glands will continue to grow, and her abdomen will grow naturally. You can also feel the growing fetuses in her belly by gently caressing her abdomen. The small golf ball size fetuses start to grow faster. The mother will give birth after 31 to 33 days.
The female will start her fertile bleeding within 24 hours of giving birth. It is because they go through a postpartum estrus cycle. During this time, it loses its interest in breeding and will avoid all the adult bucks. The mother then starts to lactate. The postpartum bleeding usually continues till the babies only drink breast milk. After weaning is complete, the mother will start her regular cycle again. At this time, the doe can breed again.
Rabbits breed faster and usually have shorter pregnancy periods of just a single month. The mother gives birth to a litter of six to eight babies. The female designs her nest to nurse her babies and often goes through an estrus cycle after birth.