Newest Review: ... hurts. My bunny is a female (doe) she is a black and white dutch breed rabbit her picture is in my profile. Female rabbits can become... more
Have a vet sex your rabbits
Rabbits in general
Member Name: HonestBob
Rabbits in general
Advantages: Vets will have more experience and training in accurately sexing rabbits
Disadvantages: You won't end up with unexpected but cute furry baby bunnies
The largest known litter of rabbits is 24, having occurred in 1978 and 1999. Two years ago I fully understood how the owner of the parent rabbits must have felt - particularly when they watched their garden being destroyed.
Our warren story begins with the purchase of two male rabbits just in the autumn of 2004. With their beautiful, sleek, velvetty coats, one black and one grey, and their tiny twitchy noses, my children quickly adored them and named them Speedy and Rocket. All went well for 6 months or so. The two rabbits grew into handsome specimens, they enjoyed living in their hutch with its large run and waited eagerly for the children to return from school to release them into the back garden where they ran and jumped or took advantage of the rare British sunshine and stretched out to sleep. Then around April time 2004, whilst on a weekend visit, my Dad noticed something moving in the straw at the back of their hutch and fetched me out to chastise me for allowing mice to nest with the rabbits. Those were no mice, they were baby bunnies! 4 tiny, blind, black bunnies with tiny folded back ears. Worried that my Dad's rooting would cause the Mum (whichever rabbit she was!) to abandon the kittens I insisted that all be left alone for 24 hours until I'd fathomed out which was Mum and which was Dad so that I could separate the parents and leave the kittens with the only parent capable of feeding them and prevent further breeding.
Too late! Daddy (who I discovered was 'Speedy', the grey one) had already impregnated Mummy (Rocket) and just four weeks after her first litter of four we came home to discover another four, this time consisting of 2 black kittens, 1 grey kitten and a beautiful ginger kitten. Poor Rocket was exhausted and threw one of her babies out of the hutch into the run. I discoverd the abandoned kitten during a late night check. Luckily he hadn't been out for long and I replaced him back into the nest where Rocket accepted him into her brood and there were no further repeats of the abandonment.
It was lovely watching them grow up. Waiting for them to come out of the hutch, watching them grow more and more independent and more courageous as they wandered further from mum.
With ten rabbits to home space became a problem. I invested on some wire netting and wooden poles and built a run. This took up half my garden and was about 10ft wide by 15 ft long with a double hutch at each end (one for the boys and one for the girls). I took all of the rabbits to the vets and had them sexed (first off my eldest daugher carried out a google search for 'sexing rabbits'. This was not a wise idea!!! You can imagine the pop ups that appeared. Admittedly she did get an image of the different rabbit 'bits', but frankly it's difficult to spot the difference on a black rabbit and as 6 of the babies were black I though I'd leave it to the expert to make the final girl/boy assessment!!). Once sexed, I had all the boys neutered and all ten rabbits immunised against various rabbit nasties.
Speedy was neutered too, but not quickly enough. The little blighter had made a dash from his hutch into the run during a girls freetime spot and nabbed Rocket yet again (He was out for ten seconds..... the poor girl didn't even get a nose rub!) So, once again Rocket produced babies, 6 black ones this time, bringing our total up to 16 with yet more neutering and immunisations required.
Clearly, no sane family has 16 rabbits. My partner believes that the number of cats one owns is a measure of one's sanity, the more cats, the less sane the owner (think mad cat lady and you've got the picture), I now feel the same about rabbits. Sixteen rabbits means 16 sets of claws to cut, teeth to check, poop to scoop and most significantly, 16 rabbits to wreck the garden. And wreck it they did. One rabbit in particular loved to dig. Must have been one of the males as he never completed any of the tunnels and quickly moved on to another before ever actually burrowing out of the run. The run became a man trap with tunnels that would fill with water during heavy rain. The rabbits had to go!!!
The children seemed to think we were on to a profit making scheme here, but didn't factor in the vets costs. I couldn't sell them for enough to cover my expenditure, so instead of being paid cash for them I exchanged the rabbits, all barring the original two and two of the first litter kittens, for services. My gardener took two in leiu of payment for mowing the front lawn for two months. My childminder took one for a couple of days school runs, others went for other childcare trades or for help with caring for the remaining rabbits.
I missed looking out from the kitchen into the garden and seeing 16 bunnies of various sizes bouncing around the run (yes, all 16 could go out together once the lads had been 'done'), but they had turned my once lovely garden into a hell hole which ultimately cost me almost £1k to get re-landscaped (I had it redesigned, so the rabbits didn't actually do a grand's worth of damage, but without their help I'd have left the garden as it was).
The purpose of this review? Have a vet check the sex of your rabbit as soon as you get it, particularly if you've bought two or more and intend to house them together. I bought two 'male' rabbits which were caged by gender in the garden centre pet shop and which were checked by a salesman before being handed over to me. The salesman did not sex them accurately! This was a costly mistake and one that I'd like to prevent others from experiencing. Baby bunnies are the cutest thing, but they breed...... like rabbits!!
Summary: Don't rely on the pet shop to get the sex of your rabbit correct, have a vet check it.
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