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Breeding Charts for Rabbits and Cavies
Liz Voigt
8/30/2006 12:00:00 AM

Breeding Chart for Rabbits

For Shows in:

Breed for Juniors

Breed for Intermediates

Breed for Seniors

January

June to Aug.

Apr. to June

Before April

February

July to Sept.

May to July

Before May

March

Aug. to Oct.

June to Aug.

Before June

April

Sept. to Nov.

July to Sept.

Before July

May

Oct. to Dec.

Aug. to Oct.

Before Aug.

June

Nov. to Jan.

Sept. to Nov.

Before Sept.

July

Dec. to Feb.

Oct. to Dec.

Before Oct.

August

Jan. to Mar.

Nov. to Jan.

Before Nov.

September

Feb. to Apr.

Dec. to Feb.

Before Dec.

October

Mar. to May

Jan. to Mar.

Before Jan.

November

Apr. to June

Feb. to Apr.

Before Feb.

December

May to July

Mar. to May

Before Mar.

 

Rabbits are easy to chart. Does become ‘receptive’ to bucks on a 16 day cycle. If a doe will not receive a buck, try the mating again in four days and repeat every four days until successful. Rabbits can also be force bred by holding the doe although litters may be smaller. Ovulation occurs from and following the stimulation of mating. The doe is always taken to the buck, and returned to her hutch immediately after mating. The 31 day gestation period is counted from this date forward.

EXAMPLE: For a show on May 10th, to have a six-month old junior, you breed October 10th of the previous fall, the litter will be born November 10th, and the show hopefuls will be six months old on May 10th. Etc. etc.

 

This chart first appeared in the DRCBA bulletin in our March/April, 1981 edition. It is a handy, quick reference to keep close to a calendar and your breeding records. The more serious you get about showing, the more important it will become as most animals show better at the higher limit of their age group.

 

In some cases there are weight limits in age groups and animals may have to be shown in the next class up rather than being disqualified in their true age class. This is allowable although the reverse, showing an animal in a class less than their true age even if they are not up to weight standards, is not permitted. This can happen with large and small breeds of rabbits and also cavies. For example, some bloodlines or combinations of may produce fast growing youngsters, and while some of the larger breeds may have trouble making senior weight; some of the small breeds may tend to become larger. A breeder will get to know this about his/her stock over time.

Breeding Chart for Cavies

For Shows in:

Breed for Juniors

Breed for Intermediates

Breed for Seniors

January

May to Sept.

March to May

Before March

February

June to Oct.

Apr. to June

Before April

March

July to Nov.

May to July

Before May

April

Aug. to Dec.

June to Aug.

Before June

May

Sept. to Jan.

July to Sept.

Before July

June

Oct. to Feb.

Aug. to Oct.

Before Aug.

July

Nov. to Mar.

Sept. to Nov.

Before Sept.

August

Dec. to Apr.

Oct. to Dec.

Before Oct.

September

Jan. to May

Nov. to Jan.

Before Nov.

October

Feb. to June

Dec. to Feb.

Before Dec.

November

Mar. to July

Jan. to Mar.

Before Jan.

December

Apr. to Aug.

Feb. to Apr.

Before Feb.

 

Never seeing a cavy breeding chart before doesn’t mean that one doesn’t exist. This chart has been modeled after the rabbit chart but the two animals are very different. Although sows come into season every few weeks, cavies often do not mate immediately and so the chart can only be a guideline. A boar and sow are put together and usually left together till the sow is obviously ‘in pig’. Cavies have a gestation period of between 63 -72 days. The average time is about 65 days. The chart is using an approximate 60 day (2 month) separation. At a show, the weight of a cavy in the different classes is more important than the true age. This chart will still give an approximate time to get cavies paired up for shows at a certain time of year. Hopefully, some will find it helpful.

Example: For a show on May 10th – if you pair up two cavies on Sept. 7th (of the fall before) and they breed on that day and the sow delivers exactly 65 days later on Nov. 10th – you will have babies exactly 6 months of age on May 10th.

 

In the example above, the six month old junior will probably be over the acceptable junior weight and moved up to the intermediate class. In the chart, I have given the junior division a 5 month spread because cavies, being born in an advanced stage, can be shown as juniors at an earlier ‘true’ age than rabbits.

 

There are many more reasons than showing to keep an eye in the calendar in relation to your animals. I feel the largest, strongest bunnies are spring-born bunnies (bred for in Feb./Mar., born Mar./Apr.). My experience comes from raising rabbits in an unheated environment and may not apply with different housing conditions ie. climate controlled housing. I find myself choosing my replacement breeding stock from these strong youngsters.

 

With summer comes the heat and added stress for all animals. Does and sows can die giving birth in extreme heat. Unless you have climate controlled housing, this is a good time to give the girls a rest. Male rabbits may become temporarily sterile during extended periods of hot weather. If you have a date in mind for breeding over the summer, find a cool place to keep your boy so that the breeding will come to fruition.

 

There seems to be good reason to believe that temperature has something to do with ear development in rabbits ie. hot weather = longer ear, lop ear down; cold weather = shorter ear, lop ear up. Although I have seen all in both, I also raise a breed of rabbit where ear size is important. To improve the chances of my animals having better ears I prefer to breed in the seasons that may enhance that feature.

 

In most cases, animals at the higher end of their age class, (a junior that is close to the six month limit, or an intermediate close to the eight month limit), has the best chance on the show table as they show more development. Seniors are one of two – those that need a lot of flesh condition and those that take longer to develop a breed characteristic. Commercial rabbit breeds and also cavies have a lot of points on flesh condition. These animals usually do better as young seniors when they are firmest in body condition. The breeds that can take a little longer to develop ie. the wide head on a Netherland Dwarf or the Holland Lop, the extra weight on the French Lop and Flemish, the length of coat on a Peruvian or Silkie cavy or the coarseness of coat on a rough coated cavy, are breeds that can do well at the shows with a little more age. This also applies to marked breeds where most points are allocated to a colour pattern. Long haired breeds of rabbit and cavy need to be clipped for breeding and Angora breeds of rabbit need to be plucked of their thick coats when ready. Check the breeding chart.

 

Remember, all it takes is one or two litters from a good parent stock combination and a glance at the breeding chart to know when to bring them in.

Dominion Rabbit and Cavy Breeders' Association (DR & CBA) © 2017