The breeding stock should be selected when they reach 4 to 5 months of age. The breeder should be selected from the largest litter. In males, it is very essential to see the presence of two testicles in the scrotum as testicles descend down from the body cavity at 12 weeks of age.
1. Extensive type of reproduction:-
Weaning here practiced is 5 to 6 weeks and re-breeding soon after weaning. Does are therefore mated once every 2.5 months. This is the best suited for tropical countries like India.
2. Semi intensive reproduction
Weaning is practised at 4-5 weeks of age. Breeding is practised after 10-20 days after kindling.
3. Intensive reproduction
Weaning is at 4 weeks of age. Mating is done immediately after kindling. Usually this practise is followed in western countries.
Always females should be put to the pen of male to avoid fighting. Mating should be done during coolest part of the day like early morning or late evening. After successful mating the male usually produces a typical cry sound and falls down on one side of the female. Soon after the mating the male one should be removed from the cage. The male should not be more than 3 to 4 days in a week and not more than 2 to 3 times in a day. The ratio of male to female is 1:10. Both the sexes should reach 70% of their adult body weight.
The breeding season is almost throughout year. But in India, autumn stress is encountered during hot weather.
Signs of heat in females
1. Restlessness, Rubbing the chin on the sides of the cage.
2. Lying in mating posture
3. They are spontaneous ovulators. Ovulation begins 10 hours after mating.
4. In heat, the female rabbit accepts male, otherwise it rejects.
5. In heat, the female assumes a typical pose called “lordosis” where the back is arched downward and hind quarter is raised.
6. The female one in di-estrous phage crouch at the corner of the cage.
7. After kindling (parturition), the re breeding happens after one week in intensive management. But normally re-mating is shown one week before weaning.
8. When temperature rises above 36 degree centigrade, temporary sterility happens.
The Digestible energy (MJ/Kg), Fat%, Crude protein%, Crude fiber% for the breeding stock is 9.2, 3, 15-16 and 13 respectively. The females should be examined for any respiratory diseases prior to mating.