Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Summer Heat Sterile Bucks Lead to New Year's Eve Kits

The New Year is upon us, and I can't think of a better way to bring in the new year than with the birth of some beautiful baby bunnies.  We are pleased to announce that Lillian one of our broken black New Zealands delivered a beautiful litter of seven kits on the afternoon of New Year's Eve.

This was an interesting pairing because I broke the mold and paired her with our broken red New Zealand Tucker.  Now I know what you all are thinking, for shame because it will end up causing all the babies to be un-showable and as far as competition you are probably right because we ended up with 4 Charlie Marked broken babies, 1 regular broken who I won't know fur coloring until it gets a little bit bigger and 2 solid babies that have all the markings of being otters a non-recognized breed variety in New Zealands, but again we won't know for sure until the fur comes in.

Mostly this pairing was because I knew that he was having issues with being Heat Sterile from the summer and I wanted to make sure that he had recovered and since my only red doe at the moment is Scarlett and she is already bred to my red buck Carrots I had to use a different doe.

When the summer temperatures start to reach an excess of 80 degrees Fahrenheit for five days or longer in a row, it can result in temporary sterility in both Bucks and Does.  Although it is most common in Bucks.  This inability to reproduce can last anywhere from 30 days to several months.

Since this was our first summer raising rabbits, this was something I learned about first hand after Tucker was no longer reproducing and I had to figure out why and better yet how to prevent it in the future.  There were a few things that I came across in different forums that seem to make common sense and that I plan to put to the test this coming summer when things start to heat up around here.

  1. Keep your bucks in lower cages, where is might just be a couple degrees cooler because cooler air settles while the warmer air rises.
  2. Use fans to keep the air circulating and cooling better.  Just be sure they aren't blowing directly on the rabbits constantly.
  3. Many breeders keep their rabbits in climate controlled buildings to prevent this.  Something I can honestly say was not the case for us this summer starting out.  Backyard hutches in the shade with a breeze for air circulation are what we started with.
  4. It may be possible to reduce the amount of time a buck who becomes heat sterile is unable to reproduce by continuing to breed him.  The Thought being that even though he won't get the doe pregnant for a while, it may help flush his system and get everything working properly again.

Now whether the last one is really true or not I will leave that for you to decide since I kind of figure,  that it is probably more of a case by case thing; and that it really depends on the individual rabbit and it's overall health, it's hormone levels, age and whatnot that would all play a role in how long that particular buck would be affected.

So while breeding a broken black to a broken red New Zealand may not be a wise choice for producing the next Best in Show rabbit, it did answer the question I needed it to.  Tucker is no longer heat sterile and it is time to starting looking for a girlfriend or two for him.

In the meantime enjoy the photo of the nest box full of mystery kits, and we will enjoy watching them grow up together.  More pictures will be on our In The Nest Box  page at the top of the blog as they grow and develop.

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