I started a small (mostly NZW) Rabbit operation last Winter. I was having good luck with 5 does and a buck, breeding every two months. And then when we got into summer, it just stopped. I was just leaving the does with the buck overnight, and was not seeing breeding. But a month ago I definitely saw one breeding, and this breeding round I am making sure to watch, and the buck is going strong. All the rabbits appear to be healthy.
I had heard that the heat can case problems with the male's sperm count, but I would not imagine that it would drop his sperm count so much as to account for going from hundreds of babies to absolutely zero even with multiple chances to mate with many rabbits.
My rabbits do not enjoy touching so I really have no way to handle them gently to check for pregnancy, so I just leave them be. But they do not seem to really be nesting at all, so if they get pregnant they do not seem to get particularly far along.
Any idea what could be causing this?
- Canada, Ontario
- It has been quite hot, as it was summer. But in general the weather has been fairly normal
- Fresh grass and clover, with moderate amounts of grain mix.
- A salt lick
- Bedded cages hung off the floor
- In a barn. No direct sunlight. It is sort of light shade. It is very bright for indoors without artificial lights, but it is indoors
- Doe ages ranging from just over a year, with like 3-4 births, to 2-3 years and probably around 3 times as many births.
- The buck is similarly around 2-3 years old, I believe.