Things to consider prior to breeding Angoras

Most births go well. However it is important to be prepared for one or more of the following:

  • Abandoned babies by their mother
  • Inexperienced mothers who over zealously clean their babies
  • Too large a litter. The mother cannot cope and abandons one or more of the babies
  • Mother dies after giving birth
  • Babies with birth defects
  • Stillborn babies

Precautions to take

  • Have spare wool from the mother to make a nest in a small box of clean cut up wool fibres
  • Consider mating more than one rabbit at the same time so they may be able to act as a foster mother if they have babies at the same time
  • Do not breed Angora rabbits that are too closely related to reduce the chance of genetic problems
  • Do not breed from Angoras that are too young or too old
  • Do not disturb the female rabbit while it is giving birth or in the first week of having babies unless there is a problem

Equipment to have to hand if hand rearing

  • Have a supply of small hot water bottles, towels, syringes or pipette feeders in case you need to hand rear
  • Most important thing is to ensure that babies are kept warm and dry and in a safe place if hand rearing

What if the mother dies after giving birth or rejects the babies?

  • The success rate of hand rearing baby Angoras is quite low for the first 2 weeks as they really do need their mother’s milk
  • It is not impossible and can be done as a last resort if the birth mother has a problem after giving birth
  • Using a foster female rabbit is often the more successful approach, if they are producing milk and have babies of a similar age.

Problems with hand rearing

  • Having successfully hand reared baby Angoras, some of the rabbits have some unusual traits not found in naturally raised Angora rabbits
  • Hand raised Angora rabbits tend to be human focused and recognise and associate with people over other rabbits
  • They also tend to lack the socialising skills of rabbits and prefer people
  • They can lack the ability to keep themselves clean, as this is something they would learn from their mothers who initially would clean them
  • They usually lose the coat quality due to being handled and this can also be a side effect from a lower nutrient diet as they lack the nutrients from the mother’s milk
  • They will usually make good pet rabbits, but will rarely be of show standard