If purebred stock is being kept and the rabbit keeper intends to breed good stock either for his own use or for sale to other farmers, it is essential to keep good records. All breeding does should have a card attached to their hutch or cage with the name or number of the doe and her date of birth. The details of her litters should be recorded; date of service, name or number of the buck used, date of kindling (giving birth), number of rabbits born and weaned and the number of males and females in each litter.
An example of such a card is shown below.
Figure 1: A Rabbit or Hutch Record Card
As well as the hutch card, each breeding doe should have her particulars recorded in a breeding book so that the best performers can be identified and used for the breeding programme. The best performers are those that produce the best litters and the highest weaning weights, which are obtained by weighing each young rabbit at weaning. High weaning weights mean that the rabbit is a good milker and a good mother.
The breeding book should have a separate page for each animal, and the following particulars:
|Name or Number:||Date of Birth:|
|Sire Name or Number:||Dam Name or Number:|
These are the same as appear on the hutch card, but should include the weaning weights of the young rabbits. Once the best stock have been selected by size, appearance, colour and performance for breeding purposes, the pure breeding programme can be carried out using close breeding, in breeding or line breeding.
These systems of breeding are covered in detail in the Animal Breeding course.
Figure 2: Conformation of Rabbits (Body Shapes)
Figure 3: Other Forms of Rabbit Conformation