The domesticated rabbit movement hit the United States in the early 1900s,
but it wasn’t until World War I that people really began to take the rabbit industry seriously.
During wartimes, food prices increased, and domestic-bred rabbits became an affordable delicacy.
People also discovered the protein value in rabbit meat was higher than that in chicken, beef, veal
or basically any other meat.
Rabbits and Hares are two different things.
The most obvious difference between rabbits and hares is how their kits are born.
Rabbits are altricial, having young that are born blind and hairless.
In contrast, hares are precocial, born with hair and good vision.
All rabbits(except cottontails) live underground in burrows or warrens,
while hares and cottontails live in simple nests above the ground,
and usually do not live in groups.
Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with longer ears,
larger and longer hind legs and have black markings on their fur.
Hares have never been domesticated.
Native American rabbits have never been domesticated
Domesticated rabbits can NOT interbreed with native American Rabbits.
ALL domesticated rabbits are in fact descended from European Rabbits.
A wild European rabbit CAN be bred with domesticated rabbits.
Rabbits vary in size greatly, from a mature weight of just over 1 lb, to breeds
which can typically weigh over 15.
The worlds largest rabbit is named Darius. He weighs almost 50 lbs, and is over 4 ft long.
Over 2 million Americans own pet rabbits.
There is not even a guess as to how many Americans raise them for meat or show.
Some of the oldest known domesticated rabbit breeds are the Champagne d'Argent (France),
the Beveren (Belgium), the Britannia Petite (Poland),
Flemish Giants (Belgium), and assorted varieties of Lops.
A true American original, the American
is one of only six documented rabbit breeds developed in the United States.
It was first exhibited in 1917 by Lewis H. Salsbury of Pasadena, California.
While Salsbury is credited with creating the breed, the American’s exact origins are uncertain.
It’s thought that much like “America the melting pot,” the American breed is a melting pot of a variety of
breeds, including the Blue Vienna, Blue Beveren, Blue Imperial and Blue Flemish Giant.
The American rabbit was originally named the German Blue Vienna.
With the United States’ entering into World War I against Germany, the name was changed to the
American Blue. There is also the American White.
They also occasionally throw an American Black, but it is not recognized as showable by the
ARBA a this time. Some attempts have also been made to create an American Red.
Rabbits are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk.
The average sleep time of a rabbit in captivity is said to be 8.4 hours.
As with other prey animals, rabbits often sleep with their eyes open,
so sudden movements will wake the rabbit and alert it to dangers.
Rabbits have one of the quickest reproductive rates.
The breeding season is normally about 9 months, which takes place especially
in the months of February to the end of October. However, rabbits can and will breed year round,
but often fail to do so when the daylight hours are at a minimum in the winter months.
Under normal circumstances, the gestation period lasts for about 32 days.
However, that can vary from as short as 28, to as long as 44 days.
The average litter size is from 4 to 12 kits.
The weaning period of baby rabbits is 4 – 5 weeks.
A doe will start breeding at 4 to 6 months of age,
while the buck will begin to breed in about 5 to 7 months.
The doe is usually receptive and can be bred almost anytime.
She is non receptive only a few days per month.
The buck is like all males...always ready to breed.
However, in hot weather some bucks may actually become sterile for a short period of time.
He will still breed, but will produce no offspring.
The rabbit’s courtship and mating usually lasts about 20 – 40 seconds,
when the doe is receptive. It may take several minutes for her to allow mating.
If she is not receptive, she may not breed for 2-4 days.
The ovulation will start in about 10 hours after mating period.
The mother only nurse for a few minutes a couple of times each day.
Babies will begin to eat on their own after about 2 weeks,
but still need to nurse for at least 4-6 weeks for their digestive tract to fully develop.
The average lifespan of rabbits is about 9 to 12 years,
with the oldest ever recorded living 18 years.
The following is a list of rabbit breeds reported, but not proven,
to have been originally developed in the US:
American Fuzzy Lop