I don’t know about you, but I tend to check the Farmer’s Almanac before major surgeries like getting wisdom teeth extracted and when the winter weather map came out I pretty much decided it was gospel and made my plans accordingly.
I don’t have the slightest idea how the Farmer’s Almanac comes up with the stuff they print, but it seems to be proven over the course of time. To be honest, I don’t even read my personal horoscope, so it’s kind of strange that I’ll put stock in something that seems, well… hokey. I am most certainly a skeptic.
Along those same lines are the myths about breeding rabbits according to the moon cycle. There are people who swear they can predict the number of bucks and does born in a litter, the number of show rabbits, and various other items based on breeding their mama do on the waning and waxing, new and full moons.
And then there are those who say, “It’s a rabbit. Stop making it so complicated.”
I fall somewhere in between. Obviously there’s some truth to the idea or it wouldn’t persist… but it doesn’t have the trappings of the scientific method to quantify and qualify the hypothesis. After talking with obstetricians I’ve learned that hospitals typically expect a rush on their labor and delivery departments during a full moon; so whether proven or not, something must make sense about the moon cycle’s affect on the fertility process!
From personal experience I can say we typically breed according to a Breeding Calendar. I’ve discovered when I follow this schedule my does are usually perfectly happy to lift and accommodate the bucks… without it I usually see disinterest or downright menace!
Several of these sites suggest breeding on a new moon to have a doe-heavy litter and a full moon for buck-heavy litters. Farther than that, there’s a belief that moon phases can influence the quality of the litter. Here’s a snapshot I’ve learned from other sites:
So the idea would be to choose which outcome you want (i.e., best quality does), then check the moon phase, and breed your mama doe in that zodiac period during a fertile moon phase and, whammo!, you’ve taken control of a completely uncontrollable process! Ha!
Note – if this worked so scientifically, everyone would do it.. but when I asked other rabbit breeders to give me the birth dates of their best rabbits, every one of the initial 10 responders fit the above graphic!
I suppose the bigger question is: Why do we even care whether we have bucks or does? I heard one person say that more bucks being born was a sign of a hard winter to come. Others try to breed for specific genders so their prospects at large shows are better.
Interesting, huh? It’s an idea each person needs to decide independently, but if you have personal experiences that either prove or disprove these breeding methods, I’d love to hear them in the comments! We will continue to breed based on the calendar, and if I get my act together enough maybe I’ll do some comparisons for gender and litter size in the future.
In the mean time, here are some links I’ve found helpful when educating myself on this topic:
Moon Phase and Gender (via Courtney McCullough’s 2012 California State Science Fair Project) – Results: “The results of the data showed a distinct trend toward a correct hypothesis (that more does would be born if bred during the full moon and more bucks would be born from a litter bred during the new moon). The total number of kits born was 108, with 57 bucks and 51 does born, a typical percentage one might expect; however, during the full moon, there were 7 bucks and 25 does born, and during the new moon, 29 bucks and 9 does were born. When breeding in the middle of the moon phases, there were 21 bucks and 17 does.”
Moon Phase and Litter Size (via Natalie Davis’ 2010 California State Science Fair Project) – Results: “Over 300 individual litters indicated that rabbits bred during a full moon phase had an average of more kits (3.2 kits), than rabbits bred during a new moon or a waxing/waning moon phase (2.8 and 2.7 kits).”
Rabbit Breeding and Moon Phases (via ThreeLittleLadies) – information posted is from 2006 but provides a framework someone with skill in knowing the zodiac and moon phases could recreate fairly easily.
2013 Breeding Calendar (via BunnyRabbit.com) – We use this calendar to plan our litters