Bun Landers - Molting Doe

by Sharon Kuehn

Dear Bun Landers,

I have a doe that has never finished her first moult. What can I do? She is ten months old and raising her first liter, Help!

No Fur in Texas

Dear No Fur:

When dealing with does, a breeder needs to be realistic about where the individual doe fits into their program. Energy is either put into fur maintenance or pregnancy and lactation. If you intend to keep breeding her, then give up the notion of getting her to molt through. If you decide to show her, the easiest way to induce a molt is to completely change feed to a low protein formula; 1 4% or lower is ideal. After feeding the low protein diet for a couple of weeks, change the feed to a higher protein level, 16% to 17%, along with adequate fiber. Lowering and raising the metabolism level of the rabbit should trigger a complete molt. If it doesn't, retire her to production. A note of caution: Do not feed a protein level lower than 16% during winter in unheated rabbitries. The protein is too low for the rabbit to produce enough calories to keep warm.

HLRSC Official Guidebook - 5th Edition 2002