There are several reasons why rabbit breeding not necessarily is a good idea, and if you are thinking of getting your rabbit pregnant, it´s recommended that you become aware of concerns related to bringing more rabbits into the world.
Rabbits being handed over to adoption organizations in the US are mostly very young rabbits, in the age between 9 and 18 months old. They are being turned in because there are not enough good homes for them, or the owner has not thoroughly learned about what it is like to have rabbits as pets.
In Norway, too, more and more often we learn from animal protection organizations about inquires from private persons concerning homeless rabbits found outside, strolling around free, put out in their cage or a card board box - someone even left a rabbit behind in a pub - or just rabbit owners who want them to take care of the rabbit for them. There are also lots of advertisments in the papers and other channels concerning rabbits who need a new home for different - and often poor - reasons.
The rabbit babies being added to society by casual and not well planned breeding are "stealing" homes from the already homeless rabbits being temporarily cared for by these organizations, and the sad result is actually that some rabbits are being put down because there are no other way to help them.
There are reasons to breed, but these reasons should be very good - like wishing to improve a specific breed. One should have very clear goals, and the knowledge level about rabbits, breeding and genetics should be high. Knowing the rabbits history and relatives is extremely important, because weaknesses and illness tied to genetics - like toothproblems - are important not to pass on further.
If one decide to make rabbit babies, it is of great importance to have the housing fascilities sorted out - not only for the mother and father (two cages), but two additional cages are needed for the babies when they are seperated from their mother and by gender (the separation should be done before the babies reach 9 weeks of age to prevent fighting amongst them). If the babies have not been given new homes by 12 weeks of age, one will need one cage for each of the babies, or they must be spayed/neutered to prevent fighting and better the chances of the seperated genders to get along peacefully in the same housing facility.
A female rabbit may come down with 1-12 babies, 3-7 on average depending on breed and size. If you, in the short run, not will be able to find new homes for them, will you during that period be able to provide them with sufficient housing facilities?
Finding good homes may involve emotional stress, as one often grows attached to the babies and want them to have dedicated and responsible owners. By putting rabbit babies into the world, the responsibility to provide them a decent quality of life also becomes yours. Breeders have to make careful choices when they consider possible homes and owners, they need to provide the new owner with a decent amount of information about the rabbits needs and nature, and follow up if the owner needs guidance concerning her or his new rabbit.
Children must never be allowed to buy or get for free a rabbit unless their parents or other grown up responsible persons have been consulted and agreed on taking on the responsibility of it. The grown ups have to be financially responsible, and in reality it is also they who must make sure that the animal keeping is ethically defensible and provide for it a good life quality. If the child grows tired of the rabbit, it is also the responsible grown up who has to take over the rabbits care and make sure its physical and social needs are covered.
Selling or handing over rabbits to pet shops are strongly advised against, for several reasons. First, you have no way to make sure the rabbits find their way to good homes. Second, the living conditions for rabbits in pet shops are often very poor. And last, by doing it you support a business which in way too many cases shows a lack of interest when it comes to improving living conditions in shops and preventing poor or incorrect information from being told to their customers by making sure pet shop employees have the necessary and comprehensive knowledge about rabbits.
As explained here, there are important issues to be aware of before you decide to produce rabbit babies. Our advise is to check out the recommended links for even more information.