Accurately Sexing Kits aka Avoiding the Sex Change Fairy
(c) Gryph- if you repost this article, please post with a link back to my website.
The 'Sex Change Fairy' is a running joke among rabbit people. Many of us have had an encounter with her (him?), leading to disappointment, rabbits fighting for dominance or, even worse, a surprise and unexpected sibling litter*. Sexing kits can be challenging, and it's very, very easy to incorrectly sex a youngster. So I'll show you how I sex kits. I was taught this method by a wonderful lady who has been a judge for more than 15 years and has been breeding rabbits for more than 30. She knows her stuff!
Junior does have tacos and junior bucks have burritos. Sounds funny, right? Well when you see the photos below hopefully it will make more sense. As bucks get older, they will have a shaft rather than a tube-shaped organ but as youngsters they have a penis that looks sort of like a straw. Testicles don't drop until they are older, and even then bucks can suck their testicles back up into their body so 'not having testicles' isn't an accurate sexing method. This way is much more reliable! I wouldn't try this prior to kits being five weeks old unless you are very experienced- you might damage delicate tissue. The kits in these photos are about seven weeks old.
First of all, not all kits love to be handled like mine do. Long sleeves or kevlar sleeves is a good idea if you don't want to get scratched up. I handle my kits from birth and breed specifically for temperament so, for the most part, my kits are pretty cooperative. Even if yours are not, however, this method works.
Pick up your kit and lay it on its back along your arm, head toward the crook of your elbow and bottom cupped in your hand. You can use slight pressure between your arm and body to keep the kit in place. Don't squish it! Just use the pressure to keep it in place. My bunnies tend to lay in my arms, which is convenient when your twelve year old is your photographer. Credit to my son Caiden for being an excellent photographer for me!
Next, use your free hand to grip its tail in between your index and middle finger. I usually tell people to pretend you're going to cut their tail off with finger scissors to make this step easier to remember. Now pull the tail down gently. If you don't pull down, the sex organs won't pop out all the way and it could be tough to tell sex for sure.
Next, use your thumb from the hand holding its tail to press gently on the base of the sex organs.
The left kit is a doe, the right kit is a buck. See the difference in shape? Taco for a doe (slit), burrito for a buck (tube).
If you don't pull the tail down and press at the base of the sex organs, you may not get the sex organs to pop out all the way and you could make a mistake (thereby inviting that darn sex change fairy to visit!). See the difference here in the same buck? It wouldn't be that far-fetched to mistake the right photo for a doe.
This process can be used for all ages of rabbits, although getting your kit to cooperate and lay along your arm can take a little practice. Tucking their head into the space between your arm/elbow and your body is a handy trick- have control of the rabbit's head, and you have control of the rabbit's body.
*=Please note, I'm all for inbreeding and line breeding when done intentionally and with a purpose. In this article I am referring to an unexpected and unplanned litter.
Video by Edelweiss Ranch
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