Rabbit Ate Baby

by Grace
(USA)

My year old French Lop doe had her second litter yesterday. She has been a GREAT mom even with her first time. My question is:


She had one REW kit who was half the size of all the others. This morning, he was missing. I looked around and found that she had eaten him. I don't blame her, because that's nature's course. But, I was wondering what made her do that? He wasn't a peanut I wouldn't think. Do you think she ate him because he was so tiny?

Thanks, Grace

***** Karen Sez *****
Was the tiny REW just missing and you're guessing about the doe eating it? Or, was its half-eaten carcass lying around as evidence?

It's very hard to give a rationale for rabbit behavior most of the time, because we don't think like rabbits and because we don't have all the information usually.

In my experience, when a kit dies on its own, the doe ignores it, and it gets shuffled to the back of the nest, where it will rot if not removed. We do find half-chewed kits occasionally, but these would have died during the kindling process, and the doe is likely to eat it as a security measure, so as not to attract predators.

I hope other rabbit breeders with similar experiences will add their insights here.


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Jun 12, 2013
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eating the kits
by: Anonymous

This is her second litter and the first litter all didn't make it she ate a couple and killed a couple throwing them around. This litter so far started with 6. She ate 2 the first day, then this morning at 7 there were 4. Checked again at 11 found 1 that she has been eating. Scared she's gonna eat the other 3. What do i do?

***** Karen Sez *****
Were this my doe, she'd go into the stew pot. Killing and eating the kits for no reason is a trait of a useless rabbit.

What to do? Is she eating them for no reason? If her alarm response for some reason caused her to kill the kits, then fix the problem, and give her one last single try at breeding.

Otherwise, it becomes pretty clear that your doe did not inherit any maternal instincts, and cannot be trusted to nurture her bunnies. Sorry! This is simply the luck of the draw, sometimes.

Have the three remaining bunnies received any milk? Is she allowing them to nurse? If so, remove them from the dam except for 2-3 times a day, when you can put the kits on her tummy so they can nurse. Remove them between feedings.

Otherwise, you'll have to hand-raise them. The success rate is very low, but you can try. See http://www.raising-rabbits.com/feeding-wild-rabbits.html

May 08, 2013
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Could it be a rat that got in?
by: Anonymous

My experience isn't with rabbits, but I breed guinea pigs, and had the runt of the litter eaten by a rat that got into the cage. There was no sign of anything, except a very large rat. So if the hutch is on the ground made of pellets, is it possible a rat could have gotten to it?

May 02, 2013
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RE: Rabbit Ate Baby
by: Grace

Well, her cage is actually a hutch made out of pallets that sits on the ground. I haven't smelled anything weird so I just don't know... I really hope it isn't rotting!

May 02, 2013
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RE: Rabbit Ate Baby
by: Grace

I noticed blood in the corner, and could find NO evidence elsewhere. I searched the nest, I even cleaned out her bedding and saw nothing.

***** Karen Sez *****
Thanks - could it be from the doe, left over from the delivery? Could the kit have been dragged out of the nest and then fallen out of the cage? If so, it might be on the ground somewhere still alive? Or, the blood is indeed from the kit. (In my experience though, the doe doesn't eat the whole thing, curiously.)

I hope all will end well, however you might be right about the doe eating the kit.


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