Do male rabbits kill the babies?

by raysto18

Do the males kill the babies? And should the males be separated from the babies right after birth?


***Moderator Comment***
We don't have any experience with leaving male rabbits in with the babies, but from all we've heard and read, the males don't typically kill the babies. In fact, we understand that they can be quite solicitous of the youngsters.

(Perhaps if others have actual experience, good or bad, they'll speak up...)

But there's another reason why you might want to remove the sire - he'll be only too happy to rebreed the doe within 24-48 hours of delivery. That's what happens in wild rabbits so it's a natural behavior, but, two litters back to back may drain the doe's reserves. If it happens, just give the doe a break before the third litter, so she can regain her weight and condition.

Good luck, and enjoy!
K

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Jul 22, 2019
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The doe living with the buck all the time? How safe is it?
by: aCobraIs1LilKing

I'm trying to breed my rabbits. Currently they stay in the house all the time. (I didn't know how much they attract flies and fleas.) I got them from two different breeders, that both kept them outside in their chicken coops all the time. At the moment the mom and dad are in one long wire enclosure with a wire divider wall between them creating two separate cages.

I am building a much larger enclosure 4 cages wide (10' total overall) x 4 cages tall (12' total overall) x 36" deep front to back, (each cage 30" wide x 36" deep x 36" tall. Each having a hole in the floor for a hop down nesting box that'll take a little space from the top of the cage below) then they will be moved outside to live in the larger chicken coop when the enclosure is complete. (I need to buy approximately three more 10' x 36" rolls of cage wire when money permits.)

Currently I only have one adult buck and one adult doe, and two kit does. The mom has had two litters, since I have had her. The 1st litter had 9 babies the 2nd had 10, which except for the two babies I have at the moment none of them have lived much past softball-size maybe 8-10 weeks.

In the second litter I noticed she was refusing to nurse most of them so I began turning her belly up cradling her and allowing the babies to crawl around on her belly to nurse.

She is pregnant a third time since I've had them. I'm expecting them to birth within the next few days to a week. I was told that the doe will neuter the buck by chewing off his...(special parts) off if I leave them together all the time. So they are only together five minutes at a time with close supervision, for breeding.

If somebody could please confirm how much truth is in this or how much I need to worry about it please... as well as how to improve the survival rate of the kits into adults, I would highly appreciate it. I would like to be able to leave the mom and dad and the daughters of the dad together in the same cage all the time. (At least until my supply increases into strong numbers) When the two surviving doe kits are old enough, I plan to breed them with the dad. Since the kits are old enough that I have separated them from the mom, am I safe raising them with the dad so they can breed as soon as possible? Or once again how much do I need to worry about them castrating the male?

Currently I have the two babies together in their own enclosure, they love snuggling together by the feeder, which I keep full of 1/3 oats 1/3 whole corn 1/3 rabbit pellets, with a bit of alfalfa in a separate corner. My goal is 22 rabbits, 20 does and two bucks for a constant breeding supply.

Most of these will be bred to sell for meat.

***** Karen Sez *****

It is not wise to leave buck and doe together long term, but for other reasons than a chance castration. Which CAN happen, but I don't think the doe sets out to castrate her suitor. It happens when the buck mounts the wrong end, putting its privates in range of the doe's teeth. Frustrated does have been known to bite, and they do get frustrated if the buck keeps mounting her morning, noon, and night.

The real problem is that the doe's health cannot very well support back to back to back litters, which is what happens when buck and doe cohabitate. In the wild, the doe kindles fewer and fewer babies, finally, by mid-summer, she misses entire pregnancies. Finally, a rest period ensues in autumn, when everything resets. Hormone levels drop, rabbits are able to graze and rebuild their bodies, and the whole cycle starts over in a couple months.

How you handle everything in your rabbitry or colony is your choice, let us know how it goes.

Secondly, you have a big problem with kit survival, and I can see a big piece of the problem in the feed you're providing.

I suggest you completely LOSE all the corn - do NOT feed corn at all -- too much carbohydrate is probably upsetting the intestinal flora of the kits resulting in deaths from enterotoxemia. At least, this is a plausible theory given the info you have provided.

Instead, feed mainly rabbit pellets, and supplement the pellets with a small amount of whole oats (1 tablespoon per bunny per day). Alfalfa is high in protein, but is not needed except as a supplement if the pellets are alfalfa-based. Instead, offer timothy or orchard grass hay, at least for a while as your rabbits get healthy with the changes in their diet.

Loads more information at this link: Rabbit Raising Problem Solver

Good luck with everything!




Apr 22, 2019
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Great Father
by: Steven

My buck is extremely protective, much more so than the mother! He's also more comfortable around people than the doe, so that probably has something to do with it. But either way, he definitely has a role to play with the babies, and I'd hate to deny him that experience. Yes, he still wants to mate with the female any chance he gets, and sometimes chases her, but I can't imagine him ever doing anything to harm his young, at least at this stage in their life.

Mar 28, 2019
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Good experience
by: Anonymous

I've had two bucks that were excellent fathers, a dwarf and a lionhead. The dwarf buck was the main caregiver, his mate only fed them while he did all the cuddling. When my lionhead doe started to make her nest she pulled the buck's fur because he is fluffier and he let her. Neither buck ever hurt their kits.

Jun 16, 2018
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Good Dad
by: Anonymous

I have lionhead bunnies. I thought I had two males. They were free roam in the house bunnies. They now have their own room. My male was amazing with the babies. He would protect, play and cuddle with them once they were old enough to walk around. I imagine there are many factors to this including food amount, breed, personality and space. This is just my experience.

Apr 07, 2018
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Do male rabbits kill babies
by: Anonymous

No they don't or at least mine didn't. I have had 6 litters with my pair and he has never hurt any of them. They have been together the whole time. We finally had him neutered lol but he was a wonderful father.

Feb 12, 2018
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How do I get father rabbit to not be aggressive and he's been fixed
by: Anonymous

I have two rabbits I was told were both males in august. 5 months later I go out and, surprise, I have 7 babies already hopping out of hutch. It's been a cold winter so I guess she kept them up top. The father was fine with them but we actually didn't know who father or mother was! Took both parents to vet to find out. The male stayed to get neutered. The female was prego again! Kept male in house cage to recover, and that very night we had more babies. I tried to put the first older babies in a separate cage with father cause he live with them for at least 3 or 4 weeks and was loving,but now he wants to mate them and I'm afraid he will smother or kill them! Help what do I do with these babies????

Sep 27, 2017
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Male rabbit and his bunnies
by: Amanda

Right now, I have the male separated from the mama rabbit and her two bunnies (3 weeks old). I've tried searching the web but not much info. I'm wondering when I can put the male back into the cage with the mama and her bunnies. He is now neutered so no more litters will happen but I'm not sure when he can rejoin the family.

***** Karen Sez *****
When was the male neutered? Some sources say wait 2 weeks before putting him with a female. Others offer anecdotal reports of pregnancies as late as 4-5 weeks after neutering.

If you think it is safe, then you can put the male in with the others now. BUT: I'd sure closely supervise the situation for a good hour to ensure no fighting will ensue. Like - don't even turn your back kind of supervision. Just in case.

At some point within an hour, you may see problems. Dominance humping won't create issues, typically, but flat-out fighting, clawing, and biting, can end with dead rabbits.

Or, you'll see that everyone's chill, and you can get on with your life. Hope this ends very well for you and the rabbits!



Aug 13, 2017
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Dead beat dad rabbits!
by: Anonymous

I grew up on a farm and we raised rabbits. A breeding male that has experienced competition from another male for breeding rights will often kill the young males so as to eliminate his competition. Squirrels will do the same. I have read "expert's" reviews that say that this won't happen but I have witnessed it on multiple occasions.

Jul 20, 2017
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Don't leave male in
by: Anonymous

Left male in while mom pregnant and he ate chunks out of her.

Feb 05, 2017
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well fed dad
by: Duff

My daughter who has been raising bunnies for about 8 years has had both experiences: good and bad daddy bunnies. She says it helps to over feed the rabbits for about a month starting as soon as you think the mother is soon to deliver. When she starts pulling out hair for example.

Dec 16, 2016
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Today
by: Anonymous

It was in the morning when I check on my rabbits and feed them before I get on the bus, I come back home to feed and water and see a lot of blood and bones I knew something was wrong so I look around in the hutch to see what it was and I noticed a dead baby rabbit And the father had blood on his teeth (he has ingrown teeth). The mother was hiding. Otherwise the remains were scattered throughout the hutch...I did not know that the doe was pregnant.

Sep 05, 2016
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Male rabbits and their young
by: Anonymous

When I was a kid are buck rabbit killed and consumed all his sons a couple times till my parents found out to separate them and the hutch was 16 feet long and 4 feet wide.

***** Karen Sez *****
Wow, that's a huge hutch. Thanks very much for sharing.

So, here's a buck for which size of hutch made no difference - he killed his offspring no matter what. Sometimes bucks make great parents, and sometimes, not so much!

Apparently parenting traits are individual. If you don't know if your buck will kill its offspring, proceed very carefully and with a high degree of supervision, at least at the outset.

Jun 08, 2015
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Rabbit dads
by: Sara

I have a pair of rabbits. my doe, "Alice," had her first and should have been only litter and I put my male in a cage or crate next to her so they could see each other.

The 5 babies, once they got old enough, started spending most of their time in dad's cage since the cage was wire. He was always a good dad, cleaning them and making sure they were warm.

I just had my male "Neville" fixed to prevent any more liters. 1 day before he got fixed my doe had 3 kits. 2 weeks after my male was neutered I put them back together after almost 4 months of only having through-the-cage contact. He cuddles with the babies and brings food to mom. He is the best dad. And a better one after being fixed.

***** Karen Sez *****

Thank you Sara for letting us know your experience.

Yes, dad rabbits can be great nurturers, though this is not 100% the case. It must have been lovely watching Neville's gentleness.

My question is this: why was he a better dad after being neutered? What changes in his behavior did you see after he was neutered? (After all, you've described a pretty great dad before neutering!)

Thanks again for posting. :-)

Feb 05, 2015
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Baby rabbits
by: Anonymous

We have kept the daddy rabbit with the baby ones but one of them died and we have four left. The one which died had a foot print mark from one of the mommy or daddy rabbit. We don't know what to do. Do we take away the dad rabbit from the baby ones?

***** Karen Sez *****
I guess a dead kit marked with a paw imprint is your clue that not all is well. Yes, remove the buck.

The baby may have died as the buck chased the doe around to re-breed her. Rabbits will continuously do what rabbits do -- breed and reproduce. The buck is always ready to do his thing, even on the day the female kindles her litter.

So just know that in 31 days (or sooner) you'll most likely get to do this all over again. Keep the doe and the buck always separated, unless you're ready for more bunnies.


Feb 16, 2014
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Dead Babies
by: Anonymous

My sister has 2 females and a male. She didn't know the females were pregnant and when she checked on them she found 12 dead babies and 9 more that were buried which were alive. She separated the mother and live babies but we don't know what happened to the 12 dead babies. Can anyone give us any info. Thanks!

Mar 16, 2013
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ABOUT DADDY
by: RENA

MY DADDY RABBIT ALWAYS SEEMS TO START CHASING THEM OUT THE GATE, WHY IS THAT ? HE TRYS TO CUT ME OFF WHEN IM TRYIN TO FEED THE OTHERS IN A DIFFERENT PLACE. HE CUTS ME OFF AN STRIKES BACK ME WHY IS THAT ?

Feb 17, 2013
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Daddy loves babies
by: Hannah

My buck absolutely ADORES all my babies. I think it honestly depends on the buck's personality. My buck will come and smell each baby and do the "Happy-bunny-flip" then come and rub his chin on each one. I am not sure if it is simply because they smell like his girlfriend or not. But he has never shown any aggression to them at all. The only thing you have to watch for is that as they get older, he doesn't try to mate with them. This has most definitely happened before, and the poor little babies keep trying to run as far as they can from dad. Haha.

Apr 24, 2012
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Males may kill them
by: Anonymous

I know from horrific childhood experience that a male may kill the babies. As an adult I realize the hutch was too small for both parents, much less the babies. That may have been a contributing factor.


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