Mother ate baby
by Jessica Thomas
Hi, I have a lop eared rabbit, I wasn't sure if she was pregnant, she doesn't like to be held, so I wasn't able to check her. I wasn't expecting the kits til next week, hadn't fixed a nest box yet. Anyway, I came home tonight to find a half eaten kit laying in her cage. I removed it and fixed her a nest box. She stays inside so I don't know what would have scared her to make her eat it. So far she hasn't delivered anymore kits.
Do you think she will have more or is it possible she already did and ate them too?? She is my first pet rabbit so I am new to this and any help or advice is greatly appreciated, thanks.***** Karen Sez *****
What? You weren't able to check her? Who's the big bunny, you or her? Of course you can check her.
Sorry for the half-eaten bunny. There is the possibility that as the doe was consuming the placenta she forgot to stop when she got to the kit. It is also possible that the doe's maternal instincts are lacking. Or, that since she had no nest box, she felt either vulnerable or unprepared. All you can do is leave the nest box in the cage for a few days, and see what happens.
If it helps, we also have very occasionally found a single half-eaten kit in a cage or nestbox, even with experienced does. It's not always easy telling the reason why. Sometimes the doe accidentally injures or kills the kit during the birthing process, especially if the first kit is a very large one. In this case, the doe might simply finish the already dead kit off to destroy the evidence and prevent attracting predators to the nest.
I'm surprised that your rabbit doesn't like to be held. Sometimes young does go through a hormonal stage as they gear up for reproduction, and they can get a bit standoffish during this season. Cranky 'teenage' does frequently become sweet a few months later. But, if she truly isn't very friendly, are you sure you want babies from her? Because friendliness is a heritable trait. You may not want a whole litter of cranky kits... Just some food for thought.