Rabbit Kits All Born Dead

by Leslie
(Salinas CA)

Hey guys! So on April 18th at around 11am my female rabbit started giving birth to kits, only thing is, she ate her first kit. I wasn’t home when the incident happened, but her birthing kept happening throughout the day.

She stopped at around that same day at 11:45pm. And was calm throughout the night. And then she pushed out another kit at 10am on April 19th.

I had called the Pet Specialist and I kept her on observation for the next 24hrs. But my whole question is: Is it normal for her first kits to be stillborn? All of the babies came out dead. ):

She’s a 2-year-old Lop and she bred with another Lop who was 1 year old. She’s very well taken care of here at our home. She’s very much spoiled here. No one has harmed her. So I wouldn’t know why her first kits died. Any idea? I’d love to see comments!

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

What is normal, even for first litters, is the entire litter born quickly (within a half-hour to an hour or so), and for the doe to take good care of them all the way to weaning.

If all the babies were born dead, that is very curious to me. The fact that the birthing was strung out over 24 hours indicates a problem with the litter. It is possible that the first kit got stuck and died inside the doe. Then, possibly, the kits behind it also died due to hormonal changes in the doe. At that point, the kindling becomes a clean-out...the doe's body getting rid of kits that have all died. When this happens, a doe's normal instinct is to get rid of the evidence by eating it so that the blood and smell doesn't draw predators.

I should ask: Did you realize she was pregnant before the day of the birth? Because if you did not realize it, she may not have been able to build a nest. Without a nest, she may have been due to deliver days before the 18th, and she tried to protect the litter by waiting to kindle until she had a nest built. This gives the litter time to grow larger than normal inside the doe, with an increasing chance of getting stuck inside her.

These are all surmisings of mine from way over here. I hope the Pet Specialist gave you good insight into what happened, so you will have a better outcome next time.

There is lots of additional advice on the Raising-Rabbits website. Plus, since questions about pregnancies and litters come up so frequently, you can find a huge amount of information in the following book and e-book:

Rabbit Raising Problem Solver.
Rabbit Reproduction

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