Doe eating kits?

Help Support RabbitTalk:

Mero2305

Active member
Joined
Feb 24, 2021
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
Location
Minnesota
So I have this doe that I raised, her mom is a great mother and was hoping she would be like that as well, but she might not it by the looks of it.
Some background info first:
First litter (so I’m hoping I can cross off this as just nerves)
She had 9 with one looks suspiciously close to a peanut (but their not dwarfs so a very weird runt)
She is also a VERY grumpy rabbit during pregnancy and after birth for the first few days but her mom is just like her so I’m not really worried about that.
Now back on topic.
So she had the runt and (this was when they were about 2 days old) I tried to flip her so she can nurse the runt but she wouldn’t let me hold her at all, so I took my NZ doe that was overdue (didn’t think she would give birth but she gave birth to day) and used her to nurse him. I forgot to cover his sent (because he smells like an ‘imposter’ right now) and went inside to eat dinner (remember it’s Ramadan and I’m STARVING). I come back out the next morning and, I DON’T FIND HIM ANYWHERE. He’s not with is siblings, he’s not chilled somewhere in the hutch, no stray arm or anything on the ground under the wire part of the hutch, so I labeled it as she ate him. This morning I counted 8 bunnies, and now I’m counting 7. Same thing like the runt, no evidence that they ever existed anywhere. I feed her Manna Pro, give her oats, fenugreek seeds, LOTS of grass and alfalfa hay, also the occasional fresh dandelion and grass, so I don’t think it’s anything to do with her nutrients. I’m considering taking her kits and giving them to my other 2 does that just gave birth to day but they both have 8 as well and then adding around another 3 would probably be a lot for them but I will have to if I find another one missing.

Any ideas why she might be doing this, and should I move them before another goes missing or see if she’ll do it again?
 

Canlay

Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2020
Messages
23
Reaction score
1
Location
Iowa, USA
How big are your cages? Sometimes they can eat kits if they feel too cramped. Also im not sure whay breed you have, but sometimes smaller rabbit breeds can be more likely to eat kits. There are also just some does that are more likely to eat their kits.
The other thing i would do is check your cage for any gaps, it might have fallen out and gotten carried away by something.
My last question would be is your doe the result of line breeding/inbreeding? Sometimes inbred rabbits will be more likely to have behavioral issues like eating kits.
 

arachyd

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
523
Reaction score
3
Location
NJ
Purebred rabbits are all the result of line breeding and inbreeding and not more likely to harm their kits. First-time litters are unfortunately easy for a doe to lose. My first action would be to look carefully at the hutch and make sure a rat, weasel or snake isn't able to get access to the kits. A small predator would explain the doe's irritable behavior. My second action would be to empty the nest box. Sometimes a kit gets pushed to the bottom, buried under hair and hay and flattened so it's easy to overlook it. Also, kits can get dragged out of the nest box when nursing. With some very protective does anything that moves outside the nest box is viewed as a dangerous intruder to be killed.
 

Preitler

Well-known member
RabbitTalk Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2014
Messages
862
Reaction score
17
Location
Austria
Inbreeding has nothing to do with it, what can happen though is when keeping breeding rabbits with bad mothering skills it can get worse down the road. Or some does just aren't up to it.

Although I doubt that happened here. I had almost an entire litter disappear one by one, and it was one single rat. Took me some time to find the hole it made. And I only realized what was going on because I found a fresh blood spot in another, unused hutch....
Wildlife camere is a real useful tool to see what is going on around the hutches.
Another breeder down the road did not have one surviving kit the whole last year, from 4 does, not the smartest guy to say the least, kept blaming the does.

I doubt that stress levels even with a rather small cage would be high enough with no other rabbits in there. Never experienced any problems to due smell of other rabbits, or dogs or whatever. What's in their nest, are their kits, even if they aren't.

As for runts, I don't try to feed them extra - I just remove the fattest 3rd of the litter for one feeding, and then some other kits for the next, so the small ones have better chances at the milk buffet.
 
Top