Mother Rabbit Harming Babies?

Category Rabbits
Understanding the normal and stressed behaviors of rabbits is important to prevent the accidental or intentional harm to infant bunnies by their mother. This is a page about mother rabbit harming babies.


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April 6, 2015

Why does our rabbit harm their young? Our rabbit didn't feed her young so a few died and the next day she bit their paws and ears off. We put the male rabbit in a different cage before she got the babies, we made sure it was the male.

By Cornelis D


April 8, 20150 found this helpful

Rabbits are very skittery animals, regardless of how calm and composed they may look. An adult doe needs her own cage permanently, especially a first-time mother, and needs solitude and quiet to happily raise a litter. They should not be handled for at least four or five days after kindling, unless you suspect there may be a dead bunny in the nest box, (you are giving her a nest box right?) and then only after you have disguised the scent on your hands (I know it sounds gross, but we usually rub some of the doe's manure pellets on our hands before we touch any bunnies).


She also must have unlimited access to a proper diet, which includes rabbit feed pellets (alfalfa based is best), and lots of clean fresh water. There is a product called Calf Manna, which our does LOVE, it's meant to help thin and sickly calves but we give a tablespoon daily to each doe that is bred or nursing, and it really helps them to raise healthy bunnies.

Do Not feed any rabbit strictly on yard grass (how many times have I heard someone say, "the guy who sold him to us said all he needed was grass and water,..." (grrrrr!), and DONT feed them lettuce, except in small amounts, and never iceburg. If you do feed grass, please be sure it's from a yard that is not sprayed with chemicals!

All that said, there are, unfortunately, some does that will not raise bunnies for you at all, no matter how isolated, pampered, and coddled they are. If you have met her needs and she still eats her bunnies, don't breed her any more.

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April 9, 20150 found this helpful

If you place a few slices of raw bacon in the cage with the new moms they will eat the raw bacon and nurture their babies!

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April 9, 20150 found this helpful

I mean this very respectfully, so I hope I don't give any offense.

I have been raising rabbits for 10 years now, and have never read or heard anywhere that one should feed a rabbit any meat.


I'm not a vet, but I'd be leery of feeding any of my animals raw pork, especially raw pork with nitrates in it.

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April 10, 20150 found this helpful

Some people swear by giving the doe cooked bacon before giving birth. They say it stops this problem. Others say use the 18 percent protein feed for all pregnant females, and some say to give them some dry cat kibble. None of these things seem to harm the rabbits.

The main idea is that rabbits require much more protein when they are pregnant, so they're craving it, and the first source of protein they often see is their own babies.

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