Both my bunnies ate their babies :( should I try again?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by madforbuns, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. madforbuns

    madforbuns In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2014
    Last night my 8 month old bun had a litter, I knew she was kindling cod she was off her food and pulling lots of fur so left it til around 3am to check on her. All 5 babies were out of the nest, 2 were near perfect but she had eaten their feet and the others were just a mess of body parts :( so sad. They were all dead and out of the nest. Should I try breeding her again tomorrow? This was her first litter.

    My other doe was accidentally bred when my buck escaped a few months back, she had 1 bun and ate everything but the head. I will not be breeding her again as she was already too old for breeding before my buck saw his chance x
  2. RulingTheRoost

    RulingTheRoost In the Brooder

    Jan 5, 2015
    Sometimes if bunnies eat their young, they have a protein deficiency from birthing. To prevent this from happening again, I suggest placing a few strips of bacon in her cage to keep her interested in the meat instead of her babies.
    Also, be sure to fill the nesting box with the alfalfa or timothy hay that she normally eats. This will keep her interested, and will also give the growing babies something to nibble on.
    I would try breeding her in a few days to about a week. I'm not entirely sure, but just like us I'm sure she needs a little rest :)

    I hope this helps [​IMG]
  3. madforbuns

    madforbuns In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2014
    Never heard of giving them meat before. I'm new t breeding rabbits, my dad did it for years before I was born but I have no first hand experience. 2 looked like they had just been overcleaned and were perfect :( but the others were a mess. I will see how she is tomorrow and go from there. It's about -4/5 celcius so not too cold. She had loads of hay but had compacted it down and there was fur everywhere but no real best. It's a shame cos my oap bun made a wonderful nest when she bred, if this one had done half the job and not been so eager with the cleaning, those 2 could have survived x
  4. VKat

    VKat Chirping

    Aug 10, 2014
    Um... I hate to be argumentative, but please do not follow the above advice.
    Do NOT feed meat to your rabbits. They are not made to digest animal protein, and it is not even remotely healthy for them to try. Bacon could be a one way ticket to pancreatitis at best.

    If you are concerned with nutritional deficiencies, first look at what food you are offering.

    I would not breed her again, certainly not right away, if ever at all. Being a good mom is something that gets passed down, or not.
  5. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    I'm seeing different things with your two does.

    I think your older doe gave birth to a dead baby, and was just cleaning up the nest. Older does are often functionally sterile, in that they often give birth to only one or two babies at a time. With only one or two "buns in the oven," they typically go well over the normal gestation of about 31 days. When the babies come, they are usually huge, and it takes so long to deliver them that they usually die in the process. It is pretty much pointless to breed such an animal, so I heartily support your decision not to breed her again.

    First-time mothers are often clueless. I often tell people that anything that you get off a first litter is 'gravy,' and any doe that gets everything right the first time out, grants her daughters the right to be at the head of the line when replacement does are being considered. Not kindling in the nest is a very, very common problem, as is 'overcleaning.' Usually, only one or two babies get damaged that way, though once again, it is possible that a lot of the damage you saw happened after the babies died of other causes (in this case, due to the cold).

    As with a lot of things, "too cold" is relative. I have heard people say that they have does kindle and raise litters in freezing weather and that they have no problems. I, on the other hand, have lost litters to cold when they were born outside with the temperatures well above freezing, even as high as 10o C (50o F). If this were my doe, I would rebreed her, and make a note on the calender so I would know exactly when she was due again. I would do everything possible to help her get it right. A lot of rabbit breeders have a "3 strikes and you're dinner" policy with young does; writing her off for messing up the first time is a bit harsh, IMO.
  6. madforbuns

    madforbuns In the Brooder

    Sep 13, 2014
    Thank you all for your advice!

    Bunny lady - with the older doe, I do believe this was the issue as the head did look quite big compared to her, in fact, my partner actually put the head in the nest as he thought it was a baby bunny! It cheered us up a bit, I laughed at him through the tears anyway. This bun just seems to have been caught out though as if she realised all at once and frantically tried to achieve some sort of nest before birthing all over the living space. Personally i hoped it was inexperience for now but just wondered what you would make of it as you have so much more experience than me. I'm glad I can give her another go at it. She will never become dinner though if unsuccessful, merely a pet as she is too loving and sweet to go in a pot [​IMG] she tried, can't ask for much more for a first timer eh x
  7. GuineaFowling

    GuineaFowling Songster

    Oct 3, 2013
    Central California
    They have given you good advice but one thing you need to keep in mind is to not breed the younger one so soon. You should wait until she is a year old before breeding her again. A year is actually the best time to breed does since they are more mature. 8 months is too young.

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