As a rabbit owner, you might ask yourself, why do rabbits eat their babies? Well, the reasons are nutritional deficiencies, protection against predators, immaturity, or weakness of the young rabbits.
Yes, it is shocking and confusing but rabbits do eat their babies.
I remembered my friend despising her rabbit because she ate her babies! I mean, who wouldn’t be? It is indeed terrifying and scary!
Don’t worry, though!
Rabbits have these biological impulses that make them eat their children, yet, of course, these baby rabbits deserve to live also.
In this article, we are going to talk about why your pets are eating their babies.
I will share some tips on how to stop them from doing. So, scroll to find out more!
Why Do Rabbits Eat Their Babies? 4 Reasons
The question is:
Why do rabbits eat their babies?
Rabbits eat their babies for a lot of reasons.
In this section, we are going to explain 4 reasons why mother rabbits eat their kids.
#1. Nutritional deficiencies
As a parent who just gave birth to several children, rabbits should have sufficient nutrients and energy to provide breastmilk for their kids.
However, that privilege isn’t always available.
Depending on the intake and nutrient quality that the rabbits are receiving, nutritional deficiencies and lack of food intake may happen.
Rabbits, just like any other animals, adapt to their surroundings and needs. Thus, they do the “extreme” only if they need it as a matter between life and death.
Lack of nutrition could make them eat their bunnies. It would help if you noted that proper nutrition is one of rabbit care’s basic demands.
#2. Protection against predators
Rabbits are one of the most vulnerable animals within the animal kingdom hierarchy.
Predators usually target rabbits in the wild, and your pets are sensitive towards other animals around them. Any species of rabbits could consume their young as a method of survival.
Since they are in danger, adult rabbits may opt to do so since having many bunnies hanging around isn’t a good thing for them and their chances of living.
Although they are at home, they could see the presence of other animals (even humans that they don’t know!) around them as a threat.
It triggers the consumption of their young, which is caused by a seemingly harmless reason.
An immature rabbit giving birth is terrible news.
A 6-month-old rabbit, or less, wouldn’t understand what has come out of its body since the rabbit isn’t mature enough.
Though the “motherhood” stage would come any time soon, an immature mother could eat or neglect her bunnies.
However, do not fret!
Your rabbit would soon enter the motherhood stage, and when she does, she would take care of her babies instead of gobbling them up.
#4. A weakness of the young rabbits
A mother knows everything about her children, especially a rabbit.
When her kits are born, she might observe that some of her bunnies are sick or weak, which is a bad sign for her.
The doe knows whether the chances of survival of her babies are low.
With this, she opts to consume her kids, knowing that they won’t live for much longer due to a particular disease or weakness.
How To Stop Rabbits From Eating Their Babies?
There are different ways to prevent this catastrophic happening.
In this portion of the article, we will tackle how to stop rabbits from eating their babies.
#1. Feeding the mother rabbit properly
Rabbits who recently went into labor are in dire need of a sustained source of food.
They used a lot of energy to give birth to their young.
It would help if you fed your mother rabbit properly with a consistency of two to five times per day.
Provide her with foods that are great for her, such as nutritional pellets and green leafy vegetables (like kohlrabi).
Sunflower seeds could also be given sparingly as this increases milk production and fat content, which are beneficial for their kittens!
#2. Do not expose your rabbits to stressful stimuli
You have learned that other animals, humans, etc. could be harmful to your mother rabbits.
However, it could be hard to eliminate these factors sometimes, and I get it!
Despite it being difficult, always try to isolate the doe from all types of stress. Any unwanted tension could make them anxious and scared, leading to these bad habits of consumption.
Occasionally check if your rabbits look stressed or frightened. Make sure that they feel safe and comfortable all the time.
As my friend told me, since my rabbit, Thumper is a male; female rabbits are protective once they give birth, so be careful not to frighten them.
#3. Breed the right doe
You have already learned that an immature doe could consume her children.
When breeding your rabbits, always ensure that the mother rabbit is mature and healthy enough to raise her own young.
Make sure that the doe is well fed and is already above six months. Doing so secures the lives of the baby rabbits and their state of health as well.
#4. Look after the young rabbits
The young rabbits need the utmost care and supervision from you besides their mother. To ensure that they won’t be eaten, monitoring the bunnies is a must.
Check the baby rabbits from time to time when they’re with their mother in the same place or nest box.
If possible, put all of them in a large box to be distanced from their mother.
You can also opt to separate the mother from her babies. The babies, however, should be on a comfortable and warm surface.
Let the mother breastfeed her bunnies from time to time and make sure to keep a close eye at all times.
Can male rabbits also eat their young?
It is rare for a buck (male rabbit) to eat his children. Male rabbits tend to take care of their young more as they bring lost bunnies back to their designated places.
However, the bucks could trample on the bunnies if their cage is too small. Make sure to put the rabbits in a larger cage when they are pregnant or have given birth.
How does a mother rabbit usually care for her babies?
A mother rabbit knows how to care for her babies according to animal instinct.
A capable, healthy, and pregnant doe would create a nest (using her underside fur) for her babies before her time of labor.
She would feed and nurse her babies once or twice a day only. It may seem lacking but do not panic.
Bunnies do not need a lot of milk, and it is in the doe’s instinct to feed her children in those intervals only. Your baby rabbits would still thrive.
Do Male Rabbits Help In Nest Building?
Male rabbits do not help in nest building. It is the mother which is left with nest building, rearing the babies, and feeding the young ones. Male rabbits do not have paternal instincts and are not capable of caring for them.
Although male rabbits do not eat their babies they are usually separated from the female rabbits after she gives birth to prevent the chances of getting pregnant again.
Why do rabbits eat their babies? It is because of a lack of nutrition and their innate animal instincts. It may seem gruesome, but it is an ordinary happening for them.
Taking care of your does and baby rabbits is a must.
In case of not getting enough nutrition due to a lack of food intake, you may feed milk replacer to the babies.
Providing them with the utmost attention, maintenance, and love could improve their quality of life and bond with you.
Good luck and best wishes!
Maria Schultz is a talented writer and a passionate animal lover who brings her expertise in the pet industry to the Petcosset team. With a degree in English and years of experience writing for various pet-related publications, Maria deeply understands the latest news and products in the pet industry. She is dedicated to providing pet owners with the most accurate and up-to-date information to help them take the best possible care of their small friends. When she’s not writing about pets, Maria can often spend time with her beloved pets, including a rescue dog and several cats.