First Time Mama, eating babies.

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by seedspreader, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    What causes a first time mama to eat her babies... she ate (partially) two of them before we knew she was in labor.
     
  2. BellsBunnies

    BellsBunnies Well-Known Member

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    A few things it could be since she was a first time mom she could have had a kit stuck and trying to help remove it. Another thing is the does chew thru the umbilical cord and eat the afterbirth and If some of the babies are dead they may eat all are parts of them at this time- Usually does clean up really good to prevent other problems... Fresh blood draws mice and snakes.
    Did she have any kits survive?
     

  3. CountryDreams

    CountryDreams Well-Known Member

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    I agree with BellsBunnies on this one. I've had does eat a baby or two cleaning up the nest box. I raise dogs and I've had mother dogs eat a dead puppy when it's born dead. I think it's a part of nature that we don't understand.

    How is the rest of the litter? Is she being a good mom now?
     
  4. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

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    She could also just be a bad mom. Give her another chance, if she does it again, cull her. Some does just do this, and they will pass it on to their babies.
     
  5. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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  6. gryndlgoat

    gryndlgoat Well-Known Member

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    I had a first timer who got a little carried away while eating the afterbirths and ate three babies and the ears off the rest. She did raise the de-earred ones who now look like the LaMancha goat equivalent of bunnies. This doe just had her second litter and didn't chew on any of them. They are doing great.
     
  7. ricky

    ricky Well-Known Member

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    Hi i grew up an a rabbit farm this is natural for first time does to eat there young. after all what would you do if you suddenly spit out 8 kids? maybe humans should follow there lead lol. any way if the doe does it one time try her again if she does it again sell her or use her for meat. sorry if you dont think my joke is funny
     
  8. Rosarybeads

    Rosarybeads Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's a good idea, we should all spit out 8 kids. ;) Workin' on it...
     
  9. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    also a doe can get spooked SOMETIMES but more often than not she just flipped on her own,

    if something scared her though while she was giveing birt like Loud Noise, Strainge new something, a cat or something eyeing her, who knows, but usually its in their head,

    give her one more chance then put her in the pot, dont sell her so someone else can have her problems
     
  10. x_xbirdie

    x_xbirdie Well-Known Member

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    Are you sure it was her? Did she have any others eaten? Or born dead?

    Could some animal have gotten into her cage? I've ha weasels, cats, and other animals drag babies through the wires peice by peice
     
  11. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    A lot of you are going to call me crazy, but after years of raising rabbits, I've seen this work again and again. Sometimes, now I'm not saying everytime, but sometimes it has to do with the protein levels in the feed being too low for a certain doe. The best thing to do is get an 18% feed, but if that's not around, and I know this sounds nuts, but a day or two before the doe is do to kindle, give her bacon. Cooked of course. It really does work for does that habitually eat their babies.
     
  12. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Hi 6e ,, I've read where some people reccomend a piece of raw fatback ,, similar to your idea ,,

    I've also saw where people reccomend useing a small amount of fish flavor dry cat food ,, starting on say day 28 they give the doe 1 /2 spoonfuls every day till she gives birth ,, its the extra protein in it too that supposed to help ,,
     
  13. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    As I recall, I remember about the dry cat food. We always used bacon before we started feeding pregnant does 18% Purina rabbit chow. I wouldn't cull a doe for eating her babies the first or even second time. Now, if after raising the protein and making sure there's nothing in the rabbit building that making her nervous, then I'd get rid of her.
     
  14. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, now... let's not get carried away or over-reacting by turning our rabbits into carnivours! There would surely be other signs of protein deficiency. It appears to me that bellsbunnies and ricky are the closest to the truth than anyone posting in this thread.

    A lot depends on how and where the kits were "eaten." Are they missing ears, tail, or legs? If so, then the doe tried to assist a difficult delivery by trying to pull them out only to discover that her teeth are just too sharp for this. They learn from it and it's your job to ensure that she isn't overly fat (which increases the chances of difficult deliveries). These things simply do happen with first-time does *and will continue to happen if the doe is fat.*

    If the kits were eaten in the belly area, the stressed out doe simply got carried away when trying to remove the umbilical cord. If the head was eaten, chances are the kit was born wth a caul which the doe tried to remove.

    Pregnant and lactating does require 18% protein, so it won't hurt to increase the protein level if it's lower than 18%. But feeding raw bacon isn't anymore advisable for rabbits than it is for humans... and even less so for rabbits. I would surely fear for my fingers if a doe became accustomed to raw bacon. Changing the feed to 18% protein would give immediate results without having to resort to raw bacon.

    Pat Lamar
    President
    Professional Rabbit Meat Association
    http://www.prma.org/
    Chairperson, ARBA Commercial Department Committee
     
  15. BearCreekFarm

    BearCreekFarm Well-Known Member

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    We have a very nice herd of NZW's in NW Minnesota. We have had very few problems with them at all, except for a few management problems dealing with the very cold winters we have up here. We have had some first time moms kindle outside the nest boxes, but the babies were ok, and in our last round of litters we had a couple of first time moms who were a little slow to begin nursing. Fortunately, we have not had any health problems to speak of, knock on wood.

    We feed all of our rabbits an 18% feed. They don't all need 18% protein, but it happens that the 18% can be purchased on sale cheaper than we can buy a 16% or 17% feed at the mill. So, we may be wasting a bit of protein, but with only one feed in the barn, there is no chance of a pregnant or lactating doe, growing bunnies, or a hard-working buck getting shorted on protein accidentally.

    In addition, I add a tablespoon/day of calf manna to the feed for our pregnant does beginning a week or so before they are due to kindle and continuing until the babies start eating pellets on their own.

    During the spring, summer, and fall I also give about half of a large comfrey leaf to each adult rabbit (anything over 6 months old). This program has worked really well for us.
     
  16. Pat Lamar

    Pat Lamar Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It certainly sounds like you have a good program, and the protein content of the feed is obviously not the problem. So, it sounds to me like your doe wasn't sure just what she was supposed to do and tried to assist the birthing. I'd give her another chance. Afterall... all they have are their instincts to guide them, and sometimes, those instincts are slow to kick in.

    Pat Lamar
     
  17. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

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    The bacon was just a suggestion. Cooked of course! It does work for does that "habitually" eat their babies. But a lot of first time mamas will do that, they usually get it right the second time.
     
  18. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Bob .How many rabbits do you have,?? Is this your first time raising them?? I hope the kids are enjoying them.. Take care..
     
  19. the mama

    the mama loves all critters Supporter

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    I agree with x-xbirdie. I thought my doe had eaten her kits until I caught the cat pulling a kit thru the bottom wire of the nest box. I made a guard to go over the outside of the drop nest box to prevent anything from seeing the kits. I think the dangling feet were too tempting. Does anyone need a orange tabby male cat 1 yr old that eats chicks and rabbit kits? He needs a new home ASAP.
     
  20. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    I'm the one who keeps saying to feed the hairball cat food kibble. It stopped my does from eating the kits. I came out once and two does shared a cage. They were both eating a baby. Caught them in the act. That was when I started the cat food. My orginal doe is 11 years and is still looking great. Cat food didn't kill her.

    I use the hairball because it was higher in fiber in addition to the protien.