The female rabbits are often known to be nursing and caring mothers. But, in some unfortunate cases, they display some erratic behaviors, and some eat their newborn babies right after birth.
This behavior may seem quite cruel and unnatural for a gentle and happy animal like a rabbit. But, it is not uncommon. There are multiple causes of this behavior.
This behavior is more common in wild rabbits that thrive within nature. But, domesticated rabbits can also eat their babies on occasion.
Why does a female rabbit eat its babies?
Eating their babies is more common in young people or first-time mothers. They might become stressed due to childbirth and may not want to go through the nursing period. They will eat the babies just after their birth. A pregnant doe below the age of six months is more prone to such behavior; It happens because the young rabbit becomes afraid due to the whole procedure.
Young doe can also accidentally eat their young babies after childbirth, and they may end up eating the baby while eating the placenta. Often first-time mothers are prone to such behavior.
Nervous female rabbits have a high chance of eating their babies right after birth. They are not good mothers and may display erratic postpartum behavior also.
Rabbits do not like a noisy place during giving birth or nursing the litter. If its nest is active and gets regular footfalls of other animals, namely dogs, cats, etc., they will eat their babies.
Nutritional deficiencies, like a food shortage and drinking water, can cause a doe to eat its babies, trying to regain its energy by eating the babies.
A mother can also eat her babies if she finds that the baby is not normal. It is a natural way of maintaining a string litter that has higher chances of survival. The mother may eliminate the weaklings by eating them to prevent any unnatural dangers.
How to prevent female rabbit from eating her babies?
There are ways to prevent unwanted incidents. If you are breeding rabbits, you need to take care of the following matters-
- Always prevent an underaged doe from getting pregnant. As stated before, young females get extremely stressed and are not great mothers, and it is better not to breed those who are less than six weeks old.
- Some female rabbits usually don’t have any motherly instincts, and they may not be interested in their litter or may even display other behaviors. It is better to prevent such rabbits from breeding.
- While a doe is pregnant, ensure it has a secured nest. The nursing nest should be in a quiet place where no other animals can visit.
- Pregnant mothers need enough food and nutrition. Hence offer the doe enough food and clean drinking water to prevent nutritional deficiency. Nutritional deficiency can cause the doe to eat its babies.
- Prevent any buck or male rabbit from going near the females.
Though rare, female rabbits can eat their newborns if they are stressed, afraid, or feel teeth babies are not healthy. Proper care of the mother and assistance during childbirth can prevent such unfortunate occurrences.