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When a strange visitor, rodents or household pets enter the rabbitry; almost immediately after the doe has delivered her young, rabbit cannibalism occurs. Rabbit cannibalism means eating of the young rabbits by their parents. This act of eating up of the young is an inherent survival response of the doe. The problem of rabbit cannibalism usually occurs at night. It is this time when varmints and rodents are most active. If you want to know more about rabbit cannibalism, help yourself by reading the following piece of writing.
Causes of Rabbit Cannibalism
Rabbit cannibalism may result from various conditions. These conditions include the one when a doe becomes excited by an environmental change or when the status of nutrition, generally water is limited. The most common cause is when a doe gets fright around the time when she gives birth. Noise, strange people, predators in the barn can act as a cause of stress for the doe. The doe can be stressed to that extent where she can eat up her own kids. There are some rabbit lines or families that are more panicky or high-strung than others. If you catch a doe destroying a second successive litter, take her away from your breeding program. Some more causes of rabbit cannibalism that should be taken into consideration to ensure the best rabbit health care are mentioned below-
Anomalous maternal instincts- Does that disperse their kits and/or build a poor nest are liable to be more likely to also cannibalize their kits. Give them just one second chance if this is the doe’s first litter.
The chances of rabbit cannibalism are increased by a low-calorie or restricted feeding. On palpating the abdomen of a pregnant rabbit around day 10 and you feel babies, gradually increase the amount of feed until the doe has her fill to her heart’s content.
Other concern includes a check of the water supply system to guarantee that ample amounts of fresh and cool water are available. If water is not flushed regularly from overhead water pipes when weather is hot, the water may become too hot to be drunk. The does may not drink adequate water and result may be cannibalism.
Treatment of Rabbit Cannibalism
Cull the doe that continues with cannibalism. Feed it a pellet ration, offer ample fresh and clean water and keep her calm. If a doe becomes disturbed or excited during kindling, cannibalism occurs; especially, barking dogs can upset a doe and she can eat up her litter. A doe belonging to a production strain having excellent maternal instincts should be bred into the line. This usually helps in putting a check to the practice of cannibalism. If you have a cannibalistic doe, try to change her hutch from the last litter and check water supply also to see that she has ample drinking water. Make use of vitamin/electrolyte supplements in the drinking water during hot periods. Water consumption is increased with addition of electrolytes to the water. At mid-afternoon, hot water in these pipes should be flushed so that it is not excessively hot for drinking. Last but not the least; check all animals and visitors from entering or roaming near the rabbitry.
A fairly common grievance is that does neglect their newly-born young or eat them. These vices may be due to several causes. The temperament of the doe is important and a doe may neglect her first litter. If she destroys or neglects her second, she should be eliminated. It is probable that lack of maternal instinct has a familial tendency and does which do not show these signs should be selected. Bad nutrition, particularly the lack of B group vitamins, has shown to be a cause and lack of water another. Undoubtedly some does will destroy their young if they have injured them whilst panicking. A doe will consume the afterbirth which is attached to the youngsters and may, inadvertently, eat part of the youngster as well. By selection of does having a quiet temperament and by supplying adequate food and water, rabbit cannibalism can largely be eliminated.