Ebony Kindled, But it Wasn’t Good

We were told by the person that took the rabbits during the evacuation that Maple and Ebony were both bred the same day, 12 hours apart.  Their due date was last Friday (day 31).  Right on time, Friday morning, Maple built her nest and kindled her 4 healthy kits.  Saturday passed and Ebony still wasn’t doing anything.  Sunday morning she began building her nest and pulling fur to line it.  We fully expected a litter by noon.  She seemed to be in labor by her behavior as well.  We figured she must be a day 33 kindler.

Sunday passed with no kits but still nest-building and fur pulling.  Monday was the same.  We figured it was a pseudo-pregnancy, which can happen with rabbits.  But, just in case, we decided to leave the nest for a few more days.  This morning (day 36) we were disturbed to find a half-eaten kit on the wire and some birth gunk there too.  Ick and Argh.

We are pretty sure that the kit was stillborn and was the only one she had.  We have never had a doe eat a live kit before, we have only once in 6 years had a doe eat a kit at all and it was still-born and she mothered the rest of her live kits with no problem.   But we know it is possible that does sometimes eat live kits.  Ick and Argh.

It seems unlikely that the guy who bred them could have mixed up the dates, especially because he bred them the same day.  I don’t think he would breed them three to six days apart and then accidentally say he bred them the same day.  So we think there was some problem with the labor and delivery, and it went on and on, and the kit died, and then once she birthed it she was stressed and ate it with the placenta.  That is our theory.

Either way, we will give her a few days off, make sure her milk dries up fine, and then we will breed her to Homer, our proven buck, and hope for a good outcome in a month.

5 thoughts on “Ebony Kindled, But it Wasn’t Good

  1. Oh no! I’m so sorry. Poor Ebony. I wonder if rabbits can feel disappointment. Certainly sounds like she was stressed and uncomfortable at the very least. 😦 I hope she has better results next time.


  2. I don’t know anything about rabbits, but I wonder if when they are trying to clean up the baby, as I think all animals do, that if it doesn’t respond she just gets overly aggressive, not really meaning to eat it, but trying to get it going…Just a thought. It’s hard to think of mama’s purposely eating their babies.


    • In the two cases we have had of this behavior I absolutely believe that they were cleaning up the after birth and such and since the kit was dead they got a little over anxious about it and got some of the baby too. Neither time was much of the baby gone. Just part of it. Which is why I believe what I do about what happened.
      I don’t know about other cases of this, I can only speak from our two experiences.


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