why does our rabbit continually rock from side to side and mutilate herself?

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My son has a part New Zealand buck and doe. When they were breeding age, they produced a nice bunch of seven babies which the doe took care of fine. When she was re-bred, instead of pulling her hair out just before kindling and lining the nest box, she mutilated her neck, just under her chin, into an open wound about the size of a half-dollar. You could actually see her muscles. After she kindled (during the freezing cold), she ignored the babies and they (only 4 this time) were frozen when we found them in the morning. She also began ever so slowly if you watched closely to sway from side to side. This has gradually become more noticeable and she has become very easily startled. Anyway, we let her neck heal by itself (it is amazing how animals have this capicity) and tried breeding her once more. She did the same thing again; this time she only had 2 babies which were frozen also. I can't find anything in books about her syndrome but it sure appears neurological. She is not going to be used for breeding anymore, but I would think she is safe to eat. Opinions on this is appreciated also. We just haven't done it yet. Since then, we got a beautiful buck and doe cull, pure Californian, from a show breeder. They will be ready to be bred in June. Any thoughts on her problem will be appreciated even though her days are numbered. Thanks, Janie

-- Janie Dye (jdye_24088@yahoo.com), March 03, 2000


Janie: Don't you just wish these animals could talk sometimes, so we can know what is going on with them? Having raised two children who both turned out to be hell-raisers, no matter how we tried to bring them up to be civilized, I can sympathize with the rabbit. If I had known what I was getting into, I would be rocking back and forth too! Just kidding, Children can be a wonderful blessing, or not, but I hope someone has an answer to this. I have never heard of it. Jan

-- Jan Bullock (Janice12@aol.com), March 03, 2000.

could be a inner ear problem , Does her head tilt at all[ wry neck]. hows her eye sight? sounds like a ear imbalance though.

-- kathy h (saddlebronc@msn.com), March 03, 2000.

just a guess, but have you considered maybe it's poor breeding, or something related to the area of it's genetic background?

-- Jeff L. Phillips (irishman@carol.net), March 10, 2000.

just a guess, but have you considered maybe it's poor breeding, or something related to the area of it's genetic background? i say this because i am a beekeeper, and from time to time i find it necessary to requeen a colony due to genetic shift of my queen.

-- Jeff L. Phillips (irishman@carol.net), March 10, 2000.

I'd try to find the answer in a recipe book and eat her.

-- carol chambers (fchambers@mail.janics.com), March 10, 2000.

I've heard of a similar problem in cats. It may be a sort of anxiety disorder that a vet can treat with antianxiety medication. Probably not feasible for a rabbit, at least not financially practical.

-- Margaret Jensen (gjensenii@mindspring.com), April 29, 2000.

Hi Janie--have seen this problem in rabbits with inner ear infections, and some does will never be "mommies". They will either ignore their young and allow them to die, or they will even eat their newborn babies. After trying her twice, it would be best not to use her for breeding purposes. This is a very common disorder in female rabbits. I would venture to guess it affects in the neighborhood of 1-50 females rabbits. Good luck

-- Traci Rae Davis (krystalgrace61@yahoo.com), March 13, 2001.

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