Hair Chewed off on Tail

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Inle_Rabbitry

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Alright, so I've got a question from a friend of mine who is a begining breeder focusing on New Zealand Whites.


From what I have gathered this is all the information I have-

She has two unrelated New Zealand does housed in the same cage together. They are roughly the same age-about 10 months old.

She hasn't seen them fight before, but recently noticed that the one doe was literally eating the hair off the tail of the other doe. Before this occurred, they had been housed together for about 4 months without any problems.

For what ever reason she continued to keep the two does together, and the one doe that was eating the hair from her companion's tail seemed to get obsessed with it, and within about a 3 day span, the tail was completely bald and bleeding. But the hair obsessed doe didn't stop there, she actually chewed off and ATE her companion's tail the next day.

So, my question is-has anyone ever heard of such a thing? And what on earth would cause a rabbit to devour it's companion's tail? She didn't pick at any other body parts, she just went straight for the tail. Could this be some kind of territorial thing (as I'm guessing because of their ages)or perhaps a nutritional deficiency?

I believe this is just the weirdest thing I have ever heard!

Note: I did get my friend who owns these rabbits to finally seperate them and get the now tailless doe to the vet.



 

tonyshuman

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Yikes. It sounds like an obsessive thing. Some bunnies that are bored will do things like self-mutilate, so this may arise from that. It could also be a dominance thing, but I would think there would be other signs of fighting, not just the tail. When I have seen bunnies fight for territory, it's boxing and biting, a flurry of fighting, not slowly chewing on each other.

This bunny probably needs more stimulation, maybe some toys in her cage, maybe extra hay to chew on. She may also have a neurological disorder. It is not unheard of for bunnies to have OCD-like behavior and it's reasonable to guess that that disease can occur in rabbits. It could also have genetic links.
 

Inle_Rabbitry

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Thank you! I think you are right in that it could be a mutilation thing since the rabbit didn't exactly have much of an active life. I've never heard of rabbits doing it to their cage mate though...
 

pamnock

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"Barbering" is not uncommon - the compulsion to eat fleshtakes it a step further.Genetics seem to play a role, but nutritional imbalances are sometimes to blame (which can also be due to genetic influences resulting in malabsorption of nutrients).

I know of one case where a doe chew through her side and saw another case where a buck was eating his own testicle as well as his two back feet. A change in his environment (caging him next to a doe), toys and plenty of hay seemed to distract him from the behavior.


 

Inle_Rabbitry

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Thank you Pam! I'll relay this information to my friend who owns this doe. I don't believe it may be a nutritional imbalance as the doe is fed stricly pellets and hay, however I don't know what brand or the amounts, and as you said, it may be a genetic thing, so I'll let her know about that too.

Thank you again!
 

donPius

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I have 6 males in a cage
Alright, so I've got a question from a friend of mine who is a begining breeder focusing on New Zealand Whites.


From what I have gathered this is all the information I have-

She has two unrelated New Zealand does housed in the same cage together. They are roughly the same age-about 10 months old.

She hasn't seen them fight before, but recently noticed that the one doe was literally eating the hair off the tail of the other doe. Before this occurred, they had been housed together for about 4 months without any problems.

For what ever reason she continued to keep the two does together, and the one doe that was eating the hair from her companion's tail seemed to get obsessed with it, and within about a 3 day span, the tail was completely bald and bleeding. But the hair obsessed doe didn't stop there, she actually chewed off and ATE her companion's tail the next day.

So, my question is-has anyone ever heard of such a thing? And what on earth would cause a rabbit to devour it's companion's tail? She didn't pick at any other body parts, she just went straight for the tail. Could this be some kind of territorial thing (as I'm guessing because of their ages)or perhaps a nutritional deficiency?

I believe this is just the weirdest thing I have ever heard!

Note: I did get my friend who owns these rabbits to finally seperate them and get the now tailless doe to the vet.
 

donPius

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I notice the same issue with one of my rabbit a week ago. I have six bucks in a cage. Though they fight often, I recently noticed blood on the tail of on of my bucks. But after a care observation I saw one buck was feeding on the tail of the other. So I took the injured buck to another cage. 3 days ago I noticed the same buck feeding on another buck just as it did to the other. I got very furious and almost beat it. I have never seen such kind of cannibalism among adult bucks before.
Now the cannibal buck is alone in a cage (edited by moderator). The bad rabbit is palomino breed feeding on new Zealand and spotted breeds. They are 8 months old.
 
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Catlyn

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Though they fight often
I got very furious and almost beat it.
It isn't the bucks' fault. By the sound of things they're unneutered and don't have very much space and enrichment going on.
Harming the buck that caused the main problem- why would you want to do that? It is impulsive, irrational and completely unfair to the rabbit in question. If you cannot provide it the right environment to live safely, separated from others, then it's not his fault at all. He's one of YOUR rabbits. You have to be responsible and take care of them properly.
Do not kill it just because it's not "being nice" to its housing mates. Unless all six bucks are neutered and properly bonded, which from the wording of your post i find them to be not, keeping them all together is just a disaster waiting to happen.
Find a way to separate ALL of them unless you want to find some seriously injured or even dead ones among the group. Keeping them all togerher like that is very much ignorant and irresponsible to the rabbits. They don't deserve living like that.
We can help you. All need be is to ask about what you want to know.
 

Preitler

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I notice the same issue with one of my rabbit a week ago. I have six bucks in a cage. Though they fight often, I recently noticed blood on the tail of on of my bucks. But after a care observation I saw one buck was feeding on the tail of the other. So I took the injured buck to another cage. 3 days ago I noticed the same buck feeding on another buck just as it did to the other. I got very furious and almost beat it. I have never seen such kind of cannibalism among adult bucks before.
Now the cannibal buck is alone in a cage and I will be killing it soon. The bad rabbit is palomino breed feeding on new Zealand and spotted breeds. They are 8 months old.
Pardon me - but you seem to have a lot to learn about rabbits behaviour. That all is to be expected. In nature, bucks fight to drive rivals off - wich doesn't work in captivity and escalates things. They don't strive for a hierachy like does. Go, or get killed. Well, mostly it's "just" severe injuries, rabbits just aren't fierce killers and oddly enough seem to have no clue what they are capable of, only had actual fatal injuries happen once in 9 years, but my stock is bred to get along nicly, which makes it ok to keep them together up to 6 months, mostly. I had my share of crudly castred bucks, ripped bellies and legs tangled up in intestines. Which was all one single incedent.
 
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Fuz

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I hope that you re-think your attitude towards your rabbits. You don't beat an animal, or simply decide on killing it. Rather re-home them, you don't seem to care that much anyway. Six in a cage? Do them a favor and let them go to loving homes.
 

JBun

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I have edited the comment in the members post as it is against forum policy to discuss that here. If any further comments are made, please keep them constructive and informative, keeping in mind that the members profile is showing that they're from a country where the attitude and knowledge about rabbit care may be very different to what most of us here are accustomed to. Also keep in mind that the original thread itself is a very old thread. Normally it's discouraged to post on old threads unless it's the OP updating their thread, however I'll keep commenting open on this thread if any further commenting is focused on helping to educate on proper rabbit behavior and care.
 

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