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I think rats just ate our baby rabbit.

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reiden4

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We had a doe gave birth to 8 kits. 1 of them was killed by rat as I saw it with my own eyes. the 7 remaining kits were doing fine for 2 weeks until 3 of them suddenly just died. I'm not even sure if they got overfed, or did the rat bit them or what. We weren't able to remove the 3 dead kits because its hard to access their little house. So then after a day we decided to clean up their house and remove the dead kits and we saw that one of their head got severed already and its gone. We suspected that the rat ate it.

What can I do to kill these rats? I have captured the mother rat already with a cage. But the small rats are hard to capture since they are so small they can just get through the cage trap.
 

Imbrium

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Bleh, accidentally posted after only typing one word... darn cell phone!

Anyway, welcome to RO! Very sorry you had to find us under tragic circumstances :(.

How are the rats getting in? Perhaps you could buy some hardware cloth (1/2'' x 1/2'' grid, similar to chicken wire fencing and sold in the same section) and zip-tie it to the existing cage/hutch bars to keep them out? Another option might be to bring the nest box into your home and keep it somewhere safe (and warm) indoors, only bringing it back to mom (or mom to it, if that's not too stressful for her) once or twice a day so she can nurse them. How old are the kits/do they have fur yet?
 

reiden4

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Thanks for your reply yes I'm new here. And just wanted to ask how do other rabbit owners deal with rats. The kits are now 3 weeks old, but the ones who died were when they were still 2 weeks. I also suspect the deaths could've been many factor(rats and overfeeding).

Here is what happened from the start. We have 3 female rabbits and 1 male and they were all doing fine together. One of the female rabbit had 8 kits and one day I saw big rat(probably mother rat) eating the rabbit food beside the pen. I then tried to capture it with a rat cage since I thought it might go inside their pen and eat the babies(even though it probably can't since its too big to squeeze itself inside the chicken wires) and so everything went nice and all until a few days past and I saw these 2 small rats eating one baby rabbit, because the rats were able to get inside the rabbits' pen. The rats are also baby rats probably 4 weeks old, so they were able to fit inside the chicken wire.

After 2 weeks, I noticed the doe doesn't want to nurse her kits. Every time the kits walk and tried to get some milk, the doe moves away from them. The doe looks very stressed out and I initially didn't know if it was just because she had 7 kits to fed. Then one night I saw the other adult female rabbit always bullying the doe. That was when I suspected that the doe was stressed out because of the other female rabbit. They other rabbit would chase the doe around the pen. So the doe just hides inside the other house(they have 2 house, the kits are on the other side). She can't eat because every time she tries to eat the other rabbit will attack her. That's when I decided to give them abundant food. I just basically threw everything in there, 2 boxes full of alfalfa hay, pellets and veggies. They eventually stopped fighting so I suspected the other rabbit was only trying to compete for food. I went to sleep peacefully thinking they were ok now, then when I woke up the next morning two kits were dead. Did I just overfed them? :(
Then after coming home from work I saw another kit dead and I decided that we'll clean the house tomorrow morning. Next morning the kit that just died last afternoon, it's head was already gone and there were still a bit of blood. We suspected the rabbit took advantage and scavenged the dead kits.

Only 4 kits remain, we created another pen for them with just them and their mother. The doe has now started to grow its hair back and is starting to look better again. I also noticed she doesn't move away from the kits when they try to get some milk from her. I hope everything goes well from now. But it was just unfortunate for the other 4 kits :(
 

majorv

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It would probably be best when a doe has kits to make sure they’re separated from your other rabbits. Does don’t always get along when one has a litter.
Are your rabbits in a hutch off the ground? When our rabbits were outside we never had a problem with rats going after the kits. The rats ate the rabbit poop on the floor under the cage but never had a problem with them going in the cage. We did put out rat bait around the cages and that helped.
 

reiden4

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the hutch is not off the ground, but even then i think the rats will just climb it if it was off the ground. right now the kits are growing very fast like you can actually notice them getting bigger day by day. i still saw the rats running around sometimes and they're still small. I don't think the rats can kill the rabbit kits anymore as the kits are outgrowing the rats. They are twice as big as the rats now. I think they should be fine now. I'm just waiting for the rats to get a bit bigger so I can capture them with the rat cages again. I don't want to use rat poison because its hard to find their corpses if they die and it will smell really bad.
 

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