Rabbit fur eating and pregnancy related questions

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gandharvm

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Hi all,

I have 2 specific questions. Please, please, please share your rabbit wisdom.
Part 1:
Background:
I have two rabbits, one male, one female (not neutered or spayed). Recently I noticed that the male has been chewing the fur of the female, to the extent that the female has developed not just a bald spot (behind ears on her back), but also has developed calluses. I once tried to separate the two while in this act, but the male had such a tight grip with its mouth that the female got lifted along with the male up to half a foot from ground. But what further puzzles me is that after separation, when they meet, the female seems to offer the same bald spot for the male to chew at, and the female doesn't seem to mind.

Question:
Is this normal? Should I be worried? I don't want to permanently separate them but it is difficult to watch the female get hurt - what to do? Suggestions please.

Part 2:
Background: The female rabbit delivered her first litter of 3 babies on 1st July 2022. I don't want to get my rabbits spayed/neutered just as yet. However, I read that it is unhealthy for the female to get pregnant too soon after delivery, so i keep a watch and make sure they don't mate - either by separating them through a mesh, or by separating them when they seem to be mating.

Question:
When is it ok for them to mate again, that is, when I can put them back in the cage again - where they can, and most likely will, mate? How long should I wait given that the female rabbit delivered babies on 1st July 2022.

PS: The behavior i talked about in part 1 had begun before the pregnancy and continues today, as of 12th July 2022.
 

JBun

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Are they doing this while in separate pens/cages, between the bars separating them? Or are they together in the same pen/cage?
 

gandharvm

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Are they doing this while in separate pens/cages, between the bars separating them? Or are they together in the same pen/cage?
They're doing this when together. When they've bars/cage mesh separating them they don't have access to each other.
 

JBun

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It's probaly because he either is trying to mount her, or at least wants to, to mate with her. Male rabbits grab onto the fur on the back near the nape of the does neck, with their teeth when they mount to mate. This can cause the fur to be pulled out there. It can also result in sores forming(which could also abscess) if the male is allowed access to the doe too often, or he becomes too aggressive with his mating attempts.

But if this absolutely isn't him trying to grab onto her fur to mate with her, and this is him sitting next to her grooming, it's possible he's overgrooming her from sexual frustration because he's not allowed to follow through and mate with her yet, so he's redirecting this energy and overfocusing on grooming and on her fur. Or if it's not this, it could be that she has a skin condition and he's trying to help 'clean' it up by overgrooming her. If she has dandruffy or scaly skin near the nape of her neck and fur loss, this can be an indication of fur mites. In which case, the recommended treatment is usually with ivermectin or Revolution(selamectin).

Medirabbit: fur mites



When to rebreed, it's best to wait until the kits are at least 8 weeks old and weaned, before letting the doe become pregnant again. It's best to wait at least this long(though an extra 4 weeks on top of that would even be better) so the current kits are as grown and healthy as possible before having to be weaned and separated from mom, but also to give the doe a bit of a break after weaning and before rebreeding her, so her body has time to recover some from the last batch of kits.

Male rabbits can make contact with a doe and mate in a matter of seconds. So for the health of your doe and to truly prevent her from becoming pregnant too soon, the only failsafe way to prevent her from becoming pregnant yet, is to keep them separated until you're ready to rebreed her.
 

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