A Rabbit With No Ears

It’s not a movie, even though there’s a movie by that name. (Rabbits Without Ears.) It’s also not a response to a nuclear disaster, as people fear is the reason behind a rabbit born with no ears after Fukushima meltdown in Japan.

It’s ugly and strange, but it’s happened to us. We have some earless bunnies.

The vast majority of the rabbits in our rabbitry are excellent mothers, even our first-timers. But then, occasionally, just like in real life, there are…

The ones.

You know. The ones you don’t really like to take out in public because you aren’t quite sure what will happen. Kind of like that one family member who might get rowdy at a holiday dinner and be the star of a story told for generations?

Yeah. We have one of those.

Let it be freely said, I adore our Cinnamons. They are beautiful rabbits, friendly, and easy to hold and cuddle. They’re fabulous!

But then, there’s the one.

One Cinnamon doe had her litter a few weeks ago. I’m not completely bitter she had it at about 1 am and I stayed up to make sure she did alright so the babies wouldn’t freeze to death. (Alright, I’m a little bitter.) (I’m also glad I stayed up because she made a nest of hay out of the nestbox!)

I’m bitter because the darn rabbit did such a fabulous job of cleaning her newborns up that she ate the ears right off of them! Out of six babies, only two have been left untouched, one poor baby lost half of its head as well!

An overzealous mama took the ears clean off these babies at birth while cleaning them up.

An overzealous mama took the ears clean off these babies at birth while cleaning them up.

Darn doe.

We weren’t sure if the babies would survive their injuries, after all, losing a large flap of skin at birth seems to put a damper on the whole, “Welcome to life!” philosophy. Particularly in the case of the scalped baby, we didn’t know if it would be a more humane choice to put it down immediately.

But when we felt the hurt babies they didn’t seem to be in pain, so we let them go for 24 hours. A day later everyone was fat and the ears were scabbed. And 24 hours after that those babies were thriving.

So now we have some disfigured rabbits. What do we do with them?!

Well, first and foremost, we give their mama another chance. The rule of thumb is to give a brand new mom a chance at three strikes before you removed her from your breeding program. I will also say that even though she stinks at cleaning her kits up at birth this particular doe has been a great mom, nurses well, and has even fostered a few kits for us.

Mama's been feeding this baby Cinnamon WELL!

Mama’s been feeding this baby Cinnamon WELL!

Second, we wait to see how the babies develop. Because they don’t have anything genetically wrong with them, if they have killer body types they could still be an asset to a breeding program. That is a question only time and growth will answer.

Finally, if they don’t have a body type we’d like to incorporate into our breeding program, they are still useful as sustenance for our family.

We’ll see how these little ones develop, but I’m comforted that it’s not the end of the world that we have some earless wonders!

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5 thoughts on “A Rabbit With No Ears

  1. Judi July 10, 2015 at 7:22 am Reply

    I work as an assited therapist. One litter of rabbits I had the same problem . Today they are my star bunnies.
    I sometimes lecture in front of social workers and I give them to choose an animal and then say why. I always keep my earless bunny for me. All these intillgent people all say the cannot remember the name of this animal but have seen one on national geographic or they once saw one in a zoo. Anyway I tell them it is a rabbit with a disabilty but he is just the same as anyone else. We should not judge people because they look different!

  2. Charliyah Andrews February 17, 2016 at 11:31 pm Reply

    I am so sorry with the rabbit with no ears.I am so sorry for that and how did that happen

    • madhatrabbits February 22, 2016 at 3:36 pm Reply

      As the post says his mother bit his ears off at birth

  3. Kalena Grey July 9, 2016 at 4:14 pm Reply

    I just had a litter of bunnies born last night and the runt was scalped… did the one with the scalped head survive and do as well as the others? would you happen to have an updated photo of them?

    • madhatrabbits September 4, 2016 at 8:23 am Reply

      I don’t have any current photos, but yes, our scalped baby survived and went on to sire several litters – he looks funny without ears but has great body type!

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