Skip to content

Will a Momma Rabbit Remove a Dead Baby from Nest (2022)

Removing Baby Bunny From Nest

As a general rule Will a Momma Rabbit Remove a Dead Baby from Nest . If it is one of your domestic rabbits you should always remove the dead bunny so the Mother will focus on feeding the rest of her Babies. She can become Stressed in trying to revive and warm up a cold Dead Baby Rabbit.

If it is a wild rabbit and the mother has abandoned them you can remove the dead bunny. If the nest has been disturbed or disorganized, Recreate the nest as best you can, in the exact same spot it was originally in. Use any remaining nesting material.  If you need extra you can use some dried grass. Tuck the babies back in the nest and make sure they are covered up with nesting material. They will live in the nest until they are several weeks old.

Will a Momma Rabbit Remove a Dead Baby from Nest

Remove a Dead Baby Bunny From Its Nest. When You are Raising Rabbits, if you find a baby Rabbit Dead in the Nest You Need to Remove it, so the Mother will focus on feeding the rest of her Babies. She can become Stressed in trying to revive and warm up a cold Dead Baby Rabbit.

A Doe is not Capable of Carrying a Baby Rabbit after she gave birth. Will a Momma Rabbit Remove a Dead Baby from Nest

Rabbits are fond of digging holes, rabbit nests are well hidden and you mostly have seen them in your yard, parks, schoolyard, or anywhere else. Rabbits make underground nests with some few exceptions, as Eastern cottontail rabbits, the commonly found species in South Ontario, don’t make nests like that.

Should You Remove a Dead Baby Bunny – The mother digs a shallow hole, similar to a bowl in the grasses, most preferably in the planter and landscaped area with some wood chips.

Then, she lines the nest with dry grass and leaves when babies are inside, she covers it up with more dried grass and fur from their bodies to save her bunnies from the predators. Bunnies have no scent, and the nest is well hidden and takes weeks to be discovered. They will stay there until they are Several weeks old

will a momma rabbit remove a dead baby from nest

Remove a Dead Baby Bunny From Its Nest / What to Do if You Find a Nest Accidently

Sometimes, you may accidentally find or uncover a rabbit’s nest anywhere. Be cautious while observing the rabbit’s nest( especially wild rabbits). You should carefully observe the bunnies in the nest/nest box.

You can also read our Guide –18 Ways to Make Money by Rabbit Farming—Extensive Guidelines for Rabbit Farmers

How to Tell if the Bunny is Injured

If you observe the following sign in a rabbit baby, then it indicates that the bunny is injured and requires medical attention on emergency grounds.

1) The bunny is lying on its side and cannot right itself.

2) There are obvious injuries or wounds on its body.

Pick up the dead baby rabbits carefully with the help of a stick and put it into the cardboard box in the dark, place it in a peaceful area with an energy/heat source nearby to it.

Rabbit mothers are quite possessive about their bunnies and want them back if you touch or pick up them.

Should I Renest Bunny if Found in the Wild?

If the nest has been disturbed or disorganized, Recreate the nest as best you can, in the exact same spot it was originally in. Use any remaining nesting material.  If you need extra you can use some dried grass. Tuck the babies back in the nest and make sure they are covered up with nesting material. They will live in the nest until they are several weeks old.

what happens if a baby bunny died in the nest/cottontail rabbits

What is the String Test?

Mother rabbits don’t want to attract predators to their babies, so they mostly leave them on their own, hidden and camouflaged. Mom will come back a few times a day, usually between dusk and dawn, to feed the babies. Feeding may only take 2-3 minutes, so unless you’re watching 24/7 you will probably miss it!

To see if the mother rabbit is coming back to a recreated nest, you can do the “string test”. Take a few pieces of yarn or light cotton string, and place them over the nest in a tic-tac-toe pattern. It can help to take a photo of this, so you can compare it later.

Leave the string overnight, and check in the morning. Was the string moved? That’s great — it means mom came back overnight and fed the babies.

Why Is it Necessary to Remove a Dead Bunny from the Nest

Coming to the point, let’s have some look into why there is a need to remove dead bunnies from the nest. If you find any dead bunny.

It is more important for those who are doing rabbit farming. During the time of parturition, does(mother rabbit) should be left alone. No disturbance around the disturbance causes the rabbit mothers to become nervous. As a result, she will not give birth to the young ones in the nest box.

After she gives birth to young ones, after one day, monitors the nest. If you find a dead bunny there, it should be removed with proper care. Nest Box should be cleaned with warm water, to help sanitize.

NOTE: Keep in mind that, like other animals, rabbits are not able to move their young ones. So, rabbit mothers will not remove that dead bunny.

A Dead Bunny is a Source of Contamination

The stay of dead bunnies can be harmful to the rest of the baby rabbits. Dead bunnies become the source of contamination for the nest box and may arise various infections in other nestmates. This is why it is advised to remove the dead bunnies if you find any.

Dead Baby Bunny will Attract Flies

Along with causing contamination, many files can be attracted to dead baby rabbits, which can give rise to various complications. So, their removal ensures the safe and clean environment of the nest.
Dead baby bunnies can attract many insects and pests such as coyotes due to their putrid decaying smell.

Pets Can eat Dead Baby Bunny

Another major issue that arises, is the eating of dead animals by your beloved pets. It is the habit of the rabbit mother if she makes a nest anywhere, she covers the nest with dry grasses and other material to keep it hidden from the dogs and other pet animals.

If your dog and other pet find any dead bunny they eat it and may get many infections from it.

Therefore, the protective removal of dead bunnies becomes essential to deal with such devastating situations.

Pets should be kept inside when you are renesting( shifting rabbits from one nest to another) or removing the dead bunny from a Wild nest.

Dead Baby Bunny will Give off Bad Odors

In addition to drawing the attention of many insects and other predators, dead bunnies give off a very bad and putrid odor, that can be obnoxious to you and for the environment. To control this unbearable smell, dead baby bunnies are recommended to be removed from the nest.

Keeping in mind all, issues related to dead bunnies, let’s have a brief look into how to dispose of if you find the dead baby bunny.
(There may be various causes of death)

If you are Raising Rabbits – You need to Remove the dead rabbits from the mother’s nest in her Nesting Box. Some of the Reasons are

  • Mother is not able to remove the Dead infant themselves
  • Most Nesting boxes have a small lip to keep baby rabbits from wiggling out of the warmth and safety of the nest.
  • Mother will focus on reviving the dead Baby Rabbits
  • Dead Rabbit will decompose and draw Flies to the Nest

How to Dispose of the Dead Baby Bunny? / What to do if I found dead baby rabbits in the hutch?

All safety precautions must be taken to remove and dispose of the dead Baby Bunnies. You should cover your hands with plastic gloves while disposing of dead baby rabbits. You should use a pet box, place the rabbit’s dead body in it, bury it deep in your yard, and cover that place with soil to dispose of a rabbit

Increasing rules and regulations mean that burial may not be legal in your town or state. If burial is allowed, there may be strict rules governing just how you may bury your rabbit. Because the rules vary according to location, you will need to find out what is legal in your area.

In case home burial is permitted in your home, then it is recommended to dig a 3 feet deep hole to bury the dead bunny to save it from dogs, cats, coyotes, and other animals., digging it up.

We had 3 Acres out in the country, and one of our Older Dogs Passed away. I took him out back and buried her. I buried her about 1′ Deep, a year later I was back on the property where I had buried her, she had been dug up by other creatures looking for food. She was not deep enough

The Burying process starts with proper planning along with a selection of a well-suited place.

1) Wear plastic gloves as gloves are the best thing to protect your hands and skin from getting dirt or any kind of infection. So, wear gloves first of all, if you find any dead bunny, before touching it.

2) Another thing is to wear a face mask. Don’t go near the dead baby rabbits unless your face is covered. You can use a mask or any piece of cloth to cover your face easily. This will help to prevent you from inhaling deadly air that is left by the rabbit.

See Our Article – How Many Bunnies Do I need to start with?

Precautions for Removing Dead Baby Bunny / Rabbit

What Tools do you Need to Dispose of a Dead Rabbit

If you find a dead rabbit in a nest, or in your yard, don’t touch the baby bunnies with your hands. Use a long-handled shovel to pick up the dead bunny, or a similar Tool, especially if the rabbit is decomposed.

Use a plastic bag to wrap the dead bunny inside it. Alternatively, you can use zipper bags that must be made up of hard plastic and make sure that the dead baby bunnies must not exposed to outer conditions.

If you don’t find any of these you can use, a pet coffin to keep the dead bunny. The size will be determined by how many weeks old the Bunny is, that you found in the rabbit nest.

will a momma rabbit remove a dead baby from nest baby rabbits

Will a Momma Rabbit Remove a Dead Baby from Nest?

A mother rabbit will do everything it can to ensure the safety and well-being of her babies. If a baby dies, she may remove them from the nest if there is no danger in doing so.

If a momma rabbit feels threatened, she may opt to leave the baby where it is rather than risk her other babies. If you’re not sure, it’s best to leave the baby where she left it.

Do Rabbits Mourn their Dead Babies?

Research on bereavement in rabbits is scant, but there are some indications that they may experience grief when their young die. In one study, does who had lost litter showed a decrease in body temperature and an increase in time spent grooming themselves, both of which are signs of stress.

They also showed a decreased interest in interacting with other members of their group. These changes lasted for several weeks, suggesting that the does were going through a period of mourning.

While more research is needed to confirm these findings, they provide evidence that rabbits may experience grief when they lose their young.

Why do Wild animals, Pet Rabbits, Newborn Rabbits, and Young Rabbits Die so Young in the nest?

Rabbit Nesting

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of being a rabbit owner is watching them lose their young ones.

All too often, inexperienced breeders will find that their does will produce a litter of beautiful, healthy bunnies, only to have them all die within a few weeks.

While it is possible for rabbits of any age to succumb to illness or injury, there are several reasons why young rabbits are particularly vulnerable.

First of all, they have not yet developed strong immune systems and are thus more susceptible to disease. In addition, they are small and delicate, making them more likely to be injured or crushed.

Finally, newborn rabbits typically have very little body fat and may not have enough energy to survive if they become sick or stressed.

As a result, wild animals, pet rabbits, newborn rabbits, and young rabbits often die at a much younger age than their adult counterparts.

While this can be heartbreaking for rabbit owners, it is important to remember that death is a natural part of life and that these creatures are often better off in the wild where they can live out their natural lifespan.

At What age do Baby Cottontails, and wild Bunnies, Leave a Shallow Nest?

A baby cottontail’s nest is typically a shallow depression in the ground lined with soft materials like grasses or fur.

The mother rabbit will only visit the nest a few times a day to feed her young, and otherwise, the babies are on their own.

Baby cottontails are born blind and deaf, and they are not fully furred. At two weeks old, they are able to leave the nest and fend for themselves. 

At what Week of Age do Baby Rabbits start Eating Solid Food?

Baby Rabbit Weaning Nesting

According to The Virginia House Rabbit Society, rabbits are weaned and ready to eat solid foods by about 8 weeks of age. Baby rabbits should be slowly introduced to hay, pellets, vegetables, and water.

For the first week or so, they will only nibble at these new foods. But by 8 weeks old, they should be eating a majority of solid foods and drinking water on their own.

If you have any concerns about your rabbit’s diet, consult with a veterinarian or experienced rabbit breeder.

Final Thoughts – Will a Momma Rabbit Remove a Dead Baby from Nest

This is ethically good to remove dead baby rabbits from the nest as it will cause emotional disturbances in the mother rabbit. In addition to that, dead bunnies can cause a number of health complications. All along with that, they can invite a number of predators putting the rest of the rabbits in danger. If the Nest is in The Wild.

Well, designed strategies should be brought into consideration for the safe removal of dead bunnies. Timely suspicion of the dead bunny is very much crucial for further proceedings. This describes the safe way to handle baby rabbits.

Author: Dr. John Abbass
DVM  M.Phil( Animal production & Welfare)

Michael F. Sorensen, John P. Rogers, Thomas S. Baskett, Parental Behavior in Swamp Rabbits, Journal of Mammalogy, Volume 53, Issue 4, 30 November 1972, Pages 840–849,

Warming a Cold Rabbit
Comforting a Dying Bunny

Rabbit Breeder Associations

Rabbit AssociationLocationLink
American Breeders AssociationUnited StatesARBA
House Rabbit SocietyCaliforniaHRS
Ohio States Rabbit Breeders AssociationOhioOSRBA
Livestock Conservancy North CarolinaLC
Rabbit Welfare Association and FundUnited KingdomRWA
British Rabbit CouncilUnited KingdomBRC
European Association of Rabbits....EuropeEAP
Australian National Rabbit CouncilAustraliaANRC
Australian Rabbit House SocietyAustraliaARHS
ARBA - Rabbit ShowsUnited StatesARBA - Shows
Resource List of Rabbit Breeder Associations
Farm mAnimal Report Gift Shop
Gift Shop


  • Darlene and I have Lived on a 500 Acre farm, we lived there raising our 3 children and 6 Foster Children. On That farm we and our Children Raised Rabbits Chickens Hogs Cattle Goats