What to know about Flemish giant rabbits
The Flemish giant rabbits are the largest species of rabbits on earth. If you love giant pets, these rabbits play a major role.
The males can weigh over 13 pounds and are bred for their meat. The high bone to meat ratio has stopped people breeding the Flemish giant rabbits for meat.
Today, these rabbits are bred for show and pet purposes.
The Flemish giant rabbits information
There are different breeds of rabbits in terms of care requirements, temperaments, and sizes. As with dogs, people pick rabbits for their desired characteristics.
While we have over 48 rabbits, the Flemish giant rabbits stand out in their characteristics. We have listed some of the characteristics of these giant rabbits.
Flemish giant rabbits physical description
Some of the rabbits can measure up to 2.5 feet. You can easily differentiate the male from the female. The male comes with broader heads, while the females have the dewlap.
Dewlaps are the large fold of skin seen under the female Flemish rabbits’ skin to keep their young ones warm.
A well-bred Flemish giant comes with a beautifully rounded rump, evenly colored coat, and a long and powerful body.
Flemish giants come with a variety of colors in their thick, glossy fur. In the United States, seven colors are recognized by the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders.
The seven colors include white, sandy, steel grey, light grey, fawn, blue, and black.
The Flemish giant rabbits are regarded as an ancient breed of domesticated rabbit. They were initially raised for their fur and meat.
While the Flemish giants are domesticated, they still exhibit some characteristics of the wild rabbits. These rabbits come with good eyes for detecting predators and large ears for excellent hearing.
They came into the United States of America from Belgium and England in the 1890s.
When trained well, the rabbits become gentle and docile with kids. Some people breed the Flemish giant rabbits for a show because of their features and size.
However, these rabbits require enough space to move around. This does not mean that they cannot use indoors.
The Flemish giant rabbits are popular, stable breeds that have not been over-harvested or over-breed. They eat their fecal materials to help them digest harsh meals.
Those who love hugging and cuddling will love this breed of rabbits. They are gentle and easy to accommodate.
History of the Flemish giant rabbits
The Flemish giant rabbits originated in Flanders and were bred in the early 16th century close to Ghent in Belgium.
Most people believed it came from a number of fur and meat rabbit breeds like the Steenkonijn (Stone Rabbit).
The stone rabbit is the old Belgian rabbit that weighs around 3.8 kilograms (8.4 lb)) and the extinct European “Patagonian” breed.
The “Patagonian” rabbit was a large breed in Belgium and France but was not the same as the Patagonian rabbit of Argentina (Sylvilagus brasiliensis).
This breed was a wild species of a different genus weighing less than 0.9 kilograms (2.0 lb). In 1893, the first standard breed of the Flemish rabbit was noted.
This breed of rabbit is an ancestor of the different breeds in the world. It was brought to America to help improve the meat rabbits during the American great “rabbit boom”.
However, it did not become popular until 1910 when it was seen at small livestock shows in the United States of America.
Today, the Flemish giant rabbits have become more popular at rabbit shows because of their varying colors and large size.
The National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders promoted the rabbits shows, which was formed in 1915.
You can call the Flemish giant rabbits the “Gentle Giant” for their docile personality or the “universal rabbit” for their varied purposes as a pet, show, breeding, meat, and fur animal.
The appearance of the Flemish giant rabbits
The Flemish giant rabbits are regarded as one of the largest rabbit breeds that are domesticated. They come as semi-arch-type rabbits with their back arch starting behind the shoulders.
They have at the base of the tail a “mandolin” shape, while their bodies come long and powerful with relatively broad hindquarters.
The fur of the Flemish Giant is known to be glossy and dense. When stroked from the hindquarters to the head, the fur will roll back to its original position.
The bucks come with a broad and massive head, and take around 1.5 years to reach full maturity. The does have a large, full, evenly carried dewlap and can take 1 year to reach their full maturity.
The Flemish giant rabbits weigh 6.8 kilograms (15 lb) on average and the biggest ones weigh up to 10 kilograms (22 lb).
The show standard minimum weight for a senior doe is 6.4 kilograms (14 lb), and the show standard minimum weight of a Senior buck is 5.9 kilograms (13 lb).
Behavior and lifestyle
The Flemish giant rabbits can be tolerate and docile of handling. However, they require frequent human interactions for them to achieve these characteristics.
They can become aggressive or fearful if they are not handled with care or irresponsibly. You should pay attention to their spine alignment because of their size.
Before you buy these rabbits, you should consider their level of food consumption, size, and substantial waste production. You should not ignore the space they require when you buy them.
Their size requires that you offer them enough space to move around. You can get them rooms or a very large pen. The larger dog crates are ideal for them too.
You should consider the amount of food they consume and how they move around. They produce enough waste products, which means more work for you.
You should consider waste management too when breeding this rabbit. They prefer temperate climates and are sensitive to heat.
The Flemish giant rabbits do not have different diet. They eat what other rabbits eat, but they eat more because of their size. You should offer them occasional treats and hay.
They require about 16% of a high protein diet to gain bone mass when they are growing and gain muscle mass. You can offer small amounts of broccoli, cabbage, or apples as treats.
However, you should not harm the rabbit by offering more treats than necessary. Do not feed them apple seed or core because it can affect their health.
Before the Flemish giant rabbits reach full size, they require more food. Females with kids should be fed more to help them handle their young. During winter, all rabbits must take more fluid and feed.
Overfeeding can cause obesity for both pet and commercial rabbits. They can suffer from kidney stones when you feed them excess minerals, calories, protein.
The House Rabbit Society recommends that we feed them around two cups of chopped leafy vegetables per 2.7 kilograms (6.0 lb) of body weight.
They do not need more than two tablespoons of fruit or carrots per 2.7 kilograms (6.0 lb) of their body weight daily.
When it comes to breeding, the Flemish giant rabbits have their specific requirement according to the American Rabbit Breeders’ Association (ARBA).
The female should not be bred until they have attained a senior weight range, which is 6.4 kilograms (14 lb). They should be about around 9 months to one year to gain much weight.
To reach the maximum weight, it could take them 1.5 years. This means that the females should be allowed to mature before they start breeding.
However, both males and females can become sexually mature when they reach 4 months and 8 days. You have to separate the rabbits when they are three months.
The female should be joined with other females, while the male should be joined with other males. When there is a fight, they should be separated.
You should know that the breeding lifespan of this rabbit varies. Some breeders may not want more litters when they clock three years.
Others can continue giving birth until eight years. The gestation period is between 28–31 days. However, on average the Flemish giant rabbits can give birth at 30–32 days.
The female can give birth to 5 and 12 in a litter.
4-H and show
The Flemish giant rabbits are naturally docile and have uncomplicated grooming support. In the United States, they are used by 4-H programs as a starter rabbit.
Children are taught how to care for pets and animals, including being responsible. The breed is also used for promoting show breeding by the National Federation of Flemish Giant Breeders Youth Program.
Where to buy the Flemish giant rabbits
Over the years, the Flemish giant rabbits have become more popular, making it possible for people to have more of them for sale.
You can find different online sources that sell the Flemish giant rabbits. However, you should be careful of where you get your bunnies.
It may not be advisable to buy from unrespectable sources. You should get the Flemish giant rabbits from a reputable breeder and reputable rabbitry.
This will help you get the best breed in terms of health and temperament. You should consider different factors when getting a Flemish giant
You should consider the temperament of the father and mother, good nutrition, well-being, healthcare, and hygiene.
The rabbit hutch should be large enough to contain it or get a dog’s playpen for it. A normal rabbit cage cannot fit the gentle giant.
Things to Consider Before Buying Flemish Giant Rabbits
What kind of rabbit cage does a Flemish Giant need?
The Flemish giant rabbits require large cages. However, most pet stores do not sell these large cages. Do your research before getting your rabbit’s cage.
Is there enough space for a Flemish Giant to roam around?
You should consider the living space before you buy this rabbit. These rabbits require enough space to roam about.
A property without space may not be conducive for this type of rabbit. A bad behavioral issue may arise if they do not have enough space to roam around.
Do you have children living with you?
The Flemish rabbit is one of the largest breeds of rabbits that can weigh between 12-14 pounds on average.
Do you have other pets that can’t get along with the Flemish Giant?
You should consider the other pets in your home before getting the rabbit. Some pets may not get along with the rabbit.
Find ways to bring the rabbit to feel safe with the other pets in your house. The current pets should get used to the smell of the rabbit before bringing it home.
Are there veterinarians near you?
When it comes to bringing a pet to the house, you need a veterinarian around. This can help you in times of emergency.
You should find the vets around to support your pet in terms of medical attention.
Do you have extra time in your day to take care of your new pet?
Before you buy your Flemish rabbit, you should ensure that they get your time and attention on a daily basis.
Do you know where and who you are buying your Flemish Giant Rabbit from?
Do not run and buy the Flemish giant rabbits without doing your research. Not all rabbits are purebred or bred with quality and proper care.
Can you commit to taking care of a Flemish Giant Rabbit for the long term?
The life span of the Flemish Giant is up to 8 to 13 years. However, some live longer, some live shorter, so they are a very long time commitment.
Are you only buying one Flemish Giant Rabbit?
You should buy up to two rabbits. The reason for this is simple. The Flemish giant rabbits are social animals and require companions.
This can help your rabbit live longer. Loneliness may not be good for these rabbits. When you have enough space and a great diet for these rabbits, they can grow better.