The Flemish Giant Rabbit is considered as the biggest breed of domestic rabbits. It is also known as the ‘king of rabbits’. The scientific name for this breed is Oryctolagus cuniculus domesticus. These rabbits grow very quickly and reach an immense size in a short time. This is a docile, patient, and sweet-tempered rabbit that goes well with the families.
This rabbit breed is used in the United States, in the 4-H program. In this program, the Flemish Giant breed is used to teach children about caring for the farm animals.
History of the Flemish Giant Rabbit
The Flemish Giant rabbits originated in the 16th century from Flanders which is a dutch speaking portion of Belgium. These rabbits are thought to be the descendants of Stone Rabbits and Patagonian rabbits. These are also the Belgian breeds with huge sizes and great masses. However, the first and the most authentic records of Flemish Giant rabbits were found somewhere in 1860.
The Flemish Giant rabbit became the ancestor of any rabbit breeds after getting imported from Belgium to America in the mid of the 19th century. These rabbits started appearing in livestock shows after getting attention in 1910.
The National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders started promoting this breed when it was formed in 1915. Today this is one of the most famous domesticated rabbits breed for its various colors, sweet nature, and huge sizes. In the beginning, it was mainly bred for its meat and fur but now it is used in shows and kept as pet world wide.
Physical Characteristics of the Flemish Giant Rabbits
The Flemish Giant rabbit is a distinctive breed due to its size and appearance. The following are some of its distinctive features.
Height & Weight
The Flemish Giant rabbits are very long. They look huge due to their size and weight. They are around 2.5 feet long. 2 to 3 months old Flemish bunnies weigh about 4 pounds and a fully-grown rabbit weighs 14 pounds. Some breeds can also weigh more than 21 pounds.
The Flemish Giant rabbits get sexually mature at the age of 4 to 6 months and give birth to a litter of 5 to 12 kits, a short term for the kitten.
The Flemish Giant rabbit enjoys longevity of life and lives up to its teens. Some rabbits live up to 5 years.
These rabbits have a long, huge, and powerful body. They possess a semi-arched body where the arch starts from their shoulder and goes down to the tail. They have a large head in proportion to the body. The male head is even broader than the female. Their ears are huge, long, and erect with a heavy base but they must not lop.
The females appear will a dewlap. It is a fold of skin under the chin and makes a double-chin for the female Flemish Giant rabbits.
The Flemish Giant Rabbits are also famous for their fur. They have a thick, dense, and glossy fur and when it is stroked from back to front, it rolls back to its original shape.
Coat colors and Eyes
The Flemish Giant rabbit is available in 7 distinctive colors. For every color. There must be a specific eye color to make the rabbit breed standardized.
For a solid black, light grey, light gold, Reddish sandy, Steel grey coat, eyes must be brown.
For a pure white coat, pink eyes are mandatory.
A blue coat must have bluish-grey eyes.
Personality and Temperament of the Flemish Giant Rabbits
The Flemish Giant rabbits have a huge and massive look but they have a sweet personality and docile nature. They have a mild temperament and easily blend with the families.
They become good companions when kept indoors. They like to hop in the house and love sitting in the owner’s lap like a cat. They need a wide space of about 5 sq.ft to roam around easily.
If they are kept in cages, the cages must be large with large doors.
These rabbits remain calm and show tolerance for handling but get irritated and become nervous when they are handled roughly and carelessly. They can become aggressive and fearful and can react in bitting or scratching the holder.
The Flemish Giant is a breed that likes cold places to live. They cannot live in places where the temperature is more than 900 F.
The Flemish Giants are good learners and can be trained to use a litter box.
Health Issues of the Flemish Giant Rabbits
The Flemish Giant rabbit is generally a healthy breed. However, the breed is prone to some serious health issues.
The large rabbit breeds like Flemish Giant are prone to sore hocks. This problem is mainly caused when the rabbits stand on the wires or in unhygienic places.
The Flemish Giant rabbits can become overweight if they are fed with excessive treats. Excessive amounts of salts, proteins, calcium, and minerals in the feed can cause kidney stones.
Nutrition of the Flemish Giant Rabbits
The feeding of the Flemish Giant rabbits is similar to other breeds. The feed must be according to the size of the rabbit. The feed including a large amount of hay, a small number of rabbit pellets, and water. They must also be fed be fresh fruits and vegetables twice a week.
Apples, broccoli, and cabbage are some of the favorite treats of the Flemish Giants.
The Flemish Giant rabbits do not overeat therefore, they can be fed freely all day. Some breeders suggest free-feeding till the age of 1 year and feed them with 1/4th cup of pellets for 5 pounds heavy rabbits.
Care Instruction of the Flemish Giant Rabbits
The Flemish Giant rabbit has a short and curly fur. It does not need daily grooming. Once a week grooming keeps the fur tidy. A slicker brush works well with this breed. If the Flemish Giant rabbit is molting, it will need twice a week brushing.
This breed sheds its fur in fall and spring. During shedding, more brushing will be good for the coat. Their nails need occasional trimming.
This breed can get seriously sick if left in an unhygienic place. Their cage or the place where they spent the most time must be cleaned regularly. Their cage must be large to provide enough room for this giant rabbit.
The rabbit must be carried carefully. The semi-arched Flemish Giant rabbit has a huge size and must be held properly or else it can get hurt or become aggressive and nervous.
The rabbit must be held close to the chest. It should be held in such a way that its upper body must be supported by one arm and the other arm should support the rare part of the body. Do not squeeze the rabbit as it will start panicking. If it keeps on struggling, lower the rabbit to the ground and leave it.
The Flemish Giant rabbits are the huge bunnies with a sweet and docile temperament. They are good for keeping as a pet if you can take care of them properly and provide a clean and open place for them to live and hop freely.