The Flemish giant rabbit is known by various nicknames. He is dubbed as the King of Rabbits, the Universal Rabbit, and the Gentle Giant. Part of it is because of his large size, whilst the rest is due to his docile nature and liveliness that catches the hearts of countless rabbit enthusiasts.
Where did Flemish giant rabbits originate?
The Flemish Giant was developed in Ghent, Belgium, around the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. However, it is still debated as to what parent breed he was created from. Some speculate that the gentle giant is a descendant of the extinct Patagonian rabbit.
The Flemish Giant was commonly kept for their meat and fur in Europe back then. Others believe that he was bred from the Argentinian Patagonian rabbit.
It was also around the sixteenth century when the gentle giant was brought and bred in Flanders. The existence of the Flemish giant was first recorded in 1860. Later on, news spread in England about giant bunnies in France and Flanders.
During the 1880s, the Flemish Giant breed was exported to the United States. The Flemish giant started making an appearance in livestock shows around the early 1900s.
Fifteen years later, the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders (NFFGRB) was established. In 1929, the Flemish giant rabbit was officially recognised by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA). Are you interested in having a Flemish giant as a family pet?
What do Flemish giant rabbits look like?
The Flemish giant bunny one of the largest rabbit breeds. Generally, he weighs about 4 kg and grows up to 51 cm long. Others can even be as heavy as 9 to 10 kg.
The Gentle Giant possesses a well-balanced and sturdy semi-arch body. His head is proportionate to his body. He has thick, large ears that can be approximately 12 cm long.
When do Flemish giant rabbits stop growing?
It would take around a year and a half for a Flemish giant to fully mature. One way to know if he has reached adulthood is by comparing his size to a full-grown Flemish giant rabbit. His weight should reach 4 kg, whilst his length should be around 51 cm.
How much do Flemish giant rabbits weigh?
Being a large rabbit breed, a full-grown gentle giant weighs an average of 6 kg. However, he can even grow much bigger and exceed this size. Records show that a female Flemish giant rabbit can weigh up to 9 kg, a whilst male can weigh up to 10 kg.
Are Flemish giant rabbits hypoallergenic?
All rabbit breeds are non-hypoallergenic. However, there are a few bunnies that are less likely to trigger allergies such as the rex. However, the gentle giant is not included in that list. Thus, he may not be the best pet rabbit for people with allergies.
Flemish giant rabbit care
Bathing is not necessary since the gentle giant loves to self-groom. Another big reason to avoid it is that it causes him extreme stress. If his fur is dirty, use a clean, wet cloth to remove the grime.
Nail trimming for Flemish Giant must be done at least once a month. If you find this difficult, let the vet do it every time you visit for your rabbit’s check-ups.
Do Flemish giant rabbits shed?
The Flemish giant bunny sheds his coat twice a year. It occurs during spring and autumn. During the shedding season, he requires more frequent brushing. Do this at least twice a week.
On normal days, he only needs minimal brushing, which should be done at least once a week using a slicker brush. Never skip this grooming routine since it keeps his coat mat-free and clean and also prevents fur block.
Are Flemish giant rabbits good pets?
The Flemish giant earned his nickname ‘Gentle Giant’ for being a docile and affectionate pet rabbit. His love is just as big as his size. Playing and staying close to his family is something he enjoys. He thrives in receiving love and attention and will even hop and relax on his favourite human’s lap.
As a social animal, the gentle giant will be happier having a fellow rabbit as a companion. Letting him live alone may result in loneliness, boredom, and depression. If you decide to get a pair of Flemish giants of the opposite sex, they must be spayed and neutered. This is to avoid accidental mating.
Rabbits that are yet to be spayed or neutered should be kept in separate cages. If you opt to keep rabbits of the same sex, they still need to be neutered or spayed as well. Doing so will prevent fighting and aggression.
Although the gentle giant is a friendly pet, he needs proper socialisation to get along well with people and other pets. Supervision is needed when he is playing with children especially younger ones. It’s because he easily gets scared of loud noises, just like most rabbits.
Teaching children the importance of proper and gentle handling of rabbits is also necessary. If handled roughly, the Flemish giant bunny may bite and scratch.
Do Flemish giant rabbits get along with dogs and cats?
The gentle giant is a great companion for both cats and dogs. He is one of the few rabbit breeds that get along well with other pets. However, early socialisation of the two is extremely needed to make things work.
An unsocialised Flemish giant rabbit will be too frightened to go near a dog or cat. Meanwhile, some dogs and cats have a high prey drive. They need to learn that the Flemish giant is a friend and not prey.
What do Flemish giant rabbits eat?
The Flemish giant’s diet should be composed of premium-quality hay, pellets, vegetables, fruits, and of course, water. Hay makes up 70 per cent of his diet and should be given in unlimited amounts together with water. The remaining 30 per cent is a balanced combination of pellets, fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens.
Keep in mind that vegetables and fruits should never substitute high-quality hay. These are to be given in limited amounts as too much can cause digestive upset. Remember to remove seeds from fruits to prevent intestinal block or poisoning. Below is a list of vegetables and fruits that are healthy for the Flemish giant to eat:
What to feed Flemish giant rabbits
A three-week-old Flemish giant kit solely depends on his mother’s milk. When he is four to seven weeks of age, begin introducing small amounts of alfalfa and pellets.
A gentle giant that is seven weeks to seven months old must have unlimited access to hay and pellets. He can also start eating small quantities of vegetables. It should be no more than a half-ounce. A rabbit has a sensitive digestive system, so give him one variety of vegetable at a time.
Feed a young adult gentle giant with unrestricted amounts of premium-quality hay. Since alfalfa is a fattening food for a mature rabbit, its amount should be decreased to 1/2 cup per 2 kg of body weight. Slowly increase servings of vegetables to around 2 cups daily.
Fruits should be given sparsely since it is high in calories. It must not exceed 1 oz.–2 oz. per 2 kg body weight.
A full-grown Flemish rabbit bunny needs unlimited quantities of high-quality hay. Pellets should only be 1/4 to 1/2 cup per 2 kg body weight. For fresh vegetables, around 2 cups per 2 kg of body weight is the minimum daily requirement. Limit the amounts of fruits to no more than 2 oz. (2 tbsp) per 2 kg body weight.
How long do Flemish giant rabbits live?
Larger breed of rabbit has shorter life expectancy than its smaller counterpart. The Flemish giant has an average lifespan of four to six years. This is if he is properly looked after. Providing him with an appropriate housing, healthy and balanced diet, and a happy home environment will help in extending his life.
Flemish giant rabbit health problems
The Flemish giant bunny is vulnerable to many health problems. This is a normal occurrence in every rabbit breed since each has a sensitive and delicate body. Listed below are the most common health issues observed in the Flemish giant:
- Fur block
- Uterine tumours
- Overgrown teeth
Bunnies are known to hide their weaknesses including illnesses as a defensive mechanism. Therefore, knowing if your pet rabbit is sick can be very tricky but not impossible to do. Early signs of health problems include lethargy, changes in appetite, dirty fur, and unusual discharges from the eyes, nose, mouth, ear, or bottom. If your Flemish giant is showing any of these symptoms, take him to the vet right away.
Flemish giant rabbit cage
3 feet by 4 feet is the minimum cage size advised for the Flemish giant rabbit. If you can provide an even more spacious hutch, it would give him more area to hop around.
Getting two gentle giants mean that their hutch should be twice the recommended size. The hutch’s bottom should be solid instead of wire, which could damage your rabbit’s feet. It should then be covered with resting pads and layers of bedding.
The Flemish giant is sensitive to temperature changes. The temperature of the location where you place the hutch must be approximately 70 F. The beddings should be spot-cleaned every day. Meanwhile, full cage cleaning should be done at least once a week.
Can Flemish giant rabbits live outside?
A gentle giant can be kept outside, but it is not recommended. Several threats can endanger his life including parasites, stray animals, and the weather. If you choose to let your Flemish giant live outdoors, place his hutch on an elevated area. This is to keep the enclosure from getting wet.
Moreover, it prevents ticks and mites from easily infiltrating inside. Be sure that the fences in your yard are durable and secure to keep stray animals out.
The Flemish giant is highly susceptible to heatstroke. Thus, the hutch should be weatherproof and it must be placed in a well-ventilated area without drafts.
During summer, you may need to transfer him to an air-conditioned room or place frozen water bottles in the hutch. Place extra amounts of blankets and beddings especially during the winter season. This will keep him warm and comfortable despite the cold.
Cost of Ownership
How much is a Flemish giant?
The price of a healthy and well-bred Flemish giant is about £60 to over £160. Purchase from a reputable breeder to ensure that your rabbit is in good shape. You can find a trustworthy breeder by asking referrals from the vet and fellow rabbit enthusiasts. Visiting local breed clubs and rabbit shows is another option that you can try.
Cost of a Flemish giant rabbit
Yearly expenses for a Flemish giant’s food is between £500 and £700. You may need to spend around £510 for his basic supplies such as grooming equipment and food and water bowls. Costs for rabbit housing and proofing may reach up to £350.
Initial vaccination and check-up fees may total around £50. Health checks and preventative treatments may require you to pay about £50 each year. Availing pet insurance costs £10 a month.
- A female Flemish giant rabbit has dewlaps or folded skin. This is used to keep her kits warm.
- One can tell if the Flemish giant is a male or female by looking at their heads. Bucks have broader heads compared to does.
Are you looking for a rabbit as your new family pet? Check out The 6 Most Loved Rabbit.