Gigantic, sturdy, and robust, the Flemish Giant Rabbit is easy to pick out from a lineup of rabbits, thanks to its exceptional features. Growing to nearly the size of a medium-sized dog, this breed of rabbit is a sight to behold. Their semi-arched bodies and erect ears give them a lovely alert appearance. What’s more, their large size, combined with their dopey and playful nature, makes them a natural choice for pet lovers who love bunnies but are looking for something closer in size to a dog.
Whether you are curious to see how big these gentle giants can grow or are looking to adopt one as your family pet, this article is for you. Here, we will provide you with tips on how to properly care for them as family pets and how much space they need to live comfortably, among other things.
About Flemish Giant Rabbits
The Flemish Giant rabbit is recognized by the American rabbit breeders association, popularly known as ARBA. While popular in countries located in northern Europe, this rabbit breed can be found all over the globe.
Flemish Giant rabbits originate from Flanders in Belgium. These bunnies were originally bred for their meat and fur. Today, they are bred as pets and show animals as well.
These rabbits are docile and loving in nature, which is why they’ve been nicknamed the “gentle giants” of the rabbit world. Flemish Giants enjoy being around humans and love sitting and socializing with their human friends.
Do Flemish Giant Rabbits Make Good Pets?
Flemish giant rabbits have a friendly, calm, and sweet nature, which makes them great as pet animals. When exposed to people from early in their lives, Giant Flemish rabbits make affectionate and laid-back pets. This, of course, does not come without a mischievous streak in some individuals.
Like most pet rabbits, their favorite activities include napping, eating hay, lounging, hopping around, and coming to see what you are doing while you are home, much like a dog or a cat.
Do They Bite?
Flemish Giants can bite when afraid or unhappy. So they should always be supervised especially when they are new to the home.
Proper Flemish Giant Rabbit Care
Being a giant rabbit breed, you need to be extremely careful with what you feed them and the amount of exercise they receive. This is vital because you do not want them to suffer obesity, arthritis, and other bone issues caused by excessive weight due to their large size.
Always make sure your bunny has unlimited access to filtered water and hay. Also, make sure to offer a serving of fresh leafy greens and a limited amount of pellet food each day. Occasionally, give it a treat of fruit and veggies to provide it with extra calories every now and then. Just be sure not to give it too many treats, leading to obesity and other health problems.
Flemish Giants are powerful creatures and require a lot of space to stay healthy. This is why potty training is recommended so that they can freely roam the house whenever they feel the urge to run and hop and get some exercise in. Just make sure to bunny-proof the house before letting them out. The last thing you want is for your bunny to destroy your furniture or get injured chewing electrical cords.
Standard rabbit hutches will not have enough space for a Flemish Giant. That is why we highly recommend using cages meant for larger animals. Your bunny should be able to stand upright without its ears being cramped by the cage ceiling. It should also be able to stretch out fully on all sides.
Because of their size, these gentle giants require a little help with grooming their thick and glossy fur. Expect to brush their fur at least twice every week and daily brushing using a slicker brush during shedding. This is crucial to prevent fur from blocking its sensitive digestive system.
If your giant friend gets enough exercise, its nails will naturally wear down. But you should still check them weekly and have them trimmed.
While not the most active rabbit breed around, Flemmies do need a lot of space to stay happy and healthy. Even if your bunny only manages to take short walks, the amount of space it needs is a lot greater than that of smaller breeds.
It helps to invest in a cage with a run outdoors or let your furry friend run around in your home. But unfortunately, many owners prefer dedicating an entire room to their flemish Giants.
If you have space outside, which is highly recommended, make sure you are out with them at all times in case of a predator attack. While they may be bigger than other rabbit breeds, they are still prey animals. Let them out into secure spaces like a fenced-up garden that is free from toxic plants, which puts them at risk of poisoning.
Regular exercise helps to keep your rabbit at a good healthy weight. This helps prevent health problems like obesity and sore hocks. Regular exercise also helps to keep their claws short and trimmed.
Spaying or Neutering
Female flemish giants rabbits need to be spayed as soon as they are sexually mature, typically at around 4 months of age. However, most veterinarians prefer waiting until they are 6 months old as the surgery is riskier for smaller bunnies.
On the other hand, male rabbits can be neutered as soon as their testicles start to descend, which is typically at 8 to 12 weeks.
Provide Proper Healthcare
Like other rabbit breeds, the Flemish rabbit is prone to some health concerns. The most common include:
- Mites: Like other rabbit breeds, Flemish Giants can suffer from ear mites and fur mites. If you notice it scratching a lot at one or both ears, it may be suffering from an ear mite infestation. Take it to your local vet to have it checked. Also, when grooming your bunny, be on the lookout for any of these mites in their fur.
- Heatstroke: Flemish giants do not do well in temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit due to their fur-coated skin. As such, it is best to keep your flemish rabbit in an air-conditioned room. If this is not an option, you can also use frozen water bottles or a fan to cool off your pet.
- Sore hocks: Due to their large weight, they tend to put a lot of pressure on their feet, leading to sore hocks. This is why using wire floors is not recommended for Flemish rabbits. Instead, you should pad the bottom of its cage to protect its feet.
- Obesity: Flemish giant rabbits can suffer from weight problems if left to eat to their heart’s content. As a good pet owner, it is your responsibility to monitor your pet’s eating habits.
Alongside these issues, your giant friend is also prone to respiratory and back issues due to its large size and large furry coat. Spending time with your pet rabbits provides an excellent way to get to know them and their health problems. Also, schedule regular checkups with your vet
Are They Friendly to Kids?
It is important to think about their ability to pick the rabbit up when you have children around. Flemish Giants love to be petted and sit there while you rub their fur. But picking them up is different.
If your kids are small, they may not be able to pick up the bunny. This may result in the bunny being frustrated and aggressive.
Kicks from Flemish giant bunnies can be powerful. Although they might not cause severe injuries, a kick might be sore for a small child. So it’s important to train your child how to properly handle these gentle giants.
How to Train Your Kids to Properly Handle Giant Flemish Bunnies?
Although these bunnies are gentle most of the time, they can get aggressive when handled improperly. If they feel threatened in any way, they can scratch or bite. As such, children need supervision around them. To avoid setting your flemish giant bunny off, you need to learn how to handle it correctly.
- Teach your children that your giant bunny is not a toy.
- Teach them to respect the bunny and their personal space
How to Properly Handle Flemish Giant Rabbits?
Flemish giants are a big and strong rabbit breed. So you should watch out for their powerful kick, which can be prevented with proper handling.
It would help if you handled your rabbit from time to time. This, however, is more difficult given their size. Being giant rabbits, you need to provide them with a lot of support when picking them up.
Support their upper body with one arm and wrap the other arm around the lower half, making sure to support their back legs. Gently hold the rabbit to your chest, making sure not to squeeze them. Use a soft voice to calm them. If it seems stressed or starts to panic when you try to pick it up, gently lower it to the ground.
How Social Are These Animals?
These bunnies are naturally friendly and social animals. so spending a lot of time with them will help you bond with them.
Ways to Play and Interact With Your Bunny
Before you think of ways to play with your pet bunny, it is important that you understand how rabbits interact with humans. Since they are prey animals, rabbits behave very differently when compared to cats, dogs, and other predator animals. For predators, their play activities stem from their need to hunt.
Rabbits are social animals who love to play with their owners. But still, you need to get creative to get them to bond and interact with you. For instance, think about their natural behaviors, which include chewing, burrowing, and foraging. Then, use this information to create fun games that let your pet rabbit use its most natural instincts in a fun and exciting way.
Most importantly, ensure the rabbit is actually enjoying these activities, and you are not forcing it to interact, which can make it afraid of you.
Signs of a Happy or Curious Bunny
Confident body posture: An upright body posture but with relaxed ears and body.
Curious body language: A curious rabbit tends to inch forward to sniff. Its ears face forward, and its tail stays down. The rabbit should not be shaking or trying to run away from fear.
Zooming and binkying: Running in circles or jumping and twisting in the air (binkying) are signs of a very happy and excited bunny.
Signs of Fear or Hostility in a Rabbit
Alert, rigid body posture: When scared, you will notice that your bunny’s ears stand upright and look rigid, usually facing forward. Its body posture may also look like that of a bunny ready to run away at any moment.
Thumping: When your rabbits start to thump, this is a sign they are scared or upset.
Running away to hide: A frightened bunny will run away and try to hide. it will also have a scared and alert body posture.
The Right Ways to Interact With Your Rabbit
Stay on Your Rabbit’s Level
Rabbits tend to feel more comfortable when their owner is not towering over or overshadowing them. It is best to squat, sit on a step stool or sit down on the floor when interacting with your giant friend. As your rabbit gets more comfortable with you, they will be more willing to play when you are standing.
Don’t Force Your Rabbit
If the bunny shows no interest to play or gets bored after a few minutes of play, you should respect its stand and leave it to do its own things. Otherwise, forcing them to play makes them resentful or fearful towards you, which is something you do not want with a pet rabbit. Try again later.
Pay Attention to the Time of Day
Flemish Giants are crepuscular animals. They are most active and ready to play early morning or when the sun is setting. So try to schedule playtime during these hours.
Interact With Your Bunny Frequently
Generally, the more you interact with your bunny, the more they are to trust and play with you. Make playtime a part of your rabbit’s daily routine for best results. If your rabbit knows playtime starts at around 6 pm every day, it naturally gets excited and ready to play around this time.
Break Treats Into Small Pieces
During playtime, reward your bunny’s curiosity and good behavior with treats. Just be sure not to give it too many treats, leading to obesity or an imbalanced digestive system.
Pro tip: Cut the treats into small pieces so you can reward them regularly without worrying about overfeeding them with sweet treats.
Pet Your Pet Bunny
Sometimes playing with your bunny can be as simple as petting or cuddling them. This is an excellent way to socialize with shier or elderly rabbits. This way, they do not need to hop around or be overly active when all they want is to stay near you.
Build Tunnels and Bridges
Another fun way to play and interact with your giant rabbit is to use your body to create obstacles for them to hop over or hide under. For instance, try laying on the floor so your bunny can hop on top of you and have fun exploring the area around you. You can also get on your hands and knees to create a tunnel underneath you. Again, your bunny will have a lot of fun checking out the new spaces you make.
Flemish rabbits have an excellent sense of smell. You can create fun games that allow them to explore this sense. For example, try placing a treat in one of your fists. Hold both your fists ut for the rabbit to sniff. If they tap on the fist with their nose, open your hand, and if they guessed right, give them the treat.
Caution: If your pet bunny tends to bite the hand with the treat, avoid his game at all costs. Alternatively, you can use cups to cover the treat instead. Put the treat under one of many cups, and let your pet have fun flipping them over until they get their treat.
Share a Treat
Flemish giants love sweet fruit and vegetables so much that they will try to steal it right out of your hand. SO the next time you are munching on an apple, take a couple of bites and hold it down to let your bunny take a bite as well. Hold on to the apple tightly as your rabbit may try to steal it out of your hand.
Bunnies love to dig their teeth into objects and toss them around. so give them a ball such as a willow ball with teeth hold and watch them have fun picking it up and tossing it away. Other items include toilet paper tubes stacking cups, and small wooden blocks, among other similar toys.
Tug of War
If your furry friend loves to chew on cardboard, play a simple game of tug of war with them. If they are chewing and digging on specific cardboards, pretend to take it away from it and they will grab on and pull.
The bottom line
Flemish Giant rabbits are truly gentle giants. They are undoubtedly the most fun and enjoyable rabbits to take care of in your home. If you are looking for a gentle giant who just wants some love and affection, then Flemmies might just be right for you. Their larger-than-life personalities and docile nature make them a natural choice for anyone with enough time and space necessary to raise them.
These bunnies are popular for rabbit breeders with their outstandingly kind and gentle demeanor. Overall, the Flemish giant makes an excellent family pet.
Where Can You Get Certified Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders?
You can look up Flemish Giant Breeders online.
How Fast Do Flemish Giant Rabbits Grow?
Flemish Giants grow relatively fast. By the time they are 1.5 years old, they have normally reached their adult size. So, make sure you have the space to house an adult Flemish giant as soon as possible.
Can Flemish Giant Rabbits Be House Trained?
Yes. These pets are easy to litter box train, making them the perfect house pets. So start teaching them to use a litter box as soon as they enter your home.
How Much Does a Flemish Giant Rabbit Weigh?
The average flemish giant weighs around 15 lb (6.8 kg). Female flemish giants can weigh up to 20 pounds, while males can weigh up to 22 pounds.
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