Do flemish rabbits make good pets? This is a question that many people have asked, and the answer is yes – they can be very smart! In this blog post, we will discuss some of the things that make flemish rabbits smart and some of the things you need to consider before bringing one into your home.
The Flemish rabbit is smart and intelligent. For example, a flemish rabbit can be trained to use a litter box. It can also learn tricks, and its size allows it to co-exist with other pets. In addition, pet lovers prefer the Flemish rabbit for its gentle mien. They are docile, pleasant, and easy to handle.
Whether you want to keep one of these giant rabbits for the first time or have done it before, it’s critical to learn everything about their mannerisms and their special care. This article discusses the Flemish rabbit in greater detail. So keep reading for all the information you need.
What Makes Flemish Rabbits Smart?
Flemish rabbits are known to be one of the smartest breeds of rabbits. Unfortunately, they are also one of the largest, with some weighing in at over 20 pounds! However, this breed is very intelligent and can be easily trained. They are also relatively easy to care for, which makes them a great choice for first-time rabbit owners.
One of the things that make flemish rabbits so smart is their ability to learn tricks. This includes learning how to use a litter box, which is something that many pet owners appreciate. They can also be taught to come when called, sit upon command, and even shake hands! These tricks are not only fun for you and your family, but they also help your rabbit stay healthy and active.
What Is a Flemish Rabbit?
A Flemish rabbit is a large-sized bunny towering above an average-sized dog. Despite their scary-looking disposition, flemish rabbits are as adorable as the smaller rabbit breeds. They are favorite family pets, often called ‘gentle giants.’
Their origin is 16th-century Belgium, which is why they’re also known as the Belgian hare. After capturing them from the wild, locals domesticated and bred the animals, exporting some to England in the 19th century.
Gradually, they entered the United States of America, where breeding led to the development of many domesticated rabbits. The giant Flemish rabbit was originally bred for meat and fur. Today, rabbits mainly serve as family pets.
Their friendly, docile, and intelligent mannerisms make them desirable as other pets. Importantly, owners need to keep them in the right conditions to prevent sicknesses and other health issues.
Characteristics of the Flemish Rabbit
One of the most apparent characteristics of the Flemish rabbits is their larger size. Here are some of their unique characteristics:
- Heavy bone structure
- Semi-arched back (American) of flat-backed (British)
- Thick, glossy fur
- Long ears
- Fur that rolls back when stroked
- Bold, endearing eyes
- Seven different colors, including blue, black, white, fawn, steel gray, light gray, and sandy
- Four to six years lifespan
This particular rabbit breed has sociable personality traits and tends to pick a favorite human. Who knows? It could settle on you as its favorite.
Even though primarily friendly, the rabbit can inure you when threatened. For example, giant rabbits don’t like being handled and can bite or thrash their feet.
While it may like being stroked, the breed may bite when you stroke it for too long. Biting is a strategy for this rabbit breed to escape tight situations. Stress can also make the giant rabbit vocal.
The Size of the Flemish Rabbit
On the higher side, the Flemish giant rabbit can have a body length of up to 4-foot 3-inch (1.3 meters) long. However, the average Flemish giant is 2.5 to 3.0 feet long (76cm to 91cm). Even so, that’s bigger than many dogs.
According to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, the Flemish giant rabbit weighs 15lbs or 7kg. However, male giant rabbits tend to be heavier than females. So it’s easy to understand why it was previously bred for meat.
It is more significant than other rabbit breeds, including the Belgian hare, New Zealand white, French lop, and English lop. However, it’s smaller than the continental giant, the largest rabbit breed, weighing up to 17lbs (7kg).
Caring for a Flemish Giant Rabbit
It is one thing to have one of these Flemish giants and something completely different to give them good care. However, you can have this bunny in your family for between five to ten years with proper feeding and maintenance.
It would help if you implemented several measures to give your Flemish rabbits the excellent care they deserve. The following are some of the most obvious things on which you should focus:
The giant rabbit might not have long fur, but it required grooming weekly. Hold the bunny and check it for scratches, cuts, and wounds when grooming comes. Also, check if the ears and eyes have any discharge and look for any signs of flystrike.
Importantly, you should check the rabbit’s backside for signs of injury. Remember, rabbit urine and feces can irritate the animal’s sensitive skin and attract flies.
If your rabbit has ill health or is advanced in age, don’t expect it to groom itself. Instead, for such animals, clean them using pet-safe wipes.
However, you should never bathe the bunny due to its short and thick coat. Even though an elaborate brush out is unnecessary, combing the fur with a gentle, slicker brush is fine. Brushing a bunny is also a perfect way of bonding with it.
Check and cut the rabbit’s nails at least once a month. Use a pet nail clipper to stop them from growing too long to handle. Be careful while at it.
Like other rabbits, the gentle giant might not like it for you to do its nails. So if you can’t do it alone, ask for help from a friend or family member—alternatively, also for help from a vet.
The following are some useful tools for grooming a Flemish giant rabbit:
- Flea Comb: A flea comb is essential in removing dirt, flea eggs, and fleas from the rabbit’s fur. That should happen gently to avoid harming the rabbit.
- Slicker Brush: With this, you can disentangle the rabbit’s fur while accessing the undercoat. Be sure to maintain gentleness while using it.
- Rubber Brush: A rubber brush is vital to dislodge hair that might have been shed during fall and spring.
- Soft Brush: A Flemish rabbit loves it when you brush it with a soft brush. It provides an enjoyable and relaxing experience while dislodging loose fur.
2. Handling the Flemish Giant
Most rabbits hate it when you handle them, and the Flemish giant is no different. Naturally, therefore, you need to know the right way of handling the bunny.
Don’t mistake its giant size for aggression. It is a delicate bunny with delicate bones that require gentle handling. When nervous, the bunny can injure itself in response to imminent danger.
One of the most delicate parts of the rabbit’s body is the spine and hind legs. When exposed to pressure, they can develop fractures, compromising the animal’s health. In addition, unlike other rabbit breeds, its size and weight can be challenging to handle.
Besides, an irked giant rabbit can be aggressive and hurt you with its hind legs, claws, and teeth. Mostly, giant rabbits enjoy the company of people. They like cuddles and strokes. However, don’t try to pick a giant rabbit unless it’s essential.
3. Flemish Giant Housing Requirements
It is a given that the Flemish giant rabbit requires living space, which should be big enough for it to maintain high-level comfort. Ideally, the rabbit should hop at least three times continuously.
The vertical space should be enough for Flemish rabbits to stand on the hinds without the ears reaching the ceiling. Finally, the floor space should be enough for the bunny to stretch in multiple directions.
When buying a hutch, make sure it’s big enough to accommodate the animal. You can prevent the summer heat from harming the rabbit by placing the hutch away from direct sunlight. You may also need to fence off part of your garden to create space for the bunny to play.
A rabbit hutch should be 10-feet long, which means you can accommodate it in various ways, including the following:
- Dog Cages: A large dog cage is excellent for the giant Flemish rabbit. However, you should cover the wire mesh flooring with soft bedding and a solid mat.
- An Aviary: If you can find a large bird enclosure, don’t hesitate to turn it into a shelter for your giant rabbit.
- Converted Shed: A medium-sized shed should accommodate two giant rabbits. The cage should be secure enough and with a run that makes it possible for the rabbit to explore the garden.
- Indoor Room: If you have nowhere else to keep your Flemish rabbit, then accommodate it in a room inside your house.
4. Bedding Requirements
It is important to cover cage floors with resting pads and a layer of bedding to prevent sore hocks. You may use hay as a substrate for your rabbit’s bedding. It is warm, comfortable, and does not cause any soreness to the animal.
However, hay is only helpful if the shelter for the rabbit is outdoors. When used indoors, grass can create a huge mess, making your house look untidy.
Alternatively, you may use a carpet or blanket as the main bedding. Then you can put a tiny amount of hay in the corner of the room. In that case, you may place the grass on a rubber mat.
You can quickly litter train the Flemish rabbit due to its amenable personality. It is essential to start by selecting the correct litter box. Be sure to avoid a litter box with crystals to avoid hurting the rabbit’s feet. The best way of litter training is to use the following:
- Hardwood Stove Pellets: With this kind of litter box, you have an affordable, soft, and absorbent option.
- Paper-Based Pellets: Again, putting paper-based pellets in a litter box makes it a great way of absorbing odor.
5. Cleaning After a Flemish Giant Rabbit
Regardless of how small a rabbit is, it can pee and poop anywhere and at any time. Therefore, cleaning up after a Flemish rabbit can be very difficult. Unlike other rabbit breeds, this particular pet has enormous poop.
It would help if you made arrangements to clear the litter box daily and more often. It’s also important to disinfect the shelter regularly to prevent health problems. You can also prevent urine-soaked fur by periodically cleaning and grooming your bunny.
Finally, it’s essential to rabbit-proof your home once you have created a living space for it. the following are some of the things you can do:
- Remove houseplants, which could poison rabbits
- Hide or cover baseboards
- Protect furniture legs to prevent gnawing by the rabbit
- Remove or cover cords and cables
- Use a metal gate on the rabbit room
6. Preventing Disease in Flemish Giant Rabbits
Flemish rabbits are prone to some illnesses and diseases, which are preventable with the proper care and protection. The following are the common health problems that Flemish giant rabbits might have:
- Obesity: Obesity is a significant problem in giant rabbits compared to smaller bunnies. You can prevent that by providing enough space for the rabbit to run and exercise.
- Cardiomyopathy: The giant bunny can develop heart problems such as cardiomyopathy. You need to monitor your bunny’s breathing as it grows older. Any drastic changes in the breathing pattern should mean seeking help from a vet.
- Rabbit Snuffles: Rabbit snuffles are a disease caused by the bacterial P.Multocida, mainly affecting the Flemish giants. Even though the disease affects other rabbit breeds, it isn’t as severe.
- Arthritis and Spondylosis: Older and aging rabbits may have mobility problems like arthritis and spondylosis. An arthritic rabbit may require pain killers for it to clean itself.
- Sore Hocks: The bunny is heavy, weighing down its feet. With that, it can quickly develop sore hocks, especially if the enclosure’s floor is wire mesh. Be sure to avoid using wire mesh on the floor.
7. Feeding a Flemish Giant Rabbit
Flemish giants are versatile and do not need any unique minerals or vitamins. Therefore, their primary diet should ideally consist of fresh grass and hay.
As you feed a Flemish giant rabbit, ensure the amount of grass or fresh hay required in a day should be the rabbit’s weight. Alternatively, you may have a minimum of 70% hay, 18% protein pellets, and 10% or fewer treats.
The giant bunny can eat three times more food compared to smaller rabbits. It can eat five to seven egg cups of pellets per day on average.
That’s because these rabbits do not reach maturity before they are 1 ½ years old. So be sure to get advice from a qualified vet to know how much you need to feed it to keep the rabbit healthy.
Besides feeding it, make sure Flemish rabbits have plenty of fresh water in plenty. Its large-sized body makes it more prone to heat. Drinking lots of water can reduce the effects of heat. Their giant appetite means you must be ready to provide the extremely intelligent rabbit with enough food.
You can supplement the animal’s diet with various vegetables, including beet greens, mustard greens, spinach, parsley, carrot, radish, celery, and dandelion greens.
Like mango, berries, bananas, pear, and apple, Flemish giant rabbits. Herbs like bell pepper, watercress, basil, and mint can also come in handy.
Remember, a Flemish giant has a complex and delicate digestive system, prone to various issues. However, you can reduce the risk by gradually introducing new foods instead of doing it at once. The rabbit’s digestive system can adjust and accommodate the new diet.
Where Can I Get a Flemish Giant Rabbit?
The National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders (NFFGRB) is the best place to buy a Flemish giant rabbit. There is a list of approved rabbit breeders on the organization’s website from whom you can buy a pet. Besides, you can find local giant rabbit breeders in your area by doing a simple search on Google.
How Much Do Flemish Giants Cost?
Flemish giant rabbits are available for anything between $30 and $60. However, if you want a show-worthy pet, you should be ready to pay $250 to $300. If you factor in the recurrent costs, it will cost you between $600 and $1,200 annually to keep the animal.
Is the Flemish Giant a Great Choice?
The Flemish giant is one of the most docile, sociable, and intelligent among the rabbit breeds, making it the perfect pet. However, owning a giant pet can be a handful despite these personality traits.
It would help if you had enough space, substantial food, and the readiness to groom it regularly. Also important is to be ready to pay a vet regularly.