FLEMISH GIANT RABBIT
HABITAT AND RANGE
The range of the Flemish giant rabbit is world wide. Their habitat is bushy fields and forests. No one knows the exact origins of the Flemish Giant breed. However, some people surmise that during the 16th and 17th century, Dutch traders may have brought back giant rabbits from the Argentine Republic to Europe. The large rabbits of Flanders were most likely cross bred with the Argentinean giants.
They are commonly steel grey in color. They are long with a large full head and the ears are long and erect. The Flemish Giant is a semi-arch type rabbit with its back arch starting back of the shoulders and carrying through to the base of the tail giving a "mandolin" shape. The body of a Flemish Giant Rabbit is long and powerful with good muscular development and relatively broad hindquarters. Males have a broad, massive head in comparison to females. Females may have a large, full, evenly carried dewlap (the fold of skin under their chin).
The most important component of their diet is hay, a roughage that reduces the chance of blockages and malocclusion while still providing indigestible fiber necessary to keep the gut moving. Grass hays, such as timothy, are generally preferred over legume hays, such as clover and alfalfa. Legume hays are higher in protien, calories, and calcium, which in excess can cause kidney stones and loose stool. It is recommended that the Flemish Giant also receive a standard intake of 2 cups of chopped dark, green, leafy vegetables per 6 pounds of body weight (although this should be provided after four months of age to prevent enteritis) and up to 2 tablespoons of fruit or carrots per 6 pounds of body weight daily. Some of the vegetables that rabbits enjoy are romaine lettuce, escarole, turnips, collard, kale, parsely, thyme, cilantro, dandelion, basil, and the green, leafy tops of radish and carrots. It is recommended to avoid cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage because they cause gas and can lead to gastrointestinal stasis, which can be fatal. Vegetables such as potatoes and corn should also avoided due to their high starch content.
REPRODUCTION AND LIFESPAN
The ideal age for the female Flemish Giant rabbit to start breeding is about 9 months of age. The first litter must be born before the female is one year old, due to fusing of the pelvic bones, that would hinder her ability to give birth naturally. It is prefereable that have no more litters after the age of three years. The gestation period is between 28–31 days. They can produce litters of 5-12 in a litter. Their lifespan is about 4-6 years.
The Flemish Giant rabbit weighs between 14-20 pounds. The Flemish Giant has ears that are high on their head and the ears remain upright to allow sounds to be heard in all directions.