Each rabbit species grows to attain a maximum size, and they also have varying life spans. The Flemish giant rabbit is one of those rabbits that have a large size when compared to regular rabbits and is in fact, considered to be the largest rabbit breed.
The average lifespan of giant rabbits – like the Flemish giant rabbit – is five years or more. These rabbits are generally a healthy breed, and they may live well past five years if you take good care of them. Flemish giants have a variety of coat colours ranging from white, black, fawn, light grey, steel grey, blue and sandy. They also have glossy and thick furs.
Flemish giant rabbits can weigh as much as 12 to 20 pounds (5 kg – 9 kg), and they can reach heights of up to 2.5 feet. They are usually bred for their fur and meat, although they are also kept as pets by lots of people since they are docile animals despite their size.
With this astonishing weight and height, the size of giant Flemish rabbits can be likened to that of small or medium-sized dogs. It is no wonder then that they are called “giants”.
Their diet is the same as that of other rabbit breeds, except that they’ll require more food than other breeds because of their larger sizes.
History And Temperament of Flemish Giant Rabbits
It is speculated that the Flemish giant rabbit descended from breeds like the Steenkonijn and the European Patagonian breeds, which were raised for their meat and fur. The Flemish giant, in turn, is an ancestor of some rabbit breeds like the Belgian hare.
Flemish giant rabbits serve as great pets, even though they are big rabbits. This is because of their calm and docile temperaments and personalities. They are receptive to handling, and their gentle nature has earned them the name “Gentle giants”.
It is easy to train these rabbits as they are well-behaved, calm and intelligent animals. However, if you are thinking of getting one for your home, you should know that they require regular human interaction.
Like many other animals, Flemish giants can become aggressive if you mishandle them. You should always be conscious of your rabbit’s large frame when handling it, especially if it is scared. When scared, Flemish giants tend to kick a lot, and they possess strong legs which can cause injury.
What Can You Do To Increase The Lifespan Of Your Flemish Giant Rabbit?
Like any other pet, Flemish giants thrive when they are given proper care in the right environment. They require constant care, lots of nutritious food, proper and a lot of exercise so that they can be healthy and have a long life span.
If you do not watch your pet and keep it secure, it will most likely not live long. This is because, despite their sizes, Flemish giant rabbits are easy prey to predators like foxes, dogs and some other animals.
Therefore, you should always keep your rabbit in a secure cage where these predators would not have access. With the right amount of care, nutritious food and safety, your rabbit should be able to live for an extended period.
What Are The Ideal Living Conditions For Flemish Rabbits?
- Lots of space: Unlike many rabbit species, Flemish giant rabbits require a lot of space if they are to thrive. Enclosures like cages or hutches that are perfect for other rabbits are not suitable for Flemish giant rabbits.
This is due to their large sizes. Rabbits love to hop around, and the Flemish giant rabbit is not an exception. When getting an enclosure for your pet, you need to get one that will not be stifling to it.
If you own this specie of rabbit, you will be better off getting a kennel for the animal. It is not uncommon too, to see giant Flemish rabbit owners providing a small room in their houses for their rabbits. If you have the room to house your pet in this way, then, by all means, do so.
However, if you do not have the room to house the animal, or you prefer to use a indoor cage for your pet, then you should get an extra-large one that will suit your rabbit’s requirements and give it plenty of space to move around.
- Constant care and hygiene: Needless to say, but housing your rabbit in a dirty environment or enclosure will increase its risk of getting a disease. The sheer size of Flemish giant rabbits means that they eat more, and so, they’ll produce more waste.
As the owner of this rabbit, you should be ready to dedicate the time required to constantly clean up the mess that the animal generates if you want the best for it. Keeping your rabbit hutch or cage clean will increase the chances of its good health and consequently, increase its life span.
To clean your rabbit’s cage properly, you should use diluted vinegar. The ratio of the vinegar to the water should be 50:50.
- Proper security: For your pet to live long, you need to ensure that it is safe at all times. Safety is especially important if you keep the animal outdoors. If you decide to keep your pet outdoors, you will need to provide it with a shelter that is safe from both predators and the elements.
Animals such as foxes and dogs will consider your Flemish giant rabbit a tasty meal, despite its size. Harsh weather conditions will also make your pet sick if you do not shelter the animal from it.
It is, therefore, best for you to provide a sturdy and durable home for your outdoor rabbit. Some predatory birds will also pose a danger to your Flemish giant rabbit, and so you should get an enclosure with a roof.
It will also be in your rabbit’s best interest for you to rabbit-proof its living space and get rid of anything that could pose a danger to the animal. Rabbits like to chew and will gnaw on virtually anything they come across.
You must remove items like electrical cables that could cause an electric shock for your rabbit if it chews on it. Giving your rabbit the proper security that it needs will help to increase its lifespan.
- Adequate food and nutrition: A very vital aspect of taking care of any animal is feeding it. It goes without saying that if you provide sufficient and nutritious food in the right amount for your pet, it will be healthy.
Before getting a Flemish giant rabbit as a pet, you should bear in mind that owning one is not the same thing with owning regular rabbits. Since these rabbits have a larger size than other breeds, it follows them that they will require a more substantial amount of food.
You should be ready to buy enough food so that your pet will not go hungry. You’ll be better off buying your rabbits hay in bales and pellets in 50-pound bags as this will help you to save money and time.
Flemish giant rabbits mostly feed on hay, and there are different types on the market. In addition to hay, you should also give your rabbit pellets every day as the pellets contain nutrients that it requires like vitamins, proteins and others.
- Lots of exercises: Activity is vital to the well-being of any animal, giant Flemish rabbits included. You should ensure that you allow your pet to exercise frequently. Even if you have a big enclosure or cage, you should still let the rabbit come out once in a while to stretch and play.
However, you must keep a close eye on the animal each time you let it out of its enclosure, especially if there are potential predators nearby. Also, make sure that you rabbit-proof the area in which your pet is going to explore.
- Proper grooming and clipping:You must groom your Flemish giant rabbit from time to time. These rabbits have thick furs that require extensive grooming. If you neglect to groom your rabbit correctly, it will take to doing so by itself.
Rabbits are avid groomers, and they’ll always lick their furs. Grooming itself can cause your rabbit to swallow a lot of hairs, leading to hairballs. This condition is a serious one in which the furs that your rabbit ingests accumulates and causes a blockage in its intestines.
In the same vein, you will need to clip your rabbit’s nails regularly. Since Flemish giant rabbits are large, they also tend to have thick nails. It would be best if you clipped your rabbit’s nails at intervals to avoid sore hock.
- Do not breed: Breeding generally decreases the lifespan of different animals, rabbits included. Rabbits that have been spayed or neutered usually have an increased lifespan. Also, they have a lesser risk of getting uterine or ovarian cancers.
If you wish to increase the lifespan of your pet, you should not breed it. If you want to breed your rabbit, you should be aware of the fact that it will have a reduced lifespan.
The average lifespan of Flemish giant rabbits is five years. Every loving pet owner will want their pet to have a long and fulfilled life. Your pet will live up to five years of age and will even live well past it if you give it the proper care that it requires.
To save money and time, always purchase your rabbit’s food in bales so that it can last you for some time. With the right amount of food, adequate shelter, enough roaming space, hygiene and love, you will have a happy and long-lived pet.