Flemish Giant Rabbit Lifespan: Raising Your Pet Rabbit The Right Way | Kidadl


Flemish Giant Rabbit Lifespan: Raising Your Pet Rabbit The Right Way

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Flemish giant rabbits are a breed of rabbits known for their large size and docile nature.

Once native to Belgium, these adorable bunnies are now unfortunately extinct in the wild and are now popular with American rabbit owners instead. Flemish giant rabbit breeders now breed these rabbits for sale in the domestic pet industry.

They are the largest rabbit breed in the world! Flemish giant rabbits are thought to be descended from the Stone and European Patagonian breeds of rabbits, who were mostly bred for harvesting their meat and fur. However, Flemish giant rabbits are mostly bred as pets now, although their meat is occasionally consumed in a few places. These rabbits have been recorded in Belgium as far back as the 16th century, and made their way to America in the late 19th century. They've been a very popular choice of a pet ever since. Their thick, dense fur is very soft, and they are very good at being handled which makes them great pets for children and people who like to cuddle with their pets! These pet rabbits come in a variety of seven colors recognized by the ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association), with their fur ranging from light gray, steel gray, white, fawn, sandy, black and blue.

What is the lifespan of Flemish giant rabbit?

Though Flemish giant rabbits usually live for between 8-10 years, a lot of them suffer from health problems which result in them living only up until the age of five.

Giant flemish rabbits, true to their name, are very large indeed! They weigh around 15 lb (6.8 kg) on average, and reach a weight of 4 lb (2 kg) around the age of seven to eight weeks, which is the average weight of adults of smaller rabbit species. However, there seems to be no maximum weight limit for these rabbits, which can grow up to 22 lb (10 kg)!

There are seven ARBA recognized colors of the Flemish giant rabbit breed which are blue, black, fawn, sandy, light gray, steel gray, and white.

Do Flemish giant rabbits have health problems?

There are quite a few health concerns which plague this rabbit breed, and they can affect their long-term health if not dealt with immediately. Their large size, as well as extra needs, may make them a bit harder to care for than other rabbit breeds. However, if kept well and their dietary needs are taken care of they can live well past the age of 10 years.

Due to their large size, these pet rabbits can eat a lot. However, it is very important to keep a check on how much they are actually eating, and make sure that they do not eat too many treats. Carrying around too much weight on their bodies can contribute to Flemish rabbits developing health problems which is why keeping them in shape is extremely important.

Their giant size and dense fur can also make them very susceptible to heatstroke or heat exhaustion inside the house if exposed to high levels of heat. They must be kept in a slightly cool environment, with not too much moisture and humidity in order to prevent them from overheating. If you notice your pet rabbit breathing too heavily, its ear going red or salivating in excess, then move it to a cooler area immediately. Be aware that the large size of this breed makes them prone to developing back or limb injuries if they are dropped from great heights or handled carelessly, as the extra weight can prove too much for sudden movements to handle.

If you have a female rabbit who is unspayed and not breeding, then get her neutered immediately, as keeping a female bunny intact may lead to the development of uterine cancer.

Another very common problem Giant flemish rabbits develop is sore hocks, meaning the development of pressure sore on the soles of their feet. These may develop if a rabbit is exposed to unhygienic conditions, or an injury on the foot it left untreated. If these sores are left untreated, then they can spread to deeper tissues inside the body and cause damage to the muscles or nervous system. This is irreversible. With these rabbits, making sure their enclosures are spick and span is highly important!

Portrait Of Cute Flemish Giant Rabbit In Garden.

What do Flemish giant rabbits eat?

Giant Flemish rabbits need a diet based heavily on hay and grass, as well as added protein and occasional treats.

It is recommended that your pet rabbit eat its weight in hay and grass every day. However, make sure that it keeps its protein intake up by adding protein pellets. You cannot feed these rabbits meat or dairy as they are strictly herbivorous.

Make sure that protein pellets make up less than one-third of your rabbit's diet, and do not indulge them with treats often. It is also recommended to feed them chopped vegetables for other minerals and vitamins. For every 6.6 lb (3 kg) of their body weight, you can feed them two cups of chopped vegetables which include bell peppers, carrot tops, spinach, bok choy, and fennel leaves. You can also give them pieces of fresh fruit like apples, mangoes, berries, pears, and bananas. Apples should be given without the seeds as they can be toxic for rabbits.

If you are aiming to feed your rabbit something new, like a fruit or vegetable, then do be aware that it will take some time to make sure your pet gets used to it. Rabbits have very sensitive and complex digestive systems, and cannot adapt as easily to newly introduced foods as well as other animals do. Instead of feeding them a large amount of one particular food, create a mix of different fruits and vegetables and feed it to them once they get used to them individually.

With fruit, treat them as you would dessert and only give them small amounts. Giving these rabbits a lot of natural sugars can mess with their digestive systems as well as make them gain weight. You can use pieces of fruit as treats while training rabbits, as they love sugar. While feeding them any food with seeds, like apples, bell peppers, peaches, or apricots, be sure to remove any seeds as they might cause your pet rabbit to choke. Stems and pits are also very toxic for rabbits, so they must be removed properly.

It is recommended that owners free-feed their giant rabbits until they are a year old, as this is when they grow the most, and then start limiting their food consumption.

Do larger rabbits have shorter lifespans?

A rabbit's lifespan greatly depends on its breed and lineage, a purebred rabbit tends to live longer than a mixed breed one. However, it is widely known that larger rabbits generally live shorter lifespans than dwarf species.

However, you can take efforts in helping your rabbit live longer by keeping a close watch on its diet and exercise. If you are thinking of breeding your rabbits, then do be aware that does and bucks of different colors may not produce a healthy litter. Limit breeding to bunnies of the same color, because if Flemish giant rabbits of different colors breed it may cause a host of different health problems for their descendants. Breeding two Flemish giant rabbits of the same color together results in good quality bunnies that have longer lifespans.

A good quality doe can breed two to three times a year at most after the doe reaches eight months of age. A single litter may have 5-12 babies.

Did you know that male and female Flemish giant rabbits have different head shapes? A male rabbit has a broader head than a female, and the female has a skin flap called a dewlap under her chin, which she uses to keep her litter warm.

How can you help your Flemish giant rabbit live longer?

Though the normal Flemish rabbit lifespan ranges between 8-10 years, many of them sadly succumb much earlier than that because of various diseases and health problems. There are a number of common problems they may suffer from like respiratory diseases, paralysis of limbs (mostly the legs), uterine tumors in females, hairballs, and overgrown teeth. The most problematic of these however are sore hocks.

To make sure that your pet rabbit does not develop sore hocks, keep checking the pads of their feet. If you notice any bald spots, it means the fur is being rubbed off due to friction, which can cause sores in the future. If you notice pus-filled sores or signs of infection, then take your rabbit to the vet immediately as this can cause loss of skin down to the bone, which is very dangerous. These rabbits need to be kept at a proper, healthy weight, or their legs may not be able to handle their body weight.

Caring For Your Flemish Giant Rabbit

Flemish giant rabbits are very docile, and love affection, making them great pets! Their giant size, fluffy bodies, and willingness to being handled by their owners make them great companions for children and any animal lover.

Do be aware that though they are docile and are gentle giants, they must not be overhandled or touched when they seem annoyed, or they might scratch or bite whoever is handling them. If they seem aggressive, give them their space until they calm down. Otherwise, they make great family pets and will go and sit on their favorite person's lap whenever they feel like it.

When caring for a Flemish rabbit, make sure that it has a proper enclosure with plenty of space to hop around in. You can make an enclosure for your pet inside the house, with the floor lined with a silk sheet or thick woolen rug. This greatly reduces friction between its feet and the floor and prevents the development of sore hocks which can be very painful for this animal. Be sure to train your Flemish giant rabbit to use a litter box, so that it does not soil its bedding. If you notice that your rabbit's bedding is damp, then be sure to replace it. Since these rabbits roam around the house and pick up impurities on their feet which may transfer to their bedding and accumulate over time, spot cleaning the cage is recommended. Make sure that the enclosure is big enough for this animal to roam around freely, as being cramped up can also cause pressure sores to develop on its paws. If you notice your giant rabbits being lethargic or not moving around much, add some toys or exercise puzzles in with them to encourage them to move around instead of sitting in the same spot all day.

These rabbits need to remain at a good, healthy weight to prevent the extra weight from putting pressure on their feet, and keep their claws short and trimmed. Long claws can raise the level of the feet, which causes a smaller portion of the foot to make contact with the floor and cause more damage due to abrasive forces. Flemish giant rabbits need a small amount of outdoor time each day too, for exercise. Let them out into a secure space, such as a fenced-up garden, which is free from poisonous plants, which they may unknowingly nibble on, and predators. Grooming these giant animals weekly is a must. Dirt may become trapped in their dense hair, which may lead to them dirtying their enclosure, leading to sore hocks. Regular grooming of their fur and nails is very important to prevent this from happening.

Written By
Tanya Parkhi

<p>Tanya is a skilled content creator with a passion for writing and a love for exploring new cultures. With a degree in Economics from Fergusson College, Pune, India, Tanya worked on her writing skills by contributing to various editorials and publications. She has experience writing blogs, articles, and essays, covering a range of topics. Tanya's writing reflects her interest in travel and exploring local traditions. Her articles showcase her ability to engage readers and keep them interested.</p>

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