Go BIG or go HOME…so the saying goes. In the rabbit world, you can’t go much bigger than the Flemish Giant.
Meat, Fur or Therapy?
The Flemish Giant is certainly an older breed dating back to the 1500s in Flanders (now northern Belgium). There, giant rabbit breeders combined a variety of meat and fur breeds to create the ultimate meat and fur rabbit.
In 1890, the first giants were brought to North America. Today the Flemish Giant rabbit is still a source of meat and fur. But many people keep them as pet rabbits, too.
At Jireh Hills Family Homestead, our vision is to breed and raise gentle giants that will be suitable for all ages for companionship and we take additional measures to socialize our bunnies at an early age with plenty of human contact and love!
The average Flemish Giant weighs about 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms). It can take Flemish Giants up to a year and a half to reach maturity.
Medium length hair on body, with a “mane” of soft wool
The American Rabbit Breeders Association breeding standard recognizes seven colours for the Flemish Giant rabbit breed: Black, Blue, Fawn, Sandy, Light gray, Steel gray, White
Many have described the Flemish Giant as a gentle giant and they tend to be calm, docile, and sweet-natured. They’re smart too; you can train them to use a litter box and learn tricks and they get along well with other pets.
Like all rabbits, the Flemish Giant should eat a diet consisting mainly of fresh hay and grass.
Here’s the technical stuff…
Your rabbit should eat its weight in grass daily
- Alternately, hay should make up a minimum of 70% of your rabbit’s diet
- 18% protein pellets should make up no more than one-third of your rabbit’s daily diet
- Keep treats to 10% of your rabbit’s diet or below
Plenty of fresh water is also critical!
Feel free to supplement your big pal’s diet with plenty of rabbit safe fruits and vegetables. These may include:
- Beet greens
- Mustard greens
- Dandelion greens
- Radish tops
- Carrot tops
- Apple (remove the seeds)
- Celery (cut into very small pieces)
- Edible flowers
- Bell pepper
Remember, just like any animal, if you are going to make changes to their diet, so it SLOWLY. Variety is good (fresh veggies…go minimal on fruits).
Handling Flemish Giant Rabbits:
Giant rabbits require special handling!
Most Flemish Giant rabbits enjoy interacting with their people. They like strokes and cuddles, too. But avoid picking giant rabbits up unless it’s necessary to do so.
There are several characteristics and qualities that make rabbits good therapy animals:
- Their size
- Intelligence and friendliness towards humans and other animals
- Ease of Socializing
- Ease of travel – (accepted by most airlines and hotels)
- Clear nonverbal communication to covey what they like and don’t like
In addition, it’s clear humans and rabbits can develop strong bonds. Literature depict rabbits as popular childhood animals!
What are some benefits of Therapy with Rabbits?
- Promotes Communication and Expression – Playing with rabbits is a positive, relaxed, and fun experience. Resulting in mental stimulation. Which makes one eager to share the experience with people they trust. Such as family and/or caregivers.
- Encourages acceptance of physical contact – Due to a variety of causes some folks who use therapy with rabbits have little contact with people. Rabbits are very cuddly creatures which can encourage the development of contact communication skills.
- Involves Moments of Relaxation – As with all therapy animals, being able to pet an animal calmly allows for some moments of relaxation. This can reduce stress. Which has significant benefits for the body and aids healing.
What is a Companionship / Therapy Bunny?
A Companionship / Therapy Bunny is a friend, a member of your family, one that’s sociable, well mannered, and yet independent.
Please contact us if you are interested in adopting a bunny or a ‘retired’ older rabbit. If you plan to join us for a Farm Event, let us know if you would like to meet our rabbits. They are usually hopping around somewhere!!!