The largest representatives of hares are giant rabbits, their average weight exceeds 5 kg, and in some species it reaches up to 10 kg. The popularity of this breed is due to the high yield of meat under simple conditions. It should be noted that each type of animal is characterized by its own rules of cultivation and has different indicators in productivity.
Rabbits are giants, unlike their counterparts, they have gigantic dimensions. Their main feature is the weight, which in an adult "fluffy" varies from 6 to 12 kg. Most rodents adapt well to low temperatures, so they can be kept even in cages on the streets.
Although experts recommend breeding meat breeds in basements. Since rabbits are gigantic in size, appropriate cages must be installed for them, which should be not only dry, clean, but also spacious. Giants cannot be placed in one cage; a separate room should be equipped for each individual.
The only exceptions are rabbits with offspring, mothers must live with rabbits and take care of them for the first month.
Rabbit giants have the following description:
- weight - rabbits gain weight as adults upon reaching the age of three months;
- heightened maternal instinct - females are excellent mothers, they never trample, eat or abandon their babies; in addition, rabbits have high milk production, therefore, they usually feed offspring for 1.5 months;
- fertility - in one litter, on average, up to 10 babies appear;
- adaptation to harsh climatic conditions - rabbits perfectly tolerate low temperatures, which allows them to be bred even in Siberia.
As for the external description, it is different for each type of giants. Despite most of the advantages, this breed also has some disadvantages, namely:
- the complexity of keeping - large breeds need a lot of space and require a significant amount of feed;
- low immunity - animals are characterized by poor health, so they need to be periodically vaccinated.
What breeds belong?
A large breed of rabbits, depending on external characteristics (fur density, color, size and purpose), is divided into separate types. The most common breeds of such rabbits include the following:
- Soviet chinchilla;
- flandre (Belgian giant);
- silver giant;
- giant butterfly;
- angora giant;
- the Viennese black giant;
- french ram.
Flemish and continental giants are also very popular with farmers.
Each of the above types has its own characteristics.
- White giant . Representatives of this giant breed are distinguished by red eyes, shiny white fur and a body length of up to 65 cm.The weight in adults generally reaches no more than 5.3 kg. Snow-white beauties are grown not only for meat, but also for valuable fur. To do this, they are crossed with other breeds of giants.
- Gray giant. Rabbits of this species can have both a gray shade of skins and white, black. They have a long body, not exceeding 65 cm, and a large weight - from 4.1 to 6.5 kg. The main advantage of these giant rabbits is that they have high immunity and tolerate cold well. In addition, the giants are not too whimsical about the content. Since their meat yield is small, the animals are suitable for normal domestic breeding.
- Butterfly. These are "pussies" with a spotted color. Symmetrical spots are most often located on the sides and back. Rabbits have a small body (up to 60 cm) and an average weight of 4.5 kg. The main advantage of the species is its growth rate and high fertility.
- Flandre. Animals of this species are famous for their impressive weight, which can reach 12 kg. In addition, these representatives of giants have long ears with spherical tips. They are characterized by fertility, high appetite, feed requirements and late puberty. The breed is usually used for meat production.
- Riesen. These rabbits grow up to 0.7 m in length and, with proper care, gain weight up to 12 kg. This species is the second most popular in the world. Due to their beautiful color, which is dominated by white, golden and blue colors, rabbits become frequent participants in exhibitions. The only thing is that Risen is very picky about the conditions of detention, rabbits do not tolerate dirt, show a lot of care when raising offspring, are resistant to various diseases and are fertile.
- Vienna giant . This species is characterized by a gray-gray and compacted undercoat. Animals grow rapidly, have high fertility and "give" a lot of tasty meat.
- French ram. The name of this type of breed is due to the fact that its representatives have a non-standard shape of the skull, which looks like a ram. The live weight of these rabbits is 5 to 8 kg.
They have soft, thick fur and a good-natured disposition, but because of the unusual "mutton" shape of the ears, they are hard of hearing.
In addition to the above species, breeders have also bred new breeds of giants.
- Silver. Breeding "eared ears" of this species began in the middle of the XX century. In Russia, the silver giant appeared as a result of crossing with an imported champagne breed. The first representatives of this species were grown in Tula. The main characteristic of animals is considered to be the high return of wool and meat.
- Golden. This breed emerged spontaneously as a result of mutation when crossing gray giants. Rabbits are valued for good offspring and high-quality golden fur.
- New Zealand red. This species is characterized by thick red fur, a short body up to 0.5 m and excellent fertility.
- The Viennese black is distinguished by a powerful, strong body, large head. It is bred to produce fur that has rich colors and a light metallic sheen.
- Alaska . These giants have a bluish and glossy black color. They give numerous offspring, but are too demanding on the conditions of keeping.
- The Russian ermine adapts perfectly to any climatic conditions and is a source of valuable fur and dietary meat.
How to choose?
Before deciding on a particular breed of giant rabbits, you need to know for what purposes you plan to buy them. In Russia, farmers prefer to grow both meat, fur, and decorative breeds.
Since the market is represented by a gorgeous selection of pets, you need to be extremely careful when buying, as you can get a far from purebred look, trusting the simple words of the sellers. For example, many common spotted rabbits are passed off as a butterfly, but their weight does not match the characteristics of giant rabbits.
Experts advise buying animals in special nurseries or farms that have good reviews.
In addition, it is necessary to pay special attention to the conditions in which the rabbits are kept, and their appearance: in healthy individuals, parasites in the auricles should not be present. It is also important to check the condition of the front teeth and the evenness of the spinal column.
The cost of giants depends on the age, weight and breed of rabbits. As a rule, females and young animals are more expensive. The price of individuals also increases with each month of their life, so it is recommended to buy pets no older than 60 days.
An important indicator when buying is the type of breed. A farmer or summer resident needs to know what he wants from a rabbit: more meat or fur. For home cultivation, you can purchase mixed species, which, with proper care, will “thank” you with dietary meat and valuable skins.
The health and growth rate of giant rabbits directly depends on their keeping conditions. Such handsome men usually live in cages, while the dimensions of the structure change with the age of the animals. It is also important to take into account the species characteristics of a particular breed. According to the established standards, a house with an area of at least 0.6 m² is required for keeping an adult, while for young animals there will be enough space of 0.12 m², which will avoid injuries, injuries and fights.
The cage must be equipped in such a way that there is a place for the main housing and for a feeding trough in it, while females should additionally install a delivery place. You can feed pets with both compound feed and hay. Since giant rabbits tolerate cold well, their cages can be placed outside, which will have a positive effect on the quality of the fur. Meat species are best kept in specially equipped basements, which will protect rabbits from the sultry heat in summer and cold in winter. At the same time, the rooms must have a constant level of humidity.
The main requirement when raising giant rabbits is to maintain cleanliness in the cages. Therefore, the places where they are installed and the structures themselves should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the accumulation of dirt. If this is neglected, then the animals will start to get sick.
It is desirable to use sawdust as a filler for cells. They perfectly absorb not only unpleasant odors, but also moisture.
The most difficult and time-consuming process is the breeding of giant rabbits, because you need to know not only the basic rules for keeping pets, but also how to mate, take care of the offspring. For crossing, individuals who have reached the age of 6 months are usually used. At the same time, it is recommended to select females and males that are large in size and do not have problems with physiology. The pair converges only on the territory of the male. When the female does not make contact and shows aggression, this may mean that she is already pregnant.
Pregnancy in rabbit giants lasts exactly the same as in representatives of other breeds, females go pregnant for about 30 days . A few days before giving birth, the rabbit begins to prepare a place for poor offspring. Almost all types of giants have a maternal instinct, so their owners will not face difficulties in breeding young.
The only thing is that after nesting, you will have to independently monitor the condition of the nest and periodically put the newborns for feeding. The main advantage of the breed is the fact that mothers do not eat their babies, providing them with the right amount of milk.
Absolutely all types of giants are characterized by good fertility, therefore, on average, up to 8 rabbits appear per round. Newborns have a weight that does not exceed 85 g, then after 1.5 months they switch to full feeding and gain weight up to 1.5 kg. During this period, babies need to be fed with food rich in proteins, which will allow them to gain rapid weight gain in the future and significantly improve the taste of meat.
While providing pets with proper care, we must not forget about nutrition, which will determine the weight gain by month. Do not feed animals with food waste, moldy and expired feed, as well as stale food. For a balanced diet, it is best to purchase ready-made compound feeds sold in every pet store. They must be specifically designed for the giant breed.
It is also not recommended to replace nutritious feeds with those used in the diet of ordinary rabbits, since they contain a different set of substances.
In addition, barley and oats can be given to giants, the only exception is wheat, its use will be fatal. It is also allowed to add dried grass to the bait. The diet should be made depending on the period of the year. For example, in summer, you can diversify the menu with fresh grass, giving preference to such juicy species as plantain, quinoa, wormwood and dandelions.
In this case, excess in plant foods will provoke diarrhea or bloating in rabbits. To prevent this, the greens should be dried for several days, the giants are forbidden to give freshly cut grass. It is also recommended to diversify the "fluffy" menu with vegetables (cabbage, carrots), fruits and shoots. In winter, animals can be pampered with bread crumbs and spruce needles.
Despite the fact that giant rabbits are unpretentious to living conditions and nutrition, they still need to be provided with proper care. Decorative species can be kept inside the house, while fur and meat species are best grown in spacious cages. The animal house should be placed in such a way that the pets are protected from drafts. The litter in the cages should be changed at least once a week, and several times a year, the entire structure should be disinfected using slaked lime and chlorine solution.
In addition to the main bedding, branches of fruit trees should be placed on the floor inside the cage, which will allow the animals to "sharpen" their teeth. Pets should also periodically brush their hair and trim their nails.
It is also important to follow a feeding schedule to avoid an eating disorder. Food should be given in ceramic dishes and overeating should not be allowed.
Rabbits of this breed are known all over the world for their large weight, reaching 12 kg, and valuable beautiful fur. Today there are also real record holders. For example, the largest rabbit was raised on a farm in England, its body length reached 130 cm, and its weight was 22.2 kg. In 2010, the rabbit Darius was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest pet on the planet.
The animal received such gigantic dimensions thanks to a balanced diet, the giant ate 12 carrots, 6 apples and 2 heads of cabbage per day. In addition, his mistress had to make great efforts to raise such a handsome man.
The best large rabbit breeds are presented in the following video.