Rabbit breeding is a fairly popular industry. People breed rabbits for meat and fur. There are many breeds of this animal, however, the Flandr rabbit is especially popular when grown at home, which has a lot of advantages over its relatives.
The flanders rabbit is grown not only on large farms, but also at home. The Belgian giant has a particularly valuable fur coat and meat. The breed, developed in Belgium in the 17th century, has become popular throughout the world.
According to scientists, Argentina, France and the German region can also be considered the birthplace of Flanders.
The description of the breed indicates that the characteristics of the rabbit have changed a lot in recent years. The animal has become more fertile and hardy.
There are several hypotheses about the origin of the Belgian giant:
- The hybrid arose thanks to breeding work in which Argentine, Patagonian, Flemish rabbits participated.
- The origin of the breed is based on the selection of the Patagonian rabbit, whose homeland is the South of America. However, the reliability of this hypothesis raises doubts, since the Patagonian representative is much smaller than the Belgian giant.
- The Belgian animal is the result of crossing several individuals of the large Flemish rabbit. This breed is no longer present.
Flanders rabbits have an elongated large body. The ears of the animal are elongated, and the cheeks are characterized by volume.
Outwardly, this animal looks good-natured and clumsy. However, thanks to the strong and large front legs, the animal can always stand up for itself.
According to some, this pet is fat and not particularly attractive in appearance. But for other owners, this breed is just perfect for breeding at home.
The Belgian giant is quite large, the length of its body reaches 0.7 m, and the volume of the sternum is 0.38 m. The back of the animal is not only even, but also slightly concave. The wool of this rabbit can be dyed in the following colors:
- sandy with a reddish tint;
- the black;
- gray with dark shades;
The location of the ears of the animal is vertical, they are slightly widened from the sides. There is a black stripe in the upper part of the organ; the length of the ears can reach 23 centimeters. The rabbit's head is large, with wide cheeks, which look inflated from the inside.
The female of the Belgian giant weighs 8000-9000 grams, and the male, in turn, the male, has a mass of 2-3 kg more.
This breed of rabbits is distinguished by its thick wool, which has a length of 0.4 meters. Pets of large breeds usually live no more than 7-8 years. Some people keep them in their apartments as pets.
Pros and cons
The Flanders breed has a lot of advantages, but rabbit breeders also highlight some of the disadvantages of the animal. The advantages of the Belgian giant include the following characteristics:
- fertility of females, sufficient milk supply, rare cases of stillbirth;
- a newborn cub has good vitality;
- calmness, balanced character, absence of sudden changes in mood;
- indiscretion in food, quick addiction to a new diet;
- no need for special care;
- strength of immunity, resistance to changes in temperature conditions;
- the possibility of breeding with the further production of meat and skins;
- growing a fluffy animal as a pet.
Cons of the breed:
- poor quality of fur;
- low yield of slaughter meat.
Belgian rabbits are considered an attractive breed not only for the breeder, but also for the layman. The animal has the following character traits:
- communicative attitude towards adults and children;
- high intelligence, which is compared to the intelligence of a dog;
- the opportunity to get along with other pets;
- balance and non-conflict of females during the period of bearing rabbits.
How to choose?
It is necessary to buy a flandra rabbit when it reaches the age of 3-4 months. It is worth making a purchase in a nursery or on a farm. Usually the first litter of the animal is unsuccessful, as well as from the old individual. It is better to take a rabbit from a middle-aged female.
If the owner plans to breed the Belgian giant for meat, then the baby should be taken from the litter, where there are a large number of cubs.
But also do not forget that in a large litter, the quality of the rabbits will be worse, since they may not have enough milk from the female.
If flanders are purchased for decorative purposes, then it should be taken from a small litter.
In addition to the number of cubs in the female, the future rabbit breeder should pay attention to the external characteristics of the animal.
A healthy animal has shine in the eyes, clean nasal passages, and the coat looks beautiful and pleasant to the touch.
The buyer should also see what the inner surface of the rabbit's paws looks like. If wool is sticky on it or it is brown, then such an animal should be discarded. The coat can stick together in the case of profuse discharge from the visual and auditory organs. Accordingly, the bunny can be sick with rhinitis or myxomatosis. Despite the small activity of the breed, the animal should not be lethargic, as this may indicate the presence of any ailment.
Reviews rabbit breeders indicate that the Belgian giants show some exactingness to the conditions of detention. At home, you should follow certain rules for caring for an animal.
Flanders rabbits are characterized by their large size, so the house for the animal must be of suitable size for a comfortable stay in it. The dimensions of the dwelling of the Belgian giant should be as follows: 100 cm by 110 cm, while the height of the structure should be at least 0.5 m. Alternatively, you can keep this breeding animal in an enclosure on the floor.
But since the mini-aviary takes up a lot of space, it is usually installed on farms where rabbits are massively bred, or in the country.
A large breed of animal has poor adaptation to living on a trellis, so it is better for it to equip smooth floors in order to avoid pododermatitis. Hay is ideal as bedding. You should not make a pallet in the aviary; a two-component bedding will be a more convenient option. You can lay the bottom layer of sawdust, and the top layer of hay.
A humid and warm place is an ideal environment for mold, harmful insects, fleas and bacteria to spread. For this reason, after cleaning the rabbit cages, they should be disinfected. It is best to scorch the animal's dwelling with a blowtorch , and only after that treat it with disinfectants. Such measures will make the cells sterile and safe.
Flanders rabbits require a balanced and quality diet. The physical development of the animal depends on the diet; with poor feeding, the animal will grow poorly, will not gain the required weight or will get sick. The weight of the animal is considered an important indicator for farmers who raise animals for meat.
The breeder must observe how the weight changes over the months, adding new or removing familiar products from the menu.
For convenience, a diet table can be compiled.
Lack of nutritional components can cause rabbit rickets at an early age. The following components should be present in the daily diet of the Belgian giant:
- grain mixture or compound feed;
- in the summer - dried grass;
- in winter - hay;
- supplements in the form of minerals;
- wet mash.
Flanders should be fed 2 times a day. To prepare a mash, you need to mix the following components :
- fodder beets;
- boiled potatoes.
To prepare compound feed, a bucket of corn, a bucket of sunflower cake, 2 buckets of barley and 2 times more oats are mixed. Before serving food, it is worth mixing a bucket of mash, several kilograms of compound feed. This mixture can be enriched by adding 2 teaspoons of Biomycin, 3 teaspoons of salt and 5 teaspoons of bone meal.
In order for the process of assimilation of food to take place in the best way, it is worth feeding the rabbits in a certain order. The fact is that the stomach of these animals digests food for a different amount of time:
- root vegetables - for 2 hours;
- fresh grass - 3-4 hours;
- silo - 4-5 hours;
- rough food - 9-12 hours.
When feeding a pet, you should follow the above sequence. The feeding regime of the Belgian giant is as follows.
- Morning. Half of the daily volume of concentrated feed is given.
- Lunch . Fresh grass, hay is possible.
- Evening. Silage and the rest of the concentrated feed.
Basic rules for feeding flanders:
- rabbits should eat at the same time;
- fresh herbs are served dried;
- a new product should be introduced gradually;
- the root vegetable is initially washed out, after which it is cut into small pieces and served to the animal;
- barley should be crushed in advance, and legumes should be soaked;
- fresh cabbage should be given along with hay;
- food should not be frozen, rotten, or moldy.
According to the advice of experienced breeders, it is worth feeding hay to rabbits in moderation. In summer, it is necessary to supplement the dry diet with green vegetation.
Among the prohibited products for this breed of animal, there are potato tops, poisonous varieties of herbs, stone fruit twigs, elderberry twigs, and broom.
The giant rabbit does not need complex or special care. A person will only need to spend his time cleaning the pet's cage, changing the litter to prevent unpleasant odors.
The owner should also remember that the animal that lives in a closed room requires regular ventilation.
Nowadays, many people acquire the Belgian giant and raise it as a house pet. The animal feels great in apartment conditions, while behaving calmly and friendly. The rabbit does not need regular walking.
When growing a flandra rabbit, it is worth remembering that males and females should be placed in different cages, that is, each representative separately. This room should be large and spacious so that there is enough space for the female with the cubs.
Maturation of animals occurs at the age of 8 months, during this period the animal is ready to mate . Mating can be done at any time of the year. However, autumn is considered the most unfavorable period for mating, since at this time the rabbit sheds, and also there is a decrease in daylight hours.
Throughout the summer, the female is ready to mate every week. In winter, mating can be done once every 8-10 days, with a duration of 4 days.
The female's readiness for mating can be detected by her behavior: the animal behaves agitatedly, eats poorly, her genitals swell and turn red.
Two weeks before mating, it is necessary to change the diet of the animal. The animals should be given food with a large amount of vitamins, increase the amount of mineral food, the male should be fed with boiled potatoes and grain.
Before mating begins, a drinker, a feeding trough must be taken out of the dwelling of the Belgian giant, and only after that a female should be placed in it.
Re-planting should be done a couple of days after the first.
At this time, the pregnancy of the female is checked, the fertilized individual will not mate again.
A pregnant female should not be restricted in food and drink, otherwise she may eat newborn cubs. The expectant mother should be kept separately and not stressed. The amount of water and food has a direct effect on the amount of milk that the female will feed the babies with. At the age of 3 months, rabbits should be weaned from their mother.
For an overview of this breed of rabbits, see below.