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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have experience with Flemish Giant Rabbits? I inherited 2 babies today and need to get them hooked up with a suitable habitat fairly quickly. At the moment they're playing in guinea pig cage but they will quickly outgrow that I believe.
 

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I would put them each in a 24 by 30 inch or larger cage. give them plenty of water and make sure the food you buy doesn't have much or any corn in it.
Rabbits dont naturally eat corn, but it is used as a filler in many commercially available foods. In young rabbits this can cause digestive problems.

the food I buy does in fact have "corn distillers byproduct" as a filler, but not very much, it has more oats, alfalfa, rye, and other grains and grasses in it
 

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Oh yes, they need out of that cage. Giant named for a reason, a 3x3 rabbit hutch isn't big enough! You'll think you've got mutant rabbits, they're going to get that big. I had some here a few years back, they increased the meat yield of my stock considerably. Mine matured out close to 15lbs. They eat a lot too ;)

I don't feed my rabbits grains at all. i do give them sunflower seeds i grow, they love them. Alfalfa and clover hay I grow and bale here is what mine eat, plus kale and other greens from the garden.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh yes, they need out of that cage. Giant named for a reason, a 3x3 rabbit hutch isn't big enough! You'll think you've got mutant rabbits, they're going to get that big. I had some here a few years back, they increased the meat yield of my stock considerably. Mine matured out close to 15lbs. They eat a lot too ;)

I don't feed my rabbits grains at all. i do give them sunflower seeds i grow, they love them. Alfalfa and clover hay I grow and bale here is what mine eat, plus kale and other greens from the garden.
How did you switch them to the natural diet? If I remember right from when I was a kid switching feed rapidly can kill them. Would I need to gradually switch them by offering the assorted hays/greens/etc and just gradually offering less pellets? What ratio of the hays/greens do you use?
 

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Ma, I give them all they'll eat and tend them 3 times a day. They do just fine on the alfalfa and clover diet. The sunflower seeds i feed like a treat. a small scoop here and there,a couple times a week until i run out. I couldn't say about switching rabbits feed, I know that holds true for larger ruminants like cattle and horses tho. Every rabbit I have ever got from outside my farm has gone right onto the diet I feed here with no problems. I have noticed that you don't get the fat rabbits with the hay diet like you do with over feeding the commercial pellets.
 

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wow!!!! 15 pounds??? holy cow, that's a big bunny!
I have never raised them, but I raise New Zealand, cali cross, and dutch.
I plan on adding Californian rabbits soon and my wife raises Holland Lops as pets and to breed to sell, but all of mine are food.
Sounds like I might need be lookin for a couple Flemish Giants
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'll have to look into where I can obtain alfalfa and clover regularly here. At the moment they're just 4 weeks old so aren't eating a whole lot. I imagine that will change rapidly as they grow quick though. I've never grown alfalfa. I don't suppose I could just scatter seed in a rather large patch eh?

I'll bet reed's got some up at his farm I can make a deal on. I'd really prefer to grow it myself if I can manage to learn how to make it grow on a mountain.
 

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MaKettle, yes, we grow it here like we would grass in the pasture. We seed in the fall to "freeze" it in and the first cut we wait until around 80% of the field is flowering (pretty purple flowers). You will be good to go unless you are far enough south to suffer from blister beetle which loves alfalfa and is not good for your animals. Even if all you can do is supplement your rabbits with clover/alfalfa hay, you should end up coming out in the end better off with the price of commercial feeds being so dang high lately.

Suburbanite, I have new zealands and californians too and the giants make them look like dwarfs. I used a couple checkered giants to out cross to here for a bigger meat rabbit. Worked out pretty good. The litter size for my does was small but the kits were huge! Now, with the out crossed blood in the mix, I'm getting 10 lb rabbits that grow in a timely manner( I'd say 3 weeks sooner than straight calis or nz) and 8 to 10 in a litter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Great, my plan I guess is to obtain a rather large dog kennel (one of the runs, not the indoor hutch thing) and set it up with pallets for a good solid floor and wooden boxes for night and nesting. Then a fenced area outside it for a range zone. I figure for now I can keep them in my chick brooder. It's just a big box about 4 ft by 4 ft when they can't be supervised outside.

I thought maybe if I lay down chicken wire on the ground and then put a couple inches of topsoil over it inside a chicken wire fence it should keep them safe. Then I can scatter clover and alfalfa seed in and around the area. Inside for fresh greens and outside for a winter stock. Too late for it this year but if I get the fence down this summer I can seed it in the fall?

Does that sound reasonable? Thanks for all the info!
 

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Yep, in southern illinois we seed alfalfa in September. it will grow for a bit and look like it's died as the cold weather comes in but the roots are still growing. In spring, it comes on like gangbusters.

I don't see why your pen idea wouldn't work. I know a fellow that has a big pen in his city backyard full of rabbits just running free.
 

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wow!!!! 15 pounds??? holy cow, that's a big bunny!
I have never raised them, but I raise New Zealand, cali cross, and dutch.
I plan on adding Californian rabbits soon and my wife raises Holland Lops as pets and to breed to sell, but all of mine are food.
Sounds like I might need be lookin for a couple Flemish Giants
Giants aren't really good for meat production, too much bone. and obviously they need "giant" cages and "giant" diets. You're better off sticking with what you've already got as far as the feed to meat ratio goes.

You could sell them as pets or show them though.
 

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flemish giants are more pets, like dogs, than livestock, like chickens. theyre smarter and need / request more attention. give them toys to play with...yes, toys. stuffed animals, whatever. they shouldnt be constantly kept in a cage...meaning get them a leash and let them wander around. a 30"x30" or so cage is the norm and with breeding females getting 30"x48". or so. the bottom of the cage should be 1"x1/2" grid. this is large enough to allow their droppings to fall thru while small enuff to keep them from hurting their feet.

it was already mentioned that their food shouldnt be changed quickly. one of the reasons for this is rabbits are highly dependent on the bacteria inside them to help digest their food and the bacteria for certain types of food isnt appropriate for others.

alfalfa is higher in protein however it is also high in calcium which can be bad for rabbits urinary tract health. timothy hay is the 'best' because it is mostly fiber which is what rabbits need. i feed my adult female/breeding female and babies peanut hay because it is high in protein w/o the calcium. dont overfeed rabbits or give them crappy food or theyll get fat and overweight. avoid feeding them crap like walmart sells.
 
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