Rabbits

If you haven't read this book, or at least seen the film, you must! It's what opened Jill's heart up to rabbits as a child

We’ve recently entered the world of gentle Flemish Giants, and hope to be ‘hobby’ breeders of occasional litters. If all goes well, once or twice a year we’ll have bunnies available. The sales from our bunnies will go directly to our boys’ college funds.

Flemish have temperaments that are a lot like dogs and cats. They seek out human contact, attention and cuddling. Our sons, Prasad and Sky, are responsible for their care. The handling, love and attention our first Flemishes have received is a sign our sons will be excellent caregivers, and ensures their babies will be friendly and socialized.

Meet our buck, Forest:

curious greetings

he enjoys sitting on the cool earth when it's warm and humid outside

Forest is a light grey Flemish Giant born on March 16, 2011. These pictures were taken at 8 weeks of age, and even though he had the appearance of a full-grown rabbit, we kept having to remind ourselves he was just a tiny baby. Presently nearing 15 lbs. at 5 months old, his parents were both very close to 25 lbs., so he has a lot of growing left to do! He’ll be full grown at 12-14 months. Our younger doe, Meadow, was born April 23, 2011 and is between 7-8 pounds at 4 months old. She’s shiny black and just as sweet and friendly as Forest. Does take longer to hit their big growth spurts.

Housing

We feel it’s important for rabbits, especially such a large breed, to have plenty of room to run around and exercise, so we recently added an outdoor run for both rabbits. It’s a 9′ x 10’split run, divided down the middle with rabbit wire so they can see one another. Rabbits should have a minimum of 3 hops length, but we recommend at least 5 hops for Giants. They also need toys, wood to chew, and small tunnels and boxes to hide in. They also like to sit atop perches off the ground, so large flat rocks are nice, too.

Why rabbits?

That’s a question we asked ourselves in the beginning. We’re practical in our urban farming approaches- chickens and ducks give us eggs and fertilizer, but what can bunnies do? We’re vegetarian, and therefore have no plans to consume any of our animals, ever.

1) The first consideration we had was our two youngest sons, and the responsibility we could give them. It’s a big learning experience, plus there is a lot to be said for bunny therapy!

2) Rabbits have excellent droppings for composting and fertilizing gardens. They’re very clean animals, so the boys will have an easy time disposing of their waste and helping with the compost process.

3) Like chickens, they’re helpful at turning garden bed soil. Using a portable run, we can place the rabbits anywhere for weed control and burrowing. Of course, they need to be watched closely for escapes unless they have a buried run.

4) Because they need to chew, they’re good at shredding paper and cardboard waste.

5) They’re generally inexpensive. Granted, due to their size, Flemish consume a lot- up to 2 cups of rabbit pellets/day, plus timothy hay. The feed is not costly, but we hope to grow a lot of their food so they can be on a mostly nature-derived diet. Giants do best on a primarily high fiber, natural diet. This is something we’ve discussed with the boys, and they’re excited about growing their bunny gardens.

6) Rabbits are entertaining, especially if you give them enough room to hop around. Giants, in particular, have a peaceful disposition. Whether you’re holding them or just watching, they can elicit a calming effect.

7) Flemish Giants are awesome, unusual creatures growing from 15-30 pounds in some cases. More rare than most rabbit breeds, we’ll be happy to breed once or twice a year, both as a magical learning experience, and for others to enjoy the love and sweetness they have to offer.

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