Housing. Because of their large size, Flemish Giants require a larger hutch than other rabbit breeds. On average a Flemish Giant rabbit will weigh 12–20 pounds or more when mature. Their short hair requires minimal grooming; they are easy keepers. Because of their large size they are seldom bothered by cats, hawks, or other small-mammal predators. Their greatest risk comes from excess heat. They will not do well in just any outdoor hutch here in Florida, or in any hot climate. They need shade and a way to cool down. We keep our rabbits in a climate-controlled environment including air conditioning in the summer and covered hutches in the winter. Depending on where you live, the same type of accommodations may be a requirement of owning a Flemish. Thriantas require less space, but their longer hair and denser coats mean cool conditions are even more critical.
Feeding. Flemish Giants also require more food than other rabbits. By comparison, Thriantas’ feed should be closely monitored and moderated to avoid overweight bunnies. In either case, their primary staple should be a good quality pellet food. We currently use ADM PenPals Show Rabbit (18% protein). Additionally, a small amount of fruits and vegetables each day ensures they’re getting all their vitamins. Rabbits love collard greens, parsley, cilantro, carrots (naturally), apples, pears, and many other fresh fruits and veggies. Avoid too many high-sugar, high-carb foods (carrots, etc.), but the occasional slice of sweet potato is always enjoyed. Whole grain bread, oats (oatmeal) and barley are also good additives. There are some foods that are bad for bunny (no grapes, no iceberg lettuce, and more), so read-up on the websites before adding something new. Add one new item at a time, in small quantities, and judge results before feeding it again or adding multiple items. Flemish Giants are large rabbits that eat a lot; plan ahead.
To enhance the coat, muscle tone, and general health of our pedigreed show rabbits, we use the following special feed mix: 6 parts good-quality pellets, 1 part quick-cooking barley, 1 part old fashioned oats, and 1 part black-oil sunflower seeds.
Hay & Water. All rabbits need access to fresh hay at all times. Timothy hay is ideal, and Coastal is acceptable. Alfalfa and the Timothy/Alfalfa blends have too much calcium and are poorly digested. Peanut hay, when available, is also excellent for building and maintaining a healthy weight, but should be used only as a supplement to long-strand hay; not a replacement.
All rabbits drink an enormous amount of water, so make sure they have plenty of cool, clean water available at all times. Our rabbits use water crocks, but they will adapt easily to hanging water bottles, if you prefer. But because of their size Flemish would need a calf or goat-size bottle. The typical pet store size will not provide enough volume.
Play. Bunnies are naturally intelligent and inquisitive, so they get bored easily. Toys, especially the ever-popular toilet paper core, are always appreciated. Ping pong balls are cheap and fun. Wire balls with a bell inside are our bunnies’ favorite. Whatever you choose, get them something they can toss and something they can chew. Let bunny out for sofa-time and run-around as often as possible. Follow advice on the websites for litter-box training; it’s easier than you might think, and lets bunny spend more time inside with the family.