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Rabbit Info

About Flemish Giants
This is a very old breed which originated in Flanders hundreds of years ago. Once you have owned a Flemish Giant you will never want anything else! These gentle giants are docile and very affectionate. They do require more cage space and a solid floor for part of their cage but also make great house and yard pets. They come when called and love children. They are more expensive to raise and therefore are more expensive to buy but well worth the price! They are as big as a small dog or big cat. If want something to hug and love. These guys are it!


Rabbit Care
Rabbit Language:

  • Buck: is a male rabbit.
  • Doe: is a female rabbit.
  • Kits: are baby rabbits.
  • Sire: is a father rabbit.
  • Dam: is a mother rabbit.
  • Herd: is a group of rabbits.
  • Binky: is when a rabbit jumps and twists.
  • Warren: is an area where a group of rabbits live.
  • Moulting: Shedding or losing fur for the season.
  • Breeding: is when mating two rabbits together.
  • Nest Box: is a box for a nest, usually filled with hay.
  • Kindling: is when a female rabbit gives birth.
  • Gestation Period: is the time between breeding and kindling.
  • Litter: is when a female rabbit has a group of babies.
  • Weaning: is when you take the babies away from the mother.
  • Culling: is the act of getting rid of an unwanted rabbit.
  • And a rabbit is actually not a rodent, they are considered Lagomorphs.

Rabbit Body:

  • A rabbit has 28 teeth.
  • Rabbit teeth never stop growing.
  • An 3kg rabbit can drink as much water as a 18kg dog.
  • Make sure your rabbit always has plenty of clean water.
  • A rabbit does not hibernate.
  • Rabbits are most active at night.
  • Larger rabbit breeds have been known to survive in -30 degrees (celsius) below temperatures.
  • Rabbits produce night droppings called Cecotropes, which they will eat.
  • Cecotropes provide the rabbits with nutrients that the rabbit needs to survive.
  • Kits double their weight in 6 short days off their mother’s milk, compared to pigs at 14 days, calves 47 days, and humans 160 days.
  • A rabbit can jump 96cm in the air and higher.
  • Most rabbits can suffer from heat stroke very easily.
  • Rabbits can only sweat through the pads on its feet.
  • A rabbit’s eyes are positioned to where they can see behind themselves.
  • Rabbits can actually be scared to death.

Rabbits As Pets:

  • Rabbits can be house trained.
  • And they can also purr, like a cat.
  • Their life span can be as long as 15 years old.
  • They can scratch and adult supervision is recommended.
  • Getting a young rabbit is best so you can work with it.
  • Find books on training your rabbit and work with them every day.
  • A lot depends on the socialization you give your rabbit.
  • Find and research your rabbit breed and the breeder thoroughly before buying.

Rabbit Manure:

  • Rabbit manure can make an excellent garden fertilizer.
  • We use this and chicken manure for our flowers and they come up beautiful.
  • You can use a compost bin and combine the manure, worms, plant material and keep it mixed to create nice dark compost for the garden.
  • The Manure alone has a content of 2.20% Nitrogen .87% Phosphorus 2.30% Potassium .36% Sulphur 1.26% Calcium .40% Magnesium.

Rabbit Shelter:

  • With your cages, we recommend having them above ground so that the waste will drop through and is easier to remove.
  • Cages with trays can be used if inside but must be cleaned daily.
  • If you keep your rabbit outside, make sure they stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • We recommend a nest box with hay, food, water, and proper shelter at all times.
  • In the summer same as the winter have proper shelter from the sun, plenty of food/water and letting them out in the pen in the yard is good too.

Rabbit Food:

  • Rabbits are considered monogastric which means single stomach, and herbivorous which means they eat plant material.
  • Rabbits need important nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids or fats, minerals, and vitamins in the right amount to perform and grow their best.
  • Wild, rabbits eat a variety of different grains, greens, roots, and roughage.
  • A lot of domestic rabbits eat pellet feed made to meet their nutritional needs.
  • Rabbits need water available to them at all times.
  • Lettuce and carrots are not deadly to rabbits, if used sparingly as treats. However, if you feed a rabbit to much they can have diarrhoea and become bloated this could lead to death.
  • In addition, you must remember, that a lot of vegetables if not grown organically may contain left over traces of pesticides and or different chemicals.
  • Rabbits as stated above need roughage such as hay. This helps their digestive system and rid them of hairballs.
  • Finally, yet importantly, make sure they have a mineral block. This will provide them with electrolytes and other minerals that the hay and feed may lack.

Rabbit Cage Sizes:

  • 182.9cm (72”) x 106.7cm (42”) x 61cm (24”) is a good size for a Flemish Giant or NZ Rabbit. It can be smaller if your Rabbit will be able to get out of the cage to run.
  • It is good for Flemish or NZ Rabbit to have a solid floor as they get sore hocks easily, but I find that solid floor promotes germ growth.
  • A wire floor with boards to stand on and plenty of straw works great.
  • Putting a wood board through the middle of the cage, so that the rabbit must jump over it, really helps develop the shoulders.

Rabbit General Care:

  • Feed at least once a day. With the kits (babies) we keep a lot of food with them for the day since they will eat a lot until fully grown.
  • Keep a full supply of water for them to drink at all times.
  • It is a good idea to feed them hay as well as pellet feed because they need the roughage.
  • Also make sure you have a mineral block. Mineral blocks are cheap, and you can find them at most pet stores.
  • The mineral blocks will make sure they get the vital minerals that the food might not give them.
  • Trim the rabbit’s nails every 2 months and brush the rabbit every couple weeks.
  • Check their teeth, stool, nails often and watch to see that they are eating and drinking well.
  • Make sure they have proper shelter from the elements.
  • And of course, give them loving attention.

Rabbit Diseases:


  • Abscesses are pockets of infection. They can be seen or found anywhere on the body and are usually painless. They are commonly found just under the skin. Abscesses usually will occur when there has been an injury or damage to the skin. If you suspect your rabbit has an abscess, you must take them to your veterinarian.
  • Symptoms: Lumps in or under the skin.
  • Cause: Pasteurella bacteria chronically carried in the body, or trauma to the skin.
  • Treatment: See veterinarian. Remove or drain abscess and administer antibiotics.
  • Prevention: Purchase a rabbit without any history of exposure to Pasteurella; and keep your rabbit's skin healthy and keep them in a clean environment.

Rabbit Diseases Continued:


  • Calici is contracted by the rabbit from other rabbits, insects, birds, rats, mice, animals, humans, and clothing. The Calici virus can be brought in on your feet or clothing so if you have been visiting farms or rural areas and even other rabbit breeders quarantine your clothing and disinfect hands etc, before visiting your own rabbits.
  • Symptoms: Usually the first sign of Calici is death with a bloody discharge from the nose, mouth, and genitals (but not always present.) The rabbit may show signs just before death that may be lethargic, very thin, trouble breathing and have convulsions this may be only hours before death. It may seem to have a sniffily nose or diarrhoea.
  • Cause: Virus can be spread from farms or rural areas from other animals such as birds, rats, and mice.
  • Treatment: No treatment available in my opinion far more humane to euthanize the rabbit concerned and disinfect all rabbit equipment with virus control treatments.
  • Prevention: Keeping rabbit environs clean and quarantine all new rabbits that may come into your possession. Vaccination is available for VHD in Australia this can be given from 6 weeks of age, then 12 weeks of age. it is by injection every 4 months. There are minor side effects to some rabbits please ask your rabbit health professional for details.


  • Coccidia are microscopic parasites that are often found in the intestines of many types of animals. They are the most common parasites of rabbits and can make rabbits ill. Most infections cause by coccidia will cause no symptoms (as there are 12 different types of coccidia), however in some rabbits that are infected, you may see wight loss and diarrhea.
  • Symptoms: Can be none, diarrhea, poor growth, anorexia, and in severe cases dehydration and death.
  • Cause: Coccidia is passed from the stool of an infected rabbit to a non-infected rabbit if they eat the infected stool.
  • Treatment: Antibiotics can be given in the drinking water. Some rabbit pellets also contain a coccidiostat (a drug which controls coccidia), and this may be fed to rabbits all of the time.
  • Prevention: Good hygiene; remove infected faeces.


  • Diarrhoea is not a disease, rather it is a symptom of disease; however, rabbits can have diarrhoea even if they do not have a disease, just like humans can. Soft stools cannot technically be called diarrhoea, although soft stools can still be a symptom of a problem. Diarrhoea is usually a symptom of an intestinal disorder. Rabbits can also be exposed to and carry the viruses that can cause diarrhoea.
  • Symptoms: Loose or more frequent stools, often lethargy, anorexia, and a staring hair coat.
  • Cause: Diarrhoea can simple be caused by a change in a rabbit’s diet, however it may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or even following antibiotic use. Sometimes even stress can cause diarrhoea.
  • Treatment: No matter what the cause of the diarrhoea is, the treatment is similar. The rabbit should be kept warm and in clean surroundings to prevent spread of any virus (if there is one present). Fluid replacement is important as diarrhoea can lead to dehydration. A probiotic will help keep the balance of the gastrointestinal bacteria normal and antibiotics may be given depending on the cause of the diarrhoea.
  • Prevention: Gradual diet changes, proper diet, and keeping cages and hutches clean.

Ear Mites:

  • Ear mites are caused by a contagious, microscopic, spider-like insect. It is easy to tell if a rabbit has ear mite as the rabbit will have a lot of crusty material in his outer ears. Rabbits, which have ear mites commonly scratch at their ears and shake their heads a lot. Ear mite should be checked out by a veterinarian.
  • Symptoms: Flaky discharge in the ears, ears will be red and inflamed, as well as the rabbit scratching at its ears.
  • Cause: Rabbits become infested with the ear mites (Psoroptes cuniculi). This usually occurs when your rabbit comes in contact with another rabbit that is infected with ear mite. However, cats can be a carrier for this particular type of ear mite.
  • Treatment: The rabbit can be treated with Revolution as used on cats.
  • Prevention: Keep rabbits which are infested with ear mite away from other rabbits.

Fur Mites:

  • The rabbit fur mite is contagious and can be passed on to other rabbits, animals and even humans. Fur mites can go un-noticed as the rabbit may not show any symptoms, however, the rabbit’s skin may dry out. A veterinarian is the best way to diagnose fur mites as a scraping of the skin may be needed and be checked under a microscope to determine the diagnosis. Once diagnosed your veterinarian may teat your rabbit with injections or a medicated dip to kill the mites.
  • Symptoms: Dandruff, dry skin, hair loss, scaly skin, and itching.
  • Cause: Rabbits become infested with fur mite (Cheyletiella parasitovorax).
  • Treatment: Possible course of injections from your veterinarian, or possibly the use of a medicated dip.
  • Prevention: Keep your rabbit away from infected animals, and if your rabbit has fur mites keep it away from all other animals to prevent the spread of fur mites.

Hairballs / Trichobezoars:

  • Rabbits can ingest loose hair that has been shed or as they groom, which can group together in the stomach to form a clump or ball. With rabbits they are unable to vomit, which means they have difficulty removing the hairball unlike cats, which are able to vomit the hairball up. Unfortunately, with rabbits nothing can pass a large hairball stuck at the end of the stomach, therefore, hairballs can be potentially a very serious problem in rabbits. A rabbit which has a hairball is most likely to eat less, drink more and possibly even lose weight. The rabbit may not pass any droppings and may also become reluctant to move.
  • Symptoms: May not have any symptoms or anorexia; progressive weight loss; increased water consumption; fewer or no droppings; reluctance to move.
  • Cause: Lack of fibre in diet, stress, boredom, little exercise, all of which slows down the rabbit’s gastrointestinal tract, as a rabbits digestive system should always be in a constant state of movement.
  • Treatment: Medical treatment from a veterinarian, pineapple or pineapple juice, possibly surgical removal of the hairball.
  • Prevention: High fibre diet (hay, straw, pellets), plenty of opportunity for physical activity, regular hair clips for rabbits with longer coats and a low-stress environment.


  • A viral disease that is contracted by rabbits from the bites of insects most commonly fleas, mosquitoes, and flies. It can also be brought in by other rabbits already infected and walked in by animals and humans.
  • Symptoms: The symptoms of this disease that are most commonly observed, are swollen red eyes and sometimes nose and swollen genitals in my experience of assisting other rabbit breeders with mixi in their rabbit herd there is 7 days of these symptoms sometimes looking quite mild and then the animal dies.
  • Cause: In Australia we are not allowed the use of the vaccine to vaccinate our pet rabbits and each year government authorities release the disease into the wild rabbit population and then it is carried to pet rabbits via those insect pests mentioned above. Myxomatosis is a virus called poxvirus there are some of the opinions the virus is only carried by insects, but a friend had mixi come into her herd via a baby rabbit purchased from a pet shop she thought it had red eyes because of the bedding at the pet shop and the result was 1/3 of her herd dieing of mixi. The incubation period is 5-14 days to visible symptoms.
  • Treatment: In my opinion there is no sure treatment for the disease in Australia with no success reported to me of long healthy life of the rabbit patient. The kindest thing to do is to euthanize the animal effected.
  • Prevention: In my opinion the use of insect barriers to control pests that may be infected is the only method of controlling the disease. Putting fly wire on hutches and rabbit living space. Clean poo free environment. Citronella candles and electronic insect repellers are also easy and available. There are also Homeopathic Myxomatosis treatments available from some Veterinary Practices that seem to work very well, and many breeders advocate these.
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