In the industrial rabbit breeding, the white giant rabbits occupy a special place, which they are bred to obtain high-quality skins and dietary meat. Albino animals have a completely white coat with a very downy underfur. This allows you to use their fur for the manufacture of fashionable and not very expensive products. The possibility of dyeing in various colors greatly expands the imagination of designers.
The history of the breed
The Belgian Flandre is considered to be the direct ancestor of the white giant rabbit breed, the largest of the rabbit species that exists today. At the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries, by a long artificial selection, the rabbit breeders managed to bring out a clean line of albino rabbits, which had absolutely white fur, and their size and weight allowed them to breed animals and to obtain high-quality meat.
The main disadvantage of the white giant rabbits, bred by selecting individuals without color pigment, was their physical development lag. Hence the pain and inability to tolerate sudden changes in temperature. Another problem was that females were extremely low in fecundity. The youngsters often died without reaching industrial weight and size.
In the 20s of the last century, German rabbit breeders were engaged in breeding, and they began to breed them with representatives of other breeds. The best results were obtained by crossing with the gray giant rocks (more details in the article "About the breed of rabbits gray giant") and the Soviet chinchilla (in the article "Rabbits of Chinchilla" there is a detailed description). The first allowed to increase the vitality and fecundity of albinos. The second gave their fur outstanding fur characteristics.
Poor tolerate Russian conditions
The original form of the white giant was introduced to the territory of the Soviet Union in 1927, but it could not withstand competition from local breeds adapted to life in the harsh climate.
Domestic selection of representatives of the breed went along the line of crossing with gray giants and the selection of the most hardy individuals. Despite serious efforts, the breeding of these giant rabbits on an industrial scale has not received serious distribution.
True, docile nature, beauty and relative simplicity of keeping white pedigreed animals made popular the maintenance of white giants as pets.
A unique feature of this breed is their periodic confluence into trance. Very often, the white giant rabbit freezes in place, with a fixed look at one point, and begins to sway from side to side. According to experts, this is a consequence of the introduction of a clean line of albinos, and not a sign of mental disorder or the onset of the disease.
Industrial breed characteristics
The characteristic of white giants fully corresponds to its name. The albino rabbit has a large size, and its wool is characterized by perfect whiteness and the absence of even single hairs of a different color. A single description of the breed includes the following features:
- the presence of an elongated body, the length of which reaches 60 cm;
- big round head with elongated muzzle;
- standing ears 15-20 cm long with a slight rounding at the ends;
- powerful chest, girth of which reaches 37-38 cm;
- dense wool of white color with a length of hairs up to 4 cm;
- soft undercoat (up to 23-24 downy hair per one guard hair);
- the average weight of an adult individual is about 5-6 kg;
- pigment-free red eyes;
- high fertility of rabbits that can bring about 7 to 15 cubs.
Occasionally there are individuals with a fragile physique and lack of pile in the fur. Such animals are subject to culling and cannot be used for breed reproduction.
The females of the white giant may have a double chin, but this is not a consequence of obesity, but suggests that the diet of the animal fully satisfies the needs of its body for nutrients.
Perfect white fur color
The uniqueness of this breed lies in the fact that animals can have only one color of fur - white. The appearance of even the slightest blotches indicates the presence of genes uncharacteristic for the white giant.
In most cases, such rabbits are fed to industrial weight and slaughtered for meat. The skin is sent for painting and is used for the manufacture of fur products, not related to the category of "Elite".
The white giant rabbit of the USSR breed can only have the red color of the iris. This is due to the fact that in all albinos, in the absence of pigments, blood vessels are seen through.
In the English and Belgian direction of selection, some animals may have blue eyes. This is not considered a big disadvantage, but with their further crossing, rabbits with signs of other breeds may appear.
Fast growing bunnies
The great advantage of this breed is that the sukrolnye females of the white giant never eat their offspring and produce up to 250 ml of milk per day. This is quite enough to keep babies with their mother up to 60 days.
Thanks to mother's milk, baby rabbits strengthen the immune system and grow quickly, gaining a weight of 1.5 kg or more by two months. Restructuring their body in the transition to adult food passes easily. But you need to ensure that the young white giants do not have bloating.
With proper feeding, a three-month white rabbit will weigh 2 kg, and in 4 months its weight will be about 2.6-3 kg. In the future, the rate of weight gain by months stabilizes and by 8 months fattening animals reach industrial weight, after which they can be sent for slaughter.
In industrial rabbit breeding, adult members of the breed are divided into three classes, depending on weight. Animals of the second class weigh no more than 4.8 kg, the first - up to 5.3 kg, and elite - about 5.8 kg.
Larger rabbits in most cases simply suffer from obesity, but the output from their carcass deli meat does not exceed the norm.
According to the taste characteristics, the meat of the white giants belongs to the elite species and is very popular among gourmets because of its tenderness and richness. This stimulates many rabbit breeders in our country to breed representatives of this particular breed.
You can keep in the house and apartment
The practicality of keeping white giants at home lies in the fact that these rabbits are classified as "intelligent breeds", whose representatives perfectly converge with people and are peaceful.
Despite their size, they get along well with children and are ready to play a little. It should be remembered that, like other giant rabbits, representatives of this breed are under heavy strain on their paws. White giants get tired quickly and can become aggressive if they are not left alone in a timely manner.
There are cases when white giants bite and scratch children, inflicting serious injuries on them, and also run away from their owners, who paid them excessive attention.
With all the beauty and seeming calm, albinos are representatives of the industrial breed of rabbits, and dwarf animals are more suitable for keeping at home. They are distinguished by gentleness, tranquility and the desire to communicate with their owners.
The right choice bunny
Despite the rather strong immunity of baby rabbits, adult animals are susceptible to various diseases and they must be subjected to regular vaccination, as well as periodically carried out anthelmintic measures.
If you decide to build a home mini-farm and start breeding white giants, then try to acquire already grown representatives of the breed. Up to three months of age, only an experienced specialist can distinguish males from females, and when you buy them on the market you can buy a “cat in a bag”.
Best of all, if the rabbit at the time of purchase will be 4 months, and they will begin to enter puberty.
Make sure that all the rabbits have worms removed and all the necessary vaccinations, including the one associated with myxomatosis and VGBK, are made. Remember that each animal brought from a separate farm may have pathogens of various diseases on its skin. Therefore, be sure to put the rabbits in separate cells for several days, ensuring quarantine measures.
Breeding at home
Young animals are ready for mating as early as 4-5 months, but it is strongly not recommended to perform mating at this age. Therefore, females and males being prepared for breeding should be kept in different cages.
Rabbits can be placed in 2 individuals in each cage, and each male of the white giant should be allocated a separate aviary. During puberty, males are characterized by increased aggressiveness and constantly arrange fights with their rivals. Animals are seriously injured, sick and may die.
The optimal age for covering females is 7-8 months. Older males are best used for this.
Young males should be allowed to mate adult rabbits already in 5-6 months. If this is not done in a timely manner, they will lose interest in mating and will switch to eating too much feed.
High maternal instinct females
The sugary nature of the females of the white giant lasts 30-32 days, after which they produce from 7 to 15 babies, although the birth of 9 rabbits is considered optimal. Rabbits are very good mothers and never eat their young.
This breed of rabbits differs from most other ones in that females produce a lot of milk, which is 4 times more than cow's in nutrients. For this reason, baby rabbits can live in the same cage with their mother for up to 2 months, and adding dry food to their diets is not required.
Due to the intensive work of the mammary glands, which produce up to 250 ml of milk per day, they wear out a lot. After 3-4 hours, mastitis can develop in the female white giant, which is a characteristic disease of this animal species.
Those who stop feeding rabbits should be palpated daily, and if they become hardened in the chest, immediately contact a veterinarian.
With timely treatment, the female quickly recovers, and the neglected disease can lead to the death of the animal.
Features of the content of white giants
The white giant is a breed of especially large rabbits, therefore for their maintenance it is necessary to build large-sized cages. They must have a solid floor without gaps, a shed or roof to protect from direct sunlight, as well as a fence made of strong steel wire that animals cannot gnaw through.
The recommended size of the cage for the white giant is 80x100x65 cm. There are no special restrictions in the direction of increasing.
If you plan to cross and breed white giants, you must have cells for mating and breeding. Their sizes can be 100x150x65 cm.
A large weight of animals exerts serious pressure on their paws. Therefore, it is strictly forbidden to lay a grid covering on the floor of the cage, and the peat, sawdust or hay layer should be up to 3 cm thick.
White giants have dense wool, it is not easy to tolerate temperatures up to + 6 degrees Celsius. But they can get heatstroke when overheating and are very afraid of drafts. Therefore, the optimum temperature for their maintenance at home is + 18 + 20 degrees, and the cells should be installed under sheds near the blank walls.
Peculiarities of feeding at home
Feeding white giants is somewhat different from other breeds. This is primarily due to the need to give the animals a greater amount of proteins, accelerating their growth. Thanks to rational feeding, whiteness, softness and density of wool are ensured, which gains perfect shine.
The basis of the diet should be fiber-containing roughage, gnawing which the giant grinds off its ever-growing teeth. With great pleasure they absorb green grass, hay and silage, wheat, barley and oats, fruits and roots, as well as young shoots of trees.
It is strictly forbidden to feed rabbits fallen from the trees and fermented fruits that can cause bloating and lead to a deterioration in the general condition of the animal.
Morning feeding with vinaigrettes made from chopped and boiled vegetables gives excellent results, and in the evening rabbits love to eat bread dipped in milk.
When feeding with a moisture-rich vinaigrette, the white giant can stop drinking water. This is not a sign of a painful condition and should not cause panic. Nevertheless, the cage should always be drinking with clean water, which the rabbit can use to drink or cool their massive body.
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