These giants in the hare family are rabbits giants, specially bred for obtaining large quantities of dietary meat. They are bred and for the production of high quality skins, suitable for sewing fashionable clothes. During the long years of work, breeders managed to get several breeds of very large animals. They differ from each other in body constitution, size, fertility and endurance, as well as in the taste of the rabbit and the condition of the fur.
The history of breeding giant rabbits
Breeding, growing and feeding the rabbits of giants gained particular popularity in the 50s of the last century. After the end of the Second World War, the population of Europe had to be provided with a sufficient amount of high-calorie food. Low cost production was required.
During this period, rabbit breeders started breeding highly productive rabbits, crossing representatives of various breeds in order to consolidate the most sought-after characteristics.
Bringing rabbits, gaining a lot of weight, it was not very difficult. But such animals were very painful, poorly tolerated temperature fluctuations and gave small offspring. Moreover, the females did not want to care for their babies, most of whom died.
Another problem was the removal of animals with high-quality fur, which would be distinguished by a stable luster, lightness, a unique color and easy to be painted.
As a result, several species of giant rabbits could be bred, each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Animals for every taste and color
Due to the fact that the rabbit breeders from different countries tried to bring out animals with certain characteristics, there is still no single description of the breed of rabbit giants.
Depending on the purpose of breeding, the giants are subdivided into rabbits of the decorative, meat, fur and wool direction. There are more than 20 known varieties of giants, the most common of which are considered:
- decorative Belgian rabbits of breed flandr;
- German Rabbits Riesen;
- gray meat giants;
- meat breed German sheep;
- fur Soviet chinchilla;
- white giants with perfect fur quality;
- giant angora rabbits used to get fluff.
All animals of these breeds have large sizes, but differ from each other in structure and color of skins, body build and average body weight, resistance to environmental conditions, weight gain rate and meat output from the carcass, fecundity of females and survival of offspring.
Belgian rabbits breed flandr
The largest breed of rabbit giants are Flandre, named after one of the Belgian provinces, whose residents specialized in raising these animals. Nothing is known about the origin. According to one version, they became descendants of an already extinct species of large individuals that lived in the territory of Patagonia (Argentina).
Flanders were first talked about at the turn of the XVIII-XIX centuries, when very large animals were shown to the general public, reaching a weight of 7 kg or more. Today, representatives of this species reach a length of 70 cm and have an average weight of about 10-14 kg.
The absolute record holder is the huge rabbit Ralph, whose weight at the time of entering the Guinness Book of Records was 19 kg.
These animals are unpretentious and omnivorous, and their insatiable appetite creates serious problems for breeders. Females lead up to 6-8 babies in one okrol. The quality of the skins is not of high quality, and the meat yield is only about 55% of how much the rabbit weighs at the time of slaughter.
Due to the excessively large body weight, Flandres suffer from curvature of the limbs and often suffer from it, so their industrial breeding is not popular.
German breed Riesen
A real giant is the giant rabbit of the German breed Risen. The size of his body reaches 75 cm in length, and the girth of the chest is 42 cm. These are big-headed animals with large cheeks and erect ears, the length of which can reach 20 cm.
The average weight of an adult animal is 10-12 kg, although some females can weigh up to 14 kg. Individuals of this breed are regulars of the rabbit-breeding exhibitions, since rabbis, along with the standard color of agouti (hare), have golden, white and blue fur. Erect big ears even more visually increase their size.
The fur in German rabbits is thick and dense, and the length of wool can reach 4 cm. This allows animals to easily endure low temperatures, but creates serious problems during the hot seasons of the year.
Breeding rabbits from the giants of the Riesen breed is a very hard task. In addition to the need for large cells, the breeder needs to ensure that animals do not receive heat stroke and do not die from overheating.
A huge problem is that when fecundity is high, females often refuse to nurse the offspring. Explore this species by reading the article "On Rabbits of the Riesen Breed".
Fur Soviet Chinchilla
Giant rabbits of this breed were bred in the USSR to obtain large quantities of meat and excellent skins, suitable for sewing fashionable clothes. Soft and dense animal fur has a predominantly silver-blue color. It is excellent for painting and retains color over the years.
The body length of an adult individual can reach 65 cm, and the girth of the breast - 40 cm. The average weight of a rabbit is 5-6 kg, and the largest individuals can weigh 7-8 kg.
Females bring about 7-10 babies at a time. The young are unpretentious in content, but very poorly tolerate drafts and overheating under the direct rays of the sun. Without proper care, they often get sick, slowly gain weight and grow very weak.
Breeding animals of this breed is not very cost effective. In most cases, it is carried out only for the sake of getting skins, since meat does not have high taste qualities. If you are interested in this breed, continue to study by reading the article "Chinchilla Rabbits".
Rabbits German Sheep
A distinctive feature of some species of rabbits is a large head and muzzle that looks like a mutton. Such animals have large drooping ears, which give their appearance a special gentleness. They are decorative breeds and have different sizes.
The largest are the German sheep, which are grown for meat, because the fur does not have a dense undercoat, and the skins of these animals are extremely low valued.
The length of the body of German sheep can reach 65-70 cm. The average weight of an adult animal is 6-7 kg, although with special care, some individuals can gain up to 10 kg of body weight.
The great advantage of the German sheep is their precocity and multiplicity. Females for one okrol bring up to 7 babies, which grow very quickly, reaching slaughter weight by 4 months.
Because of lowered ears, rabbits of the ram breed hear poorly and react little to external irritations. They are stress resistant and have a great appetite. Keeping animals outdoors away from sunlight allows for a short time to get a large amount of dietary meat with minimal effort and money.
Domestic breed gray giant was bred in the former Soviet Union. This Russian rabbit has a gray color of the skin with hints of ferrous gray, gray hare and dark gray colors. The belly is lighter.
The body is massive and can reach a length of 65 cm. The chest girth is 37-39 cm. The coat has a rather dense undercoat that reliably protects the animal from low temperatures.
The breed of rabbits, the gray giant, is perfectly adapted for year-round housing on the territory of rabbit farms located in remote parts of Siberia and the Far East.
Females are distinguished by very high fecundity and are able to bring up to 8-14 pups per one okrol. Kids have a stable immunity and almost all survive. They have an excellent appetite and by the age of 3 months they can weigh up to 3 kg. The average weight of an adult animal is 4-6 kg.
Despite the fact that the gray giant is slightly inferior to other breeds of giant rabbits in meat output, it is the most popular breed for breeding in Russia. Read more in the article "On the breed of rabbits gray giant."
The great success of the rabbit breeders in recent years has been won by the white giant animal breed. Albino rabbits are bred solely for the sake of getting perfectly white skins.
The fur of animals of this breed has no flaws in color, and the presence of even the smallest spots of other (except white) colors indicates the lack of purity of the line. Thick undercoat reliably protects rabbits from frost.
The animal can be up to 60 cm long, with a chest girth up to 38 cm. Straight and long ears up to 15 cm. Individuals of the elite class can weigh up to 6 kg, although the average weight of an adult individual is 4.5-5.5 kg.
Females are very fertile and reach puberty by 5 months. For one okrol they bring up to 12 babies, which are distinguished by high resilience.
White giants can be bred for decorative purposes, but it should be remembered that with frequent closely related crossbreeding in animals, spots may appear that will spoil the quality of the skins.
Animals of this unique breed are valued not for high-quality meat and beautiful color of the skin, but for surprisingly soft and warm downy undercoat, which is great for making knitwear.
For the first time, rabbits of this breed were bred in Turkey on the territory of modern Ankara, which was previously called Angora. An adult animal can weigh up to 5 kg, and the length of the hair of individual individuals reaches 20-25 cm.
During industrial breeding of giant angora, they are sheared at least 1 time in three months, when the length of hair reaches 12-15 cm, and the undercoat does not have time to pile into mats. On average, one adult rabbit gets up to 200 g of high-quality wool per haircut.
When grown for decorative purposes, giant angora require serious care and constant attention. They need to be rationally fed, constantly combed and regularly cut (at least 1 time per month). With proper care, animals of this breed live at home for up to 5-7 years.
Features breeding rabbits giants
Regardless of whether you are planning to maintain a giant decorative rabbit or go into industrial breeding of one of the breeds, you need to build a roomy cage.
The recommended cage size for a giant rabbit is 80 × 100 × 65 cm. If you make the room more spacious, this will not be a disadvantage.
For a rabbit with babies, the cage needs to be made more voluminous. It must be at least 100 × 150 × 65 cm.
Because of the large weight of the animals, they experience an increased load on the paws, so the floor in the cage must be solid, and the use of any nets is strictly prohibited.
To reduce the load, the floor should be covered with sawdust or hay, and the thickness of this layer should be about 3 cm.
Animals are very poorly tolerated by overheating and drafts, so even in the open air, cages should be installed under sheds near deaf walls.
Features of feeding giants
Rabbit giants are unpretentious in food. They are very fond of green grass, hay and silage, wheat, barley and oats, fruits and roots, as well as young shoots of trees that gnaw for grinding teeth.
However, their diet varies greatly depending on the purpose of breeding. Therefore, it is better to use the combined feed, rich in vitamins, minerals and biologically active substances.
It is necessary to avoid overfeeding these animals. When obesity occurs, the load on the paws, which may bend, increases significantly.
In case of obesity, the internal organs also begin to work with increased stress, and the heart cannot provide them with arterial blood. Such animals lose their appetite, start hiding in a dark place, get sick and often die.
It is very important that there is always enough clean drinking water in the cells. Giants drink a lot to cool their bodies and not to get a heat stroke, as well as to increase intestinal permeability.
Problems breeding rabbits giants
If you decide to breed rabbits giants, it is best to buy already adult animals that have reached the age of 5 months. Despite the fact that puberty in females occurs precisely at this age, the bunnies need to be given another 2-3 months to gain mass and strength.
Obese or overly thin rabbits are not suitable for mating, because they give small and not viable offspring.
The little rabbits do not like to set up their nests on their own, so be prepared to do it yourself.
Having planted in the common cage of the male and the female, be sure to reduce the amount of feed given to them. Because of their gluttony, animals usually prefer to eat than to reproduce rabbit offspring.
The gestation period is uneventful, and females, bringing an average of 7-10 babies, almost never abandon them. The little rabbit in the mother cell is not in danger, because the giants do not eat their offspring.
Females always have enough milk to feed their young.
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