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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > DIET & CARE > Accidentally acquired two Flemish Giants. Need advice!
Last Post by tanlover14 at 9/21/2012 7:07 AM (52 Replies)
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User is Offline lobsterandi
24 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2012 12:48 PM

 

Okay. This story might get long. I apologize in advance.


These two flemish girls were given as gifts to a couple of young children. The children's parents said they weren't going to take on rabbits (especially, probably, these giant ones) and so they were going to be "released" outdoors.

This is where I come in: I couldn't let them be "released" like that! I took them in. They are currently in a huge dog kennel in our living room. They're babies... I think they said 10 weeks old? But they're already big, as big as most rabbits I've seen.

I'd like to keep them as house bunnies (more like house dogs cause they will be as big as our dog...) but I don't know how to go about this. I've ordered a large (as I can find) bunny hutch for them to have as their own personal space, and I will also do an x-pen for when we're gone, but... How do I get them to be old enough to be spayed without them damaging our house in the mean time? They're currently pretty friendly rabbits - they will hop up to me, nose me, allow me to pet them.

Our dog is fine with the rabbits - she ignores them and the rabbits try to push her around, so that part is okay. But what does a person do to get cords out of bunny reach? I've read not to bond rabbits until they are neutered/spayed, but these rabbits already came to me together... Do I leave them that way? Do I separate until they can be spayed? When can they be spayed? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

I admit I'm an idiot and I know nothing! Hey, at least I'm asking for help, right?

For the time being they are eating: unlimited Timothy hay and pellets, and a few greens. (I've read that they shouldn't get greens yet, but they were already given greens by the children who previously had them. Should I stop?)

User is Offline Hunny's Momma
Beautiful New England
123 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2012 1:32 PM
Congrats on being a new Flemmie parent! They make awesome pets!

I also have two Flemish Giants & they really aren't all that different from lil' buns...

Our vet spay at 16 weeks BUT are you sure they are in fact both female??? I wouldn't chance keeping them together if you aren't 100%. And even if they are both girls you may have problems when their hormones kick in... Which will be soon... If it were me I'd keep them in a large xpen at least 4' x 8' with a divider till they are altered. That's how I have my male & female till my male is altered (soon I hope, lol) and they love each other but my lil' guy wants to violate my sweet Hunny so... they are seperated for now...

I wouldn't change their diet... my 12 week old lil' guy has been eating greens since 10 weeks & as long as you introduce the slowly you should be good...

You def need to litter box train them tho, I locked mine in their pens for thr 1st few days so they could get use to their new surroundings... fill the front of the box with hay & put bunny in it (that's what I did)... Flemmie's are smart I'm sure they'll catch on...

Since my female has been spay she is free roam all day till bedtime & she's a perfect angel.

I use a pet playyard that you can open flat and I can add panels if I need it longer, up against my wall to keep them away from cords but they sell cord covers at a hardware store...

If you would like anymore advice I'm here & happy to help -

User is Offline Hunny's Momma
Beautiful New England
123 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2012 1:45 PM
O & I see you said u got a hutch??? I def wouldn't suggest that... You should stick with the xpen but if you have to have them in a cage then maybe a large NIC cage. There is a flemmie parent here his name is bullrider & he has his guy Blue in a big NIC cage... they are called giants for a reason... Hunny stands over 2.5 ft tall at 7 months & still has a lot of growing to do...

User is Offline bullrider76543
Joplin MO
1291 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2012 3:54 PM
I will have to agree with Hunny's Momma, I have Big Blue and he is our flemmie. He is 8 months old and stands up at about 3 feet tall, he is gnetle most of the time, but forgets how big he is when playing sometimes. Go through the bunny info on this site and you will find a wealth of information!! but on the growing side remember if they are females they will be aprox 16-18 lbs when fully grown!!! I would build a NIC Cube cage, that is what I have. and get them fix as soo as you can don't wait, cause bunny hormones are a pain!!! lol welcome to BB and thank you for giving them a forever home!!! at least you had the courage to stand up and do what was right!
 photo bbsignature_zps33af2ebb.jpg

User is Offline FrankieFlash
Michigan
1715 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2012 4:38 PM
Welcome! I'm so glad you were able to save them. And you sound like a great bunny parent so far because you care enough to ask and do research.
So far you've got great advice from people with experience with flemish giants. I have a 2.5 lb dwarf bun so there may be some differences. I also wanted to suggest slowly allowing them more free time. that tends to help with behavior. Definitely look up in the habitat and behavior section tricks on liter training because that will be a life savor. Also I agree with Hunny to seperate them until you can have a vet be sure they are both female. As for vets. House Rabbit Society and BB have links to vets in the area. HRS has a list of questions to ask a potential vet to make sure they really do know rabbits. Also Bunspace and local rescues will have information on local vets. Rabbits see exotic vets if you go about looking in phone book. Hmm what else. I would stick with diet you have now. OH and bunny proofing cords. Yes they need to be protected but even protectors can be chewed through. Our bun, Bunjamin won't leave them alone even then so most of our cords are taken off the ground as much as possible. Especially our computers. We just put the whole thing on our desks.

Ask more questions if you have them! We love to help

User is Offline lobsterandi
24 posts Send Private Message
8/30/2012 6:05 PM
I ordered the hutch to give them a "house" to hide in if they needed, in addition to the pen. Was that wrong? I just know that my kids get loud and I thought they might need a quiet chill space. My thought was to leave the hutch open with the x pen attached. I can still send it back, though.

My biggest concern in this process is cleanliness. How can I keep the floors clean, esp while they are learning? I have two young children and I don't want them getting sick or anything. I know the bunnies themselves are clean but I gotta make sure pee and poop are in their right places! How do yo keep floors clean during the learning process? What do you use to protect the floor?

Frankie - I would put the cords up but I am scared the bunnies can just jump up and get them! Will they eventually learn not to chew cords or is that a forever concern? Will they also try to chew things like the moulding or the stair banister? I have them out on our porch during the cool hours of the day to play and run, but they do try to chew the wood floor boards. Any way to discourage chewing like that?


Hunny & bullrider, how high should I get my x pen? And where do you grab a giant bunny to lift her without hurting her nd without freaking her out?

What does it mean when they shove their noses into the dog. Are they being mean or loving with that gesture. I can't tell!

I am pretty sure they are both girls - the breeder marked their ears with an x. I was told by the girls' grandmother that the breeder did this to mark that they were both female. Is this not something that is done?

Sorry for being so clueless!


User is Offline Hunny's Momma
Beautiful New England
123 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 1:04 AM

So it's a hutch that sits on the floor? How tall is it? If it's at least 24"-36" tall then you should be ok as long as it's just to "hide" in and not be locked in but if you just want something for them to "hide in" large cardboard boxes work great, are cheap (usually free, lol) & they are great chew toys... Hunny's free roam & she spends her quiet time under the kitchen table. Ash is still confined to the pen most of the time (he is allowed a few hours of supervised playtime) cause he's coming into sexual maturity & loves to spay & mark...so he has a large box on his side of the pen that he'll chill in once in a while but they usually just sprawl out in the pen. Other then that all we have in our pen is 2 litter boxes, food & water dishes, throw rug and some other chew toys.  I would suggest a 3-4ft high sides... Although giants aren't really jumpers when they wanna they can jump pretty high... I use to keep a 2ft high gate in the hallway so Hunny wouldn't go down it but she saw how we stepped over & boom! She was over it & I swear she made a game of it, lol.

Buns usually hate being picked up, tho Hunny will tolerate it for a few min & I swear Ash begs to be picked up... what I do is I put 1 hand on their bum & the other under their belly and I scoop em up & hold them very close to me while supported their bum & legs... buns are really strong & can break their own back if they kick too hard so if they start twitching & kicking I put them down immediately.  I've been picking mine up since day 1, Hunny was 9 weeks when I got her & Ash 6 weeks.  But I wouldn't suggest doing so... if you need to get them back to their pen, I'd use a treat (pc of veggie, small pc of apple or Craisin) for example...it'll work trust me. And if you want them to come to you, just sit or lay down on the florr, they will come to you to investegate... that's also how u bond with them & get them to trust you.

Usually when they push something with their nose it means "get outta my way". 

Idk about the marking ears thing... i got both mine from breeders & they didn't mark them... When I got Hunny tho, I was told she was male & she wasn't & when I got Ash the breeder said he was male BUT our vet (who IS rabbit savvy) thought he was a female, till his male part popped out... So I'd still seperate them till they see the vet to be safe... mistakes happen all the time with rabbits cause it's really hard to tell when they are small.  Trust me for the past month I've been calling Ash a "she" cause I thought maybe the vet was right BUT nope HE'S def a boy thru n thru, lol. 


User is Offline Hunny's Momma
Beautiful New England
123 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 1:13 AM
O and like Frankie said... if you confine them to a small area and expand it slowly over time and get litter box soon they will only do their business in the boxes... they are bunnies and not fixed so they WILL mark there is no avoiding it... so until then if you don't want lil' pellets around as ur buns try to stake claim to the whole house keep them in a confined spot. and even then once in a while ur gonna get a pellet or 2. Sine Hunnys been spay her potty habits are 100% and she does not mark anywhere anymore... once in a while when she's excited & running around one or 2 will pop out but they are super easy to suck up in the vacuum... My lil' guy is about they same age as ur buns & as much as i wanna let him be free roam he's still too young so the pen it is & he's fine, he's happy & I know once he's fixed he'll be just as good as Hunny is... Just take patience

User is Offline Hazel
892 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 2:01 AM

I had a hutch with a run attached for my previous bunny (inside of course). Mine had a ramp in front with an entrance hole at the end, and inside it there was another hole in a divider so the hutch had 2 compartments so to speak. It worked fine for my 6 pounder, but I know a Flemish could never fit through either of the two holes. Depending on how your hutch is designed, that's something to consider.

Welcome, and congrats on your new bunnies. Thank you for saving them, they would have never survived out there  It's crazy that so many people think they can just set them free in the woods...

"You ain't buna fide!"

User is Offline bullrider76543
Joplin MO
1291 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 2:41 AM
I agree a hutch shouldn't be to bad idea being inside. I will have to agree with hunny's momma on the fencing I use Nic Cubes and make my own fenceing lol. Blue can jump very high if he wants but is too lazy to lol. as for the potty training, start as soon as possible and limit their area untill they got it down. and after getting spayed and the hormones calm down it will be a lot easier. as for picking them up, I don't pick up Blue unless I have to, he HATES it and usually nips me if he is held too long. but he love getting pet and attention.
 photo bbsignature_zps33af2ebb.jpg

User is Offline lobsterandi
24 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 6:16 AM
One bunny, I call her Broke-ear because she has one ear that flops out, can be picked up. When she starts feeling a little twitchy I put her down. The other bunny, whom we're callng Lady for the time being.... Well, she is less gregarious. She will occasionally hop onto our laps and tolerate head rubs but she is more fearful of sudden movements and loud noises. I don't try to pick her up because she freaks out.

Both bunnies will hop up to me when I sit on the floor, and they will both sit in my lap to be fed carrot tops or parsley. I feel like they're pretty sociable. I have been hand feeding them their greens just so they get used to me. They think I am an awesome bringer of food, and they seem disappointed when I have nothing for them.

As far as spaying goes (if they are, indeed, both girls) should I do them both at the same time, or is there some reason I should stagger their surgeries? Should I try to see if they're both girls or should I just leave the vet to check and find out then?

Litter training while they're in their current make-shift dog kennel home is fine. TThey go in the box and there are only a few pellets outside of it... but when I let them run on the porch, the only large place free of cords that is safe for them, they seem to forget the box and deposit their little presents all over. Should I get more boxes or should I cut down on the area they're allowed in?

User is Offline lobsterandi
24 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 7:04 AM
Just called up rabbit-friendly vets in the area, and of course the one I liked best says it'll cost at least $700/bunny. There were others that were much less, but I liked the people on the phone less. They were all vets listed by the house rabbit society, and they all answered my questions well enough... I get the feeling that my favorite vet is probably most expensive because they are right downtown where space and services are a premium. The other vets are out farther in the suburbs, but still about the same distance time-wise for me.

So would it be wrong to take my second-choice personality vet to save myself $500, or maybe even more? I think they'd probably give good care, still. But I feel guilty. Ohhh, boy.

User is Offline zoologist
Orlando, Fl
268 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 7:08 AM
Tofu has the same problem with litter training. He is free range in the house, and always pees in the box but leaves me territorial poops around the house. I just go around every once in a while and pick them up and toss them. However when he goes out on the porch he is pee/poop/spray CRAZY! I don't know why. He never sprays indoors. So maybe put a box out on the porch or limit their access until they've got it 100%.

My vet in Orlando quoted me $340. A vet in Sarasota (2.5 hours away) quoted me at $90. I went to Sarasota, only spent $90 + $38 in gas. soooooo worth it. It helps that I really trust my vet in Sarasota and I've taken other pets to him in the past.
-Jessy

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User is Offline zoologist
Orlando, Fl
268 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 7:15 AM
also, I love the idea of hand feeding their veggies! I'm going to start trying that because I'm still getting Tofu to trust me
-Jessy

Photobucket


User is Offline Monkeybun
Hillsboro, Oregon
10463 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 9:31 AM
Don't feel bad about going to a cheaper place for a spay... $700 is outrageous! It cost me around $200-ish for my girls, and 150 for my boys to get done where I am. You can always go to your first choice vet for routine care

User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 9:45 AM
Maybe call the local Humane Society and see who they use to fix rabbits. They may have a discount voucher for you too (our local one does that).
I never got my first bun fixed because it was so expensive and I couldn't afford it. I adopted my next one from the shelter-- got a bun who was fixed for $35! What a steal!

User is Offline Hunny's Momma
Beautiful New England
123 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 9:46 AM
I would def do both at the same time that way the chance of their bond breaking is less & they can both heal up and be ready for you to house train together but... Holy cow, $700ea!!! Wow! What state do you live in??? It was only $175 for Hunny plus $5 for medicine. Um... personally I'd shop around... $700 seems a bit crazy to me. Are they peeing on the porch or just pooping cause chances are the reason why they are pooping all over the porch is cause it is a new area to them & they want to claim it as theirs & with both buns probably coming into their hormones they are getting territorial so when 1 marks, the other marks to say "no... this is MY spot...

User is Offline lobsterandi
24 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 10:03 AM
I live in Minnesota. I've called a TON of vets now... some didn't pass the bunny test. Cheapest one that passed bunny test questions said the whole shebang will cost $220/bunny.

Then I looked up spay/neuter assistance int he state.. And, well, we've got it. They charge something ridiculously cheap - like $60 or so? But I don't know how I feel about it because I'd need to talk to somebody who actually knows stuff about the program to make sure they know what to do with a bunny.

How big are your big Flemish litter boxes, Hunny? I bought the "extra large" cat box at the pet store and it seems about right for them now. Don't know hwat will happen when they get bigger. Maybe cut an access spot into a rubbermaid tote? Man, we're going to be going through a ton of litter...

I thought Lady was dead this afternoon. I was petting the other (unnamed) bunny when I looked over and saw Lady completely flopped down right next to/on top of the dog. She REALLLY looked dead.

User is Offline bullrider76543
Joplin MO
1291 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 10:35 AM
WOW that is pricy, maybe its because I live in a less prosperous area, it cost me $75 for my females and $55 for my boys. and she is a good country doctor, but just about all we have. That box should be fine for their litter, unless you see them needing more space.
 photo bbsignature_zps33af2ebb.jpg

User is Offline TH004
261 posts Send Private Message
8/31/2012 10:37 AM
Rabbits can give you that scare for sure! My first one liked to sleep on her back, with her legs straight in the air. The first time I came home and saw it, with her eyes open, I screamed. I ended up scaring her too

I would see if you could find out how often and the success rate of the cheap vet fixing rabbits. Crazy enough, our cheap Humane Society vet probably fixes more rabbits than any other vet in the area. You do need to feel secure in your choice though. When I got quotes, they were $250-300/female rabbit, so $220 seems in line with that.
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