Gen­tle gi­ants of the yard

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Maryanne Taouk

WHEN vis­i­tors see Loren Stavens’ rab­bit Buffy for the first time they usu­ally think it’s a dog.

“They’re sur­prised how big he is,” she says.

“They think it’s a dog with short legs.”

Stavens, a lo­gis­tics man­ager from St Clair, breeds Flem­ish giant rab­bits as a hobby and says that they are the kind­est rab­bits she has ever seen, call­ing the huge pets “gen­tle gi­ants”.

“Some of the smaller rab­bits are very scared when they’re held,” she says.

“I’ve found that the big­ger the rab­bit is, the gen­tler it is as an adult. My guys are very gen­tle be­cause they’re not afraid of peo­ple.”

There are some down­sides to hous­ing the mega-rab­bit, with Stavens pro­vid­ing more than 20kg of pel­lets for each of her pets a week.

“They’ll eat you out of house and home,” she says.

“Just one of my rab­bits will have a dog bowl full of pel­lets ev­ery day, and they also eat food scraps and hay.”

The Flem­ish giant rab­bit is a pop­u­lar show rab­bit in Aus­tralia and around the world.

The rab­bit it­self can cost own­ers about $200 and lives for four to six years.

The giant has been known to grow up to 80cm long and weigh more than 9kg.

Buffy weighs a whop­ping 7kg and is around 70cm long, which Stavens says is av­er­age for the rab­bits she breeds.

“There’s a min­i­mum weight and length a rab­bit has to be for you to breed them and have them classed as a giant,” she says.

But for Stavens, it’s not the size she loves most about her rab­bits, it’s their unique per­son­al­i­ties.

“They make great house­hold pets,” she says.

“They are friendly, lov­ing and have an ex­cit­ing per­son­al­ity, it’s sur­pris­ing how af­fec­tion­ate they are.

“They love to get up on high things and love to jump.

“Mine are very ag­ile, which you don’t ex­pect for such a big an­i­mal.”

The fe­male or doe Flem­ish giant will bur­row in the dirt, so Stavens sug­gests get­ting a spe­cially made giant rab­bit meshed-ken­nel, to avoid any gar­den dis­as­ters.

Loren Stavens with her Flem­ish giant rab­bit Buffy. Pic­ture: Justin San­son

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