Gentle giants of the yard
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