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Being Owned by a Flemish Giant Rabbit

Updated on May 8, 2011

Meet Atira!

I've had bunnies in the past, but when I learned of the Flemish Giant, I began a mission to learn about the breed and to find a breeder nearby. I brought home a beautiful, affectionate blue bunny I named Inari, but a mini dachshund I was fostering killed her when Inari escaped from her pen only three short weeks later. I was devastated, but heeded the advice of friends and decided to get another Flemish.

I then brought home Atira, a gorgeous light gray doe. She has grown into quite a large and inquisitive bunny with a diva mentality. As the title implies, I do not own a Flemish Giant, a Flemish Giant owns me! Keeping up with her as she finds something new to destroy (electrical cords, carpeting, books, etc.) is a full-time job when she is romping throughout the apartment. She also gets along quite well with my two dogs. I was afraid they would not accept her, but they treat her as just another dog.

In all, I have two dogs, Scooter and Bruiser, Atira the Flemish Giant, Lunatic the hotot mix, a sugar glider named Edward, and a hedgehog named Michelangelo. Atira, however, is the main topic of this lens. I hope to write about my other critters, too, in other lenses. I hope you enjoy getting to know Atira as much as I enjoy having her as a big part of my furry family.

A Little Bit About Me and My Lens

My Granddaughter Aamira, with Atira, My Flemish Giant
My Granddaughter Aamira, with Atira, My Flemish Giant

I love my pets like family, and here I'll be sharing tidbits about my young Flemish Giant rabbit, Atira. I'll be sharing information on the best food to feed a Flemish...or any bunny, training (if it's even possible!), bonding, making a pen, and just everyday stuff that my Atira does in subsequent lenses. She definitely has a mind of her own and can easily leave destruction in her path if not closely watched (I have already learned this the hard way.)

I also want everyone to understand how much work a Flemish Giant is, even more so than a small breed bunny, and want to deter anyone from getting one if they cannot be there for the long-haul in caring for and loving this gentle giant. Flemish Giants can live beyond five years, even into their teens. So think of it as adding another dog to the family with very specific needs before committing.

Atira is a gorgeous light grey doe who I got from wonderful breeders who show their bunnies and have many award-winning show bunnies, including at least two Grand Champions. Google the name Taylor's Berries and Bunnies to find out more about them. I think it's very important to add that they NEVER, EVER use any of their bunnies for food and do not "cull the herd" by killing any "less than desirable" bunnies. They put many bunnies up for adoption, from family quality to show quality. They have a wonderful, clean facility for their bunnies and love them dearly. They socialize them and care for them very well.

I hope you find my writings informative and sometimes funny as I navigate through the world of my own Flemish Giant bunny. She's a wonderful addition to my little furry family and a lot of fun to have around. If you love Flemish Giants, or just want to know more about them, then you've come to the right place. Atira says it's okay that I write about her, so that's just what I'm going to do!

BTW, I've tried to upload a picture here, but it's not working. Will try again later...darn.

Getting to Know My Flemish Giant - A Journey of Laughs and Frustration

I first heard about the Flemish Giant after seeing a story about the world's largest rabbit, Darius, a Flemish Giant weighing in at an incredible FIFTY POUNDS! Yes, FIFTY POUNDS! It's so amazing I had to say it twice. Here's a link to the Today show picture and article about this monster bunny: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/36845356/ns/today-to... I began researching the breed, learning in the process that most don't surpass twenty pounds. The average weight of a Flemish is around 16-17 pounds. That is still one big bunny.

I thought getting a Flemish Giant would mean selling all my worldly possessions to afford one, but to my surprise, they're very affordable. I then searched for local breeders, convinced that I wouldn't find one within a thousand miles. Again, I was surprised to find at least three breeders in Missouri, where I live. After contacting the first two, I searched again and found the third breeder, Taylor's Berries and Bunnies. I am so happy that I found them. Wayne and Sherry Taylor are the nicest people who love their bunnies. They show their bunnies, and at least two are Grand Champions, while several others have many 1st and 2nd place wins. They do NOT eat or kill any "undesirable" bunnies born to their does. Some they keep for showing and the others they sell to loving homes. For $40-$60 you can bring a wonderful bunny home.

Flemish Giants come in a range of colors: Fawn, Sandy, Black, Blue, Steel Gray, Light Gray, and White. I've always loved the Blues, so I put in my request for one with the Taylors. As luck would have it, a Blue was born into one of their new litters, and I soon had a wonderful doe I named Inari. Inari was VERY people-friendly and inquisitive. She would hop on the couch, hang out with the dogs, and just loved to sit in someone's lap to be petted. She was a special little girl. Everyone who met her instantly melted at her loving personality.

At the time I got Inari, I was fostering a mini dachshund who had lived a life of hell at a puppy mill for most of her four years of life. She was a sweet little dog, but it was readily evident that she had only one thing in mind when I brought Inari home...to hunt her down. I took pains to keep her separated from Inari while she was out playing, but I didn't count on Inari escaping from her pen one night while I slept. My two dogs were in my room with me while the foster dog slept in the living room where Inari's pen was. She killed her only three weeks after I brought her home. I was so devastated and felt so guilty. It was a terrible day.

In the aftermath, I found a great home for the mini dachshund, and after much thought and talking to friends, I decided I would try to get another bunny. Sherry and Wayne understood that what happened to Inari was a terrible accident, and were willing to help me to find just the right "Trish bunny" as they called it. That is where Atira comes in.

My oldest daughter accompanied me on a 2 1/2 hour drive to pick up my new bunny. It was a long drive, and I wondered how Atira would do on the way back. She did remarkably well and was quite calm through the entire drive. We both were in awe of all the other adult bunnies at Taylor's Berries and Bunnies. Seeing them in person will take your breath away when all you've ever seen were pictures. Wowsa!

Atira is quite different from Inari, more independent and not at all interested in hopping on the couch or sitting in anyone's lap. She's more of a diva, to be more precise. She does love a good rubdown, though, and will plant herself flat on the floor for a good petting. She also cannot resist some Cheerios treats (well, the off-brand). She will happily climb up in my lap and insist the treats keep coming, and I have even gotten her to take them right out of my mouth. I make a low humming sound and she zeroes right in for the prize.

Having a Flemish Giant means ALWAYS watching them when they're romping around the house. Atira has, in very little time, destroyed parts of my carpet at the back of my living room. Despite the fact I give her blocks of wood, cardboard, and other things to chew on, she just loves to go right back to destroying the carpet. Many of my electrical cords have fallen prey to bunny incisors, too. They now hang up high and look rather ridiculous as they run along the top of a bookcase and over a nail in the wall. Yea, it's pretty ghetto. But hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Atira will be one year old May 19th (I just now had to sneak a peek at her paper from the breeders.) This summer she will finally be spayed which will help reduce her need to dig...as in carpets. I have no desire to breed her, and at around a year a Flemish Giant's pelvic bones fuse together, making it difficult and even impossible to give birth. I don't need to be bringing anymore bunnies into the world. Atira is a family member, not a breeding machine.

I have not weighed Atira for two or three months, but at her last weigh-in she was just shy of eleven pounds. She has filled out quite a lot since then, so I suspect she's closer to fifteen pounds now, if not heavier. She's at a healthy weight with a beautiful, thick coat.

I fashioned a 1940s baby crib into a large pen for Atira, which is quite cool if I do say so myself. I made a lid for the top, so I have to reach in to get her out. For the longest time she would run about the pen rather than let me pick her up, though she always looked forward to coming out. In recent weeks, however, she has FINALLY realized that if she just sits still for a moment I can scoop her up gently and the "pain" of being held by a human will soon be over. I do wait before I put her down, talking to her and petting her, in hopes that she'll discover it's not so bad to be held in someone's arms for awhile. Usually after about a minute she decides she's had enough and will try to scramble out of my arms. I have a few bunny scratches for my efforts, but I refuse to give up on making her an affectionate bunny who wants to be held and rocked and petted...one can dream.

Atira also is a very intuitive, cunning rabbit. No matter how I change my routine when it's time to put her back in her pen, she just KNOWS when it's time. If I give her Cheerios, she'll stay back JUST enough to scamper off before I can grab her. If she does let me pet her, she's very aware of every move I make and will be gone in a flash if she senses I'm trying to get in a position to grab her. She's just a stinker! I try to come up with new ways to surprise her, but she's always a step ahead. Never underestimate the intelligence and wit of a Flemish Giant!

Atira also has no fear of my two dogs and often sniffs them or lounges with them. I was afraid at least one of the dogs would want to eat her, but both quickly accepted Atira. I kept her in her pen in the living room for two weeks whenever the dogs were around so they'd first just get use to her smell and presence. I then introduced them, one by one, while on their leashes after letting Atira out. Before long they accepted this strange intruder and pretty much ignore her now. The same can't be said for my little hotot bunny, Lunatic. I always have to put the dogs away when I let him out or else he will end up being a doggie snack.

As the title implies, I am owned by a Flemish Giant. She dictates when she wants attention and will make me work to get her back in her pen. She listens when she wants to and ignores me the rest of the time when I try to admonish her for chewing on something or going where she's not allowed to go. She is much like a cat in her aloofness and independence, but like a dog when she wants a treat and affection. Flemish Giants are called the Gentle Giants of the rabbit world, and it's easy to see why. Though she sometimes will run through the apartment kicking up her heels, most of the time she's either exploring or lounging. Flemish Giants are not spastic like small breed bunnies.

I'm so happy that I decided to try once more for a Flemish Giant after losing Inari so soon. I have not and will not forget Inari and her gentle nature. She solidified my love for the Flemish breed and was the reason I got Atira. I wanted Atira to be more affectionate like Inari, but I wouldn't trade her for anything. She is just as loved and has added so many smiles and more joy to my life. Okay, so she's destroyed some carpet and electrical cords and keeps me on my toes, but I don't mind. Okay, I DO mind, but it's up to me to work with her, get her fixed, and give her all the love she needs to have a happy, healthy life. I'm up for the challenge and make new strides everyday.

Being owned by a Flemish Giant can be frustrating at times, but the fun and affection I get from having Atira in my life far outweighs those moments. Just ask her.

My Fave Books and Movies - Horror, Action Thriller, Suspense, Oldies

I love scary books and movies, so most of what I recommend fall under that category. From horror to suspense, there are more books and movies out there than I could ever hope to read or see...but I'll sure try! I also love old classic books and movies, such as the original series of Sherlock Holmes books written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the series of movies starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. I love Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy, too. I'm proud to say I've also read classic books such as Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Herman Melville and Jules Verne respectively. I've read and love all the Hobbit books by J.R.R. Tolkien and am a huge fan of the movies.

I hope you enjoy my book and movie recommendations. Everything I recommend I've read/watched. So check them out!

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That - Videos I Love and Want to Share

I'll be posting an eclectic variety of videos that I find funny, entertaining, or fascinating. My first pick is the Kung Fu Bear in Japan...this bear is amazing!

I appreciate everyone who visits my lens and welcome any advice on making it better. I'm brand new to Squidoo and have no idea what I'm doing! I hope to refine my lens and add new ones soon so that stopping by will be a great experience for all. So, please be patient with me and I'll continue to work on improving what I have to offer on Squidoo! I look forward to forging new friendships and reading other great lenses. Thanks for stopping by!

Please Leave a Comment :) - I Want to Get to Know You!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've always wanted one! She's so cute. I live in Missouri also. Where did you get her?

      Thanks!

      Annie

    • profile image

      gpratique 5 years ago

      Hi,

      Nice lens! I own 5 Flemish giants, 2 females and 3 males, 2 of them were born at home. My wife is very passionate about them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, I'm really interested in getting a giant rabbit at the moment, not specifically (though including) a Flemish. I think they look brilliant. Is there any advice you think worth offering. I'm particularly concerned about how much time they require - for instance, my boyfriend and I will be working during the day (9-5), and I just want to know if leaving the rabbit would be ok for this length of time. I'm willing to spend my free time caring for her, but I wouldn't want to get a rabbit if this would be leaving him/her for too long.

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      That was an interesting read. I have a suggestion: rabbits generally hate to be picked up and held as their prey instincts mean they always want to be ready to run or hide - restraining them prevents this. Instead of towering over her to pick her up every time you want her to come out, why not put the door in the side of the pen? Most rabbits never get to like being held - there are a few exceptions. You could take out a lot of stress from her life by putting a door in the side. Encourage her to come out with treats and put nice things in there for her to go back to - bring her out and put her back several times a session, this way she won't hate going back.

      Also, you seem to have a problem with people eating Flemmies - what is this?

      I hope things improve with her, it's great that you are so patient. Good luck! I really enjoyed reading it.

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      THarmonArt 6 years ago

      @scar4: Thank you so much. She is both cute and beautiful. I hope to write a new lens about her soon with new pictures. She is such a doll and so much fun. I'll have to get some videos of her, too.

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      THarmonArt 6 years ago

      @AdeleW: I was surprised that it seems no one else has written specifically about the Flemish Giant on Squidoo. I hope to write another soon about Atira as she has become soooo much more social and sweet. She is more and more acting like the dogs! I adore and love her so much. I've been so busy lately with my Zazzle store that my Squidoo lens writing has taken a back seat for awhile. I love to write, though, so hope to get back at it soon...with lots more pictures!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi :) I just got a flemish giant, a fawn boy, hes so handsome with amazingly soft fur.. i had a giggle when I read how your bunny instinctively knows when it's time to be put in the hutch-my stewie does too.. it's so annoying, but i still love him :)

    • AdeleW profile image

      AdeleW 6 years ago

      I have just seen a giant rabbit at our local kids petting zoo, my god, I have never seen such a large bunny, and what a great placid nature. I had to see if someone had written a lens on these fantastic creatures, and I found this, great lens!

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      scar4 6 years ago

      the rabbit looks cute:)

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      THarmonArt 6 years ago

      @Westerngirl2: Well, dang, I thought I'd already replied to you, lol! Thank you for the comment. I'll be writing more about Atira, and bunnies in general...don't want to leave my little hotot out, lol. Bunnies are sometimes a lot of work, but they're worth it!

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      THarmonArt 6 years ago

      @darkk93: Rabbits can be wonderful pets. They have very different personalities, just like dogs and cats. The big difference is they can be destructive if you're not careful. But if you rabbit-proof, they're awesome. My bunnies are awesome :)

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      darkk93 6 years ago

      I haven't owned a rabbit but I wanted to have one. Because they look very nice.

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      THarmonArt 6 years ago

      @Westerngirl2: Thank you! I plan on writing more about my bunny, Atira, and I especially hope to write, and finish, a lens about my doxie, Scooter, whom my vet saved two years ago. It will have lots of pictures and videos of Scooter's fight to live and how he ultimately beat all the odds. I want to honor his vet and show the help I received from my twitter followers. It was an amazing journey. BTW, your paintings are just beautiful!

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      Westerngirl2 6 years ago

      Interesting and fun lens! I learned much...thank you!

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      THarmonArt 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you so much, raphaelo! You made my day :) I'm very new to Squidoo so trying to get the hang of it is a bit of a challenge. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Atira is a wonderful bunny despite her diva ways, lol!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      So wonderful rabbit lens. Well done beautifully. 5 stars for you. Have a wonderful time.. dear THarmonArt :)