Rabbits of the breed Gray Giant: characteristics, care, maintenance and breeding
Rabbits of the breed Gray Giant were bred back in the USSR, but even today they have not lost demand. This is due to their fairly simple breeding, pleasant appearance and good productivity. Some people even have them as pets. Let's figure out the features of this breed.
Gray giants were bred for a long time - in the late 40s - early 50s. This happened at the Petrovsky state farm in the Poltava region (Ukraine). Specialists of the farm began to cross the Flandre rabbit breed with ordinary local rabbits.
It was from Flanders that the Gray Giants inherited a large body mass and skeleton. From ordinary local rabbits, the breed “received” unpretentiousness in keeping, fertility, and not picky food. Such rabbits were noticed not only in Russia and Ukraine, but also abroad. Today they are bred in Asia and Europe.
Gray giants look very nice. Outwardly, they are very cute, but rather large pets. The mass of their body can reach 6-7 kg, and the length is about 66 cm. Because of their size, they got their name.
The general structure of the animal’s body is quite strong and powerful. The chest is deep and wide, with a girth of approximately 37-39 cm. Sometimes the breast is present. The back is straight and wide. The legs are large and strong. The head is massive, with straight large ears in the form of the letter V, if you look at the rabbit in full view.
Unfortunately, the fur of this breed is not particularly appreciated. It is thick, but uneven. Because of this, the fur component of rabbits can only be used in inexpensive products. Although the skins themselves are quite large - up to 3 thousand square meters. cm.
The skin of these rabbits is heterogeneous and is divided into separate color areas. There are several colors of this breed. Gray giants have the usual gray color. Sometimes this breed is painted in brownish tones, dark gray or “iron”.
Gray giant with brown tint of wool
The abdomen of an animal is usually lighter than its back. The inside of the paws is also characterized by a white color. Pure colors (black, white, golden) are very rare in this rabbit species.
Features, characteristics and qualities of the breed
If you highlight the main features of the breed, they will be as follows:
large dimensions of the animal;
long and straight legs;
slightly rounded, in the form of the English letter V, long ears;
fairly dense coat;
The rabbits of this breed are distinguished by their fertility. Usually in one litter there are about 8 rabbits, but it happens that the offspring is 14 pieces. In addition, the females of the Gray Giant do not eat their cubs, which increases the likelihood of raising large offspring.
Baby rabbits usually weigh about 80 g at birth, but they grow quite quickly. Depending on nutrition, their weight can reach 2-2.2 kg at 3 months, and 2.5-3 kg at 4 months. Slaughter yield in this case will be approximately 55-56%.
4-month-old gray giant rabbit
Advantages and disadvantages of the Gray Giants
The advantages of the breed are:
fertility and developed maternal feelings in females;
not a tendency to eat offspring;
good adaptation to various conditions of detention;
not fastidiousness to food;
immunity to many diseases;
calm and friendly disposition;
the ability to contain at home.
As for the shortcomings, they are:
the risk of rabbits with bent and thin paws;
low lethal yield compared to other meat breeds;
not very high-quality fur with uneven color and density;
lower meat quality compared to Flanders;
decreased taste characteristics of meat after 7 months of animal life.
Gray giants were bred in a mild climate, so they feel best in these conditions. However, this breed can be bred in the northern regions. These rabbits quickly adapt to cool temperatures and are able to reproduce quietly if they are provided with optimal conditions.
In cages and aviaries
This breed is best kept in rabbitries or cages made of wood. For the convenience of examining animals, equip the cages with a lid on top and cover the floor with iron so that rats do not get into the rabbit compartment.
Observe the following rabbit conditions:
place cages or aviaries in sunny places, but without direct rays of the sun;
avoid drafts and strong winds;
make sure that the cells do not have dampness and mold;
keep the rabbit compartment clean.
The cages for the Gray Giants should be quite spacious, because this rabbit has considerable dimensions (a compartment for one rabbit with dimensions of at least 80 by 90 cm is suitable). For the rabbit, prepare a separate nesting box.
Due to its affectionate disposition and pleasant appearance, the Gray Giants are sometimes brought not for slaughter, but as pets. Children are especially happy with such a furry animal, because they are kind and affectionate to people.
But getting such a rabbit to keep at home, keep in mind the following:
rabbits gnaw everything, so hide flowers, as well as all wired and wooden devices;
to train an animal like a dog will not work - although you can train it to a tray and walk on a leash;
Release the rabbit from its cage only under the supervision of one of the family members.
When the hunting period begins, the rabbits become nervous and restless, and the males can mark the territory. Therefore, if you plan to keep rabbits in the house, sterilize the rabbits.
The Gray Giants need care to grow up healthy and strong. Ensuring optimal living conditions for rabbits is the key to their long life and safe breeding.
Gray giants should eat balanced. To achieve this, adhere to the following rules:
give rabbits a varied diet - monotonous foods can negatively affect productivity and cause disease;
do not feed animals with rotting vegetables or mold grain - food should be of high quality, clean, and not missing and dirty;
make a certain feeding regimen, which the rabbit will get used to;
give dry food at the same time as clean and fresh water so that the animal can get drunk after eating;
change water as necessary; the rabbit should always have easy access to it;
feed rabbits succulent feeds (dried herbs, vegetables) along with hay;
do not give the rabbits grass immediately after rain or dew, as it is moist and this may cause bloating in animals;
add to the diet of pregnant and lactating rabbits, as well as newly born rabbits, mineral and vitamin supplements;
give the grain in crushed form or a mash;
make the transition from spring or autumn ration gradually, gradually adding new products to the feed during the week.
Feed the rabbits often, but in small portions. At the same time, avoid overeating or malnutrition. Overfed or hungry animals are reluctant to mate, and they also begin to have digestive problems. Find out more about rabbit feeding here .
For rabbits, the hygiene of the room in which they are kept is very important. Remove cells daily or every 2-3 days, depending on the procedure. Prevent mold, dampness and unpleasant odors. All these signs can provoke the multiplication of pathogenic insect larvae and the spread of viruses.
To keep the animals clean, disinfect the premises from rodents and pests at least 2 times a year (depending on the scale of the problem).
Immediately prior to birthing, replanting new rabbits into cells or at the time of infection, disinfection is mandatory.
burn the cage with a blowtorch - this is the easiest way;
treat the room with a 10% solution of bleach;
whitewash slaked lime.
Breeding and rearing rabbits
Growing Gray Giants is no big deal. Rabbits of this breed are quite fertile, and females are good mothers.
Basic rules for breeding rabbits:
start forming rabbit families from 6-7 months of the life of animals - at the same time, 5 females per 1 male;
the rabbit hunting season lasts every 2 weeks for 6 days - at this time the female begins to fiddle on the litter, there is little to eat;
plant one rabbit 4 times a day - 2 times in the morning and in the evening, while trying to do this when there is no heat;
the rabbit’s pregnancy lasts about 30 days, and a few days before the birth she starts nesting and bridges her place - if she doesn’t do this, take care of this by building a warm and clean nest for future rabbits;
after the round, make sure that the rabbits do not crawl away from their mother, otherwise they will die, but do not take the cubs in their arms - if the rabbit crawls away, gently push it back (hands should be wearing gloves);
rabbits can crawl away from their mothers not earlier than 1.5 weeks after birth, when they begin to see, otherwise the babies get lost and do not find their way back - when the rabbits are 3 months old, wean them from the rabbits and remove them into a separate cage;
Do not seat the male to the female, as he will begin to examine the territory, and not engage in a lady. At the same time, rabbits with a kinship in blood cannot be crossed. Read more about rabbit mating here .
The breed of Gray Giant is extremely widespread today among amateur breeders, but large farms that breed these animals began to lose interest in them.
This is due to the fact that the breeders who bred the breed sought to "reward" their ability to survive in simple conditions, hardened to disease. It is these qualities that ordinary farmers value in them.
But large farms and nurseries put the productivity of the breed in the first place, which is just low in this case. And not very high-quality fur of the Gray Giants does not allow to sell it at a high price. Hence the interest in the breed among ordinary farmers and low among professionals.
This breed is mainly bred for slaughter for meat. Less often for the sale of skins. Some people buy the Gray Giants as pets. This is facilitated by their affectionate nature and attractive appearance.
Farmers reviews of rabbits of this breed
Maria, 44 years old, farmer, Ulan-Ude. I breed several breeds of rabbits for sale. I want to say that the Gray Giants are in great demand among buyers. Mostly rabbits are bought and, most likely, as pets. These rabbits are impressive in size and have good fertility. At the same time they eat a lot, which, in general, is characteristic of large breeds.
Alexander, 53 years old, farmer, Tambov. I have been engaged in the breed of the Gray Giant for quite some time. I can say that it is meaty, unpretentious. Skins can be sold, but after appropriate processing. Without fail, I vaccinate all animals and disinfect the cells. The breed is good, you can breed.
Lyuba. G. Perm
Problems with the Gray Giant minimum, a breed with a very strong immunity. And about the low quality of meat and skins - complete nonsense. Since I hold two breeds of Gray Giant and Poltava silver, I can compare and analyze. On high-quality feeds from 2.5 to 3 kg. They recruit without problems. On grain in 3 months 2-2.2kg.
The breed Gray Giants is in demand among amateur farmers. These impressive sized rabbits are completely unpretentious in maintenance and easy to breed. Often they are used for meat or as pets.