It has long been known that "rabbits are not only valuable fur, but also 3-5 kilograms of dietary meat." Perhaps this is all that most people know about rabbits. Although it is worth learning more about these useful farm animals. For example, there is a breed of rabbits gray giant.
The first little rabbits of the final breeding breed managed to be obtained at the Petrovsky animal breeding farm of the Poltava region. The long work on breeding in 1952 was completed. The work was carried out with Flandr rabbits and purebred local rabbits. In the process of work the culling of rabbits, which did not have the desired characteristics, was carried out. Only those animals were left for breeding that could pass on the necessary signs of the breed to the next generation. Large mass and size transferred from the Flandres. Good adaptability and high fecundity - from mongrel animals.
Breed gray giant differs large size. The weight of an adult animal is 4-7 kg, but nevertheless individuals of 5-6 kg are more common. The body of the rabbit in length is about 56-66 cm. In principle, it is a medium-sized animal with a massive bone structure. The rabbit has a large head, large ears, large legs. Legs of rabbits of this breed are long and straight. The chest can be up to 40 cm in diameter.
Rabbit gray giant has not too thick, but rather strong and warm wool. The quality of the undercoat is lower than that of animals that are bred for their fur (domestic rabbit breeds such as Soviet, black-brown or Viennese blue chinchilla).
Inside the breed of these rabbits there are several colors. The most common dark gray color. But it is gray-hare and glandular gray color. In addition, despite the name, rabbits of this breed can have white or black colors. In a situation where cubs of a standard color have cubs of other shades, do not pay attention to it. The breed characteristics of these animals will be fully present.
In rabbits with a gray-hare color, the paws on the inside and abdomen will be completely white, and the axial hairs will have a non-uniform color.
Like other rabbits of meat breeds, these animals need fresh feed. A very important role in the proper cultivation of animals is played by fresh grass and vegetables. For proper digestion it is necessary to avoid overfeeding animals with herbs such as alfalfa or field clover. In young animals, the abundance of such food causes bloating. In order to avoid such problems, these herbs must be dried before feeding. To do this, let the grass lie down in the shade for two days.
Rabbits will be very happy with fresh vegetables, such as carrots, cabbage, zucchini, pumpkin, squash, radishes. They eat corn and peas well, but these crops should be given in very limited quantities, as they can damage digestion.
Separately, it should be noted that feeding these (like all other) rabbits with wet grass is strictly prohibited. In the rain, the grass must be dried. If this is not possible, it is better to give hay than to feed on wet grass. Of course, giving spoiled, rotten food to animals is by no means the case.
In addition to grass and fresh vegetables, rabbits are fed grain. Animals love this food, they eat it well, but even here they should not make concessions and feed them grain day and night.
Whatever the rabbits fed, they need clean water to drink. It is better not to put the liquid in the open access, and equip the housing of animals with special drinkers. Then the water will remain clean and the health of the rabbits will not suffer.
Breed gray giant (like other rabbits) - rodents, they constantly grow incisors. To give animals the opportunity to properly grind their teeth, it is necessary to ensure that they always have branches of plants in the aviary. If animals are raised in wooden cages, they will gnaw cages - this is the nature of rabbits.
Breed of rabbits gray giant perfectly feels in different climatic conditions. Animals easily adapt both to the mild climate of the south and to the conditions of the harsh winter in the north. For keeping rabbits in the north there is no need to create special conditions. There is no need to insulate the cells. For the winter is perfect warm wooden dwelling.
The gray giant rabbit is a rather sociable and friendly animal, therefore it is possible to keep them not in lonely cages, but in cages as whole groups.
The main condition for healthy rabbits is cleanliness. Clean the litter cage regularly. At least twice a year it should be disinfected with chlorine, lime, or a blowtorch. It is especially important to follow the cleanliness when the rabbit is preparing for the birth of babies. Before settling a new animal, it is also worth disinfecting.
The gray giant rabbit will get along well not only in a cage, but also in sheds, and in a city apartment. The animal is well tamed, so it can become an excellent pet for any family.
The content of rabbits in the cages
The cage for street content must be at least 40 cm in height, 60 cm in length, 36 cm in width. The roof should open for ease of maintenance and inspection. The cage should stand in a bright place, but sheltered from the heat. Must be water and food. The floor must be covered with tin to protect rabbits from rats. If rabbits have a two-story cage, the walls of the second floor must also be covered with tin.
Keeping rabbits at home
Metal lattice cages with pallets are suitable for keeping rabbits at home for easy care. In such cells, there should also be water in the drinkers and always fresh food. Rabbit gray giant is not suitable as a toy for children. His character is quite friendly, but its size does not allow the child to cope with the animal. Therefore, the child can only engage in feeding the rabbit, or it is worth considering another breed.
A very important aspect when considering the breed is the gray giant rabbit - breeding. The natural fertility of the rabbits of this breed plays a significant role. For one okol female gives birth from 8 rabbits. Sometimes rabbits appear and 14, but still quite rare. The undoubted advantage of the breed - the rabbit never eat newborn babies. Milk in eared mom is enough, so you can leave all babies born on natural feeding.
Rabbits can start producing offspring from the age of three months, but it is better to spend the first time in 5-6 months. Pregnancy lasts 28-35 days. At the approach of childbirth indicate movement of rabbits - it usually happens around the 25th day of pregnancy.
When the pregnant rabbit begins to tear out the wool, it means that she began to build a nest. Most often, the gray giant rabbit begins preparation 3-4 days before giving birth, but some females may begin to build the nest and just before the bee-field.
The majority of births occur in the early morning, so carefully examine the place around the cage and nest - a newborn can crawl away from the mother and die from hypothermia. To interfere in the process of delivery is not worth it. The exception is when the rabbit obviously does not cope and she needs the help of a specialist. The shell on the rabbit shoots itself rabbit. The placenta is also destroyed by it.
If at first it seems that the rabbit is not engaged in the cubs - this impression is deceptive. Rabbits are not like other animals, they can approach the offspring just a couple of times a day, and for a very short time. Rabbits begin to get out of the nest after opening their eyes - for about 12 days. If you notice a blind little rabbit outside the nest, place it in its place, as it may die.
During pregnancy and lactation, thorough care and additional nutrition are necessary for females of any breed of rabbits (the name does not play a special role). The gray giant will require additional cell care and more protein-rich feed.
The history of the breed
Rabbit Gray Giant officially appeared in 1952. The ancestors of the breed became the Belgian Flandres, which appeared on the territory of the Soviet Union in the 1920s. Pedigree large rabbits interbred with ordinary mongrel, which at that time were widely bred in collective farms.
Reference. The beginning of the selection work for the breeding of the Gray Giant dates back to 1927. Work on obtaining meat and animal breed with improved characteristics was carried out at the state farm "Petrovsky", which was located in the Poltava region of the Ukrainian SSR.
Thanks to many years of breeding work, the Soviet specialists managed to preserve all the meat qualities of the Belgian breed, as well as acclimatize animals to the harsh climate. Domestic-breeding giant rabbits have strong immunity, are resistant to the manifestations of traumatitis, and gain excellent weight on local food.
Description, characteristics and external features
Gray Giant - large animals with a woolen cover of medium thickness. The standard describes a natural gray color of the agouti type with a possible reddish, brown or black tint. On one ostevogo hair in the wool of these animals have 16 downy. The disadvantages of fur include its uneven thickening, and the main advantage is a large output of the skins.
The main external signs of the breed:
The main external signs of the breed:
- Powerful physique with an elongated body length of 55-66 cm and a wide breast girth of 35-40 cm.
- Wide rounded croup.
- Most body weight - in the range of 4.1-7 kg. The average is 6 kg.
- Significant yield of meat - up to 57% of body weight.
- Uneven staining of guard hairs, bluish shade of fluff.
- Large strong paws with strong claws.
Maintenance and care
Because of their large size, the Gray Giant rabbits require large, spacious cages. They must move freely in it, have access to water and food. To save space, the trough and the feeder are fixed on the door. For rabbits of all breeds regular cleaning is important. Conditionally pathogenic microorganisms accumulate in food debris and waste, which, under favorable conditions, begin to actively proliferate, causing various diseases in animals. Also, the dirt in the cages spoils the rabbit's fur. Twice a year, the rabbit is completely disinfected. Optimally, this should be done before the females are capped (in small private farms).
When feeding rabbits, the Gray Giant pays special attention to the diversity of the diet. With an abundance of fresh greens or hay, rabbits grow healthy and well-fed. With monotonous feeding of grains and vegetables in rabbits, there is a deficiency of vitamins, weakened immunity and a tendency to diseases.
Recommendations for feeding rabbits:
- do not give food that has signs of rotting and mold,
- the animal must have a constantly full drinking bowl,
- it is necessary to develop a mode of food intake to which animals will quickly be tamed,
- ready feed used as an additive to the basic diet,
- in the food of rabbits must be present cereal mixtures, cake, chalk,
- for young animals it is recommended to add meat or fish meal to food.
Cake for rabbit
For the breeding of the Gray Giant rabbits, a large amount of hay is needed. This is usually done in June and July, when the grass is the most juicy and useful. Also for the winter vegetables are harvested for animal feed, legumes.
Advantages and disadvantages of the breed
The dignity of the Gray Giant breed is a big yield of meat, so very often these rabbits are raised as meat.
Also a clear advantage - resistance to diseases, ease of care, maintenance and breeding. The disadvantages can be attributed perhaps to the low quality of the fur in comparison with the breeds of the selfish direction. Because of this, in recent years there has been a tendency to oust this breed from the list of the most popular meat and animal products.
Breed is very common in the CIS countries, in the Baltic States. In Russia, it is bred in farms of the central zone, as well as in more northern and colder areas. Gentle juicy meat, good weight gain and trouble-free cultivation appreciate not only beginner breeders, but also experienced breeders.
Photo - Gray Giant rabbit
For the breed gray giant characterized by several colors:
Rabbits with a gray-hare color are reddish-gray wool, and on the inside of the paws and on the belly a white shade prevails. Individuals of the standard gray color at the base of the coat are distinguished by a bluish-gray shade, followed by brownish-yellow, and then light yellow. The ends of the wool are brownish black.
Signs and breed quality
Typical features and qualities of the gray giant include:
- strong enough body and backbone,
- rough, round head,
- ears are thick, long, straight, with slightly rounded tips,
- massive body has about 66 cm,
- the chest is sufficiently wide and deep with a small dewlap,
- behind the shoulder blades, the girth of the chest is 37-39 cm,
- back is wide, long,
- limbs long, straight,
- wool has a high density
- the croup is wide and round,
- high resistance of the breed to various types of diseases,
- the weight of an adult gray giant ranges from 4 to 7 kg,
- in one litter, as a rule, eight cubs.
This breed is different from the rest:
- high slaughter yield
- quality meat.
Gray giants also differ by a very large skin, the area of which can sometimes be 3000 cm2.
So why should you still grow a gray giant breed? Some pessimists say that the gray giant is a relic of the Soviet era, which is slowly and surely being supplanted by larger breeds (flanland, rabbit-accelerate).
To some extent, there is a grain of truth here, but there are also quite a few tangible nuances: all these larger breeds require increased attention, special care, expensive cells, special food, etc. When comparing these factors and the above-listed advantages of gray Giant conclusion is obvious.
To better see how the Gray Giant breed looks, watch the video.
The giant rabbit is not a separate breed. Giants are called those types of rabbits, which have large size and weight. They mainly belong to meat breeds and often participate in agricultural exhibitions.
Rabbits of giant breeds were bred relatively long ago. It is believed that the first animals appeared in the mid-twentieth century in the Poltava region. There they were needed to provide the population with enough meat due to the difficult situation and famine after World War II. Since then, several breeds of heavyweight rabbits with various names have been bred. The most famous giants are the White, Gray and Belgian.
Breeds belonging to giants grow much faster and have greater weight. They are taken out on the territory of Russia and Europe.
The White Giant breed was bred in the nineteenth century by breeders as a result of experiments with albino rabbits. Its representatives have a serious decorative advantage. They have a snow-white color and thick fur, which can be dyed for industrial purposes.
The color of the eyes of animals is red. In addition, the white rabbits have a sturdy, downed body, up to sixty centimeters long and weighing more than five kilograms. Rabbits are bred on an industrial scale and in households and farms, and are also used to improve other rabbit breeds for breeding for meat and ornamental breeds.
The gray rabbit breed was bred one of the first in 1952. The mass of representatives of the species reaches up to seven kilograms, and the body length is more than sixty centimeters. Among the main advantages of the Gray Giant rabbits are the unpretentious care and the rapid growth of the young. The breed is widely distributed throughout Russia and in the CIS countries due to its resistance to diseases and temperature extremes.
Rabbits make good mothers. They bring up to eight rabbits for okrol. Juveniles grow rapidly after weaning and can be prepared for slaughter by as late as four or five months.
To date, the Belgian Flandre is one of the largest species of rabbit. The length of the body of animals is often more than seventy centimeters, and the average body weight is six to eight kilograms, and in the fattening period reaches thirteen.
In this case, there are known cases of cultivation of individuals weighing twenty-five kilograms. In animals, a broad chest and a well-developed body. Color is found from gray to red tint. Animal hair is thick and dense.
Rabbits bring the first offspring at the age of eight months. At the same time for each okrol born to nine or more calves.
When crossing giant breeds at home, the potential for gaining large weights and other positive qualities of the species in most cases remain.
Rabbits of most giant breeds mature for about seven to nine months. При этом они имеют срок вынашивания около тридцати пяти суток, а за каждый окрол приносят до десяти крольчат.
More than eighty percent of the mass of rabbits is meat directly, while the percentage of fat content is minimal. Shooting factor - from sixty percent or more. The largest output can be obtained from the Belgian breed.
Gray Giant Rabbit - breed description
Representatives of the gray Soviet breed have powerful bones and a strong constitution. The body is rounded, slightly elongated, on average about 65 cm in length. The gray giants have a broad chest of about 38 cm in circumference, the back is straight, goes into a wide rounded croup. On a massive head huge fat ears up to 15 cm in length. On the front view, the ears always look like the letter "V".
When describing the breed of rabbits, the gray giant can not fail to mention their skin. A gray giant has a medium length coat, not very thick. Most often rabbits have a gray rabbit color, the so-called agouti. Less commonly, rabbits of this breed are dark gray, brownish (kangaroo-colored) and iron-colored. Purely black, white and golden variants of color are extremely rare.
The productivity of the gray giant
At the stage of selection of the Belgian flanders, the future breed was conceived as a universal meat-skin. However, the final results noticeably departed from the original plan. Of course, the gray giants give the skin, and meat, but meat productivity is much higher than the sandpaper.
Rabbits of this breed grow rapidly, but feed is also absorbed in considerable quantities. Youngsters at the age of two months gain about 1.5–1.6 kg of body weight, and at 3 months they cross the threshold of 2 kg. At the end of the fourth month of life, the live weight of rabbits reaches 2.6-3 kg. The maximum weight of adults is on average 5-6 kg, although some individuals do not so rarely gain 7 kg or more.
Now about the skins. According to most sources, the fur characteristics of the breed of rabbits gray giant is very mediocre. Fur is not considered very high quality. With a density of about 16 thousand hairs per square centimeter, this fur can only be used in relatively inexpensive fur products. In addition, the density of the fur is not at all uniform, which also reduces the cost of the skins. However, the size of the skin itself is quite decent - up to 3 thousand square meters. cm.
Content rabbits gray giant
From the very beginning, this breed was derived as undemanding to the conditions of detention and generally well adapted to the climatic conditions of Ukraine and south-west Russia. As the Soviet breeders managed to fully realize this task, the modern gray giants are very simple animals to care for and maintain, with which even the beginning breeders do not have difficulties.
Giants need spacious, but not necessarily insulated cells. It is enough that in the winter they are warmed by the sun's rays, and in summer, on the contrary, it covers the shadow of trees, buildings or other objects. You should also follow the standard for rabbits requirement for the absence of drafts and strong wind blowing into the cages. Of course, cells need to be constantly kept clean in order to prevent illness and other negative consequences.
Although the gray giant is considered fairly resistant to infectious diseases, hygiene should not be forgotten. Cells should not only be cleaned regularly, but also periodically disinfected. You can kill germs by burning the cells with a blowtorch, using slaked lime or bleach. Care must be taken to disinfect cells before colonizing new animals, around, as well as during outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The gray giants do not impose special requirements on the composition of feed and diet. In order to rely on good offspring, high rates of weight gain and high quality of skins, the farmer must provide their wards with just a fresh balanced feed. As usual, the basis of the rabbit diet is fresh grass in summer and hay in winter, vegetables, and grain. If desired, protein mixtures can be added to rabbit food to accelerate the growth rate of the young.
When planning the breeding of gray giant rabbits, one must remember that an excess of feed has the same negative effect on the condition of rabbits as underfed. Obesity, as well as a lack of feed, reduce the fertility of rabbits, as well as affect the general state of health.
Rabbits need to be fed often, but in moderation. In this case, it is desirable to observe a constant schedule of feed.
Advantages and disadvantages of the gray giant
Gray giants are one of the elite breeds that are always in consistently high demand from farmers and amateur breeders. Even foreign rabbit breeders are well aware of this breed, although in the West traditionally preference is given to breeds with maximum productivity without taking into account the simplicity / complexity of their maintenance.
Gray giants deserve attention for the following reasons:
- Casualty The breed was originally created such that when its content there is as little trouble as possible. These rabbits are able to live in street cages all year round and eat the simplest food. In addition, they have a fairly strong immunity.
- Precocity. The young stock is gaining a live weight at a fairly high rate, due to which this breed is of great interest for commercial breeding for meat.
- Live weight. The gray giant knowingly received just such a name. The mass of adult rabbits often exceeds 5 kilograms, which is equivalent to two chickens or one young goose. For this reason, the photos of the gray giant rabbits always look very impressive.
The disadvantages of these furry giants are not so much:
- The quality of the skins. Fur rabbits of this breed is not considered very high quality. Firstly, it does not always have a beautiful color, and repainting gray is more difficult than, for example, the white skin of a white giant. Secondly, the density of fur leaves much to be desired.
- Appetite. In their responses, many rabbit breeders note that the gray giants are quite voracious. And although you can feed them with the cheapest, almost free food, you still have to make an effort to prepare and distribute these feeds.
Prospects for breeding gray giant
At the moment, the breed of gray giants is experiencing a kind of boom among amateur breeders, and at the same time large breeder farms are rapidly losing interest in it. In fact, there is no paradox here.
Soviet breeders who bred this breed sought to get rabbits that would be well adapted to the simplest and most modest conditions of existence, albeit at the expense of productivity. And it is precisely these qualities of gray giants that make them very suitable for small farmers and amateur rabbit breeders.
This category of owners often cannot provide sufficient conditions for modern highly productive breeds. The same flanders and modern accelerated rabbits are very capricious and need special care and strictly balanced feed of the highest quality. It is easier for a small farmer to grow two picky gray giants of 5 kg each than a capricious flandr by 8 kg.
But in large farms in the first place it is the average productivity of one individual. The presence of significant capital allows large farms to create “greenhouse” conditions from the very beginning and then buy high-quality feed to get the maximum income from each rabbit. That is why several less productive gray giants are losing popularity among large rabbit breeding farms.
Another reason why gray giants remain mostly the lot of small owners, is the low quality of fur. For amateur rabbit breeders, only meat has always been of prime importance, but for large producers, rabbit skins are an important part of the profits. A gray giant in this regard is not very profitable.