Even those who do not understand rabbits at all will be able to distinguish a representative of the breed from the French ram from many furry fellows. These amazing animals have an original feature: their ears do not stick up, like most rabbits, but their faces hang loosely on each side.
Funny lop-eared animals are often kept as pets in apartments, but they are much better suited for cell or captive breeding. These animals are considered meat breed, but their velvety skins are highly valued.
The French ram is a rabbit bred by the French in 1850. Its ancestors were representatives of two species: the English lop-eared rabbit and the Flemish giant. The first was derived as a result of a natural mutation of the auricle, which breeders were able to consolidate and make the most important sign of the breed. The second had good growth rates.
The result of crossing - a large-sized animal, in the shortest possible time reaching a weight of 4–8 kg, characterized by a good quality of the skin and an unusual shape of the ears.
Already after 1870, lop-eared rabbits gained popularity in Belgium, Germany, Holland, and after a few years, these countries developed their own ram species.
At that time, huge animals with hanging ears and a massive round head were considered exotic. Now lop-eared crabs have ceased to be a wonder: they are bred everywhere due to their unpretentiousness and undemandingness to the conditions of detention.
Description of external data
Rabbits of this breed got their name for the external similarity with sheep. Their hanging ears, a round wide muzzle and a nose with a hump resemble the face of this animal.
The French ram has characteristic external features:
- large size, considerable weight (average weight - 4 kg, but there are animals weighing up to 8–12 kg),
- a large, rounded muzzle with a broad prominent forehead, pronounced puffy cheeks, a hunchback nose,
- ears hanging down the sides of the face (their length reaches 50 cm, width 10–17 cm),
- compact compact body with strong legs, well developed, slightly sunken chest (body length 60–70 cm),
- an elongated, slightly slack back with rounded croup,
- thick, soft fur with a dense undercoat, dyed in various colors.
Since crawls are large and grow quickly, they are most often bred for meat (they are slaughtered after reaching 3-4 months). The luxurious fur of these animals is also highly valued.
Some farmers breed youngsters for sale, because one pedigree rabbit can be sold for 700–1000 rubles. However, in this case, it is necessary to carefully select the producers of animals: any deviation from the breed standards will lead to the fact that no one buys the little rabbit.
External features and character
Representatives of all species of sheep breed have a thick fur, which is distinguished by its density and softness. Colors in animals are different. Breeding the breed is somewhat complicated by not high fertility.
Rams are not prolific rabbits
The characteristic of addition in different species is similar. Breeds differ only in body length and ears. The body of the rabbits is oblong and very strong. The largest individuals have its length up to 70 cm. The back is slightly sagging wide. The croup of the rabbit is rounded, and the chest is deep.
Paws of an animal of medium length, strong, with well-developed muscles. The head is large, with clearly distinguished cheeks and a steep forehead, which creates a resemblance to rams. Down ears with thick pubescence complement the similarity.
The character of this breed of rabbits is pleasant and sociable. They get used to their master and quickly begin to recognize him. Animals are not inclined to bite and strike with their hind legs, which is why children can be allowed to play with it without fear, but only if they do not cause pain to the sheep, because the animal can stand up for itself if necessary.
Rams are friendly and sociable
The description of the breed depends on what kind of species in question.
Today, breeders bred various types of sheep. Depending on the purpose for which the animal is purchased, one or another species is selected.
Breed of rabbits is the rarest, because of the huge length of the ears, they require large areas. Without this, the pet will step on its ears, which is fraught with dangerous injuries. The hind legs of animals are much longer than the front ones, and therefore, when the pet is sitting, the effect is created that the rabbit croup is much higher than the front part of the body. Animal hair is short and very dense. Colors are very diverse.
Lop-eared rabbits of breed English ram
A newcomer cannot start such a rabbit, as it requires a lot of attention and competent care. Without this, the animal quickly begins to run wild and becomes fearful, despite the fact that with competent content, he is very sociable and friendly.
The French ram rabbits are large up to 8 kg, which makes them popular in commercial terms. The rate of gaining body weight is high, so their breeding for meat is particularly cost-effective. Due to the large size, the animals must be kept in spacious cages in order to allow them full movement.
Rules of maintenance and care
The structure of the ears of rabbits should be taken into account when keeping animals. In the cells, the creation of crowding is unacceptable. Young animals are placed separately from adults. It is also not advisable to keep males with females together. Cells are regularly disinfected on a mandatory basis. When growing rabbits for meat, their slaughter is recommended at 3 months.
Rabbits of the Baran breed love freedom - they need spacious living space.
Mesh floors for animals are unsuitable, and they need to make plastic or wooden bottom in cages. The litter needs a depth of 15 cm. Optimal use of sawdust. It is required to provide animals and a small house in which they can hide. You can not place the cage in direct sunlight or near heat sources, as this will cause overheating in rabbits and a sharp deterioration.
Like other breeds of rabbits, walking is useful for them.
Vaccinations are necessary for animals, as they easily receive viral infections, the treatment of which is an expensive pleasure, and in some cases impossible. This applies to both decorative and meat species.
Feeding rabbits sheep should be full, so it includes:
- Seasonal grass,
- Branches cut from fruit trees,
All feed must be clean and of high quality. It is strictly forbidden to give rabbits cabbage, beans and lettuce. The water in the drinkers is needed not boiled, since the characteristics of its mineral composition are more suitable for animals.
Animals should be purchased in a proven place in which the breeder can submit documents confirming the conformity of the breed. For adult feed, baby rabbits go to 10-12 weeks, and then they are sold. When buying, you should carefully examine the animal and make sure that its appearance matches the exterior of the breed. If in doubt, it is worthwhile to find another seller.
When choosing it is important to pay attention to the exterior and condition of the animal.
The animal must be active, without discharge from the eyes, ears or nose, as well as without rashes. Violations in motion also indicate the unsuitability of the rabbit.
Most modern breeds have among their ancestors domestic rabbits from Western European countries, as well as Mediterranean ones. Rams is a separate story. The breed group, on the basis of which animals were subsequently derived, was obtained in Great Britain in the 19th century. Initially, what has now become a characteristic feature of rams was considered mutations, namely, hanging ears. Breeders from England, it was decided to consolidate this unusual feature, it turned out a separate breed.
Thanks to their main feature, ears, it has become very popular to breed sheep almost all over the world. For some species, the usual length of the ears is over 70 cm, with a width of 10-17 cm.
Some breeders use special ear clips to attach the ears on the heads of rabbits so that the animals are comfortable. In order for animals to gain more weight, they are subject to castration.
Rabbits of ram breed: species with photos and descriptions
Rabbits rams are owners of a very remarkable appearance. Ears hang down from two sides of the muzzle, and the head itself resembles a sheep, thanks to which the breed has a corresponding name. The organs of hearing often reach the ground because of a very long length — more than 70 cm.
Breed refers to the meat direction. An adult rabbit gains weight more than 5 kg, has a massive body and thick coat of hair. Characteristic ram suits as monophonic, and with the presence of spots. Most rabbits have a balanced temperament. According to one of the theories, falling down ears worsen the quality of hearing, thanks to which animals show a less violent reaction to unexpected sounds.
Due to international recognition, subspecies appeared in the breed, because in each country they considered it their duty to carry out selection work in order to obtain the necessary qualities. At present, the following intrabreed varieties are widely known: French, English, German, Meissen. The dwarf form derived directly for breeding at home has a smaller size.
French sheep. This variety was obtained somewhere in 1850, thanks to the interbreeding of lop-eared rabbits with German giants (breed name). The result was animals with a bright appearance, as well as excellent productive qualities, all this helped to get them recognition and wide distribution in the territory of European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium. It was here that a single breed standard was developed.
French sheep have a massive head with a broad frontal bone, as well as an elongated torso. Ears a little more than 40 cm long, adult rabbits weigh about 5 kg. In the first place, breeders pay attention to how prolific a female is. From one rabbit you can get up to 10 rabbits.
English sheep. It is the oldest English variation of this breed group. The representatives have the longest ears dragging on the ground. The average size of the ears is about 60 cm. Weight gain depends on diet and care, but on average, adult animals weigh from 4 to 5 kg. From one female for a lambing get 7 rabbits.
German sheep. German variation was obtained on the basis of French sheep, these species have similar characteristics. The breed was bred in 1933 and is the largest, some representatives gain a weight of about 9 kg. The body is large enough with a massive head, the muzzle is a bit short, the length of the ears is on average slightly over 40 cm. The suits are various, silver coloring is not allowed.
Meissen sheep. In the 20th century, thanks to the crossing of English and French sheep, this species was bred. The name received at the place of breeding - the German city of Meissen. Animals differ in a strong constitution, but lose in size to the German ram. One of their features is an unusual suit.
Rabbits are characterized by a slightly long torso and a small deflection in the dorsal region. They can also be distinguished by their large rounded cheeks and the characteristic humpback on the nose. Adults gain a weight of about 5.4 kg. Today's Meissen variation is of a rare breed type, and is taken under special control over conservation by German breeders.
Dwarf sheep. Due to the wide distribution and a large number of lovers of sheep, a dwarf form suitable for breeding in a small farm was bred. The animals are very small, with a small weight of about 2 kg. The rabbits are calm in nature, so that they can be kept as pets in families with children. The body is small, the head is rounded, the neck is poorly defined. Females are smaller than males, and the length of the ears is no more than 28 cm.
Dutch sheep. They are considered the smallest intrabreed variety. The average weight of adults is 1.3 - 1.7 kg. The breed was bred in Holland and quickly became popular among lovers of decorative rabbits for home keeping. Animals quickly get used to the person, differ quiet character.
Fleecy rams. The ancestors are the Dutch. For animals characterized by increased fluffiness and a huge number of color variations. There are about 20 colors. The breed is young and was bred by American experts, the most popular is in the United States. Adults weigh 1.5 - 1.8 kg. They have a rounded body structure and a short muzzle.
Corduroy sheep. They were bred by crossing rex with miniature sheep around 2000 by specialists from Canada and Australia. There is no breed standard, as it is at the stage of improvement and formation. Animals have velvety, thick, soft coat, which is similar to plush toys. Adult animals weigh from 2 to 3 kg.
What you need to know about the content and care?
Due to the exterior features, namely, long ears, animals will need a larger cage than other rabbits. An important component of the content is the presence of free-standing space. Rams are heat-loving species, therefore, for the winter premises, there are separate requirements for heating.
The presence of long ears suggests knowledge of the special subtleties of care. It is important to observe hygiene and clean the ears in time for pets.
Due to the large size, some manifestations of laziness are observed in animals, rabbits do not mate readily. The most favorable time for crossing is six months old. When blood flows to breeds with erect ears, it leads to the production of young stock with slightly bulged ears, but later the sign of looseness is lost.
Feeding animals should be based on age characteristics, and best of all at the same time, three times a day. Rabbits can be given nettle, plantain leaves, dandelions, most often all of these components are already present in the green mass. Cereal crops are a mandatory part of the diet. The presence of drinkers in each cell is especially necessary for suckling females. With the onset of winter, decorative rabbits are given small hay, which consists of various cultures.
The cells are several grids with plastic trays with a depth of more than 10 cm. With this content, animals will have the opportunity to dig holes. In some cells place small houses - shelters. As a litter, large wood chips are used, which will absorb urine well and do not irritate the respiratory organs, unlike peat. A shaded place is suitable for the cells, it is strictly forbidden to place them in the immediate vicinity of heating devices.
Pros and cons of breed
Among the merits of sheep include the following:
- meat products are lean and very tender,
- big lethal rate,
- valuable self-care products,
- animals are well tamed,
- easily get used to various living conditions.
There are almost no flaws in sheep. However, one thing you need to call it is the need for careful hygienic measures when caring for your ears. Often in animals there are diseases associated with the organs of hearing.
Cultivation of the French rams almost does not differ from cultivation of other breeds of rabbits. The animals reach sexual maturity rather late: males - at 5–6 months, females - at 9 months. Only during this period can mating be done.
If you breed several varieties of sheep, try not to allow mating of representatives of different breeds. As a result of such mating, animals are born with improperly spaced ears, which makes them unsuitable for further breeding.
In order not to spoil the breed, take the male and the female with ideal breed characteristics. Pay special attention to the ears: they must be long, the correct form and be located on the sides of the muzzle. The weight of the individuals selected for breeding should not exceed 5 kg: obese animals are ill-adapted to reproduce the genus.
The case is carried out in the same way as in other breeds: the female is placed on the male and waiting for coverage. Testing check is made on the 7th day.
The female carries cubs for 30–32 days. The fecundity of the French sheep is low: the average number of rabbits in one litter is 4–7 pieces. Иногда это число доходит до 12, но в этом случае самка не сможет выкормить всех детенышей самостоятельно.
Крольчихи этой породы – заботливые мамы. Они не съедают свое потомство и прилежно выкармливают крольчат. Даже рожающая впервые крольчиха не растеряется.
Отзывы заводчиков о репродуктивных способностях таких зверьков различны. Some argue that because a ram is the result of a mutation, their bodies are not well adapted to reproducing the genus. And if the first birth of the female was successful, then during the second, she will need help.
After reaching the age of 3 years, the rabbit cannot be allowed to mate: each subsequent birth may end in the death of the female.
French sheep have an excellent appetite. They can chew hay or corn for a whole day, so they are prone to obesity. They are fed 2-3 times a day at the same time, and in the diet include:
- dried green grass (dandelion, nettle, yarrow, plantain), in winter - hay,
- vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, beets, potatoes, broccoli),
- cereals (wheat or oats),
- fruits (bananas, pears, apples),
- compound feed.
These animals are prone to digestive disorders, so they should not often be fed fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as give them rotten food. Other products are also prohibited:
- cabbage, salad,
Rabbits drink a lot, so there should always be water in the nipple drinkers.
Principles of content
Wherever you put lop-eared giants, the requirements for their content will be the same:
- metal stationary feeders and nipple suspension drinkers that the animal cannot turn over or chew on,
- the absence of cages or aviaries of details about which the animal can injure the ears,
- no drafts and freezing temperatures,
- protection from moisture and direct sunlight
- cleanliness of the room, timely cell cleaning.
In order for the rabbits not to gnaw all the wooden details of their house, place them in the feeders willow branches. They will sharpen their teeth about them and leave the unprotected wooden structures of their home alone.
French rabbits of the ram breed are large-sized and require spacious cages. Due to the considerable weight of these animals are prone to natoptys and poddermatit. Therefore, do not upholster the cell floor with a grid: it is better to use inclined solid surfaces.
Young animals and females can be kept together, 2–3 individuals in the same room, since they are distinguished by their peace-loving and good-natured disposition. Males and pregnant rabbit better seated in single cells. The minimum size of a single cage is 0.9 × 0.8 × 0.6 m. Group cells and rooms for pregnant rabbits must be larger — 1.2 × 0.8 × 0.7 m.
The animals love to dig, so if you can, you can install a tray for digging holes under the cage.
See an example of a cage for a French ram.
Lop-eared rabbits do not tolerate sub-zero temperatures, so they cannot be kept outdoors in the winter. If you have brought French sheep, place their houses in the barn or greenhouse: with the help of heaters, you can maintain the optimum temperature even in the most severe frosts.
Make sure that there is always hay on the floor of the cage or aviary: if the ears of the animals touch the bare floor, the animals will surely freeze them.
The French ram is an excellent pet that has received positive feedback from breeders. The animals are calm, undemanding, have well-developed intellect, thanks to which they can be trained and easily remember their nickname.
Little children especially love sheep. They can spend hours stroking the velvety skin of the animal, which the sweet little rabbit can only be pleased with. However, you need to understand that this animal is night: the peak of its activity occurs in the evening and continues until the morning, and in the afternoon it becomes passive and sluggish.
Animals are kept in open-air cages or spacious cages and are allowed to run around the apartment only in the presence of the owners: because of their long ears, rabbits often cling to various interior objects and are injured.
Caring for homemade French sheep requires a special one: they are often combed out, they constantly check the health of their ears, and they must be vaccinated. With proper care and regular veterinary control, such a home animal can live a long life - more than 7 years.
Disease and vaccination
These animals are characterized by weak immunity and are often exposed to diseases. The most vulnerable organs are the gastrointestinal tract, the ears and the paws.
Pododermatitis is an affliction that often affects large rabbits. Usually the development of painful weeping calluses on the paw pads is associated with improper cell or aviary arrangement.
Remember: these animals can not be kept on a metal mesh floor or on a pile carpet!
Sometimes crawls injure or freeze their ears (their free-hanging tips touch sharp objects or drag across the cold floor). That is why some breeders fasten long rabbit ears over the animal's head with special clamps.
The ram is often exposed to infectious diseases. To all the livestock of animals did not die, they must be vaccinated.
Breeders claim that breeding French sheep is not very troublesome. Rabbits of this breed have a warm enough room without drafts and high-quality, varied nutrition to live long, gain weight quickly and be active.
The strength of the sheep is their stress resistance: they are much calmer to respond to loud noises than their relatives. This is due to the peculiar arrangement of the ears, which invite most of the sounds.
Now these rabbits are increasingly being kept as decorative pets, and their meat and skin qualities are second to the background. The fact is that these animals are much smarter than their relatives, they quickly become attached to a person and their habits are more like a tender cat than an ordinary meat rabbit.
Feature and history of the breed
Rabbit in a cage
These ornamental species originated from non-domesticated rabbits of Western Europe and the Mediterranean. A key breed was obtained in England in the 19th century. At first, the characteristic for modern individuals of these breeds, the trailing ears, was a mutation. English breeders decided to consolidate this feature, and bred a separate breed. Because of the ears, the breeding of rabbits ram has become popular in some countries. In some species, the auricle reaches a length of more than 70 cm, and the width of the ear is 10-17 cm. Some breeders fix their ears with a clip on the animal's head for convenience.
The ram breeds are characterized by a wide sternum and a massive head. Animals are able to quickly build muscle. The average weight of a rabbit is about 4 kg. But some individuals can reach 8-10 kg. The body reaches a length of 60-70 cm. On average, a rabbit gives 4-7 pups per okrol, which is not much compared to other breeds.
Rams are notable for their peace-loving and calmness. This feature is most likely related to the feature of the ears. Due to the closeness of the ear auricle, animals hear poorly and are not scared. They are easy to train, able to recognize their nickname. They love when they are stroked.
Before buying decorative rabbits, see how many species of this breed live, it is written in detail here.
This breed appeared in the early 2000s in Canada and Australia from rex rabbits and miniature sheep. Specific standards of this type does not yet exist, since it is still being developed and improved. These rabbits wool is very velvety, dense and soft (like a plush toy). Rabbit weight can vary from less than 2 to 3 kg.
Care for these animals is simple. They need to brush their hair and clean their ears as often as possible. It is necessary that the rabbit was always clean water, the optimum temperature and cleaned cage. Bred this breed only as a pet.
This breed is the smallest among the sheep. The average weight of an adult animal is only 1.3-1.8 kg. Bred breed in the Netherlands. This species is very popular in the West as decorative pets at home. Miniature rabbits are very tame and calm.
In addition to the long ears, this breed is distinguished by short, thick limbs, and a wide miniature body. The color range of rabbits varied.
This breed was formed in the process of crossing the French and English sheep, which occurred in Meissen (Germany) in the late 19th century. The average weight of an adult individual is 3-5 kg. The torso is slightly elongated, with a correctly arched spine, the structure of the body is stocky. According to the standard, it is permissible for experienced females to have a small formed dewlap. The neck is short and wide.
The rabbit of this breed has a massive wide head, prominent cheeks, and a bent nose. Ears of great thickness, strongly overgrown with hair, at the base of which a crown is formed. The coat is smooth and uniform, covering the entire surface of the rabbit.
Now this species is considered very rare, so in Germany it is under the protection of the state.
This is the most manual and quickly getting used to the breed. It originated in the Netherlands in the middle of the last century and became very popular on the European continent. The length of the body of the animal grows up to 28 cm. The standard weight is 1.5-1.9 kg. For breeding it is better not to acquire individuals greater than 2 kg and less than 1 kg.
Characteristics of dwarf sheep:
- chunky physique
- massive short occipital region,
- wide back and forehead,
- short forelimbs,
- short tail adjacent to the body,
- big eyes.
The length of the ears of the breed is 24-26 cm. The hair has a soft structure, short. Rabbits do not have dewlap. For one okol the female leads up to 6 rabbits.
He descended from the Dutch sheep. Unlike other rabbits of these breeds, this one stands out with increased fluffiness and a wide variety of color (up to 20). This is a young breed that was bred in America. There she is the most popular. The weight of an adult rabbit reaches 1.6-1.8 kg. He has a circular body and short muzzle.
These animals are very smart, affectionate, and require greater attention. Long wool needs constant care and good nutrition.
Conditions of detention
Rabbit in a cage
Features of the structure of the ears are taken into account when keeping rabbits ram. If you breed animals for commercial purposes, the cells for their residence should be spacious. They must be disinfected periodically. Young individuals should be placed separately from adults. Females and males are also better divided. If animals are intended for meat, they can be slaughtered from 3 months.
Feed must be age appropriate and must be given at the same time 3 times a day. Nettle, wormwood, plantain and other herbs are suitable as green feed for sheep. Be sure to include in the diet of cereals. Water in the cage should always be, especially in nursing rabbits. In winter, these ornamental rabbits are fed small hay consisting of different cultures.
The cage can be a grid case with a plastic tray 15 cm deep. This gives the animal the opportunity to dig holes. In the cage, you can put a small house as a shelter. Sawdust can serve as a litter - they absorb urine well and do not irritate the airways like peat. Cells should be in a shaded location. They should not be placed near direct sources of heat (oven, battery).
These types of rabbits are very susceptible to various infections. Therefore, in order to minimize the risk of infection, animals are regularly vaccinated and, if possible, exclude its contact with other pets.
Rabbits of breed ram
In our country, ram breeds are not very common. For commercial purposes they are rarely bred. For professional breeding, take breeds that can bring greater profitability. Some use ram rabbits for breeding for meat. But the skins are also of good quality - they can be processed and sold.
It should be borne in mind that these rabbits are less prolific compared to others. The maximum number of one litter is 4-7 cubs. But the adult rabbit of some species of sheep can reach 8-10 kilograms of live weight, which is very beneficial for breeding for meat. Admit to mating can be young, which has reached 6 months.
The lop-eared ram is a rabbit that is more suitable for keeping the house as a decorative animal. It should be borne in mind that the rabbits of these breeds very quickly become attached to the owner. Therefore, if there is no time and desire to constantly care for your pet, it is better to refrain from acquiring it. For breeding on an industrial scale are suitable only large meat breeds.
The external characteristics of the breed depend on the variety of the crawl.
Similar are the colors that are quite diverse. The most common are gray, white, black, blue, brown, beige, and spotted coloring.
The French ram is the longest-eared ram. The length of the ears varies from 59 to 72 cm, width from 10 to 16 cm. The average weight of the crawl is 6 kg. The fur is thick, soft, dense undercoat. Colors are varied, but coincide with the parent. In babies, the ears protrude upwards or sideways for up to 6 weeks, then take on a characteristic look. The head is rounded with distinct cheeks and a broad forehead.
Similar in characteristics to the French variety is the German ram. The weight of the animal reaches 9 kg. The body and head are large, the muzzle is short. Ears reach 40 cm in length. Among the representatives of this breed can not be found an animal with silver wool.
The English sheep is a pet with long ears (up to 70 cm long), which first appeared in England. The weight of rabbits is 4–5 kg. The front legs are much shorter than the rear, due to this, the front of the pet looks low. Wool is dense, small length. The colors of English krols are varied. Due to the length of the ears requires a lot of space in the aviary. This species is easily tamed and needs a caring, loving host. Without proper attention and care, the animal changes its behavior, gets scared, runs wild.
The tiny representative of breed is the Dutch ram. An adult rabbit weighs about 2 kg. It was first bred in the Netherlands, immediately became widespread as an ornamental pet. Animals are easily tamed, calm. Paws of rodents small, thick. The body is small, but wide.
Advantages and disadvantages
The positive qualities of the breed are:
- The quality of meat is soft, low in fat, tender,
- Big weight, big amount of meat,
- High-quality fur,
- Contact - easily tamed,
- Quick adaptation to new places.
The only drawback of the breed can be called the need for regular, thorough disinfectant measures. Long ears of animals are susceptible to various diseases, therefore, in order to prevent the development of the disease, they carry out cleaning.