As odd as it may sound – if you can even find a true Flemish Giant there, a Pet Store is the worst place to buy any rabbit from. There are many reasons for this, including but not limited to the fact that you have no realistic idea of what you are buying. Just because it looks like a Flemish does not mean it is fully Flemish. Plus, you have no actual knowledge as to hereditary issues, or the environment that rabbit originally came from, & of course you will have no option of getting a pedigree or birth certificate. More often than not, rabbits sold to pet stores are done-so for two reasons: the breeder is aiming to make a fast dollar, or the breeder wants or needs a quick way to get rid of some rabbits for any variety of reasons – including health problems. So, do yourself a huge favor – do not buy any rabbit from a Pet Store.
Where can I buy a Flemish Giant?
Invest the time & the work involved in finding a reputable & experienced Flemish Giant breeder. A common way of doing this is by doing an online search for ‘Flemish Giant Breeder (+ the area you live in)’. Once you find one, contact them & explain what you are looking for, tell them where you are located, ask questions, and then ask more questions. Get to know the breeder, & if that goes well, build a long-lasting relationship with that person. Make sure that what you are buying is exactly what you are looking for. More often than not, if the breeder you are in contact with does not have what you are looking for, they very well may know someone else who does & in such case would gladly refer you to that person. This is one vital great fact about quality Flemish Giant breeders – they do care more about finding every rabbit the perfect home far more-so than about making a couple dollars by passing off something to someone who may not be happy with it later down the road. These people are fiercely loyal to this breed of rabbits, & they only want the very best outcome for them as well as for those who purchase them.When you go to pick up the bunny, always do a basic exam first, & do not be afraid to ask to see the pedigree before paying for the rabbit. Even if you are not interested in purchasing the pedigree, any quality breeder of Flemish should be happy to discuss that Giant’s heritage & show you the general information on that rabbits’ pedigree. Please note that many breeders have a policy of not allowing visitors into their rabbitry. If that is the case, they are not trying to be rude or secretive, they simply do not know where you have been or what you have touched, so please do not take offense to it. That breeder is being cautious in regards to the health & safety of all of their rabbits.
Keep in mind though that these people also have lives outside of their rabbitry as well, so be patient. They understand that you are excited; they were in your position when they first got started. But there are times that they are not able to drop everything they are doing just to run out to take pictures. If a several days pass & you don’t hear back from them, drop them another note, as it is possible that they just haven’t had time to get to it yet, but they could had simply forgotten. If they are serious about wanting to sell one of their Flemish though, they will reply as quickly as they can, & they will gladly work with you in regards to answering all the questions that you have. After all, they want to know that their rabbit is going to a home where it will be well cared for, in all aspects. Otherwise, rabbit breeders love to talk about rabbits, & they love to teach & help others learn about them in return.
Finally, once you have found the giant(s) you are looking for & have made an appointment with the breeder to pick up the rabbit, please take care to be there at your scheduled time & be respectful. Not only is this only good common sense as well as good manners, doing so will go a long way in regards to building a relationship with that person. Furthermore, word travels fast. If you are disrespectful or offensive to one breeder, you can expect that the next breeder you contact may have heard about that, which could results in your being “black listed” (other breeders will not want to do business with you) before you even get started. Therefore, even if you decide not to purchase that rabbit for any reason, acting responsibly & respectful can still leave you in good standings for future references.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO PAY FOR A FLEMISH GIANT?
Once again, there really is no right or wrong answer here. The value of any rabbit is the amount that you value him at. With that said, however, the typical price range in the United States often will depend mainly on two factors; quality & age. On average, you can expect to pay a ballpark range of $20 to $50 for a pet quality Flemish Giant, without a pedigree. The next step up from that would be brood quality, which may or may not have issues that prevent showing, but does not effect the ability of that particular rabbit to breed, with a possibility of producing less or higher quality than itself. These bunnies are often referred to as a “parts rabbit”. That means that animal offers some very good qualities that could be beneficial in a breeding program. The average price for this type of quality is generally in the ballpark of $50 to $100. Then, at the top of the pile, are the show quality giants. These rabbits either can be or have already been shown. They are also usually guaranteed ‘at the time of purchase’ to be free from any known disqualifying traits. The typical price for show quality Flemish usually starts around $75 & can go upwards to the ballpark figure of +$300.00 (depending on previous show wins, quality of previous litters produced, & other such factors).
The best advice that can be given is that first & foremost, do your homework. Have an idea of what you looking for. If you want a pet, then state that you are looking for a pet when you begin searching for one. However, if you are wanting a show quality animal, always buy the best that you can afford to buy. Doing so will save you a ton of work & a lot of time. If you are interested in showing them but can not afford to buy the best on the market, there is nothing wrong with buying good quality breeding stock. Yes, it will take a little longer, but, you will also learn a lot in that process, & the babies that are produced from that will bear your name on them. Regardless of how you decide to start out however, just remember one thing – it costs the same amount of money to raise & care for a top quality show animal as it does for a pet quality one. So, what ever you buy, be sure it fits your reason for having one.
WHAT ARE SOME QUESTIONS I SHOULD ASK WHEN BUYING A FLEMISH?
The answers to these will be of help when deciding if that particular rabbit is the right one for you. There is really no right or wrong answers to most of these questions, however, they will give you insight as to what to expect & what the rabbits’ personality & quality are like.
1. How old is the rabbit?
2. How much does he weigh?
3. Can I see pictures of him?
4. Is he a full-blooded Flemish?
5. Does he have a tattoo & a full pedigree? (or – Is a birth certificate available if buying as a pet?
6. What colors are in his pedigree?
7. What lines is he out of? (if you intend to breed or show him)
8. Have there been any health issues with him?
9. Is he/she proven? (if he is at or above 8 months of age)
10. What feed do you use?
11. Does he live inside or outside & what type & size pen does he live in?
12. Has he been handled by children, & if so were there any problems with that?
13. Are both his parents on site / available to be seen? (if not, how big are they?)
14. How long ago was he weaned? (if he is young)
15. What is his personality; has he shown any signs of aggression?
16. Is it possible to see your rabbitry when I pick him up? (if not, can I see pictures?)
17. Has he been shown? If so, what were his placements?
18. Does he have any genetic DQ’s?
19. Has he been given any wormers or other medications?
20. Does he use water crocks or bottles?