One-eyed rescue bunny…big breed or obese?

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CuppyND

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Aloha! We rescued this 6mo old male, Ollie, yesterday. His eye was removed due to infection. He’s been pretty friendly but very nervous—understandably.
I’m wondering what breed he is. He looks like a Lionhead-holland lop mix but he is big. He is already 7lbs at 6mos. Do Lionhead-holland lop mixes get that big? Is he just obese? Or is he some other mix? Keep in mind though that we are in Hawaii and there’s really a limited variety of breeds in circulation here. I’ve noticed (from months of checking Craigslist, pet shops, and humane society, we mainly have NDs, HL, and Lionheads. There were rare listings for angora, Flemish, Rex and one silver marten.
If Ollie is obese, can I get it to lose weight? Thank you!
 

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Moonshadow

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At least to my eyes, based on the photos you show here, he doesn't look obese or overweight at all. I'm basing that from looking at his haunches and the fact he doesn't have a dewlap which he might have if he was overweight.

Since he's 6 months old he probably has quite a bit of growing to do so I would not try to get him to lose weight. He probably is a mix with a bigger breed like a flemish giant which would account for his size. His head shape doesn't look anything like a holland lops to me though he probably does have some lion head in him somewhere.
 

CuppyND

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Thank you for your thoughts! Wow…part Flemish giant, huh? Now I’m kind of overwhelmed. Our other bunny is a Netherland Dwarf, so I’m more accustomed to handling smaller rabbits. Can anyone offer tips for handling bigger rabbits?
 

JLMH

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What an interesting mix your rabbit is! It does look like he's got some Flemish in him. I have a full-bred Flemish Giant. I've had her since she was a baby and she is a sweetheart. Very affectionate and docile, although pretty opinionated too. Definitely makes it known when she wants to be fed or petted/snuggled. My best advice is to make sure you have a large enough enclosure for him to move about and stretch out, and to give him as much free roaming time as possible. My girl eats a lot and I make sure she gets plenty of time and room to roam so she doesn't get obese. She's already 30 inches long and nearly 20 pounds at 9 months. Her diet is mostly hay and greens with some pellets. She drinks a lot of water and I make sure to keep her cool. She loves to snuggle but, like most rabbits, she does not want to be picked up, although she will allow it when necessary. We have a rescue mixed breed rabbit as well. They can be together - closely monitored - for small amounts of time, but we are careful because she is so big and might hurt him.
 

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JBun

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I would guess part flemish and lionhead too, with maybe some others mixed in there as well. The head and ear size looks pretty big, so likely to be a pretty big bun.

Small to medium breeds usually mature at around 6 months, where they don't really grow much after that. Flemish will keep growing after a year old, so it's helpful to continue to feed a young rabbit diet that is higher protein than an adults, until a year to 15 months old(depending on when your rabbit seems to stop growing), with either alfalfa based young rabbit pellets or alfalfa hay, plus always unlimited grass hay. The amount of pellets should be close to unlimited, though gauge that on your rabbit eating at least a pile of grass hay the size of his body, per day. If he's not eating that amount of grass hay per day, I would reduce pellet amounts until he is. Though you also have to make sure he actually is eating the grass hay. Some rabbits not used to hay, won't eat it at first.

When to reduce pellet amounts to the adult ration, and when to switch to a grass based adult pellet, will be dependent on when your bun seems to stop growing. Because your bun is a mix, there won't be a normal time frame like with other rabbits, so you'll just have to monitor weight gain and growth with your bun, then adjust the diet accordingly.


Large breed rabbits will have a shorter lifespan than small to medium breeds. It will usually be around 6-8 years, but because yours is a mix with a small breed, that may vary to be a bit longer. Large breed rabbits can also be more susceptible to certain health issues like sore hocks, arthritis, spondylosis, hip displasia, and heart problems, particularly at an older age. But again, this can vary due to your rabbit being a mixed breed.

 

CuppyND

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Thank you so much for the helpful advice. I’m new to posting on this forum but I’ve been reading threads for a while. This is an awesome community of bun lovers!
@JBun Now that you mentioned it…I have noticed that Ollie doesn’t eat much Timothy hay or alfalfa pellets. He’ll gobble up treats at high speed. That’s was one of the reasons I thought he was obese. Thank you for bringing that up. So now I think I’m not going give him any treats till he starts eating hay and pellets.
@JLMH Do you think this enclosure is big enough? See pic. We also let him run around our yard for 2-3 hours a day.
I’m still nervous handling him. And I’m dreading the nail trimming. So I ordered one of those hanging harness things…see pic. Has anyone tried one of these for big buns? Any pro tips?
 

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TammyP

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I'm no expert, but it looks to me like you have a mix of Rex, lionhead, and maybe mini lops. Rex rabbits grow to about 7-8 lbs, lionheads average around 3 lbs, and mini lops around 6.5 lbs. (Holland lops grow to around 5 lbs). The lionhead mane gene is apparent, although it doesn't appear to be the double mane gene.

If this mix is the case, then your rabbit would be considered fully grown at 6 months. If the rabbit continues to grow then I would check with my vet as he may need to have access to open feeding for a longer period (with smaller breeds, they usually have established their eating requirements by 6 months).

Whatever breed(s) you have, he is precious and lucky to have such a caring owner 💖.
 

JLMH

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Thank you so much for the helpful advice. I’m new to posting on this forum but I’ve been reading threads for a while. This is an awesome community of bun lovers!
@JBun Now that you mentioned it…I have noticed that Ollie doesn’t eat much Timothy hay or alfalfa pellets. He’ll gobble up treats at high speed. That’s was one of the reasons I thought he was obese. Thank you for bringing that up. So now I think I’m not going give him any treats till he starts eating hay and pellets.
@JLMH Do you think this enclosure is big enough? See pic. We also let him run around our yard for 2-3 hours a day.
I’m still nervous handling him. And I’m dreading the nail trimming. So I ordered one of those hanging harness things…see pic. Has anyone tried one of these for big buns? Any pro tips?
Hi @CuppyND , I think your enclosure looks good for now, but I used something similar for a while and it wasn't long before my Flemish could hop out of it. While I was still litter training her, I just clipped a sheet over top, but now that she is trained she has a very large crate/den in the corner of the kitchen where her litter box is and she mostly roams free in the kitchen/family room which I gate off from our dogs. I've never used a harness for nail trimming. I generally sit on the floor and she comes to lay down next to me. Once she is fully sprawled out against me, I just trim her nails. She is very docile and quite the "attention sponge", so I generally don't have any challenges with grooming.
 

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