Rabbits are one of the most popular exotic pets in America, with over 1.5 million households owning one1. Flemish Rabbits are a popular rabbit breed thanks to their cat-like size and wonderful laid-back nature.
If you’re considering adopting a rabbit for the first time, there are many costs you should know. The cost of owning a Flemish Giant goes far beyond what you’ll pay to acquire your new pet. There are monthly and annual expenditures, as well as one-time costs, maintenance expenses, and emergency fees. Generally, adopting a Flemish Giant Rabbit can cost you anything from $0- $500+.
Before you sign any adoption papers, you need to know what your budget should be for your new rabbit. Keep reading to learn how much it costs to own and care for a Flemish Giant Rabbit.
Bringing Home a New Flemish Giant Rabbit: One-Time Costs
When you decide to adopt a new pet, you need to consider all the upfront costs you’ll have to pay before you even have your rabbit in hand. The biggest investment will be your pet’s cage or hutch and, depending on how you choose to acquire your rabbit, also potentially the price of adoption.
If you’re lucky, you won’t have to pay a single cent to adopt your new pet. Sometimes people adopt rabbits only to find out down the road that they don’t have the means to take care of them. They then may post signs on bulletin boards or on local Facebook groups advertising that they have a rabbit to give away.
The biggest thing to consider about acquiring your Flemish Giant Rabbit this way is that it won’t come with a health guarantee. The previous owner may be trying to get rid of it because it’s sick. So, protect yourself by asking about the rabbit’s health before adopting it. You can also ask the owner to have the rabbit looked over by the vet beforehand and provide you with the records so you can have some peace of mind.
One bonus of adopting a free rabbit is that the owner will probably include everything you’ll need, such as its cage, food bowls, etc.
It’s usually pretty easy to find pre-loved rabbits at pet shelters. These rabbits used to have a home, but their previous owners could not continue caring for them for some reason. The owners will then surrender these pets to their local humane societies or pet shelters to deal with the adoption process. The cost to adopt a small critter like a rabbit from a shelter is usually not more than $100.
Finally, the third way you can acquire a Flemish Giant is through a breeder. There are many breeders in Canada and the United States, so you’ll need to research to ensure you’re buying from someone reputable.
The final price of your new pet will depend on its quality, lineage, and breeding potential. For example, Happy Tails Rabbitry is one of the most popular Flemish Giant breeders in the U.S. They have three quality categories for their rabbits: standard, exceptional, and superior. Rabbits falling into the “standard” quality have parents weighing up to 15 pounds, while those in the “superior” category have at least one parent weighing over 18 pounds.
Initial Setup and Supplies
The biggest expense you’ll face is when you first bring your new Flemish Giant home. You must pay the price to adopt your pet and the supplies they’ll need when they come home with you. The hutch will be the most significant investment, especially if you buy two: one for indoors and one for outdoors. Though this initial cost is quite high, we don’t recommend skimping out on it. The hutch is where your rabbit will spend a lot of its time, so you want to ensure it’s (a) high-quality and (b) the right size.
The table below will cover some of the supplies and costs you should expect to pay right from the get-go, including the cage, sterilization procedure, food, treats, bedding, and more. Other prices listed below are not necessary right away, like ultrasounds and dental trimmings, but are important to know about as you may need to pay these at some point during your rabbit’s life. Therefore, we did not include these unnecessary costs in our initial setup and supply quote above.
List of Flemish Giant Rabbit Care Supplies and Costs
|Grooming Supplies (brush, nail clippers)||$5–$15|
|Pellets (per bag)||$10–$50|
|Hay (per bag)||$10–$115|
|Treats (per bag/box)||$4–$25|
|Bedding (per bag)||$8–$60|
|Leash & Harness||$6–$12|
|Food and Water Bowls||$5–$25+|
How Much Does a Flemish Giant Rabbit Cost Per Month?
You should expect to add several recurring monthly costs to your budget when adopting a Flemish Giant. Your rabbit’s food and bedding are likely to be the most substantial recurring costs to account for, but you won’t necessarily need to go to the pet store every month to buy these items. One bag of food and bedding can last longer than 30 days.
We recommend setting aside a small percentage of your income every paycheck into an emergency fund. This will cover you when vet bills start adding up in the event that your rabbit has an accident or illness. As you can see in the chart above, one dental trimming or extraction can cost you $300 or more.
Let’s look at some of the things you should be budgeting for.
Chances are you won’t have many health care expenses if your rabbit is healthy. We do recommend seeing a veterinarian every year for a check-up, however. Since rabbits are considered exotic pets, you should expect to pay a little more for routine visits as they require specialized care that not every vet can provide. A regular check-up should cost under $90, but it will vary from vet to vet.
If you’re adopting your rabbit or getting it for free, you may need to get it vaccinated, as the previous owner may not have done that. If you bought your pet from a breeder, they should have included vaccinations in the cost of the adoption. Your rabbit will need a yearly booster once it’s had its first round of vaccines, so that’s something to account for in your budget. The total cost of annual vaccinations should fall between $40 and $60.
Flemish Giants, as you may have guessed from their name, are a larger breed of rabbit that needs more food to support their health and bones. Like most rabbits, this breed should eat a diet consisting mostly of fresh hay, pellets, and vegetables. Because they’re grazing animals, they need access to fresh hay 24/7, and around 80% of your pet’s diet should come from hay. Buying hay from the pet store can be costly, as a single bag can cost $25 or more. You may consider researching local farms to see if any will sell you a half bale as you’ll pay around the same price, but the bale will last you much longer.
You will need to factor in the cost of treats, too. You shouldn’t offer your rabbit too many treats, so don’t dedicate a huge portion of your budget toward them.
If you learn to do it yourself, you don’t need to spend a single cent on grooming for your Flemish Giant. Your rabbit won’t need baths, so you’ll need a high-quality brush, nail clippers, and a toothbrush.
If you decide to give your rabbit the spa treatment at a professional groomer every month, shop around to see which companies offer the best grooming packages. They can cost as little as $15 per visit or as much as $40. The plus side of going to a groomer is that they can do a scent gland cleaning for you and also know what to look for when it comes to fleas or parasites.
Medications and Vet Visits
Ideally, your rabbit won’t need medication or monthly vet visits. But, of course, if your pet has an illness that requires medication or more frequent visits to the vet, you’ll need to factor that into your budget.
The price of rabbit insurance will vary from policy to policy depending on what package and coverage level you opt for. Many insurance companies allow policyholders to tweak their monthly premiums by adjusting their deductibles and reimbursement rates so they can find a price that works within their budget.
You don’t need to pay for pet insurance at all, however. If you decide not to get insurance, set aside money monthly to cover any unexpected costs. Rabbits are prone to certain conditions like rabbit hemorrhagic disease, myxomatosis, and Pasteurella, which can get quite costly.
You must replace your rabbit’s bedding every few days to keep its cage or hutch hygienic. They need around two inches of high-quality bedding in their main enclosure, especially in their litter box area. Some rabbit owners only use bedding in the litter box and not throughout the cage at all. This is a personal preference, but if you’re looking to save money, we recommend keeping the bedding for litter box use only.
You should also budget for cleaning supplies like cage deodorizers. You won’t need to replace these monthly, as one bottle will last an entire year or longer.
Rabbits, like any animal, need some kind of exercise and mental stimulation every day. You can provide this for your Flemish Gant by ensuring they have plenty of toys they can cycle through. Rabbits given productive ways to exercise their natural behaviors, like digging and chewing, are less likely to become frustrated and destructive toward their environment. Your pet will get bored of its toys and eventually destroy them, so it’s a good idea to have some money set aside to buy new toys every few months.
Rabbits like to forage, so foraging toys are a great choice. In addition, you can save money by DIYing toys from cardboard boxes, newspapers, or toilet rolls.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Flemish Giant Rabbit
As you can see, there is a huge discrepancy in the monthly costs of owning a Flemish Giant Rabbit. You can spend as little as $40 per month or as much as $280 or more. We based our figures on the bare minimum monthly costs versus the higher end of the spectrum. Of course, your savviness and your rabbit’s health will play a huge factor in your overall costs, so it’s hard for us to give you a more exact estimate.
Additional Costs to Factor In
There are other costs you should consider before adopting a Flemish Giant. These costs may not occur monthly or even annually, but you should keep them in mind when welcoming a new pet home.
Pet Sitting or Boarding
There will come a time when you must travel for work or vacation. You probably won’t be able to take your rabbit with you, so you’ll need to hire a pet sitter or take it to a boarding facility to care for it while you’re gone. Cost: $20–$35 per visit/day
A bored rabbit without enough mental stimulation can cause much destruction in your home. They can dig on your carpet or flooring, chew at your basement or wall corners, urinate in appropriate places, or chew on cords and other electronic equipment. You can deter this behavior by providing your pet with enough enrichment and playtime. Cost: Varies depending on the damage
You never know when an emergency will strike, and the price of emergency care, especially for an exotic pet, can add up very fast. This is why many pet owners invest in pet insurance. If you can’t afford insurance, make sure you’re setting aside money every month in case of an emergency. Cost: Depends on the type of emergency
Owning a Flemish Giant Rabbit on a Budget
Owning a rabbit can get expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a pet if you’re on a strict budget. Let’s look at a few ways to make rabbit ownership fit better into your budget.
Adopt, Don’t Shop: Adopting your rabbit from a pet shelter will cost you much less than getting one from a breeder. You’ll also save money on medical costs like sterilization or vaccination, as most shelters take care of this when the rabbit comes into their care. You can also try finding a rabbit for free, as it’ll most likely come with all the basics you need, like a cage and bedding, to get you started.
Hay: As mentioned above, hay can be a significant cost for rabbit owners as they need 24/7 access to fresh stuff. Buying hay from the pet store can be expensive, so try to find a local farmer to buy a bale from.
Saving Money on Flemish Giant Rabbit Care
Adopting your Flemish Giant Rabbit can cost you anything from zero dollars up to $500 or more, depending on the quality of the animal you’re adopting. You should expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for the initial start-up costs, including cage(s), microchipping, food and water bowls, and toys. Your monthly budget could be between $40 and $280, depending on how savvy you are as a shopper and your pet’s health.
With a bit of foresight and shopping savviness, you certainly can own a Flemish Giant on a budget. Just don’t skimp on important stuff like high-quality pellets, fresh hay, and medical care.
Featured Image Credit: mariesacha, Shutterstock