Livestock farming is a lucrative branch of agriculture, with many farmers paying attention to the poultry, fishery, cattle, pig, and snail. Venturing into rabbit farming gives the advantage of minimal investment requirements and the ability to reproduce fast compared to other aspects of livestock farming.
Did You Know That;
This and many other reasons is why we decided that the September edition of our online training should be centered on rabbit production. If you missed the training, a summary of the training is given in this article.
Yet To Meet The Facilitator?
The trainer, Mr Faleke John, is an indigene of Kogi State with a diploma in Cooperative economics and management. He also studied Professional Cooperative studies at the Federal Cooperative College (Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development)
Mr. Faleke is the Owner and Manager of Faleks Farm that supplies Rabbit breeder which includes New Zealand, California, Chinchilla and Flemish Giants. He is a seasoned rabbit breeder and farmer.
He trained us on the following sub-topics:
1 – Commercial Rabbit Business
2 – Rabbit Breeds
3 – Rabbit Feeding And Housing Facilities
4 – Breeding Stock
5 – Marketing Your Rabbits
6 – Vaccination and medication
Rabbit production or farming in Nigeria is one of the agricultural businesses youths can venture into. Millions of tons of this meat are consumed yearly either for meat production, fur production, pharmaceutical uses or even as a pet.
Commercial Rabbit Business
The commercial system of rearing rabbits aims at selling rabbits in large quantities. Rabbits are bred to be marketed for meat consumption, fur production, and some others just like it as a pet. Starting a rabbit farm does not require high capital and is not time-consuming as there are a series of common breeds to be specialized in as a beginner in the business.
Some common breeds in Nigeria at the moments include;
New Zealand Pure White Breed: they are friendly and grow to 5kg at maturity. They are a good source of meat and fur production.
Flemish Giants: they grow up to 7kg at maturity and they are also good for meat production and their coat is also a good source of income for the farmer.
English Spot: They are medium size rabbits and grow up to 3kg. They are a very friendly breed and their fur can also be a source of income
Chinchillas: They grow to 3.5-4 kg if well fed and can be a good source of meat, pet and fur productions. They also can be used as pets
Other brands include:
Rabbit cages: cages can be constructed by the farmer or a professional can be consulted. The cages can be constructed at your backyard but the living area of the rabbit must not be too cold or hot so it does not damage their health.
Water supply: Rabbits require an adequate water supply although they consume less water when they feed on grasses alone.
Rabbits feeds: Rabbits are fed with a variety of grasses, peels, and pellets. Grasses such as elephant grass, Napier grass, potatoes leaves, carrots, lettuce and lots more.
Peels such as yam peels, tomatoes peels, dried cassava peels, pineapple peels, etc.
Pellets: This can be gotten from any of the agricultural feeds stores close to you
Other feeds include; maize, millet, groundnuts, or a simple formation of livestock feeds.
- A female mature rabbit can be used to breed other rabbits by just placing her with a mature buck of a different breed.
- The doe which is the female rabbit should not be left with the buck for more than three days before separation.
- The separation date should be noted so as to be able to calculate the due date for the doe which is usually between 28-31 days
- A male rabbit can be used to cross a female rabbit every four days after separation from other females.
- A female, old rabbit can be replaced with a younger one for production between 3-5 years when her production becomes low.
- The gestation period of a female rabbit is between 28-31 day and can produce between (6-12 babies at a time) or 4-5 times yearly.
To sell your rabbits profitably and consistently you need to create your marketing channels.
The selling channels include the following:
- Online e-adverts or marketing
- Local markets; displaying them in the local market as we do for poultry products
- Pharmaceutical companies use rabbit for experiments
- Restaurant and food sellers; consumers demand rabbit meat because it has varieties of health benefits as a white meat
- Rabbits are also reared as pets
Medications and vaccinations play a vital role in rabbit farming. Some people recommend that rabbits should be given antibiotics and multivitamins monthly, mixed into their water. While the antibiotics prevent diseases, the multivitamin helps them to feed well and look healthy.
Finally, we suggest an amateur should start up a commercial rabbit farming with three colonies.
If you have three colonies of rabbits comprising twelve does and three bucks, then you should not expect your stock to be less than (370) within a year. Just for a start.
Here are some questions the participants asked and the facilitator’s response:
Question: What is the meaning of three colonies?
Response: Three colonies mean the total number of rabbits living together be it male and female
Question: Can you show us a picture of the battery cage for rabbits? Is it the same with poultry?
Response: No it is not the same
I will share by the end of the training session
Question: Is it good to feed Rabbit with Cassava leaf and its tuber?
Response: Dried cassava peels is okay
Question: Precisely, we can start with how many colonies at a go 3 or 4
Response: Five ….four female and one male
Question: How do we sell the fur. What are the market opportunities
Response: The best market for fur is internationally
Question: I have a persistent occurrence of something like rashes on my rabbit region of the legs and nose
Response: consult a veterinarian for proper treatment
Question: Where can I get good species and how much for a colony
Response: Check Afrimash, https://www.afrimash.com/vendors/faleksfarm/