Farming Rabbits can be a very lucrative and rewarding business to venture into when due procedure for raising them is followed diligently. Rabbit meat is one of the best “white meat” out there for human consumption (even better than chicken meat). By this I mean- it is a healthier choice because the meat-to-fat ratio is lower than beef, and even chicken. Rabbit farming isn’t very common in Nigeria when compared with other livestock. Farming rabbits on a large scale has proven to be more profitable than rearing cattle this is because a single doe/female rabbit can produce up to 1,000% times it’s own weight in kits/baby rabbits in one year!.
I will reveal everything you will need to know about Rabbit farming before you go into this business.
Some fascinating facts about rabbits
- A male rabbit is called a buck.
- A female rabbit is called a doe.
- A young rabbit is called a kit.
- Rabbit meat is all white meat.
Rabbit has 795 calories per pound. You can compare: chicken at 810, turkey at 1190, lamb at 1420, beef at 1440 and pork at 2050.
Rabbit meat has the highest percentage of protein content. It also has a lower percentage of fat than chicken, turkey, beef, or pork. The Cholesterol level in rabbit meat is also the lowest.
Rabbit meat is arguably the most nutritious meat known to man.
Rabbit meat has been recommended for special diets according to research for people with heart disease, as a suitable meat for the elderly, and people looking to for weight reduction.
Rabbit meat is said to be the most easily digested meat on earth being 99% fat free and its form of protein is not easily found in other animals.
Over 300 different recipes for cooking/processing rabbit meat is known worldwide.
93% of the entire rabbit carcass is potentially useable after slaughter.
Just about 7% of the rabbit body consists of bone.
Rabbits have no diseases communicable to we humans.
Rabbit droppings and urine is excellent manure for crop farming.
The only edible farm animal able to produce 1,000% of it’s own weight in offspring each year is the rabbit.
Rabbits can breed all year round and litter in just a month’s time.
Rabbit dropping is odor free when kept dry.
Rabbits are noiseless. Unlike chickens or pigs.
Rabbits are odorless; apart from a (very faint scent resembling that of a goat).
When mature, a doe can mate and give birth all year round for up to four years.
A doe can mate and get pregnant even while nursing her young kits.
A rabbit can live for 8-10 years.
Things to consider before farming Rabbits
Before you start farming rabbits in Nigeria, there are certain things you need to consider. The first four being very important- and I will also reveal some secrets.
The first thing to put into consideration before farming Rabbits is the cages where they will be raised in. This is where the majority of cost in raising your rabbits will be invested.
The second thing to consider is the breed of Rabbit to farm. You will want to farm the best breed available in Nigeria which will provide the maximum weight in meat in the shortest time possible.
The third is what they are going to feed on. The good news here is that rabbits eat many grasses and vegetation, and these grasses and vegetation are easily accessible. You can also consider feeding them pellets, which is just the processed feed for rabbits which consists of same grasses and vegetation.
The fourth thing to consider is the climate. Rabbits perform better in cold climates than they do in hot weather conditions.
For this reason, there should be sufficient shade from the scourching sun where their cages would be located. Heat will kill them faster than cold will.
The fifth consideration is the preventive and curative measures to take in order to prevent or cure ailments. Rabbits can develop few health challenges- and it will be wise of you to know these health challenges and arm yourself with the knowledge of how to tackle them.
You need to know how to separate rabbits in different cages as well. Your rabbits are not to be kept in one cage- Kits can be kept in one cage but as they mature, you will need to separate them according to their sexes.
When and how to clean their cages. Cleaning the rabbit’s cages is very important and should be done at least twice daily. It is important that their urine and droppings should not get mixed up with their food.
Safe handling to avoid injury to you or your rabbits. There is a proper way to carry/lift your rabbits- it’s important because they will most likely struggle to get free when they are carried. Dropping them or holding them wrongly might lead to injury.
How to transport your rabbits. When you want to transport your rabbits for any reason by vehicle you should know how to house them for this purpose to avoid death by suffocation/heat.
How to differentiate their sexes. It can be difficult to differentiate a male rabbit from a female but its not impossible. You need to know how to tell the difference in order to separate the kits when the time comes.
How to handle bucks in heat. When a male rabbit/buck is in heat it behaves different. You need to expect this “behavior change” and know how to manage it.
How and when to mate your rabbits. The male and female rabbits do not reach sexual maturity at the same time. You should know when they both are ready for mating.
How to care for a pregnant doe. You will need to increase the attention given to a pregnant rabbit- it will need extra nourishment in order to produce sufficient milk for her kits. You will also need to know the timing to prepare your rabbit for delivery. Her behavior during this time changes, and you will need to know what these changes in behavior mean.
When to separate the kits from their mother. When the kits starts leaving the nest and begins to eat solid food with their mother, and when the mother starts pushing them away and refuse them milk at about four-five weeks, you know it’s time for separation.
At what age/weight can you slaughter a rabbit for meat. Depending on the breed, they reach their full weight at different times. You will need to know when it’s time for slaughter as leaving the intended “meat rabbit” to live for a longer period will make the meat tough.
How to slaughter your meat rabbit. There are safety measures to consider before putting the knife to the neck of a meat rabbit. You don’t want to make a mess of things and causing injury to yourself during this time.
How to process rabbit after slaughter. There are different ways to process your rabbit after slaughter. It is up to you to decide which one suits you better.
Once you can meet these few demands, you are all set to start farming Rabbits in Nigeria or anywhere else for that matter.