Rabbit production is one of the means by which the nutrition and the incomes of most urban and rural dwellers with limited access to agricultural land can be improved. Rabbits are easy to handle, feed and manage. When properly fed they can offer a high protein low-fat meat for healthy eating.
Rabbit production is a possible solution to the perennial meat deficit problem in the country. Anyone can undertake rabbit keeping as a part or full-time venture.
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Sexual maturity of doe; 5-6 months; buck 6-7 months
- The preferred age for first mating of doe; 7-8 months buck 8-9 months
- The mating ration is 1 buck to 7-10 does
- Gestation period 31-33days
Beginning Rabbit Production
- Obtain the breeding stock from a reputable rabbitry
- Construct a 3 or 2 tier hutch
- Construct feed racks and nest boxes
- Purchase feed/water troughs
Materials needed for the hutch, feed rack and nest box construction
- Low grade sawn timber (hardwood)
- Bamboo, raffia palm
- Plastic felt, wire mesh, nails.
Floor space for cage construction
Note: keep visitors, domestic pets (e.g. dogs) away from housing area.
Feeds and Feeding
Rabbits are non-ruminants herbivores and you can feed them on a range of feeds including:
- Grasses: guinea grass, elephant grass
- Succulent herbs: tridax, Euphorbia spp.
- Legumes: centrosema, stylo
- Tree/shrub fodder: leuceanea, pigeon pea.
- Crop residue: maize husk, cowpea/groundnut vines.
- Kitchen leftovers: vegetables trimmings, root and tuber peel
- Cooked food leftovers: rice, yam, cassava
- Rabbits should receive 100-150g of supplementary feed/day
- Feed rabbits twice daily, morning and late afternoon (evening)
- Provide fresh clean water all the time.
Management and Sanitation
- Always lift rabbit with loose skin over shoulder whilst supporting the lower part of the body.
- Young rabbits are held with hand over loin area with the head pointing downwards.
- Accurate records are important in rabbit management.
- Develop table for routine management activities such as mating, kindling and weaning to monitor individual performance.
- Develop individual identification system e.g. Ear tattoo.
- Undertake daily stock inspection to identify sick stock for treatment.
- Undertake daily cleaning of cages and washing water trough.
- Distance to neighbouring residents.
- The direction of prevailing winds in relation to neighbours
- An adequate source of water
- Topography (avoid steep hill)
- Soil type (well-drained soil)
- Proximity to surface water bodies, sinkholes and floodplains