Rabbit farming: Profitability and Best Practices that will Yield High Result

Introduction to Rabbit Farming

Rabbit feeding

Rabbit feeding

 

Rabbit farming is a highly lucrative and profitable operation. Providing extra cash and income for those seeking multiple streams of income.

 

By providing full-time employment for farmers that want to go into large-scale, commercial production systems.

 

If you want to provide highly nutritious, low-fat, low-cholesterol meat. To your family with less financial input rabbit farming is the best option to choose.

 

Rabbits are basically raised for their meat and fur, wool, or laboratory uses. Their waste and urine are used in the agricultural sector.

 

As a good source of organic manure in your gardens and backyard farms and for other research purposes.

 

Before starting on rabbit farming, choosing a good breed is paramount to the success of the project.

 

You can choose from the various breeds of rabbit. That is suitable for the particular operation you might want to embark on.

 

Ranging from large – scale industrial production. To small scale backyard farming for extra cash and meat production. To just use the rabbits as household pets.

 

Medium and large breeds. Such as the New Zealand, California, Dutch Gray English Spot, Chinchilla, and Flemish Giant.

 

Have the most suitable size and conformation for producing meat and fur. Therefore suitable for small scale backyard farming.

 

White breeds of rabbits (e.g., New Zealand White and Californian) are the most prolific. And the most desirable for commercial and large-scale industrial production. Because white skins usually bring higher prices and return on investment.

 

READ: Cattle rearing: Maximizing your profit through minimizing your cost of production

 

Reasons for Rabbit Production

RABBITS

  • Rabbits mature very fast 4 to 6 months depending on the breed.

 

  • Their feed to meat conversion rate is highly efficient.

 

  • They are very prolific in production when taking good care of, one doe or female rabbit can give birth to about 2 to 10 kids per litter even more.

 

  • Rabbit’s production unlike other livestock production, such as sheep, goat, and cattle can be raised effectively by utilizing the small available space e.g the backyard.

 

  • Rabbit feed on most green plants when gradually introduced to them. With some exceptions, e.g tomatoes leave. The cost of production is very less compared to other livestock.

 

  • Short gestation and lactation periods.

 

  • Produces highly nutritious, low-fat, low-cholesterol meat suitable for all ages.

 

  • It is easy to transport and market the rabbit.

 

  • The recurrent costs for maintaining animals beyond the optimum marketing age are low compared to other livestock.

 

  • Labor costs are low and the work can be done by family members.

 

  • There are no religious taboos as regard to rabbit consumption and production.

 

  • In the case of meat production, rabbits are placed after poultry.

 

  • Rabbits can be raised under a low budget. Kitchen wastes, grass, plant leaves, etc. are favorite foods of rabbits. So you can raise some rabbits for your family needs, using this type of low cost and easily available commodities.

 

  • The commercial rabbit farming business requires relatively less capital. And you will get back your investment within a very short period.

 

  • As it is a highly profitable business. So commercial production can be a great source of earning and employment.
Young bunnies feeding

Young bunnies feeding and relaxing

 

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Best Practices to employ when  Feeding Your Rabbits for Maximum Profits

Best Rabbit Management Practices for Maximum Profit

 

Housing

It is strongly recommended that when you are constructing a rabbit house. Using wire hutches is the best option for rear rabbits.

 

It protects the rabbits from thieves, stray dogs, cats, snakes, rodents, wild animals. Such as coyotes, jackals, wolves, etc. because rabbits when kept on the floor or free-range, burrow their way out.

 

The rabbit should be able to stand erect in a vertical position. And also be able to stretch their hind-legs inside the hutch.

 

The prevailing weather condition of the area the farm is to be located. Will determine how the construction of the hutches will be.

 

Ensuring good ventilation and temperature control. Especially in the tropical hot humid regions of the world will improve productivity.

 

Chicken wire of different sizes is also used in the construction of many hutches today. But depreciation is extremely high.

 

Chicken wire can be used for the walls or ceilings of rabbit hutches. Care should be taken to use a small gauge of chicken wire. That will prevent small kits that escape the nest box from passing through and away from the safety and comfort of the hutch and mother.

 

Do not use chicken wire for the floors. The use of chicken wire of any size for hutch floors will almost certainly lead to sore hocks. And other sores on the feet of rabbits, leading to infections and eventual production losses.

 

Cages should be approximately 35 inches wide, 35 inches deep, and 19 inches high (minimum of 33-by-33-by-19).

 

The floor should be one-half-by-one-inch14-gauge galvanized wire (Galvanized AFTER weld is best). And the sides and top should be one-by-two-inch 14-gauge galvanized wire.

 

Whether you arrange the hutches in single, double, or triple tiers depends upon how much room is available.

 

rabbit in their hutch

Bunnies in their hutch

rabbit in the

 

READ ALSO: 6 Unique Advantages of Rabbit Rearing over Poultry farming

 

Breeding/Production of Rabbit

You can start breeding your rabbits when they are about 5 to 6 months old. If you’d like the does to reach full maturity and size. It is recommended to wait until they are 6 months old before breeding.

 

Animals that are either overweight or underweight will not be productive. That is why you must monitor the nutritional value of your rabbit’s feed and the total caloric intake.

 

Rabbits that are to be used for production must be kept in excellent physical breeding conditions. And be provided the best possible nutrition.

 

When breeding it should be done early in the morning or late afternoon. Always take the doe to the buck’s cage for service. You can leave for repeated service up to 10 minutes before returning the doe to her cage.

 

If the doe fights the buck, restrain her service. If the buck fails to serve the doe in minimum time, switch the doe to another buck. Palpate the doe 10–14 days after breeding to see if the doe is pregnant.

 

A doe that is not pregnant at 14 days. Should be regularly checked for receptiveness (vulva reddening) to return her for service with the buck.

 

The number of bucks needed depends on the size of the herd. Generally, a buck should only be bred as often as once every other day.

 

In general, keep one buck to every 10 does. The average gestation period is 31 days.

 

A day or two on either side is possible. Replace a buck when his record reveals low production, or his offspring show poor feed conversion or poor rate of weight gain.

 

Save replacement stock for expansion as needed to keep cages filled with working does and active bucks. Constantly improve the herd by strict culling of low producers.

 

new Zealand white

Care and Management of Rabbit

How to Handling Rabbits

Never lift rabbits by the ears or legs. Handling in this manner may injure them and even cause drooping ears. A rabbit can safely be lifted by the scruff on the back of its neck.

 

It is advised to support larger animals with a second hand under the bottom. While holding onto the scruff. A rabbit can be rotated, appearing to be lying with its back on the holder’s forearm.

 

After picking up a rabbit by the scruff, one effective way to carry the animal is to place the head in the crook of the opposite elbow. And then support the bottom and hind legs with the palm of that hand.

 

You can lift and comfortably carry small rabbits by grasping the loin region gently and firmly. Put the heel of the hand toward the tail of the animal. This method prevents bruising the carcass or damaging the pelt.

 

handling rabbits

Proper way to handle rabbits

Sanitation and Disease Control

Daily cleaning of hutches, containers. And surroundings is the easiest way to ensure sanitary conditions and control disease.

 

With strict sanitation practices such as cleaning all cages and water containers every day. and collecting roughage from uncontaminated areas (ideally, you will have provided space for planting your forages).

 

You can drastically minimize the danger of any disease in the rabbitry or infecting yourself. This includes cleaning out hutches, nest boxes, and food and water crocks, or receptacles.

 

Though certain veterinary interventions can be of high advantage. They also require financial resources and access.

 

To make things simple, many producers, even on a moderately large scale. Effectively manage their herds and prevent the majority of diseases by maintaining a clean and sanitary rabbitry. Rabbits are very hardy animals when taking good care of, they seldom have the disease.

You might also like to READ: Broiler farming: How to engage in profitable production

Feeding Rabbit

Rabbit diet consists of silage and fresh hay. Green plants are highly nutritious, and cheap to use as rabbit feeds. If there is a lack of green plants, roots and leaves may be used.

 

Green plants can be used without processing. In the winter or dry season, forage is used for feed, such as hay, straws, and foliage of trees. If there is a deficiency of forage, rabbits may start to nibble at fence posts.

 

Feed as much fresh grasses and/or legumes as the rabbits want each day—up to 85 percent grass.

Rabbits enjoying their meals.

 

READ: How to Market Your Farm Produce, Best Strategy to Adopt.

 

Feed a commercial rabbit feed of at least 16 percent crude protein at the following levels:
  • Resting bucks and does—120 grams a day
  • Pregnant does—245 grams a day
  • Lactating does with litters—480 grams a day
  • Growing/fattening rabbits (after weaning to slaughter or 3-4 months old) — 960 grams a day.

 

Freshwater should be made available at all times. Rabbit diets should contain 0.5 percent trace mineralized salt. Since the offspring of rabbits are intended for use as breeding stock. You want to produce young that are as healthy and vigorous as possible.

 

In general, rabbits can be fed almost any food that is not sour, spoiled, or greasy. A few exceptions are meat, potatoes and/or potato peelings. And large amounts of cabbage.

 

Thus, the rabbit’s diet may be supplemented with many things. Including vegetable trimmings, fruit peelings, bread crusts, and sun-dried leftover rice and leftover milk.

 

The ideal diet contains both commercial feed and greens, as the rabbit should eat 85 percent forage of good quality and quantity.

 

Serious damage or even death may result if large quantities of lush greens are fed to animals accustomed to concentrated feed only.

 

Even sudden changes in a grain diet may cause minor, or possibly serious, digestive disorders. The best method is mixed feeding (providing greens and commercial food) to avoid any sudden change.

READ ALSO: How to engage in profitable goat farming

Marketing Sale/Conclusion

In most cases, marketing rabbit products is not so easy. It will be better if you strategize and determine your marketing plan before starting.

 

The first market for rabbit meat is the family, neighbors, towns, and cities within the locality you are residing in.

 

You can try your Local Markets, Colleges of Agriculture, Research Institute, and Universities, etc. they use rabbit for practical and experimental purposes.

 

Rabbit meat can then be sold in a dressed form to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and open markets. Rabbit barbecues can be sold by sidewalk vendors.

 

It is also possible and important to successfully market your product to all strata of society. The benefit of eating rabbit meat by convincing them.

3 Comments

  1. Jonathan Teye Brown November 18, 2020
    • Bnet November 19, 2020
      • Duncan Ndirangu February 5, 2021

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