Do you know that grasscutter farming is one of the livestock businesses in Nigeria that require low cost but has big returns on your investment?
Grasscutter meat has risen among other sources of meat and now ranks among the most anted source of meat in Nigeria. This is understandable due to its many benefits and taste. However, there is a larger demand than supply.
Grasscutter farming is the business of breeding grasscutters for their meat and by-products (for example, their faeces for fertilisers).
Grasscutters are also referred to as cane rats. This is because sugarcane is one of their beloved foods. If you are going to be very successful as a grasscutter farmer, farm sugarcane too.
Interestingly, grasscutters are rodents. They are much larger than common rats and live in bushes. Rats however are found in houses and their surroundings.
Grasscutter meat, among other grasscutter products, is in high demand. It contains a low amount of cholesterol and a high amount of essential nutrients. They are easy to breed. They mature early at about 5-6 months. Their gestation period is about 22 weeks and one female can produce roughly 12 offspring’s in a year.
Why Start a Grasscutter Farm?
See some of the reasons to start your own grasscutter farming right at your back yard, without investing in farm lands and costly housing kits.
Grasscutter meat is found among the class of meat referred to as white meat. It has much-reduced fat and cholesterol levels. It is high in protein. Also, grasscutter meat reduces the risks of hypertension by preventing some of the factors which cause it like high cholesterol and obesity.
Another Stream of Income
Grasscutter farming is an agricultural business that is not only profitable but also brings you passive income. You don’t have to do so much work since they do not require much attention.
Ease in Farming Grasscutters
That grasscutters do not need much attention does not mean that you can or should neglect them. Grasscutters need food and water daily and regular checkups to examine them for signs of sickness and keep them healthy.
They can be left alone by themselves after being provided for so that you can attend your other job if you are not doing it full time.
Low Starting Cost and Risks
You don’t need so much money to start a grasscutter business. It only needs to cover the necessities and then you are good to go. You can even start it at your back yard. Cost of building shelter or cage for grasscutters is minimal. You can construct it yourself if you are technically inclined.
They Are Fruitful and Multiply Early
Grasscutters become mature as they attain 5-6 months of age. Some even mature much early than 5 months and are ripe for breeding. This depends majorly on their breed and how well they are cared for.
It takes approximately 22 weeks for female grasscutters to carry their younglings. This means they can produce grasscutter babies twice in one year. Your breeding target should be calculated by the number of breeders you farm.
Each birth can yield about 5-7 grasscutters which means a single female grasscutter can birth 10-14 grasscutters in one year.
Increased and Increasing Demand
Due to the benefits of grasscutter meat and its recommendations by people in the health sector, the demand for grasscutter meat has risen.
This demand would continue to increase as more people find out about its benefits. You can equally farm grasscutters for your personal needs.
How Much You Require to Start
This depends on the size you’re starting with. Factors that determine the startup cost:
- Getting a mature doe(female) and a buck(male). A mature doe costs about N14,000 and a matured buck is about N12,000.
- The housing – should be such that gives the room enough to move around and nit confide them to static position.
- Feeding, cleaning and other necessary equipment
- Checkups by a veterinary doctor
A small scale farm would cost about N50,000-N80,000 to setup. It can cost less if you have the housing or the necessary equipment ready.
Pick Your Grasscutter Farming Method
Commercial grasscutter farming can be performed in two ways:
- Deep litter method
- Cage method
Deep Litter Method
This involves putting some grasscutters in a house, in a single space.
This can be done efficiently well with a minimal number of grasscutters. The grasscutter house should be spacious to allow the grasscutters to move around freely and have space to themselves.
This method involves keeping grasscutters in cages or hutches. This method keeps a reduced number of grasscutters in each cage. A colony (4 females and 1 male) can occupy a cage or the grasscutters can be separated so that individual grasscutters occupy a cage.
How to Build a Grasscutter House
Housing in grasscutter farming is very important.
It must allow ventilation, light and have enough space for the animals.
The grasscutter cage should also have structures like light bulbs and waterproof covers that can protect the animals from rain and cold.
Building materials should be made of quality materials. Bamboo and wood can be chewed on, so they’re not efficient choice materials.
A grasscutter house is usually and popularly built with metal.
Grasscutters are clean animals. The grasscutter house should be built so that there is a separate space for feeding and a separate one for resting.
To allow for breeding, grasscutters should be kept in a colony. A grasscutter colony has 4 females and 1 male. This method is good since the presence of a male stimulates ovulation in females and the presence of more than one male with a female would provoke fights.
In a situation where a huge grasscutter needs to be moved around, a squeeze cage should be available. It should be about the size of the grasscutter and should not allow much movement.
A squeeze cage facilitates the easy handling of grasscutters of various sizes. The size of the cage should be tailored to fit the size of the grasscutter.
Also, trays for feeding and drinking should be made heavy so that the grasscutters cannot displace them.
The Best Grasscutter Foods
Grasscutters eat sugarcane, legumes, guinea grass, elephant grass, peels of tuber crops (e.g. cassava) and outer coverings of fruits like pineapple and mango.
They can also be given concentrate to supply them with more nutrients and balance their diet. Some concentrates are made of only one ingredient. This would not give the animals all the nutrients they need so it should be rotated with other feeds.
Other concentrates are made from multiple ingredients and can be fed to the grasscutters constantly. The feed should be placed in the feeding container and not the floor to prevent the grasscutters from stepping on the food and soiling it with their fasces.
You can feed your grasscutters two or three times daily. Feeding the grasscutters should be consistent every day. If you would feed them in the afternoons by 2 pm, keep up with that.
A baby grasscutter depends on the mother for milk. And when it is about 6 weeks old, it is ready to be weaned.
What’s The Best Time to Start Breeding?
You can start anytime. As long as you have the money to start and the necessities are available; food and housing, and others. Another best time is tomorrow. You can start with one male and one female.
Managing Diseases And Environment Conditions
Grasscutters are prone to certain diseases which are described below. These diseases can be prevented by proper care for the grasscutters and by regularly checking them up.
Their surroundings should be kept clean and dry. Leftover food and food that is spilt out of the feeding container should be removed before a new one is placed.
Ecto and Endoparasites
Ticks and fleas are ectoparasites commonly found on grasscutters. Endoparasites like worms also trouble grasscutters. These worms are attracted to wet areas. Constant deworming of the grasscutters would keep these worms in check.
Is a common disease that attacks grasscutters. It is caused by Diplococus Pneumonate which is a bacteria. This bacteria is abundant in cold seasons. Grasscutters should therefore be kept as warm as possible during cold seasons.
Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoan. It causes tiredness, appetite loss and diarrhoea in grasscutters.
Is caused by Staphylococcus Aureus which is a bacteria. It causes discharges in the vagina and nose of the grasscutters.
Grasscutter business is another lucrative business that you can own and make yours. Are you going to start your grasscutter business, if yes, do contact us for consultation and guidance. If you have more questions, let me know in the comment.