Rabbit farming business is a business that has a high booming capacity. Rabbit farming, also called cuniculture, refers to the keeping of rabbits for their meat, fur and byproducts.
A business of rearing rabbits, furry animals such as the one which led Alice down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.
Rabbit farming is the commercial rearing of rabbits, primarily for sales purposes. You can rear a single breed or diverse kinds of breeds.
Rabbit meat is the major reason why Nigerian rabbit farmers breed them. Little attention is placed on their fur.
Rabbit meat is among the meats classified as white meat. As the importance of rabbit farming in Nigeria continues to spread to more people, its high demand would continue to increase.
So, is rabbit farming a profitable business in Nigeria? Yes.
Rabbits are not expensive to breed, unlike some other livestock animals. You don’t spend much on them and you get ample profit.
Why Start a Rabbit Farm Business?
Here are my 6 reasons why you should start a rabbit farm business:
They can care for themselves
Of course, you need to provide food for them since they are caged and cannot get food themselves. But rabbits can be left alone after they have been provided for. This characteristic of rabbits allows you to attend to your other job if you are a part-time rabbit keeper.
For Their By-products
Did you know that rabbit urine is used as a pesticide and a fertilizer?
Rabbit’s urine contains nitrogen and therefore enriches the soil and crops and due to its pungent smell, it repels insect pests.
Doesn’t require a large amount as a start-up
Rabbit farming, like grasscutter farming, is referred to as called micro livestock farming and do not need much startup cost.
High Reproduction rate
Rabbits have a gestation of about 31 days after which a female rabbit produces two to twelve younglings. Due to its short gestation period, a female rabbit can produce offspring up to seven times in one year!
Benefits to health
As I mentioned earlier, rabbits are a source of white meat which has been known for its health benefits.
It is said to have low-calorie levels, preventing weight gain and hypertension.
Rabbits enter the maturity stage at about 5-6 months old. Some farmers however suggest that male rabbits are left to enter their first year before they are bred.
This is said to allow for the production of quality offspring.
How much can you earn from rabbit farming?
The amount you earn from each rabbit largely depends on their age and breed. You can sell a rabbit at the rate of N1500 to about N9000.
How Much You Require to Start
The amount of money you need to start your rabbit farming business depends on 3 major factors:
● The rabbit’s breed
● The number of rabbits you are starting with
● Getting a rabbit house
The cost ranges from N45,000-N100,000 with N100,000 being the highest amount you would have to spend. It can cost more if you want to start on a large scale.
Pick Your Rabbit Farming Method
Rabbits can be reared in a cage method or deep litter method.
Deep Litter Method
● This method is efficient if you will be raising a few rabbits.
● You can keep up to 30 rabbits in one house in the deep litter method. Males should be kept apart from the females till it is time to breed.
● The floor of the house should be made of concrete and should be covered with dry wood shavings or straw.
● There is a higher risk in this method than in the cage method. Make sure to start with a little number, gain experience and see how it goes and then increase their number.
● The animals are reared in a cage in this method. This method of rabbit farming is more efficient for a commercial business.
● You can raise as many rabbits as you want with this method with the animals spaced out in different cages.
● This method allows the rabbits enough space and food in their cage.
● The females and males also need to be separated from each other until it is time for breeding.
Rabbit Farming Business Plan in Nigeria
A business plan is important in planning your business.
If you want to get a loan to start your business, you will have to show the lender something, proof that you know what you are doing and that profit would come from the business so that you can pay them back.
The business plan should describe your business, how it would be funded, expected profit, how the marketing part would go, and all that your business needs and would be about.
There are samples of business plans to guide you in making yours.
How To Build Rabbits’ House
A rabbit house (hutch or cage) should have good ventilation, be protected by a shade and be out of the way of people passing by or noise.
The rabbit house needs a windbreaker, like a tree so that when it gets windy they would be protected from massive amounts of wind. They also need protection from rain during rainy seasons.
You should consider the following when buying or building a rabbit house:
● The size
How many rabbits do you want to start with? This would determine the size of the cage that you get.
● The type
Is the rabbit house outdoor or indoor? This would determine the material that is used to make the cage. If the cage is placed outdoors, a wooden cage would not be efficient. It would get weaker as the rain beats it.
● The material used
A majority of the rabbit houses currently are built with metal, wood and even plastic. Now, as I said earlier, the material used to build the cage depends on the exposure of the cage to the natural elements(sun and rain).
Aside from natural elements determining the type of cage, choose a cage that would not give you issues when you clean. It should be easy to clean.
Many rabbit houses have floors made of wire and a removable pan under them for easy removal of waste.
Rabbits can however develop sore feet (hocks) because they stand and walk on the wire floors all day long.
This can be reduced by covering a part of the floor with something solid, like wood. This wood would be a resting spot for the rabbits and reduce the possibility of them developing sore feet.
The Best Foods for Rabbits
The rate at which a rabbit eats is determined by the breed and of course, the age.
Rabbits eat green vegetables, cucumber, carrots and grass, among others. They can also be fed with remnants of food from your house.
Rabbits need variation in their feed. They need assorted food choices. This would ensure that they get the necessary nutrients that they need for growth and health.
As you add new foods to their diet, give them a small amount of the new food daily and check for how they react to it. When they have adapted to the food you can increase its quantity to the amount that they need.
When you give the rabbits their food make sure to place the flood in their feeder, not on the floor. Since they would be wandering around their cage, they can walk all over their food and ruin it with their faeces.
Remove the unfinished food from the previous feeding when you go to give them more food.
Rabbits eat less than they eat at night. This is majorly caused by the heat of the day. They are more active at night and so they consume more food.
If you would be feeding your rabbits with concentrate along with the other foods, you can give concentrates in the mornings and others in the evenings. Along with the food, they need clean water.
Profitable Rabbits Breeds to Farm
Some of the profitable grasscutter breeds are listed below with what they are reared for.
● Californian: Meat
● Satin: Fur and Meat
● White New Zealand: Fur and meat
● New Zealand: Meat
● Champagne d’Argent: Meat
● American Chinchilla: Fur
● Silver Martens: Fur
● English Spot: Meat and Lab
● Checkered Giants: Fur
● Rex: Fur
● Angora: Fur and Meat
You would not find all these breeds in your area. Choose the best among the ones available to you to start your grasscutter business.
The Best Time to Start Breeding
Cold weather is more favourable for rabbits than hot weather. However, to be able to create more body heat, they need additional food. Their body heat is caught by their fur, allowing them to stay warm.
Hot weather is less bearable for the rabbits. They would require your help to stay cool. Hot weather can result in overheating in the rabbits which can result in tiredness, low productivity, and even death.
Unlike during the cold weather, rabbits reduce their consumption of food but not to the point that they take just little worrying amounts.
Heat can be reduced by giving the animals cool water to drink, taking them out of their cages and underneath a tree’s shade, and placing fans with them.
Rabbit farming is a business you should consider if you want to start an agricultural business.
I hope this article answered your questions. Do you have more questions? Drop it in the comment box.