The cogent reason why the Rabbit, which is one of the earliest domesticated animals, is still being reared and nurtured by man is because they serve invaluable purpose for man. Rabbit farming in Nigeria is not a new business, neither is it an uncommon business.
However, lack of adequate support from the government to Rabbit farmers (Animal farmers in general), poor infrastructural provision and continuous Rural – Urban migration has continuously posed a threat to the once very thriving business of Rabbit farming in Nigeria.
Rabbit Farming offers great opportunities for agricultural entrepreneurs who wouldn’t mind trying their hands on animal husbandry. Rabbits are generally easy to maintain and they are the cool headed, gentle, and more organized version of their cousin – the Hare, which unsurprisingly, are yet to be domesticated. If correct information can be sourced, Rabbit farming in Nigeria, just like in any part of Africa where the value is still being appreciated, has more than enough potentials to settle you down financially. We’ll be scratching the surface on how to start a Rabbit farming business in Nigeria.
Rabbit Farming in Nigeria: Overview
Rabbit Farming in Nigeria is a very profitable venture in Nigeria since Rabbit meat needs no overemphasized introduction and over-imposed marketing. Rabbit meat is the meat choice in a lot of homes, and even at joints, Restaurants and so on. The meat tastes sort of similar (from afar off) but in a way, sweeter than a mixture of chicken meat and bush meat.
The number one advantage of Rabbit farming over other animal rearing forms is the low start-up capital involved. To start a Rabbit farming business in Nigeria doesn’t take as much money as some other animal farming businesses like Fish farming, Cattle rearing, and so on. It is a low start-up venture which has very attractive yields in return, if it’s maintained and managed properly.
Asides from the ease-of-management in Rabbit farming and low start-up, Reproduction rate is also one of the highlights of Rabbit farming; and this is where the secret lies. Rabbits, like a few of their other relatives, Rabbits live in “Colonies”. A colony consists of a male and between three to five females. If you buy just one or two colonies at the start of the year, you might be fending for nothing less than 50 Kitts (baby Rabbits) in the same year.
A Doe (female Rabbit) can be ready to start having children between four to five months, and has just 31 days gestation period. The Buck (male Rabbit) and the doe could be kept together till when the Doe is ready, after which she’s removed kept separately to have her babies. A Doe can deliver between six and ten Kitts at once and they can deliver four to five times in a year.
Rabbit Farming: Required Facilities
Rabbit Cages: The cages where your Rabbit colonies would be kept must be one where adequate air would get to them. It can be made of a wire mesh or metal but it must be constructed by someone who has the knowledge of Rabbit cage construction. Rabbits are kept as pet, so for a start, you can start-up your business in your backyard, if you have a good space management skill.
The area where the Rabbits are kept must not be too hot or too cold; as their health is also very important. The area must be well kept and with adequate protection against any intruder.
Water Channel: The Rabbit cages must also be supplied with adequate water supply. They must have access to water and the water containers where they drink from must also be cleaned regularly to avoid health threats.
Grasscutter Feeds: Rabbits are herbivores, and feeding them grass is the best option. Rabbits eat processed feed or edible vegetable, shrubs, herbs, and leaves. They also eat grasses such as elephant grass, Napier grass, and so on. It is important you study how much they feed on daily, to avoid wasting feeds but to get healthy Rabbits; they should be fed at least twice daily.
Knowledge: This is what most people who are interested in Rabbit farming lack and some are just too lazy to go acquire it. You can attach to a rabbit farm just for the experience and if you can’t find one, you can download materials online and study.
Rabbit Farming: Feasibility Study
The feasibility study included in this guide is for a Rabbit farm of just 3 Colonies (3 males, and 9 females). A mature Rabbit is sold for N10,000. (N10,000 X 12 Rabbits = N120,000).
Feeding (N100,000), Water supply (N30,000), Pen Construction (with futuristic planning: N50,000), Miscellaneous (N10,000)
If the 9 females give birth to 7 children four times in a year, making it 28 children each, it makes it 9 X 28 = 252 Rabbits within a year. You might decide to keep them or sell them off but at the first year, 12 Rabbits gave you 252 Kitts, totalling 264 rabbits (264 X N10,000) at the first year.
Rabbit Farming: Risks Involved
- Snakes, insects, soldier Ants and so on might be the greatest enemy of progress on your Rabbit farming business. Construct their cages to make it difficult for intruders to penetrate.
- Rabbits need watchful eyes, as an infected one can pass the infection rapidly to others.
- Rabbits can sometimes grow ‘busy mouths’, hence, you must be ready to spend some money on feeding them.
Rabbit Farming: Advantages
- Rabbit meat is a popularly eaten meat in Nigeria and even Africa at large.
- You wouldn’t only be selling to eaters. Rabbit skin can be used to make bags, shoes and so on; and that’s some buyer’s main aim. Not to eat.
- There’s always the market for Rabbit in this part of Africa; hence, Rabbit farming is surely a profitable venture.
- You can have one or two as pet yourself, if you so wish.
- With the ROI, you can decide to leave the search for an 8 – 5 job.
Rabbit farming in Nigeria requires deep knowledge about rearing and tending the animals. It also requires time, energy and the natural love for animals. If you make a small research on the ROI, you’ll realize that Rabbit farming is a business for people who are (interested in) making money.