The truth about Rabbit Farming will be discussed briefly. I hope you enjoy this article!
Rabbits are monogastric or non-ruminant animals. They are medium sized hopping mammals with long legs and long ears, as well as short tails like that of kangaroos. They have a resemblance of rats but they are not rats.
In Rabbit Farming, Rabbit is being reared for meat purpose. They are either brown or white, and vary in colour e.t.c. Don’t forget that, rabbit is herbivores in nature.
There are various terms used for rabbits. Which are:-
Buck — adult male rabbit .
Doe — adult female rabbit .
Kitten — young or baby rabbit.
Hutch — house of rabbit .
Kidding — act of parturition in rabbit .
Pelt — the skin of rabbit .
Litter — all the young ones (rabbits) produced at the same time by one doe.
Sucking — feeding of young ones.
Dam — mother of a set of young rabbits.
Sire — father of a set of young rabbits.
General characteristics of Rabbit
There are various ways in which rabbit is characterized. We will be looking at them in few seconds;
- Small medium-sized body
- Rabbit are easy to house
- They are very prolific animals that can produce many litters.
- short gestation period of 3o-31 days.
- Grow fast and reach maturity weight in about five – six months.
- Fur-covered skini can be processed as pelts for sale.
- They can be in a weaning period of six to eight weeks.
- Susceptible to stress.
- High rate of cannibalism.
- High rate of disease resistance.
When talking about Rabbit Farming, its good to note that Rabbits are in varieties and breeds. They have breeds and varieties that can do special features. Thou they are not common in all countries. They are usually rare to find.
The common breeds of rabbits include:-
The Chinchilla: It is grey bodied animal and it can weigh up to 5kg at maturity. It is one of the best fur or pelt producers and a meat producer.
The New Zealand white: This is the most popular meat breed in use. It is a fur breed and can obtain a mature weight of 4.5kg in eight months. It is also a fast maturing breed.
The New zealand red: This breed is bright red in colour and weighs over 5kg. It has a high growth and feed conversion characteristics.
Angora: This breed requires a lot of care and attention. It is the only rabbit reared for its wool. It’s most common colour is white. It has tuft wool on its ears and feet.
Other breeds include; California white, California red, the crosses, loft blue beveren, beveren, English spot, checkered giants, champagne d’Argent and Flemish giant etc.
Rabbit encounters different types of diseases just like other farm animals. These diseases are common to farm animals. They are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungus etc. These common diseases include;
Coccidiosis: It is caused by protozoans. The symptoms include passing of soft faeces, loss of appetite, loss of weight, etc.
Helminthiasis: It is caused by worms. The symptoms are; poor growth, diarrhoea, constipation, anaemia, etc.
Myxomatosis: It is caused by virus. The symptoms include runny nose, high fever, unthriftiness etc.
Enteritis: It is caused by protozoa, stress or food poisoning. The symptoms are high temperature, loss of appetite, watery faeces etc.
Ear canker: It is caused by magnemite. The symptoms include swelling ear, painful ear, ear scratching, etc.
Just like other humans observe personal hygiene, so rabbits are suppose to observe health hygiene as well. That is why farmer need to be careful when going into Rabbit Farming.
There are common hygiene or sanitary measures to be adopted in Rabbit Farming:
We will be looking at them in a short while;
~ clean the floor daily
~ deworm the rabbits regularly
~ clean the feed and water trough daily
~ isolate any sick one among them for treatment
~ keep the surrounding weed free
~ apply appropriate drugs
~ destroy or bury dead ones
~ feed animals with balance diet
~ do not allow the animals to get too hungry before feeding them
~ invite a veterinary doctor regularly for medical checkup.
There are various ways rabbit can be of great importance to man.
These importance have given man the reason to always rear rabbit. They are small but beneficial just like other domestic animals.
These importance or advantages include;
Meat: Their meat are tender and nutritious. It is more nutritious than, that of poultry meat i.e, chicken meat.
Creativity: Rabbit skin can be used for creative works example, making of jackets, head-gear, carpets or rugs and other decorative household items or ornaments.
Manure: Scientists have discovered that rabbit manure is high in nitrogen and phosphorus and therefore can be used to improve the fertility of the soil.
Research purpose: Rabbits are specially kept in the laboratory because, more species and breeds are being discovered.
Income provision: Rabbit provides income through the selling of their manure and their pelt/skin. They are very good source of income.
In conclusion, there are different problems about rabbit production in Nigeria. They are lack of capital to raise them, inadequate supply, high cost of feeding, inadequate sanitation and lack of proper sanitation programmes, etc.
Government and NGOs should try their best in eliminating these problems for proper rearing of Rabbits.
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