Rabbit breeding is gradually becoming one of Nigeria’s most profitable entrepreneurial activities. It costs less money to start rabbit farming in Nigeria than it is to start other animal farming businesses such as fish farming, cattle rearing, and so on.
Rabbits also grow quickly and are used for meat and as a great source of fur and can also be raised as house pets.
Rabbit meat (white meat) has a higher protein ratio, energy, calcium, and vitamin content than meat from other animals, has a distinct flavor, and is low in cholesterol and sodium.
New Zealand White, New Zealand Black, New Zealand Red, Flemish Giant, Belgium White, and Chinchilla are all rabbit species.
In order to grow rabbits profitably in Nigeria, keep the following in mind:
- Select good breed/parent stock based on your preference. However, it is important to select the breed that is healthy, active, but calm.
- Check for sexual maturity. A mature buck usually has a big scrotum, while a mature doe’s vagina is pale, white-pink color.
- The easiest way to raise a large number of rabbits (colony) is to use a battery cage system or an intensive system.
- A colony can also be raised in a deep litter system on floor beddings of wood shavings (saw dusts), corn chaffs or hays, etc.
- The hutch (cage) for the rabbit should be made of iron or wood of adequate size.
- The hutch should be held in a shaded area with cross ventilation and should provide room for a drinker and feeder.
- Male and female rabbits should not be housed together unless they are breeding.
- Do not hesitate to identify ill rabbits and quarantine them quickly. Infectious diseases spread quickly among rabbits.
- Please provide them with high-quality hay or a wide range of grasses, such as elephant grass or Napier grass.
- Potatoes, cabbages, and lettuce are all good options.
- It would be best if you fed them twice a day, in the morning and at night.
- If you’re going to add a different kind of food, take it cautiously. They are unable to adjust to a new form of food quickly.
- Get enough water containers for your rabbits so they can drink clean enough water.
- Never put a buck in the hutch of a doe. The doe can only be taken to the buck for breeding purposes.
- Mating can only be done with mature bucks.
- Mating occurs best between the hours of 5 and 7 a.m.
- After 15 days, you can observe for pregnancy. A pregnant doe is attractive and likes to sleep more.
- In a year, a doe will give birth 5–6 times.
- The gestation period is 28–32 days, and the average mother will have six (6) kittens.
- After one month, the mother should be removed from the kittens and placed for mating again.
- Kittens are born blind, and they will stay that way for up to ten days. As a result, they must be supported in getting milk from their mother and must be shielded from the cold.
- Avoid touching the kittens with bare hands.
Biosafety is Essential
- Maintain the cleanliness of the hutch and shed.
- Clean the hutch or floor of feces, vomit, and discarded food products.
Diseases and Pests
- Prevent soldier ants from entering the shed and hutch.
- Proper rabbit care can keep pathogens and rodents away.