Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners

Are you looking for an effective Rabbit farming guide? If yes, then this resource is exclusively for you. Rabbits are sweet creatures with long ears! They are raised as pets, for scientific research, for their fur and as a source of meat.

Rabbit farming is usually a successful agribusiness that requires low capital and gives high returns.

‘See the little bunny sleeping till it’s nearly noon,
Shall we wake them with a merry tune?,
They’re so still, are they ill?
Wake up little bunnies,
Hop little bunnies, hop, hop, hop,’

The above nursery rhyme about baby rabbits called bunnies brings back memories of the white rabbit holding a piece of carrot. Rabbits as I knew were either white or brown with the white being more popular. I enjoy holding these cuties but in their stuffed form. LOL

Rabbit farming is a fun filled activity for agripreneurs in the business. Rabbit farming can be for commercial purposes as they are profitable. Rabbit meat is consumed as an alternative to red meat because they are classified as white meat although having 0.02% of myoglobin.

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners

Rabbits are short tailed mammals with fur, whiskers and a signature distinctive long ears. They are a large species with about 30 known species around the world. They live in many different environments, domesticated and wild with lots of similarities.

Rabbits can be used not only as meat, but a great source of fur. Rabbit fur and skin can be utilized for making purses, hand-gloves, shawls, toys etc., and you can even raise them to be home pets.

One good thing about starting and running a rabbit farm is that it is cheaper to establish (especially on a small scale) and it gives room for starting on a small scale and expanding accordingly.

Rabbit Farming Business

Starting a small-scale rabbit farming business is feasible with just 2 bucks and 6 does, a wire cage and basic knowledge about rabbits. Venturing into a business requires having a structure and plan. Here is how to start a rabbit farming business.

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
A Brown Rabbit

Buying Breeder Stock

You should purchase a good breeding stock. Remember — Poor breeding stock will produce poor offspring. It is important that you begin with good stock. The price a breeder asks for stock does not reflect the quality of the rabbits.

Only time, records, and results can prove the worth of breeding stock and the reputation of the breeder. Look at the records of the breeder’s rabbit house to see the quality of the stock. Here are a few things you should look for:

  • Average litter size (8 or more)
  • Death rate (not over 5%)
  • Percent conception (90% or better)
  •  Weight of litters at 4 weeks (total 10 lb)
  • Average weight of fryer a. 4-lb at 8 weeks if left with doe b. 4-lb at 9 weeks if weaned at 4 weeks
  • Dressing percentage (55-60% including heart, liver and kidneys)
  • Feed to produce a 4-lb fryer (under 15 lb)

All of this information may not be available, but most of it should be. It pays to deal with a breeder who keeps good, accurate, reliable records. A look around the breeder’s rabbitry can tell you much about the type of operation he has, but his records tell the real story.

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
Rabbit House

Housing

Depending on the resources you have available housing design may vary. Rabbitry should be easy to clean and maintain while allowing you to house an adequate number of animals.

Rabbits can be reared in following three kinds of housing systems:

  1. Cage system
  2. Hutch system
  3. Floor system

Cage system

Cages can be kept on wooden or concrete racks inside a shed. The shed may be permanent type which is half walled with brick and iron wire netting above it and cemented floor with proper drainage system. The roof may be made with CGI sheet or asbestos.

A semi-permanent type shed can be constructed with locally available materials like wooden posts, plank, bamboo, thatch, etc. Here the floor may be kutcha type or cemented but proper drainage should always be there for easy cleaning. Cages can vary in size but generally they are of 3 feet by 2 feet by 15-inch height and made with welded wire mash (16-18 gauge) with a hole size 3 by 4 inch.

Cages made with wood requires monitoring as rabbit chews and consumes it. It is also difficult to clean due to absorption of urine, water, etc.

Hutch system

Hutches can be made with iron, bamboo or wood with a roof of iron sheets or thatch. The floor should be wire meshed for proper hygiene and sanitation.

Partition between compartments may be made with wooden plank, bamboo or wire mesh. Hutches can be kept in shady place during summer to reduce heat stress or thatch may be given over the CGI sheet roof to keep it cool.

Floor system

This system is similar to deep litter system of poultry rearing where rabbits are kept on the floor in a house. The floor space requirement per rabbit is 4 square feet and the house may be partitioned to keep rabbits of different categories like grower, fryer, adult male and female, etc. separately.

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
Rabbit Floor Housing System

Feeding

Feed costs are the major expense in producing a fryer, as much as 80 percent of the cost of production. Feed requirements of the rabbits differs with the stage of growth. It is extremely important to use a sound feeding program.

Type of Feed

Although many people use feeding systems that include green feeds, hay, or home-mixed grains, the best feed is a commercially pelleted rabbit ration that meets all of the rabbit’s requirements.

The palleted feed fortified with mineral mixture, vitamin and salt can be supplemented with green fodder or hay. Greens are preferably offered in the evening because rabbits are most active during this period. Hay is often fed to stop diarrhea and to aid the doe after kindling. It may be helpful in some cases, but do not feed it continuously.

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
Feeding Rabbits On Green plants

Never feed a damp, moldy feed. If the feed is damp when you buy it, return it. Store feed in a cool, dry location. Place the feed on pallets that allow good air circulation among the bags. Avoid rough handling so that you will not have a high percentage of useless fines.

A small unit of rabbit in backyard system can also be well maintained with kitchen and vegetable waste along with some selected grasses, tree leaves and root crops. Clean and fresh water should be provided ad libitum throughout day and night.

Mating

Rabbits becomes sexually matured in 6-7 months after birth. The female rabbit is taken to the male rabbit cage for breeding and it is done either in the morning or in the evening. Successful mating is generally over within seconds and the male will fall down from the female making a characteristic sound.

It is better to mate the female twice in the same day, once in the morning and another in the evening to get better conception rate and higher litter size at birth.

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
A Doe With Her Bunnies

The gestation period of rabbit is 30 days and around 20 days after mating, doe should be kept separately in nest box. A buck and doe remain profitable for two years if fed and managed properly with their usefulness based on results rather than age.

Culling must be heavy to improve the breeding stock. An accelerated breeding program also requires a few more buck and doe replacements than normal. Give a young doe about two litters to prove their mother instinct and litter size before deciding to cull or keep.

Care of Newborn

The majority of kindling or birthing occurs at night, and no aid is usually necessary. A doe gives birth to 6-12 young each kindling, with an average of 6 young per kindling. They begin to grow hair four days after birth and open their eyes ten days later feeding only from their mother’s milk. Some doe may not allow their babies to suck and this responsibility falls on the farmer to bottle feed them.

Weaning

After 42-45 days the litter is separated from the doe. Preferably the doe should be taken away and the litter should be kept in the same cage so that they don’t have much separation shock. After weaning the rabbits can be fed on green fodder, vegetables and concentrates

Advantages Of Rabbit Farming

  • Rabbits are abundant in nature
  • Rabbit meat is in great demand due to its medicinal benefits over red meat.
  • Rabbits have a low incidence of mortality.
  • Rabbits are not aggressive and require very little care.

Conclusion

Rabbit farming is a lucrative agribusiness venture that requires little capital. The animals are fed with food that are readily available and not so expensive.

With their high reproduction rate, a proper hygiene can reduce the mortality rate and bring more profits.

Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners
Rabbit Farming Guide For Beginners

Rabbit meat are highly sought after due to their low fat content especially for people with heart diseases. It is an alternative to red meats.

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