Are you curious, like I am, as to what goes down on the farm after investing, when everywhere is calm and it’s just the farmer, the grasscutters and the farm? Are you also plagued with questions like: where do they get the grasscutters from? Or where do they sleep? Or what happens when they fall sick?
Think no more! This article is a sneak-peak as to what goes on behind the scene after investment..I.e the farming proper. The plan is to walk you through the various levels of running a successful grasscutter farm, the dos and the don’ts, so much so you feel as if you’re on the farm with the farmers 😉
To get started, there are some key things to consider when starting a grasscutter farm after picking a suitable land
1. BREED –
This is a very important factor because the type of breed of grasscutters used greatly determines the type of grasscutters that will be produced and the success at the end of the farming.
The grasscutters to be used should be healthy and well developed with weights between 5kg – 8kg, purchased from a credible, well-established grasscutter farm. On no account should the breeding stock be directly obtained from the bush.
Usually, one matured male and about 3 – 4 matured females are kept in one cage. It is equally important to consider the production records of each female to be used. Females are usually mated at 6 months old while the males are mated at 8 months old. The gestation period in grasscutter takes about 152 days.
It takes about 3 months for the pregnancy to become visible. The female’s abdomen will be swollen with longer and bigger teats than the non-pregnant females. The pregnant grasscutters may also have increased body temperature and urinate more often.
A week before birth, the pregnant female acts restless moves slowly within the hutch. At birth, the baby grasscutters are born with their eyes opened and well-developed teeth. The males are usually bigger than the female and the matured female can birth an average of 5 offspring at once.
2. HOUSING –
When it comes to grasscutter housing, the size, quality, and type of housing are very important factors to consider. Grasscutters don’t thrive just anywhere and anyhow. It is best preferable to use a roofed building that contains wood and wire hutches. These hutches should be constructed with strong wire nets on their sides and floors. Sliding galvanized trays may be employed too to aid the easy collection of feces and urine.
The building has to be well aerated and properly illuminated. The feed troughs, drinkers, transfer cages, etc will also be contained here. The building would also be constructed with apartments that have openings that permit free movement of the animals from one apartment to another.
Also, the building is usually sited far away from a bushy environment to prevent an attack from snakes and other pests.
3. FEEDING –
Grasscutters are herbivorous animals. They feed mainly on the soft parts of grasses and shrubs like elephant grass, sweet potatoes, etc. They also feed on sugarcane, cassava, yams and fruits like pineapple, mango, pawpaw and enjoy food crops like legumes, maize, rice, etc.
Clean water should always be given, along with the fresh feed. Moldy feeds should be avoided at all cost and the cages must be kept clean at all times.
4. DISEASES –
Common diseases that affect grasscutters includes:
- Staphylococeamia – This disease is caused by a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus. Signs include discharge from the nostril and vagina. It could be treated with antibiotics.
- Enterotoxaemia: This is caused by the bacterium Clostridium perfringes. The major sign is paralysis and pedaling of the hind limbs. It can be prevented by vaccination and keeping cages and environment clean.
- Coccidiosis: This is caused by protozoa. The signs include loss of appetite, weakness, diarrhea, and isolation.
Grasscutters are also affected by certain parasites like fleas, ticks, lice, worms, etc.
Worms occur as a result of consuming wet and contaminated grass. It can be prevented by avoiding feeding with contaminated feed. Also, grass should be dried properly before given to the grasscutters. The grasscutters should also be dewormed regularly.
In conclusion, remember that the secret to a successful and productive grasscutter farm lies in the type of breeds used, the quality of feed given, the condition of housing and level of cleanliness observed in rearing the animals. If every rule is adhered to, both farmers and consumers will indeed reap the fruits of their reward.