RABBIT FARMING IN NIGERIA: REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE INTERESTED
Rabbit farming is one of the latest addition to agriculture and animal farming in Nigeria and other African countries. This is because Rabbits are very interesting animals. They serve as pets in many advanced countries of the world where they’re considered as cute and sociable, their furs are in high demand by clothing, cosmetic, even the pharmaceutical industry.
In Nigeria though and Africa generally, rabbit farming isn’t as common practice as poultry farming or cattle-rearing but with information spread, advancement in agriculture and increasing demand for meat production, it has become imperative for farmers to consider this lucrative kind of farming.
Rabbits have been described as:
- Small mammals with short tails, whiskers and long ears that distinguish them.
- Animals belong to the same family as hares (Leporidae) but in different genera. This denotes that rabbits are quite fast.
- Animals vary in size. Some rabbits actually grow to about the size of a cat, others can even grow to be as big as a small child while another species can be as small as 8 inches in length and weigh less than a pound.
- Being able to breed three to four times each year.
- Initially originating from Africa and Europe but can now be found in every part of the world.
- Crafty and quick animals with long legs that give them the ability to run for long periods at a high speed.
But these interesting facts aside, rabbit farming isn’t just explored because of its tremendous economic gain to the farmer, they are also highly beneficial to the health. Below are some of the health benefits of RABBIT meat:
- Rabbit meat is regarded as white meat because it has a very low level of cholesterol. In other forms of meat like beef and turkey, pork, all collectively referred to as red meat, there is a high level of cholesterol content as such making red meat unfit for consumption for fit-fams or health-conscious people.
- Rabbits are also very low in fat and a good source of high-quality protein and energy when compared to other types of meat. Their meat provides fewer calories and sodium, but more calcium and phosphorus, which is more beneficial to the body.
- It can be used in the diet of hypertensive and diabetic patients.
- Rabbit meat is tasty and nutritious and can be easily digested for persons of any age.
- There is no religious taboo associated with consuming rabbits, as such, they can be eaten by everyone.
To the tremendous economic gain earlier mentioned, rabbit farming is a very lucrative business venture for both the farmer, investor, and even the consumer. Opportunities within the rabbit farming industry aren’t just limited to meat production but can extend to as far as fur production for industries.
Below are reasons why Rabbit Farming can be highly beneficial to the farmer/Investor
- Rabbits are fast growing animals that require small space and less food to survive. If fed properly, they can mature and begin to reproduce as fast as 6 – 8 months.
- Their cost of production is less when compared to other bigger animals
- It isn’t as capital intensive as other kinds of farming and also doesn’t require so much labor.
- The female rabbit, called a doe, can breed three to four times a year and give birth to as many as 2 – 8 kits each time. This means that the farmer doesn’t run out of rabbits all through the year.
- Every part of a rabbit is important. Aside from their meat used in food production and their fur, used by industries, rabbit waste is also good sources of manure and fertilizers because of their high nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus content.
- A farmer can go into rabbit farming for meat production or supply furs to industries that need it or for the supply of kits to other farmers or individuals that use them as pets or supply to laboratories for experiments or to farmlands as fertilizers for their lands.
In summary, rabbit farming might be relatively new in Nigeria, but it is the type of animal farming that is worth the effort, time and investment.