HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL RABBIT FARM
Continuing from the last article of rabbit farming , let’s take you on a step by step process on how to run a successful rabbit farm or rather, how Menorah Farms runs their rabbit farm.
Quick recap, we said that rabbits are mammals with short tails and long ears that can vary in sizes. They can serve as food and also as pets. They are fast-growing animals that require little space to breed and low maintenance. The females can also breed up to 3 – 4 times a year.
However, we can’t talk of running a successful rabbit farm without emphasizing these four salient points below:
1. TYPE OF BREED AND BREEDING METHOD –
The kind of rabbit purchased is very important because not all rabbits are suitable for breeding for commercial farming. In most cases, the rabbits used for breeding are the mature females already about 5 – 6 months of age. The mature male rabbit within this age range isn’t used initially to breed because it is better to use male rabbits already up to a year of age to ensure the production of quality young rabbits suitable for commercial purposes.
Also, rabbits used for breeding should be of the appropriate weight and most be fed with nutritious feed, with special attention lavished on the pregnant female and the breeding male. The mature male rabbit can be used for reproduction at least once in four days and a mature female rabbit can be used for up to five years before being sold out.
Examples of common breeds used for commercial farming include Dutch, New Zealand White, New Zealand Black, Fox, Belgium White, Dark Gray, Chinchilla, etc.
2. FARMING METHOD AND HOUSING –
There are two common methods of raising rabbits:
A. Cage Method: This is considered the best method for rearing rabbits on a large scale. The cages used are usually made of wire or iron plate and they help to provide an organized environment for the rabbits. It is also common practice to create enough space to aid the easy movement of the animals. Also, every facility or material needed the male and female rabbits are kept in separate cages.
B. Deep Litter Method: This method is used for raising a small number of rabbits. A concrete floor is used in this method and the female and male rabbits are kept separated except during copulation. 4 – 5 inches depth of husk, hay or straw is usually used and a maximum of 30 rabbits can be bred in this method.
The disadvantage of this method is that rabbits are usually difficult to manage and the risk of disease spread is higher.
3. FEEDING AND CARE OF THE RABBITS –
Rabbits are lovers of grass but can be fed with vegetables like spinach, carrots, cucumbers, etc. and vegetable wastes.
Rabbits are also nocturnal and love to eat, therefore to ensure that they meet up with the nutritional requirements needed for proper growth and maturity, they should be fed twice a day with more emphasis on the evening meal.
Also, they should be provided with a clean, fresh and adequate amount of water.
4. MARKETING –
It is always wise to have a marketing plan before going into the business of rabbits. Determine where the rabbits will be sold and how it will be sold. To make things easier, discuss with the local market on their requirement or get an agent to help bargain ahead of time or one can set up their market online and display their products using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
In conclusion, remember to ensure that the rabbits are well fed with the right feed, kept in a conducive environment and properly monitored to produce rabbits of marketable quality.