Start Rabbit Farming Business in Nigeria
Nigeria is a blessed Country, and from the onset Agriculture has been our major source of income, over the years, Food and Agricultural Industry is the richest industry of any Economy across the world and the same thing applies to Nigeria, with human population advantage, there is a big potential for any AGRIC Business venture, today we want to look into Rabbit Farming, what it entails, the potentials it has and how to maximize the opportunity in this industry.
Rabbit Farming is a global Business, across the world, it is part of daily occupation of people to raise Rabbit from various reasons, like Pet, Fur, Meat and so much more, but today, I will be sharing with you, how to start a Commercial Rabbit Business venture and make good return from it.
Rabbit ( Oryctolagus Cuniculus) are beautiful creature, loved by many for various reasons, ranging from the body size, the beautiful color combination of the fur, the animal funny and attractive instinct, their feeding nature, reproductive ability and much more.
Rabbit are small body sized Mammals, from the Family Legomorpha, with the scientific name Oryctolagus Cuniculus, they are wonderful creature found in the wild, but through the process of evolution, they have been domesticated at home, which is now the common practice across the world.
Farming Rabbit as a Business in Nigeria is a very lucrative Venture, as many people have been doing the Business man many years ago (more than 50years) in Nigeria, majorly in the past, Rabbit are raised for domestic meat, for family consumption, that is the major goal, they are easy to feed and they multiply fast thus, the reason why they are most preferred for home delicacy.
However, over the years, the rabbit Business as experience tremendous transformation in Nigeria as more people come into the awareness of the health benefit of White meat over Red meat, the low cholesterol fat and the fact that rabbit meat can actually cure arthritis and some other Ailments in the body.
Globally today, France is the largest producer of Rabbit and China is the largest consumer of rabbit meat. Nigeria is still growing in the business of Rabbit Farming and that makes it of great advantage for you to tap into the potential it has to offer, unlike Poultry birds, Rabbit don’t consume so much feed, so you will not have to spend too much or rob a bank to feed your rabbit, even though rabbit are non-ruminant animals, the presence of their ceacum helps them to digest cellulose in leaf, and that makes it possible for rabbit to feed on a wide range of food, like pellet, grass and kitchen waste, thereby saving you some more money.
Terminology in Rabbit;
Male Rabbit – Buck
Female Rabbit – Doe
Small rabbit/just weaned – Kits/ weaners
Gestation Period: 28 to 33days
Rabbit cages – Hutch
Rabbit Hair – Fur
How to get started with Rabbit Business?
First thing first, you need a housing system for rabbit production; rabbit that are domesticated are restricted and fully under your care and their performance is at your mercy, you need to have a well-structured housing system for your rabbit to perform excellently well. For instance, it is not healthy for rabbit to be in touch with their urine, as it can affect their body system and also cause infection to them, so the best thing to do is to make use of net for their cage, a good rabbit house must have cross ventilation system for free flow of Air, that clears the atmosphere or toxic air pollution. Rabbit are very sensitive to their environment and smell; any toxic pollution can kill them.
In a commercial rabbit farm, Building a shed (rabbitry) system to house the rabbit cage is the best, rabbit don’t like sun or heat, as they can suffer heat stroke and die, they perform much more better in cold weather than dry season, when you have a shed above as a roof, then you can put the rabbit cage underneath, that way, they will be free from sun and rain, which can affect them seriously.
The few things needed to get started with your rabbit Farming Business includes;
The Rabbit cage
Feeders and Drinkers
Drugs and Injection
Many people think since rabbit are small mammals it won’t be hard to take care of them but something about rabbit is, they are very quiet and they can hide their sickness, you need to pay attention to your rabbit to understand the nature of his body and health.
Nigerians love Rabbit meat a lot because it taste much better than Chicken, especially when it is grilled or smoked. Rabbit meat also happens to be a White meat, making it a better healthy meat compare to Pork and Beef.
What Can I Derive from RABBIT?
There are so many things you can get for Rabbit, this includes; Meat, Fur, Urine, Poo, Bone, Blood, and of course… Money!
Rabbit as become a major venture in Nigeria today and the above listed products are the challenges of financial reward from Rabbit Venture.
In Nigeria today, Rabbit Business is divided into two major aspect;
- Breeders Market
- Meat Market.
The Breeders market seems to be leading right now, as the awareness about Rabbit Farming kept growing day by day, many people are looking for the right breed to get started, and we have the exotic Rabbit breeds now, which includes; Hyla, American Chinchilla, New Zealand White, Giant Rabbit, Angora and a few others.
Hyla seems to be the most sorts after Rabbit breed in the market right now, and this is not without the involvement of an offtaker Company that buy rabbit from Farmers in Millions of Naira, BELLA RABBIT WORLD.
The activity of the offtakers which started around 2019, and became more effective in 2020, has been a major attraction to investors both in Nigeria and in Diaspora, causing many to Invest a lot into Rabbit Farming Business.
Rabbit Farming as become a goldmine now and it is yet growing the more day by day in Nigeria, as the demand is on the high side, many people wants to venture into rabbit, as the prices of poultry feed is getting too outrageous.
If you want to go into Rabbit Farming right now, I will advise you to for the Hyla breed, as it seems to be highly demanded than other breeds. Someone maybe wondering, “Where do I get to buy this Hyla Rabbit”? At the end of this article, I will leave my number so that anyone can contact me for the best rabbit breed.
In Rabbit Farming, Breed selection matters a lot, especially in the breeding line, the same thing applies for meat rabbit, there are certain rabbit that are best for breeding (Reproduction) and there are those that are best for meat production, so your purpose is what will determine what type of breed, you will go for, in this article, I will mention various rabbit breeds, and recommend the best for breeders market today and meat market.
We have more than 50 Rabbit Breed, but I will just make mention of the Major ones today.
New Zealand White
Hyla White and Hyla Colored
There are many more breeds of Rabbit like Rex and co, but we are just going deal with the few ones above and move to the next thing.
What Type of Rabbit is best for the Breeders Market in Nigeria today?
The best Rabbit for commercial Rabbit Business in Nigeria is HYLA! Hyla is still the number one and most sort after breed in Nigeria today, not only Hyla, but Hyla is the leading Breed for Breeding stock right now.
For those that don’t seems to understand what I mean here, let me explain how the breeding Stock market works, we have a lot of people in Nigeria, one of our core advantage in the Agricultural Industry is the large volume of people in the country. There are many people reading this article right now on rabbit farming, millions of others are getting informed via the Word of Mouth adverts from people around them, everybody wants to venture into the Business and they are looking for foundation stocks to get started. If you are into production of breeding stock, you will select the best fast growing ones among your litters and sell to them, this demand is ever growing as rabbit production continue to gain attention and awareness is spreading daily.
You become the best match for customers, when they know that your Rabbit are of good quality, because there are some adulterated rabbit breeds that flows in the market, if you want to gain good reputation and patronage in Rabbit breeders market, you must have the best of Breeds, quality good stain rabbit.
So for Breeding Stocks selection, the best option includes;
New Zealand White
Now let’s go to Meat Rabbit Selection;
For Meat Production, you can consider
Dutch crossed to Hyla
Giant breeds (Giant black and chinchillas)
New Zealand White
There are almost no rabbit breeds that cannot fit into meat production; the major attraction is always good weight gain, that is why the best way to raise good rabbit for meat is to cross regular breeds with exotic ones like Hyla, Hyla Colored, Pureline New Zealand White and co. There are big rabbit that does not fit into Meat production, like Flemish Giant, even though Flemish can attain 7 to 12kg weight, they are not good for meat rabbit because Flemish have more bone-to-meat ratio; that means, they have more bone in their body than meat, this is not fit for meat production.
When you make crosses of Rabbit like New Zealand White to Hyla, or Dutch to Hyla, you get very fast growing breed, in breeders market, pureline is always the factor, foundation stock for breeding should be pureline rabbit, but when it comes to meat production, crosses are the best, as they tend to produce fast growing offspring’s, that attain better weight gain within a short period of time, however the pattern of the fur might have scatter as a result of the cross breeding, but it is good for meat production as they gain more meat.
Most rabbit breeds are identified by their fur, so when it comes to the breeding pattern for foundation stocks, the pureline is essential, which often time is verified by growth rate, the color pattern of the fur, muscular development.
Rabbit Cages and Housing System;
Rabbit are kept in their hutches, well ventilated, and aerated for good respiration and development, the quality of housing you use will go a long way to determine the level of success you will have in rabbit farming.
In Commercial Rabbit Production, you can make a rabbitry house, where the rabbit cages will be inhabited, but note that rabbit are seriously allergic to Heat, so it must be well ventilated, excess heat can make rabbit to start dropping dead one after the other.
A good example of standard rabbit cage and house can be seen below;
Also, note that you can make galvanized iron cages that will have urine and poo collector, making it easy for you to harvest their urine and poo, which is also another major source of income for rabbit farmer, the waste from rabbit are very good for organic manure, if you have a small farm at your backyard, or even a big farm, you can test the use of rabbit urine and poo on it, you will be amazed at the result that will come forth from it.
Ensure you consider the direction of rain and sun, if you are making a small cage for your rabbit in the house, make good covering to avoid direct contact with the sun and rain.
Matured Rabbit are kept inside their cages as 1 per room, rabbit when matured cannot be kept together, as this will cause a lot of fight among them, especially the males, don’t make the mistake of keeping two matured male rabbit together, you won’t like the story at the end.
Breeding (Reproduction) in Rabbit
Rabbit are extremely prolific in terms of reproduction, they can multiply very fast, this is because their gestation period is 30 to 35days, (that’s about 1 month), and one rabbit can give birth to between 5 to 10 (I have had my rabbit gave birth to 14kits before), so if you have 10 female rabbits that is breed into the same time, after one month, you can expect delivery, if all of them gave birth to 5 each (which some will definite give birth to more or x2) you can expect 50 litters of new baby rabbit (bunny), and the cycle continues.
How Do I breed my Rabbit?
Rabbit are so easy to cross, the female tends to come on heat easily under good management, feeding and other factors been in place. You can take your female rabbit to the male and wait for the male to cross her, normally a female rabbit on heat will easily allow the male to cross her, and sometimes she could make attempt to cross the male, it is a sign of heat, another major sign is red pinkish swollen vulva.
Note: Always take the female to the male for crossing, not the male to the female, this is very important, a mature male rabbit ripe enough for crossing can cross the female 3 to 5 times, and the sign of successful crossing is that, the male will fall off from the top of the female, (sometimes with a shout).
Normally, fertilization takes place 12hours after breeding, so female rabbit can be confirmed pregnant 24hours after crossing, you can count 30days afterwards and expect a delivery.
White waiting for your pregnant rabbit to deliver, you must ensure there is adequate rabbit pellet available and green grasses for rabbit too (guinea grass, elephant grass, tridax, banana leaf amongst others).
It is also good for make multivitamin available fo your rabbit twice a week during pregnancy (It is not compulsory, but it is necessary) as it helps the mother nourish the foetus well. While waiting for your rabbit to deliver, ensure you make good nest box available for her, 5 days prior to the expected delivery date (EDD), Rabbit have instinct so they can make use of the nest on their own.
Rabbit kits are bone without fur on their body and with blind eyes, however you can make grass material or soft stuffs available inside the nest box for the mother to use for her kits, as the small rabbit are breastfeeding from the mother, they start growing new fur and by 8 to 12days, they open their eyes, by 15th to 20th day, most rabbit jump out of the nest box to experience the new environment with their mother.
Feed and Feeding in Rabbit:
Domesticated rabbit are at the mercy of their owner, unlike the ones in the wild, you are the one that determine what they eat, in this case, and feeding is major determinant of rabbit well-being and overall performance, a malnourished rabbit can die of hunger and even lose pregnancy, poor feeding makes your rabbit vulnerable to sickness and infection.
In Commercial Rabbit production, rabbit are feed and raised on Pelletized feed, and grass, it is not wise to raise rabbit on 70% hay, such rabbit will never perform well! There seems to be a lot of literature and text on the internet that talks about raising rabbit on 70% Hay, if you do that, your rabbit will lose weight and not grow well, I am not saying we should fatten our breeding stocks, when fat stores up in your rabbit, they will not be productive again, but there are many good quality pelletized rabbit feed in various parts of Nigeria right now.
If you want to formulate your own rabbit feed; below is a data that can be of help to you.
(You can reach me on 07066784204, I will assist you on rabbit pelletized feed).
MATERIALS NEED FOR RABBIT FEED FORMULATION
CARBOHYDRATE [energy sources (COH)]
PROTEIN (including amino acids)
- Soya bean cake (SBC)
- Groundnut cake (GNC)
- Fish Meal
Periwinkle shell meal
- Wheat offal
- Palm kernel cake (PKC)
- Rice bran
- Soya beans offal
FAT AND OIL (also essential fatty acids)
- Animal fat
- Vegetable oil
· Vitamin supplements/
Other forms of grass you can feed to you rabbit include;
Tridax, Guinea grass, spear grass, elephant grass, potato leaf, banana leaf, pawpaw leaf, giant star grass, timothy grass, alfalfa, oat grass, rice chaff and grass, beans chaff and leaf, maize leaf, cobb and chaff, Cabbage.
Some kitchen waste for rabbit includes, yam peel, dry cassava peel, the green part of water melon, cucumber, dry potato peel, leftover food, cut and chops vegetable stems.
The above mentioned are majorly for treats and vitamins for rabbit, the major feed concentration for good growth and development is Pelletized compounded feed.
A good sign of healthy and well fed rabbit are good and shinning fur, fluffy looking fur is a sign of good growth and feeding, healthy muscular development and a good reproductive cycle.
Marketing your Rabbit
Rabbit is already a goldmine in Nigeria, many people are making millions of naira from the Business already and you too can make good income from rabbit venture.
Before you think of marketing your rabbit or even starting a rabbit farm, define your goal.
Are you raising Rabbit for meat that will be slaughter or you are raising for fellow breeders and new beginners who wants r get foundation stocks?
You can combine the two though, but I you really want to venture into meat production, it is an international trade, where you can export rabbit meat to china and other part of the world, it takes a lot of investment and determination to produce rabbit for meat in a commercial scale, many African countries are doing that already, but because rabbit cannot be hatched in the incubator like birds, there is yet a limit to the volume of meat that can be supplied. You don’t need to start big, you can have a long term, rabbit meat is a white meat and widely accepted by many, for the unique taste and the bush meat quality that it has, which Africans loves a lot, that makes it naturally more expensive than chicken meat, there are hotels in Lagos that sells 1kg of processed rabbit meat for #5000, if you can supply them consistently, they will be your number one market, many eateries and restaurants will definitely like to add rabbit to their delicacy, but can you supply them regularly?
Go back to the drawing board and plan a broad production capacity before venturing into meat production, there is always market for it. Bella rabbit world, is a major offtaker of rabbit meat in Nigeria today, as at the time of writing this report, bella world buys 1kg of rabbit meat at #2500.
What are the Prices of Exotic Rabbit right now?
Presently, Hyla Weaners (the same applies for American CHINCHILLA, Angora and New Zealand White) the weaners is #5000, Growers (3months) are 10 to 12,000 while the female seems more expensive than the male, thn for the matured ones, the female is between #20,000 to #25,000 and the male is #15,000. New Zealand White tend to be less expensive compared to the other breeds mentioned. Dutch and cross breeds are less expensive compare to the exotic breeds.
If you are into raising foundation stocks, you can easily market your rabbit, by joining various rabbit whatsapp groups, there are more than 100 groups of rabbit farmers in Nigeria today, where you can easily sell your rabbit, you can also join the Facebook groups or even sell your rabbit on social media, via nairaland, jiji, and other product listing platforms, you can also tell people around you about the benefits of raising rabbit, but the real truth is, people only need to know you in the Business, immediately you secure some level of knowing, the market will start looking for you, this is what I have experienced raising rabbit for the past 5years now. There is market scattered everywhere in Nigeria and outside Nigeria, reach out to people both online and offline to market your rabbit, you will only need to do this in the beginning, after a while you will be bombarded with market demand that you cannot meet.
I have tried to break it down in this article, the major things a beginner will need to know about rabbit farming before getting started, but it is actually more than that, as I don’t want this post to be too long, I have written a comprehensive book on Rabbit Farming in Nigeria, which is easy to understand and follow, especially on critical things like the medication aspect, injection, Diseases and infection of rabbit and how to handle them, you will do yourself a lot of good by getting the book before you start your rabbit farm, it is an eBook that can be send to your whatsapp or email address, to get the EBook, you can call me or reach me on whatsapp at 07066784204.
I wish you success in your adventure in Rabbit Business.
Matthew Tolulope (07066784204)
Matex Rabbit Farm.