Rabbit Rearing in Nigeria is one of the most sustainable businesses in Nigeria. Rabbit rearing is common among households in Nigeria and it is practiced by both the young and the old. Rabbit rearing has one of the most underutilized products. Rabbits are medium-sized animals known for their quiet and tidy nature. They are mainly reared for their meat (called white meat).
The rearing of rabbits is one of the most cost-effective livestock farming but many didn’t look at this. Instead, we all run to the goats, poultry farming and so on which we are not even sure of the available profits.
This is the reason we are going to be explaining all the full information required to improve the rearing of rabbits especially in a country like Nigeria and its West African counterpart.
Breeds of Rabbits for Rabbit Rearing
Just like several other animals, there are specific breeds for rabbit rearing that you need to focus on because of your environment. The surrounding of the rabbit farm must be a place where the breed can survive adequately. Factors must be sufficient enough for the rapid growth of the breeds.
Also, you need to know these breeds to understand the results you will get from them. While some of these breeds provide meat so well, some others are just very abundant for the Rabbit skin. Even some can produce both neat and pelt together without any problem.
So, just understand your kind of breed, the purpose of your rabbit rearing and what you need from them when they have matured very well. Then you are good to go when it comes to rearing rabbits. Here are some of the most common rabbits breeds reared.
1. California White: If you have seen any breed of rabbit that has black markings on the ears, nose, tails and feet, then you should look out for California white. This is one of the main physical features of this breed. Also, the matured rabbits amongst the California White breed have an average weight of 3.5 kg – 4.5 kg. They are also known for rapid growth and more body flesh than bone making them extra qualified for some purposes.
2. The Chinchilla: These have grey fur covering them instead of the normal white you would see in California White Rabbit. Now, this rabbit is one of those that have an ideal hand in pelt production because of its grey fur and adequate meat production as well.
3. Angora: We have been talking about rabbit reared for meat purposes and flesh purposes but we have not even talked about the wool produce from rabbits. Angora is a type of rabbit blessed with an abundant amount of wool. This is one of the most versatile raw materials for clothing and shelter around the world. The feet of the Angora rabbit are covered with a profitable amount of wool for the farmer.
4. New Zealand White: This is another two-phase rabbit that is very popular for the relative amount of wool it produces. It is also known for its fur purpose as it contains unique body hairs which it’s unlikely to find in other animals. It is also very attractive because of its proportionate dressing percentage. Finally, the matured ones have an average weight of 4.5 kg within months of proper care.
5. New Zealand Red: This might not be very popular in western Africa but they are also very reliable. They have an average weight of 3kg and they grow very rapidly. What makes them unique to the ones we have seen in Africa is the bright red color of this rabbit.
Other breeds of rabbits for rabbit rearing
6. California red
10. Champagne d’Agent
11. The Giant Flemish and many more.
Significance of Rabbit Rearing in Nigeria
The significance of rabbit rearing cannot be overemphasized. If you have not known about this importance that will be explained below when it comes to rabbit rearing, you should better follow along. This part is going to give you the whole information about the four importance of rabbits.
- Meat Production: Almost all livestock does this so you already have the basic knowledge of this. However, you might not know that the meat of rabbits is high in vitamins and minerals. Such that the quality of nutrients you are getting from rabbits is more than that from the poultry birds. So, another alternative to the rearing of the normal poultry bird is rear rabbits and providing rabbit materials.
- Rabbit Skin: The rabbit skin also known as pelt has its personal properties that qualify different applications. Perhaps you do not know that rabbit skin are used in making rugs or carpets and even jacket and headgear as well. The fur and the wool from rabbits are used for making this product.
- Manure: Rabbits are also known for returning micronutrients to the soil. Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are high enough to be guaranteed in rabbits. The waste and faces from rabbits have great importance to the soil. Even the remains of the rabbit’s body can replenish some lost nutrients to the soil.
Problems Associated with Rabbit Rearing In Nigeria
The following are the problems associated with rabbit rearing in Nigeria;
1. Diseases: Rabbits are animals that can suffer from any infection . Either you have planned for it or not, you will have to cure them or you are going to lose them. Most of the infections of rabbits can be passed to others. If you can not notice this as soon as possible, you are going to have a problem with your infections.
2. Labor intensive: You can manage a small rabbit farm but it tends to be more frustrating because of the extra care you will need to provide for these animals.
3. High Management Cost: The cost of managing rabbits is very high. Especially the amount you need to buy adequate feeds for these animals. It is very important to take note of this before delving into the rearing of this livestock. Most Nigeria do not like the extra cost related to the feeds used in managing rabbits
4. Inadequate Care: This might not necessarily mean not giving them food. It might just be improper monitoring and sanitation of the rabbit’s environment. It is very important to notice this every day to avoid the death of this animal.