BEST RABBIT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR MAXIMUM PROFIT
Proper housing is key to the overall success of the entire rabbit management practice. Though this is greatly affected by the scale of production.
The main objective is to provide a conducive environment for the optimal production and performance of your rabbit.
A good housing system should provide your rabbit with adequate protection from harsh weather conditions such as rain, sun, and heat.
Read also: Rabbit farming: systems of rearing rabbits
For optimal result, rabbits are best kept in hutches (small boxes) made with either strong ironwood (resistance to termites) or metal and wire mesh.
This is to keep the rabbits safe from predators disallowing them to dig a hole and burrow their way out of safety.
In a large production system, the hutches will allow the farmer to keep track of rabbits that are performing well. And get rid of those that are underperforming.
With hutches, it is much more easier to feed and coordinate the rabbit managements.
The hutch should be in the following dimensions:
- 95cm long by 65cm wide with the height 50cm. At least the rabbits should be able to stand on his hind legs comfortably to stretch his body.
- In large rabbit production, the hutches are arranged in rows on wooden or metal stands of three feet (3ft) above the ground with a passage between rows for the attendant.
- The hutches can be arranged in single, double, or triple tiers. The best is usually the single-tier type because it saves time in the cleaning and feeding of the rabbits.
- For excellent rabbit management, the hutches are best kept in a well-constructed housing system for the provision of shades, a cool conducive environment for the rabbits.
- Hutches can be placed in poultry deep litter pens. The most important thing is to ensure that adequate shades are provided.
- Once the males reach maturity they should be separated immediately from the females. The males are usually kept separate from the females.
- Rabbits love it when it is a little bit dark, not too bright light. You can also use an old poultry house or a similar one can be used.
FEEDING IS ALSO A KEY FACTOR IN GOOD RABBIT MANAGEMENT
Good rabbit management practice entails feeding them at least twice a day. Very early in the morning and late in the evening. Rabbits love to relax in the afternoon. They are simple stomach herbivores.
They should be given a well-formulated rabbit feed because it is a complete ration on its own and no additional ration is necessary.
Where the above is absent, then they should feed with concentrates in pellets form, as well as succulent forage crops and grasses.
The well-formulated feed and pellet should be given early in the morning. To avoid attracting rats and rodents at night to their hutches.
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RABBITS EAT A WIDE VARIETY OF LEAVES, FORAGE, AND GRASSES ALSO WELL FORMULATED PELLETS
Rabbits eat a wide variety of leaves, forage, and grasses, just introduce it to them gradually with a few exceptions.
The succulent forage and grasses include the following depending on your region and state. Aspilia Africana: goat weed, Amaranthus spp: usually preferred to other vegetables, Talinum triangulae: waterleaf, Stylosanthes gracilis: stylo, Centrosema pubescence: centro, Panisetum purpureum: elephant grass, Emilia spp: emilia, Tridax spp, Calopogonium spp.
In the absence of a rabbit formulated feed. They can be fed on poultry growers’ marsh when the pellets are absent.
Since the marsh is dry and dusty, sprinkle some water before feeding in order to prevent nasal irritation and wastage of feeds.
Discard the feed after 24 hours if they refuse to eat it to avoid molds and toxins forming.
The protein content of feeds for does and bucks should be 12-15% to avoid excess fat, infertility or sterility while that of pregnant does and nursing does is 16 20%.
Pellets should be balanced with vitamins and all the essential mineral salts including table salts.
Water should be supplied regularly. Young rabbits require more water intake than the adult ones because water shortage can lead to retarded growth.
All the concentrate feeds and water should be supplied in feeding troughs and water troughs.
Adequate cleanliness should be maintained in the rabbitry so as not to lose them to diseases and pest attacks.
Read also: 10 reasons to start raising rabbits
BASIC ROUTINE IN RABBIT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
- IF they are kept on the floor, clean the floor of the rabbitry daily. Use disinfectants and germicides such as jik, izal, detol, etc. to keep germs away from the hutches.
- Water must be changed every day. The feeding and watering troughs must be rinsed and cleaned regularly before new supplies of feed and water is made.
- Old and torn wire nets most be replaced and changed to keep rats and rodents at bay.
- Clean the wire nettings and remove dust and cobweb from the hutches.
- Always keep breeds of the same age, sex, type-together.
- Cull and unproductive rabbit and treat any sick rabbit and remove dead ones from the cage.
- The dead rabbits should be burnt and buried deep inside the soil.
- Good rabbit management involves regular deworming of the rabbit.
- In good rabbit management practice always treat the rabbits with drugs recommended by the veterinary expert e.g. antibiotics and anti-coccidiosis.
- Handle your rabbit with care. Do not carry the young rabbits by the ear lobe.
- Instead, lift by grasping the fold of skin behind the shoulders with one hand, with the other hand supporting the weight of the rabbit.
- Good rabbit management practice involves taking biosecurity measures by not allowing unauthorized persons to touch or feed your rabbits.
- Visitors should use the disinfectant in the foot deep before entering the rabbitry.
- To keep harmful predators away. Keep the surrounding of your rabbitry clean and weed-free.
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