Rabbit farming in Uganda is a profitable business to everyone who does extensive research about rabbits. Rabbits can be reared either on a small scale or a large scale depending on the startup capital that you have. Rabbit farming is very lucrative because it is like every part of a rabbit is useful. Rabbit’s urine is used as fertilizers, the skin is converted into leather which in turn is used by factories to make both shoes and bags, the meat is delicious when properly cooked, live rabbits are used as specimens in labs, the bones are used to make animals feeds and the fur is used in making clothes.
Starting a rabbit farm is extremely important because you do not need a lot of capital and below are some of the few things that you need to know so that you have a productive rabbit farm. Note that the rabbits are well taken care of, that is proper feeding, vaccination and also try to monitor the rabbits so that you can easily tell when they change their behaviors because if they change their behaviors, that means something is wrong.
Rabbit breeds in Uganda
You cannot start a rabbit farm without rabbits and the first thing you should look for are good breeds. The most common breeds in Uganda that are reared for commercial purposes are the Flemish giant, white California white and the New Zealand white and black. The two breeds that are recommended for meat production are the New Zealand white and the California white although you can also try cross breeds.
This is one of the first things that you should put into consideration when it comes to rabbit farming. Rabbits are known to be clean animals and they will need to stay in a place that is both clean and neat and this does not matter whether you are using the deep litter system or the cage system. Some of the factors that you should put into consideration while constructing a rabbit house include:
The young rabbits can be kept in groups of 20 to 30 until they are four months old.
The rabbit house should be clean, neat and well ventilated in order to keep the rabbits safe.
Make sure that the house has a proper drain so that it can easily be cleaned and the urine collected easily.
The chicken house can be constructed using a chicken wire net, bamboo or a solid wall depending on where you are.
The rabbit house should be well ventilated.
Marketing Of Rabbits
This is an important step if you want to earn from rabbit farming in Uganda. The market for rabbit meat on the Ugandan market is still on the low although there are some high end hotels and restaurants that buy them due to their demand from clients. You can also export the rabbit meat to outside countries especially China and since almost everything on a rabbit is essential, you can also market other things other than the meat like the urine, fur and skin.
Just like any other business, marketing is a little bit hard since there are no formal markets for the meat at the moment but it is becoming a delicacy for many Ugandans meaning there will be a ready and increasing market for rabbits in the country.
Breeding of rabbits
Rabbits are known to have a high growth rate and they reproduce faster than most of the animals. The gestation period for a doe is between 28 to 31 days and they can give birth between 2 and 8 kids every two months. The rabbits start breeding when they reach maturity at 6 months.
Feeding of the rabbits
The feeding process of rabbits normally includes greens and supplementary foods. The food given to the rabbits depends on their breed, size and age and some of the things that you can give to the rabbits as food include vegetables, grass, spinach and carrots. These help with the reduction of feeding costs and all you need to do is to make sure that the food given to the rabbits is rich in all nutrients. The rabbits should be fed at least twice a day.
There are two feeding programs that you can use while feeding the rabbits and these are the pre-balanced pellet rations or the hay and grain feeds. You need to know the rations that you should give the rabbits every day. Pregnant and young rabbits should be fed all throughout the day and the male rabbits (bucks) need at least 8 ounces of pellets a day.
Methods used in rabbit farming
The deep litter method
The deep litter system is best used if you have few rabbits for rearing. The floor in the deep litter system is covered with straws, wood shavings and husks which make it comfortable for the rabbits. The rabbits are separated and only put in the same place during breeding. The deep litter system is good if you have a limited budget and the only worry here is that there is easy spread of diseases since most of the rabbits are in contact with each other.
The cage method
The cage method is the perfect one for all those intending to rear rabbits for commercial purposes. The female rabbits (Does) are kept in separate cages from the male rabbits and they are only joined during breeding. There are always a maximum number of rabbits in each cage with the cages being made with materials that can easily be obtained from local markets like wire and iron plates.
Common rabbit diseases
This is a very dangerous disease that attacks the rabbits and it is transmitted through contact with an infected rabbit and fleas. Early symptoms include discharge from the eyes, genitals and nose. Myxomatosis has no cure at the moment and the only thing that can be done to prevent it is by isolating the infected rabbit from the healthy ones the moment you notice one.
Uterine tumors are caused when the rabbits are not desexed earlier on. Desexing refers to an operation that is carried out on both female and male rabbits to sterilize them. It can be done to the doe before they are 4 months old. Symptoms of the tumors include mammary glands, aggressive behavior and bloody vaginal discharge.
The snuffles disease
Snuffles disease is spread through contact with other infected rabbits. Early symptoms include reddening of the eyes, squinting, discharge from the mouth and nose and ears. The rabbits can be given antibiotics and the sick ones should also be isolated from the healthy ones.
This is where the rabbits’ teeth grow spikes and curl making it hard for them to eat. Rabbits grow their teeth throughout their lifespan and the only way to prevent the teeth from overgrowing is by providing the rabbits with food rich in fiber, providing anesthetic and burning the teeth.
This is when the rabbit’s hair cannot pass through the gut. The hairballs that are normally found on the stomach cause complications if they fail to pass through the gut causing complications to the rabbit since it stops eating. It can be rectified through surgery.
Hemorrhagic disease virus
The virus is spread through contact with an infected rabbit and flies. It is a very dangerous disease which can lead to the death of a rabbit within 72 hours. It can be prevented through vaccination of the rabbits every month for rabbits between 4 to 12 weeks and after that, vaccination should be carried out with an interval of 6 weeks.
You can also avoid some of the above by limiting contact with the rabbits because hands easily spread diseases to the animals.
Benefits of rearing rabbit breeds
The rabbit gestation is very high which means that you will have a lot of rabbits in a short period of time.
Rabbit meat has more nutrients as compared to other meats on the market and its market demand has increased.
The rabbits have a high growth rate and can be slaughtered when they are 4 or 5 months old.
You need very limited capital to start rabbit rearing in Uganda.
Everything on a rabbit is useful, that is the urine is used for manure, the skin for making bags, the bones are crushed to make animal feeds and the fur for shoes.
Rabbit farming is the preparation of rabbits kept captive, especially domesticated rabbits for commercial use to obtain food. Wild rabbits can also be captured and used for meat; in some countries (notably France) this has made them endangered species. Rabbits can be extremely productive members of the agricultural community, as they provide food and fur as well as improve soil quality. In many areas, rabbits are raised as livestock because of their ability to produce multiple young quickly. They can be bred and kept in hutches – small, wooden pens – on an individual basis or in larger groups inside a fenced area.
Rabbit meat is leaner than beef, pork, and chicken. It has about the same amount of fat as chicken or turkey, but fewer calories; it contains less cholesterol than all other meats except fish. While rabbit tastes much like these meats, it is usually stringier and requires different preparation methods. Commercial rabbit meat comes from animals bred to be harvested for meat.
Rabbits require a tiny dwelling space and a limited amount of food to survive.
They have the ability to ingest very low-quality food and transform it into high-quality meat, skin, or fiber.
Rabbits are a wonderful, low-cost food source for the elderly. They’re high in protein and fat, as well as being incredibly healthy and easy to digest. There are no religious restrictions on eating rabbit meat. Rabbits grow rapidly, with females producing 2 to 8 offspring every time they mate.
Advantages Of Rabbit Farming in Uganda
Rabbit farming is a fast growing agriculture business in parts of African countries. It has been recorded that more than 1 billion rabbit units have been produced for their meat and skins every year. There are still other benefits from rabbit farming which many people do not know about yet. This article will explore the advantages of rabbit farming.
1) High demand for rabbits
Since rabbits reproduce at very high rates with quick maturity periods, there is always a good market for them in most places around the world. It only takes 2 months for baby rabbits to be ready for processing; therefore, farmers can make lots of returns on their investments in less than 6 months when they choose to sell rabbits rather than adult ones (Lapin UK 2015). This is an advantage of rabbit farming which young people may find interesting.
2) Easy to get started
Compared to other animals, rabbits are easy to get started with. They do not require much space since they are small animals, and breeding them only requires a little bit of care from their keepers (Lapin UK 2015). It is easier to build mini-farms for rabbit production at home or even in schools compared to other types of livestock farming.
3) Flexible production system
Rabbit farmers can diversify their practices by choosing between growing the rabbits in cages or on the floor depending on if they want them processed for meat or fur. Both systems have their own advantages; for example, meat rabbits are easier to manage on cages compared to floor systems where they can find their way out of the pens. If you want them for their fur, they are usually raised on the floor since it is easy to clean; this also makes them more likely to get sick (Lapin UK 2015).
4) High nutritional value
Rabbit meat is very nutritious and healthy with high protein values which make it suitable for consumption by people of all ages (Lapin UK 2015). Rabbits produce products which can be processed; therefore; there is no need for keeping other animals like chicken or cow-cows when rabbit production alone will do.
5) Low risk of disease transmission
Since rabbits are very clean animals which are not known for getting diseases, they are ideal for livestock farming at home. People who keep rabbits do not have to worry about dangerous diseases being passed around by them since they consume little quantities of feed compared to other animals (Lapin UK 2015).
6) Easy processing
Rabbits are small animals which can be slaughtered or processed easily. It is easy to dress them; therefore; there is no need to look for professional meat processors who may charge high fees (Lapin UK 2015). Rabbit farmers can even process their own products and sell them like that as well as take them directly to the markets where people buy such kinds of meat.
7) High returns on investments
One of the advantages of Rabbit farming is that it promises high returns as rabbits mature and reproduce quickly. In as little as six months, a young person can make enough from the business to buy another breeding doe for example. This makes rabbit production much cheaper compared to other types of animal farming where rearing costs are usually high (Lapin UK 2015).
Rabbit Breeds in Uganda
sub-divided into three types of , according to the breed. The first is American, which are smaller in size and have the largest variety of breeds of domestic rabbits. The second type consists of European , which are larger than their counterparts but less numerous. They are more popular because they are often used for show purposes. And finally there are , whose body is compact with a short neck and large head, making them the most common form of rabbit around.
Rabbit Breeds can be further divided into six categories based on size: Rabbit Breeds Giant, Large, Medium, Dwarf/Small, Bunny Rabbit Breeds and Rabbit Breeds Toy. Their personalities vary as much as their body shapes do – some breeds are very affectionate towards their owners, while others are more independent.
The most popular Rabbit Breeds according to the U.S. is the Holland Lop, French Lop and Mini Rex breeds of rabbit. Other popular breeds include: Lionhead, Netherland Dwarf, Thrianta, Holland Lop and Flemish Giant. [ARTICLE END]
You can find more information about these Rabbit Breeds below:
1) American Rabbit Breeds
2) Chinchilla Rabbit
3) Dutch Rabbit Breed
4) English Angora Rabbits
5) Flemish Giant rabbits
6) Florida White Rabbits
7) German Spotted rabbits – a white breed of domestic rabbit in America originating from the German Spotted breed of rabbit.
8) Himalayan rabbits
9) Holland Lop Rabbits
10) Hotot Rabbit – a rare, white breed of rabbit that was first developed in France and has been bred selectively for its blue eyes and dark-colored “Hotot” eye shadow.