Starting a Commercial Rabbit Farm – Helpful Illustrated Guide


Starting a Rabbit farm

Commercial Rabbit Farming

With the increasing demand for food, rabbit farming is playing a major role in meeting the meat need of population around the world.

If you are interested in commercial rabbit farming and want to know its requirements and management then this article will help you a lot. 

Rabbit Meat Profitability Table

RabbitsRabbits BornLbs Meat / YearAverage Price / LBTotal Revenue Possible
184252$ 8.00$ 2016
2168504$ 8.00$ 4032
54201260$ 8.00$ 10,080
108402520$ 8.00$ 20,162
2016805040$ 8.00$ 40,320
3025207560$ 8.00$ 60,480
40336010,080$ 8.00$ 80,640
50420012,600$ 8.00$ 100,800
100840025,200$ 8.00$ 201.600
20016,80050,400$ 8.00$ 403,200
Rabbits Have Average 7 Kits (Babies) /Month - Some have had up to 14

First of all, we will discuss the history of the rabbit.

Agri Business Starting Rabbit Farm Part 1

History

Rabbits belong to the order of mammals called Lagomorpha, which includes 40 or so species of rabbits, Hares, and Pikas.

European wild rabbits evolved around 4000 years ago on the Iberian Peninsula known as the “Land of Rabbits”. When the Romans arrived in Spain around 200 BC, they began to grow native rabbits for meat and fur purposes.

The spread of the Roman Empire, along with increased trade between countries, helped introduce European rabbits into many parts of Europe and Asia.

With a rapid rate of reproduction and more cultivation of land providing ideal habitats, rabbits quickly created a large population in the wild. The European rabbit became widespread in North America and Australia.

Space requirement

When you start rabbit farming the first thing you need is space. Space required per animal is 10 to 15 square feet per animal. Space requirement is different at different stages of rabbit life if rabbit farming is done in the cage.

  • Rabbits (5-12 weeks) 0.07 square meter (per rabbit)
  • Rabbits (12 weeks or more) 0.18 square meter (per rabbit)
  • The adult does and bucks for breeding 0.56 square meter (per rabbit)
  • Doe and litter (5 weeks) 0.56 square meter (total area)
  • Doe and litter (8 weeks) 0.74 square meter (total area)

The height of the cage for more than a 12-week rabbit should be 45cm. – 18 ”

Agri Business Starting Rabbit Farm Part 2

Equipment Needed

The type of cage and equipment of any rabbit farm depends on where the rabbit farm is located. There are many types of huts used and no single design is perfectly suitable for all or all conditions.

The hutches should be well ventilated and provide maximum comfort to the rabbits by providing adequate protection from all types of weather and predators. Animals must be protected from hurricane, wind, and scorching sun and should be kept dry.

Different types of hutches are available such as:

  • Wire hutches
  • Wood-frame with Wire Hutches
  • Bamboo Hutch
  • Pen

Wire hutches

Chicken wires of various sizes are used to build many hutches today but the depreciation is very high. Chicken wire can be used for walls or ceilings of rabbit hutches.

Cages should be approximately 30 inches wide, 30 inches deep and 18 inches high. The floor should be one-half-by-one-inch14-gauge and the sides and top should be one-by-two-inch 14-gauge galvanized wire.

Whether you arrange hutches in single, double or triple layers depends on how much space is available. If you have enough space, single-layer waist-high hutches are best because they are more suitable for monitoring rabbits and will also save time and hand in feeding and management.

Wood-frame with Wire Hutches

Most often, the economically made rabbit cage is a mixture of wood and wire. The skeleton is of wood but the floors, sides, and top are all-welded wires to ensure proper sanitation.

The wooden frame is an external skeleton while the welded wire is connected inside. The positive properties of this type of cage are its durability, excellent ventilation, and sanitation.

Rabbit Housing

Bamboo Hutch

Bamboo is one of the most economical materials of the cage when used with the nipa or cogon grass roof. The design is the same as the wooden frame wire box.

To prevent strangulation or breakage of the rabbit’s feet, use straight bamboo for the flooring.

Pen

Young rabbits after weaning are kept in groups in pens. Each pen is 1.2 widths long, 1.5 meters in length, and 0.5 meters high. ( 5′ in Lenght x 1.5 ‘ High )

There are about 20 weaning rabbits in each pen. Once the rabbits reach puberty, they may be housed individually, especially these adult males. If they stay together, they will fight and get injured.

Hutch Floor

Several types of floors are used in the hutches, each with its own advantage. Wire -mesh floors are widely used when the self-cleaning type is required.

Feeding Equipment

There are a number of options for feeding. It is important to encourage innovation, particularly to use locally available materials when the cost is a concern. Here are some of the important feeder types

Types of Feeders

Following are a type of feeders used for feeding of the rabbit:

  • Crocks
  • Grass Mangers
  • Hoppers

Crocks

Crocks are specially designed to feed rabbits (about 6 inches width and 3 inches high), which cannot be easily turned over, has a concave lip that prevents animals from scratching and wasting their feed.

The main objection to this is that young rabbits enter and contaminate the feed. Earthenware and ceramics are best-suited materials.

Grass Mangers

Grass mangers are either U or V-shaped and made of 16-inch wire mesh. The 2-inch wires are placed horizontally while the 1-inch wire is vertical to allow the rabbit’s easy access to the grass mangers by simply pulling the grass.

Ideally, grass managers are usually built between cages to save space and labor, but can also be placed at the front or side of the cage, although they are more complex for an animal and a carer.

Raising Free Range Rabbits

Hoppers

Hopper feeders of proper design and appropriate size save time and effort. It can be made from easily available metal, wood, ceramic or other materials.

They should keep the feeding supplies for at least a few days and be placed inside the cage or hung outside.

The opening through which the rabbits get feed should not be more than 4 inches above the cage floor so that young rabbits can easily eat food. This is particularly suitable for pellets feeding.

Equipment for Watering

Contrary to popular belief and practice, rabbits do need clean, fresh water at all times. During hot weather, a doe and her litter of six to eight will consume about 2 liters of water a day.

Types of Water Containers

Different types of water container are used of rabbit such as:

  • Crocks
  • Enamel Cups
  • Ceramic
  • Bamboo Troughs
  • Cans
  • Automatic Watering
  • Plastic Disposable for Winter

Crocks

Earthenware crocks are used quite extensively in rabbit farming. They are inexpensive and sanitary.

Enamel Cups

These cups are healthy and easier to clean than crockery. It may be tied to the side of the cage to prevent spillage by rabbits.

Ceramic

Ceramic crocks are also recommended if they are within a reasonable price range.

Bamboo Troughs

The troughs are practical due to their availability but pose a problem due to their susceptibility to algae formation.

Cans

Cans are sometimes used, but problems arise when rabbits eat the crust that forms on these containers; therefore, their use is not warranted.

However, a 1-liter plastic oil container can be cleaned and cut for both water and feed containers. These can be attached to a cage with a wire to prevent leakage.

Automatic Watering

Automatic water systems are widely used in commercial rabbit farms. Although it is very expensive to install, it can easily adapt to commercial rabbit farms in the developing world.

Automatic water systems are better than traditional containers. It eliminates the time-consuming and laborious jobs of washing, disinfection, rinsing, and filling. They provide clean fresh water for rabbits at all times.

Nest Boxes

Place the nest box in the cage on the 28th day after breeding. If scratching or digging is observed in a corner of the cage, this is the best place to put the box.

Placing the nest box too early may result in it being used as a washroom or eating of all nesting materials placed in it or both.

Counter set Nest Box

The counter set box is recessed below the hutch floor. These may be placed at the front of the cage and fitted like drawers for access from the exterior of the hutch.

They have the advantage of providing a more natural environment, since rabbits are burrowing animals, and of allowing the young easier access if they should be displaced from the nest at an early age.

Standard Nest Box

Among the characteristics of most of them is the choice of the corner at which their young ones are lit.

Therefore, the standard nest box is the most practical because of its movement.

Some of the signs shown by the doe to display the corner she prefers for kindling include scratching and gathering herbs or newspapers to serve as nesting materials.

Nesting materials can be from local sources, such as trimmings of clothes or soft herbs, but a shredded newspaper is most ideal.

Because it is free of mites and other insects, these mites are the usual causes of ear cancers and scabies skin.

Age of Breeding Does

Feeding of rabbit

Rabbits are generally divided into four classes based on their dietary needs. They are:

  • Growing and fattening rabbits
  • Resting (non-pregnant and non-lactating) does and bucks
  • Pregnant does
  • Lactating does with litters.

 Each of these classes should be fed a different ration in varied amounts.

  • Feed as many fresh kinds of grass or legumes as the rabbits want each day—up to 85 percent grass.
  • Feed a commercial feed of at least 16 percent crude protein at the following levels
  • Resting bucks and does—120 grams a day
  • Pregnant does—240 grams a day
  • Lactating does with litters—480 grams a day
  • Growing/fattening rabbits (after weaning to slaughter or 3-4 months old)— 960 grams a day
  • Have fresh water available at all times.
  • Rabbit diets should contain 0.5 percent trace mineralized salt.

A variety of commercial mash and pellet feeds may be available. In some countries, the following commercial products have been used with rabbit production:

Salt should be provided in the feed at a level of 0.5 percent or provided in the cage in a block.

Clean, freshwater must be provided to rabbits at all times. This is important especially in tropics where a doe and her litter may consume as much as 2 liters of water a day.

Getting Ready to Butcher

Home-mixed Feed

Rabbits can feed almost any food that is not sour, spoiled, or greasy. Some exceptions are meat, potatoes, peeling potatoes and large amounts of cabbage.

Thus, rabbit food can be supplemented with many things, including vegetable trimming, fruit peeling, bread scales, sun-dried remaining rice, and leftovers milk.

Rabbits can be fed almost any food that is not sour, spoiled, or greasy. A few exceptions are meat, potatoes and/or potato peelings, and large amounts of cabbage.

Thus, the rabbit’s diet may be supplemented with many things, including vegetable trimmings, fruit peelings, bread crusts, and sun-dried leftover rice and leftover milk.

Some things you should not feed!

  • Don’t feed green feed standing in piles because it will become heated and cause digestive disorders due to fermentation
  • Kang kong leaves or stems they generally carry the parasites.
  • Forages collected from places where dogs and cats and other animals commonly defecate as this may cause tapeworm and/or coccidiosis
  • Forages sprayed or recently in contact with insecticides

Requirements of shed

The lighting of commercial rabbit farm

Light is of prime importance in terms of reproductive efficiency. Natural or artificial light is required.

 If the buck has not been exposed to exposure for at least 8 to 12 hours, the formation of sperm will be impaired.         

On the other hand, doe breeding will require at least 6 hours of exposure to their sexual performance and fertility.

It is best to provide artificial light to the rabbit, depending on the condition of natural light.

It may be proposed to use a 100-watt bulb or a 40-watt 2-meter fluorescent tube 3 meters above the ground for 16 hours.

When the daylight is falling, in this case, the light can be kept on at 6 AM and off at 8 PM.

The light should not be switched on or off very suddenly since this may make the rabbit leap here and there due to agony leading to fracture and other injuries.

Much lighting is not required for a young rabbit only 1 to 2 hrs will do.

Temperature of commercial rabbit farm

Rabbits can withstand a wide temperature difference from 5°C to 33°C. But the ideal comfortable temperature required for rabbits ranges from 10°C to 26°C.

Rabbits, in general, can tolerate a cold wave instead of a hot wave. The temperature in the summertime may cause heat stress in rabbits.

Therefore, adequate measures should be taken to reduce heat stress through cooling and good ventilation.

Care must be taken to avoid drought. An adult rabbit can reduce heat by stretching their bodies. Likewise, to preserve heat, it wrinkles at a low environmental temperature.

The little rabbit may not adapt to ambient temperature fluctuations and may die. This aspect should be taken care of by the rabbit guard.

Humidity of commercial rabbit farm

From a systemic point of view, rabbits cannot tolerate much of a wet condition. Moisture in the rabbit’s house should remain within 50%.

All devices should be used during the rainy season to reduce humidity. High temperatures and high humidity can negatively affect the health of rabbits.

Managing Rabbits for Temperature and Humidity

Ventilation of commercial rabbit farm

A clean environment free from dirt and smoke is a key feature of the free-breathing of rabbit. There must be a suitable arrangement for free air movements. Care should be taken to locate air-free areas in the home.

Comfortable fresh air is badly needed during hot summer days. A strong draught should be avoided. Some shaded trees may be planted near and around rabbits to allow cool air during the summer.

Breeds of rabbits American Breeders Association

If you are thinking about the commercial rabbit farm then here are some of the breeds that are used on farms for meat purposes.

  • Californian Rabbits
  • New Zealand Whites
  • American Chinchilla
  • Satin Rabbits
  • Flemish Giants
  • Blanc de Hotot
  • Blanc de Hotot
  • Palomino Rabbits
  • Silver Foxes
  • Champagne d’Argent
  • Belgian Hare
  • Cinnamon Rabbits

Exotic rabbit breeds

Some of the exotic rabbit breeds is:

  • English Angora
  • Long-eared Jerboa
  • Euchoreutes naso

Small Breeds

  • American Fuzzy Lop
  • Dutch
  • Himilian
  • Holland
  • Mini Rex

Medium Sized Breeds

  • American sable
  • English Angora
  • french Angora
  • Satin Angora
  • Belgian Hare
  • Standard Chinchilla
  • English Spot
  • Florida White
  • Harlequin
  • Havana
  • Lilac
  • Mini Lop
  • Rhinelander
  • Silver
  • Silver Martin
  • Tan

Meat Rabbits

  • American
  • Beveren
  • Californian
  • Champagne D’Argent
  • American Chinchilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Creme D’Argent 
  • Hotot
  • English Lop
  • French Lop
  • New Zealand
  • Palomino
  • Satin
  • Silver Fox

Giants

  • Checkered Giant
  • Giant Chinchilla
  • Flemish Giant

International Rabbit market

Rabbit meat and wool are used globally in fact rabbit wool is one of the best wool. Here we will discuss the international market of rabbit meat and wool.

Rabbit wool

Angora wool grows up to three centimeters (one inch) per month. You can cut 14 to 15 ounces of wool annually from mature Angora who are not nursing.

This wool values for its softness, warmth, and strength. It is used in mixtures with other fibers in the manufacture of children’s clothing, sportswear, garment trimmings, etc.

There are two main types of Angora rabbits – English and French. Wool fibers in the French are shorter and rougher than English, but wool production is greater.

Therefore, angora is recommended to be used as a three-purpose animal for meat, to improve the quality of the fur of other strains by crossbreeding, which is currently being done, and for wool production.

Through reproduction with other strains, Angora has been shown to be beneficial in improving meat and fur production. Commercial Angora weighs at least 8 pounds and is being raised more and more to improve meat quality.

Meat market of rabbit

Rabbit meat is one of the delicious meats in the market. In some countries, rabbit is consumed at large scale here is a list of top rabbit meat consuming countries in the World

  1. China
  2. Italy
  3. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
  4. Egypt
  5. Spain
Raising Rabbits for Meat

Rabbit as lab animals

Rabbits are widely used in the lab for the experimental purpose such as

  • First animal model of cancer caused by a virus is a rabbit
  • They are used to produce antibodies, used for a different diagnostic test of infectious diseases and immunology
  • Animal models for cystic fibrosis and cholera.
  • Rabbits use to develop rabies vaccine.
  • They are used in the study of cardiovascular disease, particularly hypertension and atherosclerosis.
  • They are also used for studies on cancer, glaucoma, ear infections, eye infections, diabetes, and emphysema
  • Surgical lasers were developed using rabbits
  • They are used to research the effect of high cholesterol
Having Baby Rabbits

Disposal of Rabbit Manure

Rabbit fertilizer has high nitrogen content when rabbits are fed with a balanced diet. It will not burn plants and is easy to incorporate into the soil.

It is best as a fertilizer on the gardens and when laid on the foundations of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees.

There is no risk when used to fertilize the soil on which crops are grown to feed rabbits if they are well mixed in the soil or covered.

The value of rabbit fertilizer depends on how you care for it and use it.

There will be less loss of fertilized elements if the substance is immediately incorporated into the soil.

When compost is stored in piles and exposed to weather, chemicals are lost through filtering and heat. Much of this loss can be prevented by keeping the compost in the compost pile or in a box or pit.

Auxiliary Business – Rabbit manure
Worm Farming as an Auxillary Profit Source

Rabbitr Farmers have also Used Rabbit Manure in Creative ways to increase their Profits. Se some below

  • Selling aged Rabiit Manure for Soil Additives
  • Selling as Compost / or Composting
  • Starting a Worm Farm for extra profits – – Worm Meat – $ 25 lb

Diseases in rabbits

In commercial rabbit farming, rabbits can be affected by different diseases. Some of the common diseases are:

Diarrhea

The most common disease of rabbit farms is diarrhea. This is usually caused by the rabbits consuming the wrong food, such as sweet potatoes or the larvae of certain types of butterflies.

When rabbits develop diarrhea, they become dull and begin to drain green water waste. Some forms of diarrhea can kill the rabbit within 24 hours.

Diarrhea can be prevented by providing rabbits with fresh, dried vegetables.

Coccidiosis                                                  

This occurs because the rabbit consumes small parasitic creatures roaming in the feeding trough and watering vessels or on the walls of the cage. It can lead to diarrhea.

The affected rabbits will sit in a hunched and extend their hind legs forward. The rabbit will lose weight. To prevent this disease, it is important to keep the cages clean.

Ear canker

Small mites may float under the rabbit’s skin, especially in the ears. Scabs should be removed with warm water and palm or petroleum jelly applied to the affected area. Also, pour some palm oil into the affected ear.

Warbles flies

If dirt is allowed to accumulate in and around rabbit huts, rabbits may develop warbles.

Warble is the result of laying eggs in rabbit fur, usually on the legs or feet, and on the nose and around the eyes or on the margins of the ear.

When the eggs hatch, the small worms lie under the skin to form a small lump under the rabbit’s fur. Bunny may scratch the spot which in turn may cause infection.

Cold in rabbits

When the rabbit has a cold, it sneezes and exposes mucus from its nose.

Rabbits with a common cold must be isolated because the cold may develop into another disease that may spread to other rabbits and kill them.

Worms

Your rabbits may have worms i.e. white and sometimes coiled. To de-worm, a rabbit, feed it pawpaw if available.

The pawpaw plant is a natural de-wormer. The best remedy is to give the rabbit, every four weeks or so.

Wryneck

 Some time your rabbits can be affected from the wry neck. In this disease neck of the rabbit becomes twisted and they lose their sense of balance.

Selecting breeding stock

Breeding stock should be chosen from among the best available to ensure only desirable traits pass to offspring.

There are several qualities you should look for in breeding stock of rabbit

  • Prolific breeders have a good growth rate
  • Have a good growth rate.
  • Good converters of food.
  • Have high meat to bone ratio.

You should not select the small, lean and unhealthy rabbits as well as old, sterile, castrated and deformed animals. They must be culled.

Selecting a good doe

The female rabbit also called doe to be used for breeding purposes must be reached puberty (five months or more).

She must be strong and able to protect her young from attack. She must have at least eight nipples, all visible and natural.

You should watch the doe of small rabbits scattered around the cage; if you do this more than once she is not a good mother and should be culled for meat.

A doe can produce any number of young rabbits, up to a maximum of 16, but it must be allowed to care for a maximum of eight equal to a number of teats.

Breeding You Doe

Selecting a good buck

Buck will largely decide the quality of the breeding process. The size, color, and most other features of the buck will be inherited by its offspring.

Therefore, its effect is usually much greater than that of the female. Therefore, care must be taken to select only the best samples.

Rabbit litter

A single female rabbit can have 1-16 babies per litter, but let’s be realistic and say that the average litter size is eight.

Female rabbits can have babies starting at only six months old. Rabbits can become pregnant within minutes after birth.

Doe gives birth after one month. The mating season is typically the springtime.

Raising Baby Bunnies

Rabbit as Auxiliary business

Rabbits are characterized by a number of advantages that will become a source of profit:

  • High fertility
  • A short period of succession
  • Productivity: meat and skin

These all character of rabbit makes this business profitable.

Conclusion

Commercial rabbit farming for meat and fur is a good way to make money but only if you do it on a large scale, and this should only be done as additional revenue.

The initial costs in preparation are small, the rabbits reproduce quickly and repeatedly, have a large litter and grow to a good size for marketing in a very short time.

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