Rabbits are midway between ruminants and monogastric animals. They are called pseudo ruminant. They can convert cellulose into meat and can easily survive on kitchen scrap. They are coprophagous in nature they reinvest their faeces in the early hours of morning directly from their anus through lips. Thus replenish vitamins and cellulose content of feases.
They breed eight times in a year. Female may produce five to eight youngs which attain sexual maturity in four to six months. Life span of rabbit is about seven to eight years. Slaughter weight of rabbit is about 2 kg. which can be achieved in 12 to 15 weeks. Rabbits have got fast reproductive process and are able to remate within 24 hours of giving birth [kindling]. Their gestation period ranges to 31 days. They are prolific breeder.
i) Rabbits are highly prolific in nature
ii) Consume a large amount of forages from diverse origins and so can be reared on small amounts of costly concentrates.
iii) They can be reared in the kitchen garden/backyard of farmer’s house
iv) Initial investment cost is low
v) Quick returns i.e. six months after the establishment of farm
vi) Income generation at quarterly interval makes the repayment easy.
Vii) Apart from providing wool rabbits also provides income from manure etc.
viii) Residual feed, together with rabbit manure is highly suitable for vermicompost which in turn provides excellent manure for fertilising the fields.
NABARD is an apex institution for all matters relating to policy, planning, and operations in the field of agriculture credit. It serves as refinance agency for the ground level institutions / banks providing investment and production credit for various activities under agriculture and allied sectors for ensuring integrated rural development. It co-ordinates the development activities through a well organised Technical Services Department at the head office and Technical cells at each of the regional offices.
For undertaking the rabbit farming on scientific lines, loan from banks with refinance facility from NABARD is available. For obtaining bank loan the farmers / entrepreneurs should apply to the nearest branch of a Commercial, Co-operative or Regional Rural Banks in the prescribed application form, which is available in the branches of financing bank. Necessary help or guidance can be obtained from the technical officer attached to or the manager of the bank in preparing the project report, which is a prerequisite for sanction of the loan.
For Rabbitry schemes with very large outlays, detailed project reports will have to be prepared. The items such as land development, construction of sheds and other civil structures, purchase of the breeding stock, equipment, feed cost upto the point of income generation are normally considered under bank loan. Other items of investment will be considered on need basis after providing the satisfactory information justifying the need for such items. The cost of land is not considered for loan. However, if land is purchased for setting up the Rabbit farm exclusively, it can be considered as beneficiaries margin money upto a maximum of 10% of the investment cost.
1. Clean sanitary conditions of rabbit cages, sheds and equipment, balanced feed and fresh clean water are essential to prevent chances of infection.
2. The rabbits should be prevented from coming in contact with the feaces.
3. Over crowding should be avoided.
4. Proper ventilation should be provided.
5. Flies which may act as carriers of the infection should be kept under control in the rabbitry.
6. The common diseases of rabbits and recommended preventive/control measures are given in Annexure – V
7. Rabbit cages should be disinfected with blow lamp after every shearing and kindling cages before the doe is shifted and after weaning.
8. Burn dead sick rabbits at once to keep the diseases from spreading.
9. The bedding of the nest box should be burnt after use.
10. The dead animals should be burried soon after post mortem (if required).
1. The nest box should be removed after 5 weeks of kindling.
2. Kits should be examined and dead ones should be removed daily.
3. If the bedding becomes wet it should be replaced by a fresh and clean one.
4. Weaning should be done at 5th or 6th week after kindling.
5. No sudden change in feed is advisable.
1. Water should be available round the clock particularly to a lactating doe.
2. Always give fresh and clean drinking water.
3. Always keep water pots clean and remove sediments daily. Water pots should be cleaned thoroughly every week.
4. Use of properly designed Automatic watering equipment can also be made.
19. Production performance depends upon the quality of feed offered. For high production levels balanced pellet feed in combination with hay should be given.
20. Fresh green plants like bean, Alfalfa, berseem, grass, tender banana, cane and bamboo leaves, cutup pieces of the stalks of plants such as maize or banana, roots such as cassava, yams, carrots, beefs and turnips inedible portions of cabbage and cauliflower etc. can replace partially or wholly pellet feeds in case of low input and low output production system. Different types of feeds that can be fed to rabbits are given in Annexure – IV a.
1. If whole pellet is fed, feed is given at a time for many days.
2. If concentrate and hay are given, then concentrate should be offered preferably in the morning and hay in the afternoon. Recommended concentrate feed formulae for Angora rabbits are given in Annexure – IV b.
3. A practical combination of different types of feeds and regular timetable for feeding is advisable so that rabbits do not feel any stress due to changes in their daily routine. A practical feeding combintaion is given in Annexure – IV c.