Pashu Sandesh, 02 January 2019

Dr. Deepikesh Joshi, Dr. Vijay Amrit Raj Panwar, Dr. Mohit Budhalakotiand Dr. Surya Pratap Singh Chauhan

Rabbit farming, as a business, is gradually emerging in the country. The cause of its popularity is that there is a requirement of little space making it feasible for a farmer with no land, as well as, it provides additional source of income in hilly areas facing problems of less employment opportunities. Rabbit farming can create a decent income, even part-time, for a farmer along with providing a sustainable way to provide protein-rich high quality meat to the farmer’s family. Breeding of rabbits can be done for their meat, hide and fur to make clothes and other products.

Rabbits can be easily fed with available greens from waste vegetables or those in the yard as well as they can be fed grains from the households. Meat of rabbit contains more protein and less fat than most other meats. Due to ease in its digestion, its meat can be fed to toddlers as well as aged people. The wool from Angora rabbits is of high quality and it is mixed with carpet wool of sheep which improves the quality of woollen to a great extent. 

Advantages of Rabbit farming:

  1. They are highly prolific with some females producing 25 to 50 kits (young ones of rabbit) per year.
  2. Meat of rabbit is rich in poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which comes under the category of white meat.
  3. Small groups (up to 50 numbers) can be used to rear rabbits in backyard of the house with kitchen waste as feed.
  4. Initial investment cost for rabbit farming is low along with quick returns (about six months after the establishment of the farm).
  5. They are the best producers of wool on per Kilogram body weight basis and require 30% less digestible energy to produce 1 kg of wool as compared to sheep.
  6. They also provide income from sale of kits, meat, pelt and manure.
  7. Rabbit manure is highly suitable for vermi-composting which provides excellent manure to be used as an organic fertiliser in agricultural fields.
  8. Rabbit’s wool is 6-8 times warmer than the contemporary sheep wool.
  9. Rabbits feed on forages of perse origins due to which they require very less quantity of costly concentrate feed and can be reared on roughage. 

Breeds of rabbit suitable for farming in India (according to the weather) are White Giant, Grey Giant, Flemish Giant, New Zealand White, New Zealand Red, Californian, Dutch and Soviet Chinchilla.

Methods of rabbit farming:

Rabbits can be raised in any of the two systems viz. deep litter system or cage system. Proper housing is necessary to protect the rabbits from inclement weather conditions of heat, rain and cold as well as from predator animals like cats and dogs. Sheds can be made in the backyard with a very less investment.

Feeding of farm rabbits:

High quality nutritious food must be fed to the farm rabbits for proper growth and good health. Grains, legumes and green fodders like Lucerne, Agathi, Desmanthus and kitchen wastes like carrot and cabbage leaves can be fed. Some amount of concentrate feed should also be fed. For 1 Kg body weight of rabbit, about 40 grams of concentrate food and 40 grams of green fodder is required along with ad libitum supply of fresh and clean drinking water.

Breeding in farm rabbits:

5 to 6 months of age is suitable for breeding in rabbits. Male rabbits at 1 year of age should be used for breeding purpose. Healthy rabbits should be chosen for breeding with proper age and body weight. Proper care of breeding male rabbits as well as that of pregnant females must be taken.

Care, management and marketing of farm rabbits:

Generally, diseases are less in rabbits. Healthy rabbits can be easily identified by their agility and shiny hair coat. No loop-holes in the management aspect should be left out by the farm manager. Local markets must be tried for the sale of rabbits along with the option of exporting to foreign countries. Also, help can be taken from various government and non-governmental organisations engaged in marketing of rabbits reared in farms.

Thus, from the above mentioned facts on various aspects of rabbit farming, we can conclude that it is a business with low investments and high profits just like swine farming. There is a high demand of fur obtained from Angora rabbits in India as well as in foreign countries due to which it can be a successful business venture. Rabbit’s meat is also consumed by a small population in India which can further add to the income obtained from fur marketing. Farm manager and the owner must dedicate themselves to the proper management of the farm, only then the farm will run smoothly to give high monetary profits to the owner and inspiring other people to accept it as a new business in the market.

Dr. Deepikesh Joshi1, Dr. Vijay Amrit Raj Panwar2, Dr. Mohit Budhalakoti3 and Dr. Surya Pratap Singh Chauhan4

  1. Assistant Professor, Department of Livestock Production Management, Apollo College of Veterinary Medicine, Jaipur (Rajasthan),
  2. Department of Livestock Production Management, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, GBPUAT, Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), 
  3. Department of Livestock Production Management, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, GBPUAT, Pantnagar (Uttarakhand), 
  4. Department of Livestock Production Management, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, GBPUAT, Pantnagar (Uttarakhand).

 Corresponding author: Dr. Deepikesh Joshi deepikeshjoshi@gmail.com