With plans of reviving, sustaining and developing the rabbit industry in Ghana, Julius and Moses, co-founders of the Rabbit Ghana Association (RABGHA), deem it fit to be publishing timely articles to advertise the rabbit industry and also educate its members and the public at large on issues related to the industry. Having the potency of creating a great ‘hobby-nomic’ opportunity while supporting the huge import of poultry and livestock (meat protein) into the country, the current state of the rabbit industry including its related practices within the country has to be revised in order to achieve this (this relates to even the ‘experienced’ rabbit farmers).
There are many reasons people keep rabbits and these reasons correlate with the type of rabbit picked for breeding; be it for fun/fancy, wool, fur, show and meat. These various types of rabbit are classified also as small, medium and large breed according to their body size and matured weight. With the commercial broiler rabbits, they fall in the category of both the meat and medium breed rabbits which largely have a matured weight around 4.8kg to 5.5kg like the New Zealand, California, Chinchilla, Satin, and Cinnamon rabbit breeds.
Broiler rabbits are kept for meat and they grow fast to attain a live weight of about 2kg in about 100 days (taking into consideration good feeding and farm practices) here in the tropics. The broiler rabbits are often kept under intensive system of production where the hutches are arranged in a well ventilated room or shelter. The intensive system often see the weaning of the kits (baby rabbits) from the does (mother rabbit) as early as three to four weeks due to the early re-mating of the doe; between two-four weeks after kindling. This kind of production is marked with a very good farm management practice as taught and practiced by RABGHA and a well balanced pelleted feed as produced by Gamma Farms.
The New Zealand, being widely used for commercial breeding, is often used because they have better mothering abilities, large litter sizes (averagely 7 live kits), better meat to born ratio , faster growth rate, better adult weight (5.4kg) as compared to most other medium breeds and last but definitely not least, have Snow White fur.
The California which has an average litter size of 6 and also better meat to bone ration is also used for meat production since the adult weight can reach 4.9kg. Commercial Rabbit farming must be treated as a ‘real’ business where the various components of production are taken into consideration. Rabbits grow very fast at the earlier stages of their lives (that is, they keep doubling their weight rapidly till about 90 days) with FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) often around 1:3 especially when fed on well balanced pellets. The FCR simply means the young rabbits take about 3kg of pelleted feed to gain an additional 1kg of live weight. This FCR reduces as the animal grows and becomes almost constant (1:5) normally from three months going which eventually stops when the animal attains its matured weight. So a good look at the FCR is a guide for any commercial rabbit farmer to determine how much (cost) of feed is required to grow a rabbit to a specific weight (like 1kg, 2kg,3kg of meat rabbit). So if a 45kg bag of feed costs GH¢ 58.00, it simply means 1kg of that feed cost approximately GH¢ 1.30. So, a rabbit farmer can use this price together with the FCR to determine the cost in raising a 2kg broiler rabbit for commercial meat purpose.
Normally, it requires an average of 4kg of formulated feed to gain an additional 1kg of broiler rabbit meat and at a worse performance this should not exceed 6kg of feed for 1kg of rabbit meat. Feeding accounts for approximately 70% of the cost of production. So again, reconsidering the GH¢ 58.00 per 45kg of feed, which gave us an approximate figure of GH¢ 1.30 for 1kg of feed; it means any good rabbit farmer using the New Zealand or California rabbits would have spent GH¢ 10.40 on each 2kg live weight at and FCR of 1:4 and GH¢15.60 on each 2kg live weight at an FCR of 1:6 as cost of feed. So including factors like transportation, medication, hutches, labor, farm maintenance and others which commutatively should not be more than 30% of the cost of production, any rabbit farmer can make some good margins of profit for each rabbit sold for meat depending on the market price. Factors like lack or inadequate proper training by a professional or qualified institution such as is provided by RABGHA, spread of terminal illness on farm, poorly chosen breeds, and inferior feed amongst others, can be the setback to these facts.
These above calculations and facts make the rabbit industry indeed a good avenue to earn a decent living either on part time basis or as a full enterprise and can go a long way in reducing unemployment and increase in the social vices pandemic within our communities and country as a whole, and also bridging the demand for meat in Ghana since it costs far less in raising rabbits and yields much more than poultry. The rabbit and its meat boasts of some great attributes like juicy meat, short gestation period (30 days), small size, quality meat composition, doesn’t compete with humans over feed , great for people with cardiovascular ailments, those on diet, etc makes it a good venture for anyone to invest.
With each breeding doe expected to have an annual live weaned bunnies of at least 40 over here in the tropics (7 or 8 kindling), a good rabbit business farmer having a hundred doe unit can have an average of 650 rabbits produced every 2 months under this intensive system and would have made an estimated annual gross profit of GH 11,700.00 should he/she had even made a net profit of GH¢3.00 on each rabbit sold for meat. Meaning, the good rabbit farmer can be making at the very least, a monthly salary of GH¢ 975.00 with only 100 breeding doe. This indeed is a potential job avenue for everyone.
Really eager to start now with the right training from RABGHA and start seeing profits? Just contact Moses and Julius on; 0553801045 or 0240956276 or whatsapp: 0262176420
Long live Ghana and long live the RABBIT GHANA ASSOCIATION.
About the Author, Gagbah Moses Mallaghan.
Moses co-founded the Rabbit Ghana Association (RABGHA). RAGBHA provides a bridged network of breeders and buyers and can help you start your own business and become profitably self-employed. His partner Julius Fiadzo, founded Central Rabbitry and Trading Enterprise (CRaTe). If you are serious about doing rabbit business, call them on +233 240 956 276 or +233 553 801 045. Alternatively, Whatsapp this number +233 262 176 420 to get your rabbitry started.