If you have an interest in learning how to start rabbit farming business, then this manual will guide you.
Starting a rabbit farm goes beyond building a rabbit hutch and stocking it with rabbits.
You need to also learn the business from an expert and apply other tips that will guarantee your success.
In this article, you will learn what rabbit farming is all about and how profitable this niche is.
You will also learn the different equipment you need for rabbit farming and steps that will make you profitable in the business.
Table of Contents
- What is rabbit farming?
- Why do people keep rabbits?
- Is rabbit farming profitable?
- Rabbit farming for beginners
- Beginners Guide: How to start rabbit farming
- 1. Learn from a rabbit farmer near you.
- 2. Decide the purpose of the rabbit farming business
- 3. Select a good location for rabbit farming
- 4. Purchase rabbit farming equipment
- 5. Construct a good rabbit housing
- 6. Choose rabbit breed from a trusted rabbit farmer
- 7. Employ more labour for the rabbit farm
- 8. Feed the rabbits properly
- 9. Maintain proper health management program for the rabbits
- 10. Sell the rabbits and make profit
- Summary of how to start rabbit farming business
- Recommendations for further reading
What is rabbit farming?
Rabbit farming involves the practice of breeding, fattening and raising domestic rabbits as livestock for their meat, fur, or wool.
Another name for rabbit farming is cuniculture.
Rabbits [Oryctolagus cuniculus] are small animals or micro-livestock that have long legs which they use to hop around.
You can also regard rabbits as pseudo-ruminants because they eat a lot of plant stuff and roughage but do not regurgitate like ruminants.
Why do people keep rabbits?
There are many reasons for rearing rabbits.
Many farmers rear rabbits for meat while others keep rabbits as pets.
For scientists, rabbit is an important laboratory animal for research purposes.
Mostly, medical laboratories use rabbits for testing new medical products, nutritional studies and many more.
Researchers prefer rabbits because they are small and do not occupy a large space.
Other reasons for keeping rabbits is for their fur or wool which is good for producing different types of clothing.
Is rabbit farming profitable?
Rabbit farming has the potential to be one of the most profitable livestock farming business you can think of.
The reason is that rabbit farming is more convenient and easy to practice.
Just like starting a poultry farming business, rabbit farming requires just a little capital and a small space.
As a beginner, you can start with as little as 2 does and 1 buck.
The doe is the female rabbit while the buck is male.
Because rabbits are very prolific breeders, with just 2 does and 1 buck, you can have as many as 50 rabbits in a year.
However, that’s possible if all conditions remain constant.
In reality, the survival and reproduction rate of the rabbits will depend on how you care for them.
Rabbits often give birth to large litters, and they do so up to two or three times a year.
Also, rabbits grow very fast and reach market size quicker than most other livestock.
As a result, you can have a quick return on your investment and enjoy your profits.
That’s not all, rabbit droppings make excellent fertiliser.
They contain more nutrients for plants than droppings from other animals and are useful fertiliser for growing vegetables
So, for entrepreneurs who find interest in animal husbandry or livestock farming, commercial rabbit farming can prove to be very profitable.
Rabbit farming for beginners
As a beginner in the rabbit farming business, this is where your journey begins.
While it is true that you can make a lot of profit from rabbit farming, you need to lay a good foundation.
It is our culture at Agro4africa to ensure that every farmer begins his farming business with a business plan.
Having a business plan for your rabbit farming venture is the best and only true foundation to lay.
The rabbit farming business plan will guide you as you venture into this agribusiness.
It will help you make accurate financial projections for the business and also help you identify your target market.
The feasibility study that comes with writing a business plan will help you know the ins and outs of the business before starting.
With that much knowledge of the business, the possibility of failure becomes very slim for you.
But that’s not all you need to succeed as a rabbit farmer.
Let’s look at other success factors below.
Beginners Guide: How to start rabbit farming
The 10 steps that will guide any beginner on how to start rabbit farming include the following;
1. Learn from a rabbit farmer near you.
Well, I can’t overemphasize how important it is for you to get a beginner knowledge of how rabbit farming is done.
Agro4africa can do so well to provide enough basic knowledge and share tips that will help you.
however, to do the business properly, you need someone who will guide you all the way as you journey this path.
There may be hundreds of online tutorials about rabbit farming, but my best bet is for you to find a rabbit farm near you.
Learn first-hand from an expert.
You will also benefit from being able to call the person in the future in case you run into a situation.
To easily locate a rabbit farmer near you, simply search for “rabbit farm near me” on Google.
You will find a list of locations where you can learn how to rear rabbits.
2. Decide the purpose of the rabbit farming business
As you already know, different farmers rear rabbits for different purposes.
Most farmers rear rabbits for their meat while some rear rabbits as pets.
In the same vein, there are some farmers who rear rabbits solely for medical research purposes.
These ones follow strict management rules to ensure that the rabbits are fit for the research.
Besides meat, pet and medical research purposes, there are farmers who rear rabbits for their fur and wool.
Clothing industries buy rabbit furs to make clothes and duvets.
As a beginner in rabbit farming, you should choose the market you want to satisfy and focus on that.
While you may still be able to serve all markets, you should focus on the area where you have more strength.
A person who rears rabbits for meat may not likely be a good person to get a pet rabbit from.
I’m just saying.
Pet lovers will not like to buy rabbits from a butcher because they are mostly against animal cruelty.
So, choose wisely and focus on the growth of your business.
3. Select a good location for rabbit farming
Economists agree that land is a major factor that affects productions.
The same is true for almost every kind of agribusinesses.
Location is an important factor to consider when starting your rabbit farming business.
When siting your rabbitry, you must make sure that the location meets the following criteria;
- The rabbit farm must have an accessible road
- There has to be a source of fresh water in the rabbit farm.
- You need to ensure the location has a good power supply
- Also, ensure that the location is wide enough for the scale of rabbit farming you want to do.
- Make sure that the farm is not far from the market
- In addition, the rabbitry should be close to a veterinarian in case of an emergency and routine checks.
If the location meets all of these criteria, then you just hit gold.
However, it is possible that the location will not meet one or two of the criteria.
Well, don’t let that deter you from starting your rabbit farming business.
But you must make sure you quickly find a solution to it.
4. Purchase rabbit farming equipment
Besides all the simple farm equipment every farmer must farm on the farm, here are some important ones for rabbit farming.
a. Feed containers
This is helpful when you need to feed the rabbits. You can have two of these, one for rabbit food pellets and the other for fresh food.
b. Water containers
For providing fresh water to the rabbits at all times of the day. You may also choose to install an automatic water supply system in the rabbitry.
c. Nail clippers
For clipping the nails of rabbits so that it does not get caught in the floor wire of a cage.
A good wire brush comes in handy for removing dried manure droppings on the hutch floors when cleaning.
This helps to keep hay off the floor. These can either be hung outside of a cage or hutch to preserve space or placed inside.
5. Construct a good rabbit housing
Before buying rabbits it is important to decide on their housing – the type of cage, size and position.
You can start raising rabbits in either a deep litter or using the cage farming methods.
You may decide to buy cages but that is the most expensive way to go.
It is more economical to build your own rabbit cages.
The basic requirements for a good rabbit cage are;
- It must be safe and secure to protect the rabbits from sun, rain and wind.
- The rabbit hutch should have a minimum of 0.6 m² floor space and a minimum of 0.5 m in height. This provides enough room for the rabbits to hop from one end to the other comfortably. It also allows them to lie down full length without touching the sides.
- A good cage must protect the rabbits from all predators including dogs, snakes, wild cats, rats and raptor birds like owls.
- The cage must also protect the rabbits from heat. Temperatures higher than 25℃ are a problem for rabbits. So, ensure there is enough ventilation for them.
- Also, the cage should be able to protect young rabbits from excessively colde weather.
- If you keep rabbits in wire cages, ensure that you provide them with a resting pad. This protects their feet front being on the wire all the time. You can make the rest pad from a wooden plank or a piece of carpet tile.
6. Choose rabbit breed from a trusted rabbit farmer
There are many rabbit breeds available throughout the world.
However, the among the best rabbit breeds available for commercial farming are; Dark Gray (internal), Fox, Dutch, New Zealand White, New Zealand Black, New Zealand Red, Belgium White and Chinchilla etc.
These rabbit breeds are very popular and highly productive.
You can choose a proper breed for your production, depending on the availability of breeds in your area.
Another condition that may affect your choice of the breed will be the purpose of your rabbit farming business.
You can refer to step 2 above to learn more about the different purpose of rabbit farming.
While some rabbits are best for meat, some are good for furs or medical research purposes.
As a quick tip, ensure you buy stocking rabbits from a reliable farmer.
If you are not sure, ensure you go with a veterinary doctor to assess the health status of the rabbits.
How many rabbits should I start with?
A good number to start with is two adult female rabbits and one adult male rabbit.
With two does and a buck, you will get as many as 40 to 50 baby rabbits each year.
Rabbits that are 5 to 6 months of age are suitable for breeding.
7. Employ more labour for the rabbit farm
Employing more labour is a thing of choice that comes as a result of the growth of your rabbitry business.
Not only that, but you can also hire workers for your farm if you have a day job and need someone to run the rabbit business on the side.
That way, you can have multiple sources of income for yourself and your family.
Another reason you may want to hire labour for the rabbit farm is to gain experience from an expert.
In this case, you may employ an expert rabbit farmer who has a small farm but lack funding.
Investing in such a partnership is a good way to earn massive percentage of the profits that follow.
You don’t need to involve yourself with all the dirty works.
Just let your money do the job for you while your partner runs the business successfully for you.
To be frank, it is very difficult to find “Mr. Right” who will work in your farm diligently and honestly.
So, to bring the best out of your workers, I will advise you to invest in them and take good care of them.
In most cases, a happy employee would do anything to make sure your business succeed.
8. Feed the rabbits properly
Fresh Hay is the most important part of a rabbit’s daily intake.
So, you should feed them a daily diet of mostly hay.
The best type of high-quality grass hay for rabbits include Timothy, orchard or brome and meadow hay.
In addition, you can feed the rabbits fresh vegetables, and a smaller amount of concentrate feed pellets.
Rabbits need a lot of food for proper growth both in size and in weight.
To gain 1kg of body weight, rabbits need about 40 grams of concentrate food and 40 grams of green fodder.
In addition, you have to provide them with enough supply of fresh and clean drinking water.
With an assurance of a proper day to day diet, you will grow some of the biggest and healthiest rabbits.
This brings us to the next tip on how to start rabbit farming business which is health management in rabbit farming.
9. Maintain proper health management program for the rabbits
Good management practices in rabbit farming include handling, feeding, breeding, disease control, sanitation etc.
You need to protect your rabbit farm from all kinds of diseases that affect rabbits otherwise, you will count loses.
First, you want to follow strict sanitation practices in rabbit farming.
This is because improper or inadequate sanitation may lead to various infections through spreading of infective germs.
Also, you have to store the rabbit feed properly and protect pellets from moisture.
If you allow water to touch the concentrate feed pellets, it may lead to the development of mould and bacteria.
When it comes to handling the rabbits, do so gently and carefully so that you do not frighten them.
Careless handling or improper security may lead to fracture and injury since it will continue to struggle to escape.
To lift rabbits, simply grasp the loose skin of the neck region by one hand and placing the other hand below the hindquarter to support the weight.
Do not forget to also vaccinate the rabbits and ensure you have some more vaccines and medicines in stock.
10. Sell the rabbits and make profit
This is the final stage of the rabbit farming business.
You need to sell your products to generate revenue and profits.
But the question is “How can I make profits from rabbit farming?”
Well, some of the answers to this question I already mentioned at the beginning of this conversation.
But to give you a summary, here are the various ways to make money from rabbit farming.
- Sell rabbit fur and pelts: selling rabbit furs to clothiers for producing clothes and wool is one way to make money form rabbit farming.
- Collect and sell rabbit Manure: rabbits droppings are rich manure for crop farming. You may sell the rabbit dung to vegetable farmers and other crop farmers to improve soil yield.
- Raise rabbits as pets: rabbits are really cosy to touch so, most people love to have them as pets. You can make profits from selling live rabbits as pets.
- Prepare rabbit as meat: This is the major reason most people go into rabbit farming in the first place. Rabbit meat comes as an alternative for chicken, pork and beef that are rampant.
- Sell breeding stock to other farmers: If you own a very large farm, you can become a major supply of rabbit breeding stock to other farmers.
- Raise rabbits for medical research: doctors and pharmaceuticals need rabbit for medical research. So, you have the opportunity of making money by selling to them.
- Offer veterinary services: if you know how to administer drugs and vaccines to rabbits, you can also sell that service to rabbit owners.
Summary of how to start rabbit farming business
It’s been a long read and I believe you have learned the basic requirements for starting a successful rabbit farming business.
Now, it’s your turn. I need to know what you will do with this information right away.
If you are a beginner to the rabbit farming business, are you going to search for “rabbit farmers near you” on Google to learn from an expert?
Or perhaps, you have done all the preliminaries and what to start building a rabbit housing.
Which stage are you in currently?
Please, let us know your journey so far in the comment section.
Most importantly, click on the social media buttons on this page to share this article with everyone you know.
This will motivate us to write more on this topic.
Until our next article, happy farming.
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