Rabbit farming is one of the fast growing sector of agriculture in Nigeria, and it has been a huge source of income for many people and family including the person writing this.
It all started about five(5) years back when Nigeria began to import exotic breeds of rabbits into the country from other parts of the world, this led to the raising of giant rabbit, fast growing breeds, which the crosses of them began to improve the performance of the local indigenous breeds in Nigeria.
Presently, rabbit farming has become a large investment in Nigeria. Thousands of farmers are into rabbit farming and more are still joining. This is because, rabbits are easy to raise; they are easy to feed as you don’t need to spend a fortune in purchasing their feed.
There are many natural by-product and cheap to get materials you can use to feed your rabbit, an average concentrated feed for rabbit can be easily formulated with cheap ingredients aswell.
Rabbit Business is cost effective;
*To get started doesn’t cost a fortune,
*With one male and one female, you can start your farm,
*The gestation period is one month,
*A rabbit can give birth to 8 or 10kits at a go (I have experience 14kits at a go before in my farm).
If you would like to learn more about rabbit farming business in Nigeria, click here to get started.
Today, I’ll discuss the most common rabbit breeds that are found in circulation in Nigeria. ARBA has listed the ones that are recognized globally (there are about 50 rabbit breeds in the world) but in Nigeria right now, certain breeds are the topnotch and are worthy of recognition.
If you intent to start rabbit farming, below are the common breeds found in Nigeria
1. New Zealand White: this is the first breed that was recognized in Nigeria, it has been around for more than 20 years back. It is commonly known for its albino eyes and pure white fur, it’s average weight is 2.5kg while the pure line new Zealand White is attains up to 3.6kg at maturity.
This breed is known as a very good mother, they take care of their offsprings and deliver between 5-8 kits per litter. They also have the ability to thrive in any weather condition.
They are one of the best breed for meat as they have a good taste when slaughtered
2. Hyla: seemingly four years ago, hyla came on board while rabbit farming was at it’s peak in Nigeria. This suddenly became the choice of farmers because of its good body weight gain, fast growth rate, good production ability, because hyla seemed to be the most prolific breed in Nigeria.
Those times when Bella rabbit world began to off take weaners of rabbit in Nigeria in large quantity, Hyla breed was the leading option then, and it was a money breed for Farmers in Nigeria. Hyla breed changed the face of rabbit farming in Nigeria.
Hyla gives birth to their kits with larger weight even from day old till they are weaned, they breastfeed them well, they grow fast with good muscular development, you can read more about the hyla breed here.
The HYLA rabbit use to be the most expensive rabbit in Nigeria and those that have them, consider them a good money making opportunity indeed. A quality hyla rabbit conveniently attains between 3.8kg to 4.8kg and even I have bred 5.2kg hyla rabbit before.
3. American chinchilla: When it comes to exotic rabbit breed, after Hyla, the next on the list is American Chinchilla, they are good quality rabbit breed, best for both breeding and meat production, they also attain good body weight, as high as 3.5kg to 4kg.
They are beautiful breeds with grey coloured fur, box head shape for the buck and a long length body for the doe, they have the best mothering instinct that I have seen among rabbits, and their kits are fast growing. This is a good option I recommend for you if you want to start rabbit farming.
4. Dutch: this is one of the oldest rabbit breed, it has been known in Nigeria since the 90s. Though they are not fast growing their indigenous breeds are good for both meat and breeding purpose. Dutch can easily nurse 8 to 10 kits conveniently till they are weaned, they rarely fall sick and their survival rate is high.
In order to improve dutch in Nigeria, farmers crossed them with hyla, and the offsprings came out with dutch colors but hybrid vigor gene, they were fast growing, and they could survive adverse weather condition.
They produce good offspring under good management and they are the best at fostering other kits for nursing.
5. Angora: this is both an exotic and pet rabbit. The choice of angora is similar to German shepherd dog, the same likeness people have for the German shepherd dog is what they have for this breed of rabbit. It is highly sorted after and cherished by many.
Angora is beautiful to behold and fun to have, it is loved as pet because of its fur. And guess what? After Hyla, I think Angora has the largest demand in the rabbit industry, but painfully the volume of farmers who have them is low, simply because the volume produced is not enough, but if you want to do rabbit Business in Nigeria, please give consideration to Angora breed.
6. Harlequin: these are special breeds with unique coloration. They are good for both meat and as pets considering their color mixtures. They are giant rabbits as some of them attains 4.5kg body weight at full growth.
They also have good mothering instinct and their offsprings grow fast.
If you are looking for beautiful rabbit breed option, harlequin is a good one for your consideration, it has great market too and it is one of the best breed for slaughter.
7. The crosses of multiple breeds: the Nigerian rabbit industry has crosses of various breeds that has mixed together thereby making it difficult to classify under a name.
We have many other breeds like Rex, English spotted, agouti, chestnut, black giant, and more. But when you want to consider meat production then you have to give consideration for cross breeding, with cross breeding, you will manufacture giant breeds, fast growing breeds.
That is why periodically, I do cross breed two exotic rabbits. Their offspring comes out as a development and an upgrade of both parent, they grow faster, attain great body size and muscular development, this is the best way to manufacture meat rabbit.
I cross only pure breed (i.e Hyla to Hyla or Angora to Angora) if it’s meant for breeding stock but if the rabbit is for consumption sake, cross breeding is the best way to manufacture fast growing breed that will develop into hybrid vigor and have more meat within a short period of time.
I hope you are enlightened by reading this article
If you want to get started with rabbit Farming in Nigeria, and you need some mentoring, consultancy or quality rabbit breed to get started, you can call me or reach me on whatsapp via 07066784204.