Housing and Feed Management Practices among Rabbit Keepers

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Housing and Feed Management Practices among Rabbit Keepers is a well-researched topic, it can be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research

Abstract

The study ascertains housing and feeds management practices among rabbit keepers in the Enugu State of Nigeria. The Snowball sampling technique was used to get at 67 respondents for the study. A structured interview schedule/questionnaire was used to collect data from the respondents. Outdoor cages were used by 85.1% of the respondents to house rabbits and about 40% considered temperature as the most important factor when sitting rabbit hutches. Most (92.5%) of the respondents used zinc roofing for rabbit hutches while 89.6% used wood in hutch floor construction and 94% used wood in constructing the hutch walls. A greater proportion (66.6%) of the respondents used wood as bedding material. All (100%) the respondents cleaned their hutches. About 60% cleaned at least once a week. The majority (79.1%) fed rabbits with locally available forages, while 20.9% fed with a combination of local forages and commercial feeds. Potatoe leaf (Solanum tuberosum) was the most (59.7%) used to forage, followed by sow thistle (Sonchus) and goosegrass (Galium aparine) (53.7%) each among others. The majority (98.5%) of the respondents did not dry forages before feeding rabbits. About a third (32.8%) agreed that there are forages that are harmful to rabbits. The most observed harmful forages, were fresh cassava leaf (Manihot utilissima) (66.7%), spear grass (Heteropogon contortus) (23.8%), and basil leaf (Occimomum Basilicum) (9.5%). Respondents perceived scarcity of forages during dry season (M= 2.92) as the most serious constraint to rabbit feeding, followed by poor quality of available feed (M= 2.22). The most essential reason for low rabbit production is low demand for rabbits (37.3%). There is need for training programmes to be organized by extension agents with the support of governmental or non-governmental organizations, aimed at sensitization of the farmers on the benefits of rabbit production and the importance of rabbit meat.

Introduction

There is a pressing need for increased livestock production,
given the rapidly growing demand for animal protein, as well
as other animal products and the important contribution of
livestock to the incomes and welfare of rural poor [1].
Shortage of protein, particularly those of animal origin is
prevalent in most parts of Africa. It has been estimated that
the daily minimum crude protein requirement of an adult in
Nigeria varies between 65 and 85g per person. However, it is
recommended that 35g of this minimum requirement should
be obtained from animal products [2]. A review of the data of
food supplies available for consumption in different
countries shows that the per caput protein intakes in
developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, is comparatively
low. Not only is the total protein supply deficient but the
quality of dietary protein available is inferior to that
consumed in developed countries [2]. To ensure adequate supply of animal protein to the rapidly growing population of
Nigeria, the output of animal products has to be increased
especially by short-cycle animals such as rabbits, poultry and
pigs [3]. Unfortunately, poultry and pigs require feed sources
which are in direct competition with man, while rabbits can
be produced from the enormous forages and feed materials
that freely abound in the tropics [4].
The rabbit has some unique advantages which make them
a good specie of animal to combat protein shortages. Among
these advantages are their high growth rate, high efficiency
in converting forage to meat, short gestation period, and high
prolificacy, relatively low cost of production, high
nutritional quality of rabbit meat which includes low fat, and
sodium levels. It also has a high protein level of about 20.8%
and its consumption is bereft of cultural and religious biases
[5]. However, low productivity of rabbit has limited their
potential to improve the living standards of farmers in terms
of income earning, animal protein requirement and
significant contribution to rural development. As a result,
rabbit production is left in the hands of secondary school
students, who are now the main rabbit farmers in Enugu
State (Personal observation).

Brand

YourPastQuestions Brand

Additional information

Type

Project Topic and Material

Category

Agricultural Extension

No of Chapters

5

Reference

Yes

Format

PDF

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