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Rearing of rabbits and guinea pigs
Rabbits and guinea pigs belong to the group of farm animals referred to as small stock. If raised under suitable conditions, their products can be very high. Many people keep rabbits and guinea pigs as a hobby while some keep them to make money.
Importance Of Rearing Rabbits
- Their flesh is good for meat.
- The fur of the rabbit is good for making hats.
- Rabbit skin is good for leather work.
- Their females can produce young ones about four times in one year. Meaning more money.
- They are useful for research purposes.
Breeding Of Rabbits
The mature male rabbit is known as a buck. The mature female is called a doe. The young rabbit is also called a doe. A mature pregnant doe requires sufficient space so that there will be no overcrowding when the young ones are born. The doe, therefore, requires one pen while the litter, i.e. its young ones require one pen each at birth. The buck is used to mate the doe every alternate day until pregnancy occurs. The doe is usually taken to the buck for mating. The pregnancy period (gestation) in rabbits is about 31 days.Hence, a doe can bear young ones four times a year. The young ones are weaned after about four weeks.
Management Of Rabbits And Guinea Pigs
Rabbits and guinea pigs need very good care. They need good housing, feeding and protection from insects and diseases. Good management helps to increase the
Rabbits and guinea pigs are kept in cages for safety from harsh weather and predators. Mature rabbits are kept singly in hutches, usually made of wooden or metal material. Guinea pigs are reared in cages or deep litter. The floor of hutches is usually made of concrete for easy clearing. The floor should be made to slope backwards to allow for drainage. The roof is made of corrugated iron sheets. A wooden nesting box must be kept inside the cage for the pregnant ones together with feeding and drinking equipment.
Rabbits and guinea pigs feed on a variety of food items, such as hay, green vegetables, roots, grains, concentrates, pellets, dry bread, kitchen waste and minerals. All available food and water are kept in the nesting box.
- State three importance of rearing rabbits.
- Mention two ways of properly managing a rabbit.
- Describe the process of breeding in rabbits.
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