Rabbits, just like pigs, are monogastric or non uminant animals. They are medium-sized opping mammals with long legs, long ears and hort tails.

Rabbits are mainly reared for their meat. Rabbit meat is normally regarded as a white meat.

Terminology Used in Rabbit

Buck – An adult male rabbit

Doe – An adult female rabbit.

Kitten/warren – A young or baby rabbit.

Hutch – The house of rabbit.

Kiddling – The act of parturition in rabbit.

Pelt – The skin of rabbit.

Litter – All the young ones (rabbits) produced at the same time by one doe.

Sucking – Feeding of young ones on the mother’s breast milk

Dam – The mother of a set of young rabbits.

Sire – The father of a set of young rabbits.

General Characteristics of Rabbits

The general characteristics of rabbit include: 1. They have small medium-sized body.

2.They are easy to house.

3.Rabbits are very prolific animals or can produce many litters.

4.Rabbits have a short gestation period of 30 to 31 days.

5.They grow fast and reach maturity weight in about five to six months.

6.They are efficient converters of wide range of vegetable matter into meat.

7.The fur-covered skins can be processed as pelts for sale.

8.Rabbits are easy to handle or manage.

9.They have a weaning period of six to eight weeks.

10.They make good quality meat, more delicious and nutritious than that of chicken.

11.They are susceptible to stress.

12.The rate of cannibalism is very high.

13.They have high rate of disease resistance

Breeds of Rabbits

Common breeds of rabbits include:

(i) California white

(ii) Flemish giants

(iii) California red

(iv) Chinchilla

(v) New Zealand white

(vi) Champagne d’Argent

(vii) The Crosses

(viii) Angora

(ix) Lop

The California White: It is a lighter breed and the adults may attain a mature weight of 3.5kg 4.5kg. It is characterised by black markings on the ears, feet, tail and nose. It has a high growth rate and good flesh to bone ratio.

The Flemish Giant : This breed can weigh over 5kg and it is the largest of all the breeds. It is dark steel-grey in colour and produces a dense and hard pelt. It is a good meat producer.

The Chinchilla: It is a grey-bodied animal and it can weigh up to 5kg at maturity. It is one of the best fur or pelt producers and also a meat producer.

The New Zealand White: This is the most popular meat breed in use. It is a fur breed and can attain a mature weight of 4.5kg in eight months. It is a good converter of feed to meat with a high dressing percentage. It is also a fast maturing breed. Baital sust.

Angora: This breed requires a lot of care and attention. It is the only rabbit reared for its wool. Its most common colour is white. It has tuft of wool on its ears and feet.

Importance of Rabbit

1. Meat: The meat of rabbit is white, fine grained, tender and nutritious. The meat of rabbit is even more nutritious than that of poultry chicken.

2. Rabbit Skin or Pelt: This can be used

for making jackets, head-gears, carpets won or rugs and other decoration household wollo or ornaments.




Manure: It has been discovered that


rabbit manure is high in nitrogen and


show phosphorus and therefore can be used


to improve the fertility of the soil. pt no 4. For Research Purpose: At the National Veterinary Research Institute (N.V.R.I), Vom, rabbits are kept largely as laboratory animals.

Problems Militating against Rabbit Production in Nigeria

Major problems which militate against commercial production of rabbits in Nigeria include:

(i) Unpredictable breeding behaviour of rabbits.

(ii)Incidence of respiratory diseases, e.g., snuffles and pneumonia.

(ii) Inadequate sanitation and proper sanitation programmes.

(iv) High nest-box mortality of litters.

(v) Lack of ability to embark on mass production, because most operation in rabbitry cannot be automated.

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