Problems and prospects of rabbit production in Nigeria - a review
Keywords: Rabbit, Production, Problems, Prospects, Animal protein.
AbstractPopulation growth in the developed countries is stabilizing while that of developing countries including Nigeria is still increasing rapidly. This calls for increasing the production of livestock to meet the protein demand of the populace. Rabbits are characterized by small body size, short gestation period, high reproductive potential, rapid growth rate, genetic diversity, and their ability to utilize forages. Their by-products serve as major diet components and are devoid of fat thus making them suitable important source of protein. Rabbit meat is of high quality, being high in protein and low in fat content. Rabbit production can be integrated into small farming systems, with the rabbits being fed on crop residues, weeds, waste fruits, vegetables and poultry droppings. The manure can be used as fertilizer for crops and gardens. The housing systems and equipment examined were cages, feeders and other equipment for rabbits can be made using readily available materials such as split bamboo and raffia palm. Limitations to rabbit production in developing countries include the susceptibility of the animals to heat stress, and the degree of management skill necessary to raise rabbits successfully. This study further suggests areas of research needed on the nutritional value of tropical forages and by-products for rabbits. It is apparent that in many areas in developing countries, rabbit production could be an effective means of converting forages and by-products into high quality animal protein for human consumption. The study provides a benchmark for the understanding of prospects of rabbit production in Nigeria. Keywords: Rabbit, Production, Problems, Prospects, Animal protein.
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