Grasscutter farming (rearing) is a fast growing mini-livestock business that has increasing economic potentials. It is an agribusiness that yields fast income which is very profiting. You can become a millionaire over time as you keep to it with good rearing managements.
They are of the rodent family a very nice delicacy in many countries. Presently intensive production of grasscutter is ongoing in many African countries Nigeria inclusive.
The spiny fur on the back and the rounded nose distinguishes grasscutters from rats. It reaches a length of about 720cm when fully matured. Grasscutter belongs to the family of rodent which looks like porcupine although porcupines are bigger.
They deliver two times in a year; grow very big (fat) within a short time. A fully matured male weighs 4kg while the female weighs 3.5kg. It measures 45cm to 60cm in body weight. The body size of a fully grown male is about the same size of nine inches block.
There are different species of grasscutters but the most popular ones are the Thryonomis agregorianus (brown race) and the Thryonomis swinderianus (black race). You don’t mate animals of the same gene together it will result in ‘inbreeding‘.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO INTO GRASSCUTTER FARMING
Grasscutter rearing is fast, they are said to be prolific animals as a mature female litters (give birth to) an average of 4 baby grasscutters in six months. Their meat has great nutritional qualities which are; high in protein, low-fat, great taste and also socially acceptable than pigs because of some religious beliefs.
Grasscutters are herbivorous that is to say they feed on grasses. And grasses can be found anywhere around us. With good hygiene you won’t have to spend money on medical expenses.
They are easy to house you don’t buy food for them like poultry, fishes, pigs etc that is why many farmers that are into rearing are now venturing into it.
Grasscutters have short generation intervals; their gestation period is between 140-154 days (5 months).Many rodents have gone into extinct as a result of being hunted and killed in the wild, this has open an opportunity to small farmers to raise grasscutters in cages.
Their pens do not consume big space except you are rearing for a wide commercial purpose. You can rear grasscutters anywhere; in the garage, balcony, store, veranda, staircase etc.
Grasscutter farming has low mortality rate when compared to other animals that are also being reared example poultry.
HOW TO SET UP GRASSCUTTER CAGE
After acquiring a place, space or constructed a pen (house) for grasscutters. The next thing to do is to construct cages. Grasscutters are kept in pens inside their rearing place (shed). The number of pens will depend on the production objectives you plan to execute.
The pens should include:
- Pens for adult
- For mating
- For fattening the young grasscutters,
- For giving birth and feeding the young.
The recommended surface area per adult animal in the pen is 0.2m square. The layout of the pens depends on the kind of materials that are used in the construction.
Recommended materials to use for pens are metals (it can be moved about). Another one is brick pens (immovable). Avoid using bamboo wood, straw, mats and any similar materials because they can easily be eaten up by grasscutters. If you are using make sure you cover everything up with mesh wire because grasscutters gnaws on anything even metals.
When you are using metal the mesh size shouldn’t be bigger than 1/2×1/2 inches. So as to prevent the newly born grasscutter from falling through. Again lay another smaller size mesh wire on the floor of the cage to prevent feed wastage. Allow 3-4 inches space between the ground and the floor of the cage for easy collection of waste products.
THE CAGE DIMENSION
The cage dimension for a family are: the height 40cm, width 60cm, length 200cm. Create 4 partition of 40cm with a passage way of 15cmx15cm. The partition that separates the male from the females should not have a passage way. This is because the female grasscutters have high induced ovulation so the presence of a male amongst the females can interfere with their ovulation cycle.
A male can only be introduced to the females during mating (copulation). The 200 length is divided into 5 partitions (pens) which will be 40cm for each. The male will occupy 2 pens (partitions) because they need space for mating. The partition separating these pens should have a passage way of 15cmx25cm to allow movement within the two pens.
The three remaining cages don’t need any passages because the females will be occupying them. Each partition for each female for their littering.
HOW MUCH CAN START GRASSCUTTER FARMING?
The amount of money invested in grasscutter farming largely depends on;
- Availability of a secured housing unit in a suitable location.
- The number of start-up. If there is enough space and two families are used it therefore means #200,000 can guarantee an average start-up. A colony (family) is made up of one male and four females.
CHALLENGES OF GRASSCUTTER FARMING
Grasscutters eat a lot and are wasteful if you cannot dedicate time to it don’t venture into it except you employ a helping hand.
Feeding of grasscutter is much work and it becomes difficult or more stressful when they start multiplying.
There is the problem of breeding selection and techniques. Although much research and resources has been put in place for standardizing the techniques for grasscutter breeding (selection and improvement of stock rearing}. Still there should be adequate empowerment for successful breeding programs.
We have so many theoretical grasscutter farmers but very few experienced ones which hide information and will not want others to know. It takes 12 to 18 months to break even on grasscutter farming.
Every organism is susceptible to diseases, grasscutters has diseases but the knowledge of it is very shallow because of its novelty. It is new when you compare them to other livestock like poultry farming, piggery etc which has been there for ages.
Naturally grasscutters are very strong and resilient making it difficult to dictate any signs of illness. Sometimes they push themselves to breaking such that treatment becomes futile. They will appear strong one minute the next minute they stretch themselves on the floor within an hour they are dead.
Grasscutters feed on grasses, though there are some kind of concentrate feeds. They feed on maize, vegetables, some specific kitchen waste and industrial waste from breweries and food companies.
Locate fast food joints, hotels, eateries, bars, barbecues spots, road roasters, individuals, institutions, open market etc and sell to them. You can also sell to other breeders when the grasscutters are 3 months old.
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