There are a lot of good reasons why Grasscutter farming is increasingly gaining popularity in Africa. Greater Cane Rat better known as Grasscutter belongs to the rodent family and is very closely related to the porcupine. They look alike, but the porcupine is bigger. The spiny fur on the back and rounded nose distinguish Grasscutter from true rats. It reaches a length of about 720 mm when fully mature.d Grasscutter farming will make you a minimum of N3million each year if you're taking it serious.
Grasscutter farming - a manual for beginners
Grasscutter Cage or Pen?
The grasscutter pen or house has to be built to be adequately spacious. In setting it up, you must separate the region they sleep from the region they carry out any other form of activity. This is especially important because grasscutters hate to sleep where they feed.
When placing grasscutters in their pens, you should ensure that each colony would be about 1 male to 4 to 6 females. Two fully grown males cannot live together, and would fight till one is dead. But by inserting a colony of one male to about four females in a cage, you'll be assured that they’d live peacefully and have an upscale replica rate.
In constructing your grasscutter cages, ensure it adheres to a close dimension of 180cm in length, 60cm in width, and 45cm in height. They should all contain separate grasscutter colonies and be built in such a way that the temperature remains stable at all times. Additionally the cage ought to keep the colonies secure from potential pests like snakes, soldier ants, and humans. You can guarantee ants don't got any access by running engine oils around their pens and close areas; particularly throughout the rainy season.
Choosing a Breed
In selecting the grasscutter breed you wish to rear, it’s vital to choose one that’s most demanded for in your country or that's accepted in the regions you intend to ship out to. The Thryonomys Swinderianus for example are very popular in West Africa, whereas the Thryonomys Gregorianus are most well liked in Central and East Africa.
Once you’ve determined what breed you intend to rear, you can purchase 4 healthy females and 1 large and healthy male for a start to make one colony. The healthy state of your grasscutters is crucial to aid rapid reproduction. Since fertility is the most important thing in rearing animals, make sure you can purchase the healthiest grasscutters you can find.
If you’re operating with a really massive budget, you'll be able to purchase plenty of colonies to start with.
Feeding the Grasscutters
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Feeding your grasscutters is a lot cheaper than any other farm animal. Since they’re fruit-eating animals, the bulk of their diet lies majorly on grass. The most common grasses they’re fed with are napier grass or Elephant grass. They can also be fed with Congo grass, Guinea grass, groundnut, maize, cassava, sweet potato, rice, legumes, plantain, paw paw, pineapple, roots of oil & coconut palms, and most importantly, sugar cane.
Due to the regular feeding with rich (healthy) meals at all intervals of your grasscutters , they can gain weight quickly and reach market size within a short time.
The cane rats typically like to drink liquid with artificial tastes, e.g palm wine (which is basically why they destroy oil palm plantations). In a privately grown setting, they'll be fed with water that has very little additives in it.
The grasscutters in the weaning stage can stay with their mothers for about four to eight weeks. But when they’re in the wild or moving together as a family, they can all be with their mothers for up to four months. By the time they’re about seven - eight months old, they can be separated from their mothers and placed with the mature opposite gender, for mating to occur.
The male grasscutters reach their pairing stage at the age of seven months, whereas the females reaching their pairing stage once they’re about eight months old. The mating period should last 140 days, and should be resorted with different males if after 160 days, the female grasscutters show no signs of pregnancy.
Grasscutters are generally great for rearing because of their fast reproduction rate which begins about seven months after birth. They can be about 4 to 10 babies per reproduction cycle, which usually happens two times a year. With their market price going for as high as 7,000 Naira for each animal, 10 females could give birth to 200 grasscutters in a year, which would make about ₦1,400,000.
A Short Feasibility Study On Grasscutter Farming
- Initial Start-up Capital (In Naira);
- 1 Colony = 5 grasscutters (1 male & 4 females) = ₦55,000;
- 5 Colonies = 25 grasscutters = ₦275,000;
- Cage/Housing = ₦80,000 for 5 colonies;
- Feeding Cost = ₦40,000 per year;
TOTAL = ₦395,000.
Expected Income (In Naira)
- 1 female gives birth to an average of 4 to 10 grasscutters in half-dozen months.
- 5 females can provide you with an average of 20 to 50 grasscutters within half-dozen months.
- 20 grasscutters x 5 colonies = 100 grasscutters within 6 months.
- In 1 year, you may expect a minimum of 200 grasscutters.
- The grasscutters weigh between 6 to 10kg at maturity.
- Assuming you sell each for ₦7,000;
- ₦7,000 x 200 = ₦1,400, 000.
Challenges of Grasscutter Farming
The major challenges of grasscutter farming are the technicalities involved in running a grasscutter farm and also the danger of pests and diseases.
Grasscutter farming is one among the usually overlooked agribusinesses that flips in high revenues. With only about 0.2% grown domestically out of about 80,000 tonnes of grasscutters consumed yearly in Nigeria, the opportunities for scale exceeds most farmers’ expectations.
If you’re unsure of an agribusiness to venture into and you would like something relatively simple, less costly to run, and still extremely profitable, grasscutter farming may be the best bet for you.