3 Tier Rat Cage

Feb 4, 2011

3 tier rat cage

Free Information On Grasscutter Farming In Nigeria

The grasscutter (Cane Rat) belongs to the order Rodentia. It is only second to the crested porcupine.

The grasscutter has the following attributes which make it’s farming (for subsistence or revenue) profitable.

1. Social acceptability:

No religious or cultural taboo.

2. Carcas: (Meat)

- Mature live weight is between 4 – 10 kg.

- Average dress percentage is between 65% excluding the head and entrails.

- Lean Meat (less fat % than in beef, mutton, and pork ).

3. Husbandary:

- The droppings (faeces) do not have offensive smell compared to those of Rabbit,Pigs etc.

4. Litter size:

Average litter size of 8

(litters Between 1—10 youngs at one pregnancy).

Generation Interval:

- Short interval.

However,It is worth mentioning that the cane-rat was taken out of the Wild(bush) for domestication to benefit man.Thus, the captive cane–rat is solely dependent on the keeper for its survival, and performance in the absence of free-ranging option.

THE GRASSCUTTER HOUSING:

i) Where to locate the cane- rat housing

-Far from very noisy environment to avoid stress.

- Far from bad odour to prevent illness

- Close to the residence of the breeder to ensure security, close monitoring and supervision.

ii) Features of cage:

There are two main types of cages

1) Colony Cages: Used for rearing grasscutter in groups

2) Individual case : used for rearing Uncastrated adult male grasscutter and also a quarantine area for sick or injured grasscutters.

Colony cages dimension:

L * W * H : 2 * 1 * 0.40Metre

Entrance : – L * W : 30 * 25 cm

Two entrances on each side is recommended.

Individual cages :

Dimension :- L * W * H : 0.5 * 0.45 * 0.30 Metre

Entrance :- L * W 18 *18

Both the colony and individual cages can be superposed one on top the other (up to 3 tiers)to form a compact Battery Cage.

Animal density per cage : –

1. Production Animals

1 male + 5 female (This numeric = A COLONY)

2. Weaned grasscutter (6 to 8 weeks old).

18 to 24 grasscutters

3. Young animals (3 to 4 months )

8 to 15 animals

NUTRITION :

Feeding Characteristics

First and foremost the grasscutter is a herbivore. However, forage is generally their best choice, yet poor in potein, but provides the animal with crude fibre and energy.

Hence, in its natural habitat, the grasscutter, in addition to the consumption of forage, resorts to other nutritional elements (like agricultural by product) which abound within its natural milieu to complete its meal course in order to grow and remain healthy.

Therefore, in close confinement, it is obligatory for the grasscutter breeder to provide these supplementary feed with the necessary values in quantity and quality as required for the animal’s growth , good health and reproduction.

Grasscutters pick feed with their mouth and use their sharp incisors to bite into the food (forage or agro by-product alike) in a way that a “tailor’ sewing machine” like sound is produced.

Characteristically, the grasscutter is often described as a wasteful consumer because it usually takes pain to remove (for its consumption) the tender inner part of the stalk of any forage which is succulent.

When the supplementary is also served, it attempts to pick out the maize grains or other choice ingredients which it cherishes most. The grasscutter nearly empties the feed through, in this way, a lot of the other feed elements in the composition is lost and cannot be recovered by the animals except in the hutch.

It is important to also note that grasscutters, like rabbits, practice coprophagy (that is the re-ingestion of their faeces). Contrary to some beliefs born out of ignorance of their habits, grasscutters do consume water. Grasscutters lap up water with their tongue when served in a trough. But when industrial drinkers with nipples are used, grasscutters re-adapt and suck at the drinkers.

3. NUTRIENTS

It has been earlier mentioned that although grasscutters are mainly herbivores, like other Rodents they also consume agricultural by–products, like grains, tubers, rhizomes.

When raised in closed confinement, grasscutters should be provided with the above, as well as other necessary mineral elements which constitute their supplementary feed.

Agricultural by Products:

a. Grains:-

- Maize (corn grain)

- Millet

- Sorghum

- Groundnut etc.

- Wheat

b. Tubers:

- Cassava

- Yam

- Potatoes

SUPPLEMENTARY FEED:

Proteins:

- roasted cowpea

- roasted soya beans

- cassava leaves

- groundnut tops

- cowpea tops

- fish meal

- leucaena leucocephala.

VITAMIN:

- Got from the pineapple leaves.(this will upset the milieu) the digestive organ set up, will be discussed later.

MINERAL:

- Salt lick and cooked raw bone of the cattle’s (Femur bone – boiling sterilizes the bone).

However, it is always advisable to sprinkle the mix up with Brewer’s yeast dissolved in water. This adds aroma that is highly favoured by the grasscutter.

WATER CONSUMPTION:

This is determined by an environmental factor (the quantity of water in the atmosphere) low temperature and less forage, leads to high rate of water been consumed, and vice versa.

REPRODUCTION IN GRASSCUTTER:

The principal objectives of a grasscutter breeder would be to reproduce good quality animals with a low rate of mortality, observed in both the kindled litters and the nursing doe.

However, It is worth mentioning for clear understanding some important terms used so far ;

A male grasscutter (cane-rat ) is otherwise referred to as A BUCK. (as in rabbits )

A female grasscutter (cane- rat ) ” ” ” ” —— A DOE.

A newly kindled young are referred to as ——- LITTERS.

An ideally recommended group of 1 male to 4 female is referred to as ——– A COLONY.

SELETION OF BREEDING STOCK:

Selection of foundation breeding stock must be based on the grasscutter’s good health (free from injury and deformities). Equally, it should be made from domesticated stock that has a history of high prolificity for doe selection and good virility for bucks’. Secondly,breeding stocks should be selected one month after weaning (2—3 months old), then the post weaning stress will have subsided.

SEXUAL BEHAVIOUR :

At about seven months of age the members of a colony must have been closing the age of puberty. The bucks when rised together, become constantly aggressive and hostile to each other and could fight each other to death, while the Does are quiet, accommodating and friendly to each other,thus the cane rat husbandary supports a polygamous culture (as in their natural habitat). So, a Buck could be put into a harem of 4 -5 Does. The Buck will then service the the Does one after the other. It is therefore important to state here that servicing or mating can only take place if the Doe is on heat.

FACTORS THAT AIDS THE APPEARANCE OF HEAT IN GRASSCUTTER DOE :

The following factors provokes heat and equally triggers ovulation in the Cane-rat Does

1. Persistant courting by the buck

2. Prolong daylight

3. Nutrition.

4. Isolation into solitary and sudden re-introduction of Buck.

SEXUAL CYCLE:

The sexual cycle of the grasscutter is made up of Two main periods namely ;

a. Diestrus / Rest period

b. Estrus /sexually active period.

SERVICING THE DOE :

In order to maintain the grasscutter polygamus culture, as obtainable in their natural milieu, for reproduction purpose. It is advisable to house a colony of 4 Does to be serviced by a Buck.

SERVICING METHOD :

Two possible methods are observed in the servicing of the grasscutter Doe

a Permanent /adlib mating method

b. Controlled mating method.

GESTATION AND KINDERLING :

As long as a Doe has accepted a Buck to mate, experience and observation made in our farm shows that there is a 95% chance that the Doe becomes Pregnant. Rarely an accidental abortion may occur. The gestation period of the grasscutter Doe is 154 +/- 2 days (5 months approximately). At the end of which, the Doe kindles.

Average litter size is usually from Four (4) to ten (10). The young litters are born with their eyes wide open and their coat well formed and are ready to suckle immediately after parturition.

LACTATION AND WEANING :

The grasscutter Doe has three pairs of teats hanging by the side rather than the underbelly. Funny enough the Does are very tolerant, any litter from itself, or the whole litter in the colony could be suckled by only a Doe at a time and another time any other Doe will do the same . This explains the reason why there is always a very low mortality rate (if not zero) and why they grow faster.

Weaning usually takes place when the young ones are six to eight weeks old, at about this time the Does could start practicing cannibalism.

MANAGEMENT OF A GRASSCUTTER FARM FOR PROFIT :

a. Stock operation

b. Hygiene in the grasscutter far.

c. Practicing good Breeding stock selection progamme.

d. Proper records keeping etc.

For further help on Grasscutter farming,contact:

Ismail AbdulAzeez,

The Managing Consultant,

The Thy Consulting,

Website:  www.thethyconsulting.com

Tel: 08023050835,07033632285.

About the Author

* Experience: Ten years of business and managment consulting…
* Philosophy: “If it is to be,it is up to me.”
* Primary focus: Provision of proven profitable business ideas.For further help on Grasscutter farming visit: www.thethyconsulting.com
* Hobbies: Reading and Teaching.

ZEITGEIST: MOVING FORWARD | OFFICIAL RELEASE | 2011


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