How to start grasscutter farming

overview

Grasscutter is once of the lucrative livestock business around the world and the second largest rodent in Nigeria. It breeds successfully in captivity and is capable of reproducing twice annually with litter size vary from two to six.

 

They are primarily vegetarian and can be raised to maturity entirely on fresh grasses.

They prefer plants with high moisture content and soluble carbohydrates.

When fully grown, the body length varies between 42 and 58cm, its tails measure between 22 to 30cm, the average adult weight is 3kg for female and 4.5 to 5kg for adult male, The young are born with their eyes open and the coat fully developed and are able to follow the mother immediately after birth.

 

How to start grasscutter farming

To start grasscutter farming am advising you to start with families.

A family consists of one male to four females, in all you can start with eight females and two males it depends on your capitals status.

House management

If you take look at grasscutter or great cane rat you find out that the animal is one of the neat animals that live in room and parlor i hope you know what i mean that the animal love to live, in a room and parlor, the reason is that grasscutter will not sleep where they eat. Therefore the house should be neat and be cleaned every day which will assist their best performance and to keep them healthy.

Breeding

They can be bred either in cages or under an intense management system or in a walled enclosure under a semi-intense management system.

For example, if you have a grasscutter family that is 4 females and one male, the dimension of the cage should be 180cm in length, 60cm in breadth and 45cm high.

Also, the production building must be designed to protect the animals from extremes of temperature and humidity.

Predators and thieves must also be wades off from their house.

Feeding management

Elephant grass the major grasscutters food

Grasscutters are herbivorous animals whose source of food is basically 70 to 80% from the forest.

Their major food is Elephant grass or Napier grass. They also love to eat certain gramineous plant with thick succulent stalks such as sugarcane, Guinea grass, Gamba grass and so on.

In my next post, I’ll talk about all types of grasscutter food you need to know.

Grasscutter also feed on palm wine and that is why they destroy oil palm plantation, they take their water mostly from the field and go to the river during the dry season only.

But when domesticated you can give them water by adding some attractant to it.

They also feed on formulated concentrates like pellets as well as other processing by-products like wheat bran, corn bran, groundnut, soya, cotton seed cake,  and so many other brans which i will talk it in my next post.

Environment management

The temperature of their house should be between 20 to 250c, soldier ants and snakes should be prevented from from coming near their hutch.

This can be achieved by digging hole/ditches round the hutch, filled with water and engine oil poured in the water to prevent the invasion of soldier ants and other predators.

Emphasis however should be placed on good weight gain in male grasscutter, also the criteria applied in the choice of breeding animals will depends on the production environment.

The male is the one that always carry the genetic power, therefore a healthy strong, agile male animal should be selected for breeding programmes.

If the female is not genetically healthy the breeding stocks is not okay and the best production programme cannot be achieved.

“The ratio of male to female should be one to four that is one male can serve four felmale”

Grasscutter can be mated at the age of between seven to eight months from brith depending on the body weight. Usually a male grasscutter is ready for breeding purpose in seven months.

Image result for grasscutter

Gestation period

After mating, the felmale grasscutter carries the pregnancy for 150 days.

They can deliver twice a year at the average of five to seven kids per birth. But maximally, they can deliver 5-10 kittens.

Weaning period

With good, adequate feeding, the grasscutter kittens can be weaned between four to eight weeks. But as a family they can be with the mother for four months. The kittens can be separated from the mother between five seven months and place with a male to ride them.

Health mangement

There are no veterinary medicine for grasscutter at present.

The standard housing measurement should be 8-meter square and 0.6 meters in height.

Grasscutter are very good swimmer. They don’t dig hole, neither can they climb.

They eat less and waste a lot.