Author Topic: Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners  (Read 6032 times)

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Offline debby

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Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« on: February 23, 2014, 01:42:36 PM »
Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners.
Introduction
Grass cutter is the second largest rodent in Nigeria and it is endemic to Africa. It breeds successfully in captivity and is capable of reproducing twice a year with litter size varying 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 carbohydrate.
  Field studies reveal that they do not burrow so they may be caged or reared in a fenced pen on the ground. Grass cutter is worth considering for use in husbandry in the humid forest where poor grazing and harsh environment limits the performance of conventional livestock.
    Ranching of grass cutter as a backyard mini livestock would therefore improve the lot of the peasant farmers, provide an alternative source of animal protein, create job opportunities for urban dwellers.

General description of grasscutter
Grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus) also known as canerat among some people is one of the best animals now domesticated in Nigeria as well as in other sub-Sahara part of Africa. With grasscutter farming, income generation and making from the initial establishment would continue to accumulate because it is fast generation of income.
The animal has many traditional names depending on the tribe. Among the Yorubas, it is known as Oya, while some people called it Obije, Nohi as well as Gafya. It is a heavy, compact and the largest African rodent after the porcupine (Hystrix Cristata).

When fully grown, the body length varies between 42 and 58cm. its tail measure between 22 and 25cm and standing height is between 23 to 30cm. The average adult weight is 3kg for female and 4.5kg for adult males.

How To Start Grass cutter Farming

To start grass cutter farming,  farmers or new entrants are advised to start with two families. A family consists of one male to four females. “In all, farmers can start with eight females and two males (i.e. ten in all) because of various risks.

Housing: Grasscutters are neat animals that lives in a room and parlour. “Where they eat, they will not sleep there. Therefore the house should be neat and be cleansed every day which will assist their best performance.


They can be bred either in cages, under an intense management system or in a walled enclosure under a semi-intense management system. For example, for five animals, (i.e. 4 females and 1 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 extreme of temperature and humidity. Predators and thieves must also be waded off from their house.
The house should also facilitate breeding management operations. It should encourage and facilitate easy monitoring and proper surveillance of the herd and optimum allocation of food.

Feeding: They are herbivorous animals whose source of food is basically 70 to 80 per cent from the forest. Their major food is Elephant or Napier grass (Pennisetum purpureum). They also love to eat certain gramineous plant with thick succulent stalks such as Sugar cane (saccharum spp), Guinea grass (Panicum maximum), Gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus), Congo grass (Brachiaria ruziziensis as well as dried leaf of Leucaena Seucocephala i.e. hybrid tamarind.

The animal also like Gliricidia sepium, herbaceous legumes like Stylo (Stylosanthes gracilis) and Pueraria phaseoloides. “The root and pitch of oil and coconut palms, bark of the anacardium and fruits such as half ripen pawpaw, plantain, pineapple, mango etc are their delight. Food crops such as groundnut, rice, maize, grain legume, tubers like cassava, sweet potato etc also make part of their food, stressed the grasscutter farmer.”


The farmer also stated that grasscutter 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. Cane rate it should be noted does not dig a hole and cannot climb a tree either, he further stressed.”
They can also be fed with formulated concentrates like pellet as well as other processing by-products like wheat bran, corn bran, groundnut, soya, oilseed, cotton seed cakes, brewer yeast, grain legume pods, brewers’ grains, maize shucks and cobs, brewer’s yeast etc as feed supplements.

Enemies of domesticated grasscutter - They dislike cold environment. The temperature of their house should be between 20 to 250C. Soldier ants and snake should be prevented from coming near their pen. This can be achieved by digging hole/ditches round the pen, filled with water and engine oil poured in the water to prevent the invasion of soldier ants and other predators.

Choice of breeding stock - As grasscutter is domesticated solely for their meat, the main emphasis however should be placed on good weight gain in male animals. Also the criteria applied in the choice of breeding animals will depend 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 (i.e. one male can serve four females). Animals can be mated at the age of between seven to eight months from birth depending on the body weight. Usually a male grasscutter is ready for breeding purpose in seven months.

Gestation period - After mating, the female 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 up to 10 kids.

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

The weaned animals can be mated at the age of between seven to eight months from birth. Indefinite mating is expected to have taken place when the weaned male grasscutter is seven months old and the female is eight months. The indefinite mating period is 140days. But if after 160 days of separation from the male, there is still no sign of pregnancy , then it should be taken back to the male for proper mating. Usually there should also be an extra male that can serve the same purpose.

Sources of income
- With their ratio of birth, the males are always many than the female in the reproduction cycle. Hygiene and good feeding are the most important factors for successful, profitably venture. You can also fatten the male with broiler’s finisher or broiler starter’s feed to help attain market weight within short period of time. A male grasscutter can be sold for between N4,000 to N5,000.

Another source of income is from the culled adult animal (either male or female). Farmer can also make money from bad mothers which can be detected through record keeping.
Money can also be generated in grasscutter farming through training of new entrants into the business. For example, a day training programme for new entrant cannot not be less than N3,000 per head, and a minimum of between N10,000 to N15,000 per head per week which will expose the entrants to basic management knowledge in grasscutter business.

Delivery boxes for grasscutter which cost between N3,500 to N4,000 per one is also a source of income and employment for both farmers and carpenter respectively. Consultancy is another source of income, while grasscutter trapper/catcher could also bring money for the farmers. Grasscutter infrastructure is also a good source of income and employment. As a farmer, you can engage the services of both carpenters and welders for the housing, which can be sold to new entrants.


General information - There is no veterinary medicine for grasscutter at present. The standard housing measurement should be 8-meter square and 0.6 meters in height. Farmers can generate extra income from the construction of modern feeding and water trough, which if well designed and produced can bring money throughout the year.
Grasscutter are very good swimmer. They don’t dig hole, neither can they climb. They eat less and waste a lot.

Source: SEYE ADENIYI
« Last Edit: February 23, 2014, 02:05:57 PM by debby »



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Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« on: February 23, 2014, 01:42:36 PM »

Tochi

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Re: Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2016, 04:52:30 PM »
Thanks alot

Oluebube

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Re: Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 04:35:35 AM »
Please how can I get grasscutter for a start

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Re: Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 04:35:35 AM »

Oluebube

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Re: Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 04:39:54 AM »
Please how can I get the grasscutter for a start

Offline mfoniso

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Re: Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 11:25:25 AM »
@Oluebube, i think you can readily get a grasscutter from a local market in a place like Ogun State or lagos, but most preferably from a grasscutter farm. You can contact this farm at their website http://www.jovanafarms.com, or through their email, info@jovanafarm.com  , jovanafarms@gmail.com  or through phone:080 33262 808 / 08029373076 / 080 52168189
Please do not PM me questions, ask all your questions in the forum, for others to learn from.

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Re: Grass cutter Farming Tips for beginners
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2017, 11:25:25 AM »

 

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