grasscutter is also called is a stress-free, profitable venture that will stimulate fast income without having to go to bed with one eye opened like say poultry business.
grasscutter farming is not as popular in Nigeria like other animals or livestock farming, nonetheless, it is a reliable fast income generating venture that many is yet to realize. “It is more assuring than poultry business which could bring fortune to you in the day, but could also bring unexpected problem suddenly to the extent that if care is not taken, one may run into serious financial crisis as well as other problems, he declared.”
grasscutter meat as a good, nutritious and medicinal delicacy for hypertensive patient in almost all the countries in the West Africa sub-region with the meat now receiving higher attention and prices compared to beef, poultry and goat meat.
“I advise any retiree or any individual looking for viable, profitable farming venture to go into grasscutter farming. Even President Obasanjo is now a grasscutter farmer. He realized the future in it and has invested heavily in it. As a producer of domesticated grasscutter meat, you are already a silent millionaire as I am also. It is not a child’s play but a reality and I encourage many people to join the millionaire’s club and take good advantage of the large market for this product, which few of us in it cannot meet the growing demand of the meat, he stated.”
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.
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 live in a room and parlor. “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.”
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 programs. “If the female is not genetically healthy , the breeding stocks is not okay and the best production program 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.
Start grasscutter farming, join the millionaire’s club
Delivery boxes for grasscutter which cost between N3,500 to N4,000 per one is also a source of income and employment.
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.
REARING grass cutter is one business one can start from home and make a great fortune.
The reason is because a lot of Nigerians love the meat and want to buy it any where it is found. A family made up of five grass cutter is sold for N45, 000 or more.
Grasscutter meat constitutes an important food for many Nigerians. He said the nutritional value of its meat is comparable to that of the beef, pork and mutton.
Besides, pharmaceutical companies have found that the brains, the blood and various organs of the grass cutter produce substances that can be used to prepare some medicine. For instance, science has found that the pancreas of insulin used to produce a drug used in curing diabetes.
Apart from the money that can be realized from the sale, Grasscutter is one of those rare animals that are almost wholly edible; most of its parts can be eaten smoked, the only expectations being the claws and pattlet of feaces and fur (which are used in traditional medicine). Their stomach and gut content are also used to flavor food.
Big eateries, like Tantalizers, have huge demand for it on a regular basis. What they require is an assurance of a regular supply per week. Grasscutter meat could be package as pepper soup, suya, frozen or dried meat.
Today, most Chinese people are looking for the meat as regular meal. They also entertain their guests from abroad with it.
The Returns is huge for Nigerians who are prepared to spend millions and breed a large number on commercial quantities.
Our guide will run you through questions you need to consider before starting a Grasscutter farm. It will also give you a basic idea on what to expect when operating and managing your Grasscutter business.
E-Book Manuals for startup
GRASSCUTTER FARMING A Manual for Beginners
Topic covered by Manual
Origin of the grasscutter
Behaviour in the wild
Behaviour in confinement
ECONOMIC POTENTIALS OF THE GRASSCUTTER
Conservational Problems Associated with Grasscutter Demand
Grasscutter as Minilivestock
Scientific Potentials of the Grasscutter
When catching Grasscutters with your hands, keep the following in mind
Maintaining hygiene in grasscutter farming
CONSTRUCTION OF HOUSING / CAGE
Feeding and drinking troughs
Forage and concentrates
Water and mineral supplements
A self-mix Grasscutter feed formula
The Male Genital Tract
The Female Genital Tract
Mating in Grasscutter
Pregnancy and Birth
HEALTH CARE MANAGEMENT
Basic hygiene measures
Symptoms of sick Grasscutter
Parasitic Diseases of the Grasscutter
OPERATIONAL COST FOR STOCKING 20 GRASSCUTTERS (16FEMALES AND 4MALES)
PRE PRODUCTION FEEDING (10 months period before mating and gestation period)
GRASSCUTTER FATTENING FOR (MEAT PRODUCTION)
FINANCIAL ANALYSIS FOR STOCKING AND FATTENING
PROFIT PROJECTION FOR 20 GRASSCUTTER
MARKETING & PROCESSING OF GRASSCUTTER
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