Rabbits are domestic animals that are reared for various purposes.
They are beautiful animals with a docile demeanour. Rabbits are social animals that love to play around and be cuddled.
Some rabbit owners spend enough time with them and train them to do different special and unusual behaviours.
South Africans search online for the prices of rabbits in South Africa because of their interest in owning the little creature. This interest may be to keep them as a pet, for meat production, or some other reasons.
Read on to see the different reasons why people rear rabbits and the price list of rabbits in South Africa.
Why People Keep Rabbits
There are several reasons why people rear rabbits. Let’s take a look at some of them.
People rear rabbit for meat production. It is a very good source of protein that has so many health benefits. The meat can be processed for consumption in several ways; it can be cooked, fried, or even used as a barbecue. It is a very good source of white meat and has a large percentage of digestible protein. Some notable benefits include the following:
- Rabbit meat has low-fat content
- Serves as a recommended substitute when on diet because of its low calories
- It has no cholesterol
- It has a low sodium content
- It has a high phosphorous and calcium rate
Rabbit meat is often compared to chicken meat. People also rear rabbit in order to add the meat to their diet.
2. Fur/Skin Production
The Rex and Angora rabbit breeds are the ones mostly used for fur production. The fur is used on a commercial scale to make hats, coats, and toys. It undergoes several processes before it becomes a finished usable and marketable product. Some of the processes include skinning, moulting, storing, curing, and glossing.
The rabbits are usually left to attain maturity before being slaughtered. This is to enable the skin to develop well and become suitable for producing high-quality products. The rabbit hair is divided into 3; guide hair, guard hair, and down hair. Each division plays an important role in protecting the skin of the rabbit. This is valuable in the overall processing.
3. As Pets
Rabbits are social an active domestic animals that love to be carried and cuddled. A typical rabbit owner (who owns a rabbit as a pet) dedicates enough time to maintain the little cutie. They are gentle creatures that form a bond with their owners and can be trained to exhibit some special tricks and behaviours.
Although they are quiet and gentle animals, they should not be allowed to be mishandled by children. In regards to housing, owners mostly keep them in crates or cages. They are not often allowed to roam about without proper supervision because they are tender and prey animals.
4. Experimental Research
Just like white rats, rabbits are also kept for laboratory purpose. They are used for a variety of experimental research for several reasons. Rabbits have similar physiology to humans and are much more easy to handle and maintain than larger animals. Their docile behaviour is also a major reason why they’re chosen for this purpose.
Rabbits are used for eye testing. The similarity of their placenta to human placenta makes them a good fit to study the transplacental transfer of drugs. Since rabbits are social animals, providing enough space for them in the research environment is a challenge.
The rabbit manure has great value as fertilizer. There is a large market for the fresh droppings of rabbits when they become dry manure. Rearing this animal translates to having an endless supply of organic manure.
The droppings of rabbits are rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. They can be used in several ways including applying them directly to plants. If you have a little garden and keep rabbits, you have nothing to worry about fertilizing the garden.
Related: Poultry Feed in South Africa and Their Costs
Breeds of Rabbit
There are quite a number of breeds of this animal. Some of them are commercially viable while others are not. Here’s a list of the breeds.
- American Chinchilla
- California White
- Champagne d’Argent
- New Zealand White
- Flemish Giants
- Checkered Giants
- Standard Giants
- Silver Martens
- New Zealand Red
- Giant Blanc
- English Spot
Prices of Rabbits in South Africa
- Weaner Rabbit (English Spot): R$ 74 – R$ 111
- Weaner Rabbit (Chinchilla): R$ 74 – R$ 111
- Weaner Rabbit (Dutch): R$ 74 – R$ 111
- Weaner Rabbit (Harlequin): R$ 74 – R$ 111
- Weaner Rabbit (New Zealand): R$ 74 – R$ 111
- Grower Rabbit (English Spot): R$ 148 – R$ 185
- Grower Rabbit (Chinchilla): R$ 148 – R$ 185
- Grower Rabbit (Dutch): R$ 148 – R$ 185
- Grower Rabbit (Harlequin): R$ 148 – R$ 185
- Grower Rabbit (New Zealand): R$ 148 – R$ 185
- Matured Rabbit (English Spot): R$ 222 – R$ 259
- Matured Rabbit (Chinchilla): R$ 222 – R$ 259
- Matured Rabbit (Dutch): R$ 222 – R$ 259
- Matured Rabbit (Harlequin): R$ 222 – R$ 259
- Matured Rabbit (New Zealand): R$ 222 – R$ 259
Related: Costs of Goats in South Africa
Rabbit Production Systems
There are different types of rapid production systems. Here are the 3 major types.
Backyard Cage System
This is more like subsistence farming. The rabbits are reared in small numbers and are caged (usually) at the backyard. It often consists of a few bucks and does that are kept for meat production. The meat is enough to feed the family and become a supplement to the regular diet.
This is a recommended system if you’re a new farmer who intends to venture into rabbit farming. It will enable you to test the waters and know the nooks and crooks of the business before investing a huge amount into it. Some of the rabbits can be sold while some can be consumed.
Small Commercial Rabittry System
This system usually contains 10 to 50 rabbits reared purposely to sell them. A rabbitry is specially built to house the rabbits. This is the system practised by those who are particularly investing in rabbit production.
Large Commercial Rabbitry
This is an industrial scale rabbit production. This system is mostly practised in Europe and America. It involves rearing and sales of rabbit, rabbit meat, and rabbit skin. Research and experiments are carried out to further enhance the multiplication and reproduction of the rabbits.
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