Grasscutter Rearing and Production

 Grasscutter Rearing and Production Origin and physical features  The grasscutter belongs to the order Rodent and family Thryonomidae which contains only genus Thryonomys. This rodent is widely known through Africa, South of Sahara and it is commonly referred to as the grasscutter, cane-rat or cutting grass.  They are heavily built, thick, set with rounded muzzle, small round ears, short tails and harsh bristly fur.  They have a peculiar bristle tail which readily fractures near the base if seized, much like the easily atomized tail of the lizard; a phenomenon that is of tremendous protective value.  The coarse bristly coat has no under-fur, though under magnification some sparsely scattered extremely fine straight under-fur is visible.  The overall appearance is usually dark brown, speckled with yellow or grey above butty white below.  The chin and throat appear white.  The head is a bit small for the size of the body.  The small circular ear is covered strong and well padded and are armed with powerful straight claws.  There are five digits feet.  Females have three pairs of mammary glands on the belly, while the male testes are not rodents.  The total body length (head to tail) ranged from 40 to 60cm and its tail length ranges from 7-25cm.  Grasscutter grows to a considerable weight.  The mature male sometimes reaches more that 9kg, while the female can attain between 5-7kg body weights.  Its growth rate is less than that of rabbit of an improved breed and more than that of the local rabbit in a tropical environment.  The animal has many predators including leopards, mongoose and python in addition to man. Reproduction and Breeding

A male and female grasscutter attains their sexual maturity at 5 and 7months respectively.  A male grasscutter can be paired with 3-5 females.  There are two methods of mating – permanent and controlled mating methods.  The gestation period is 152 day (5 months), meaning that with good management, the animal can litter twice in a year.  The average litter size is always 5.  The young ones can be weaned in about 4-6 weeks, after a resting period of about 10 days mother can be paired with the male again.  They are mature for food in 10-12 months, which raise their body weight to about 5-7kg.  They have the possibility of producing 2 times a year with good management and feeding, and they can constantly reproduce 4yrs before selling them out as old layer. Handling Grasscutter can be handled either by tails or by the limb.  For easy handling, wire mesh cages can be used to move animal from one place to the other. Feeds and Feeding Procedure

of grasscutter farming embarked upon by the farmer (breeding or fattening), provision of quality and adequate nutrition is essential to the success of each grasscutter rearing.  Balanced feeding that takes into consideration nutritional requirements and regularity of feeding are essential factors responsible for the animals’ good health, growth and reproduction. Feed Ingredients

  1. Forage:  Grasscutter normally prefer grass with succulent stalk and such quality can be found in the following wild or cultivated grasses among others.
    • Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum)
    • Sugar cane (Saccharin spp)
    • Guinea grass (Panicum maximum)
    • Giant star grass (Andropogon gayanus)
    • Maize stem (Zea mays)
    • Rice stalks (Oryza spp)
  2. Food crop Products
    • Rice
    • Maize
    • Guinea corn
    • Millet
    • Cassava
    • Potato

    Nutrients/Supplements

    • Table salt
    • Soya beans cake (SBC)
    • Groundnut cake (GNC)
    • Dry corn
    • Crushed animal bone
    • Moringa leave powder
    • Salted corn cobs
    • Palm kernel cake (PKC)
    • Kitchen leftover
    • Water

STARTING A SMALL-SCALE GRASSCUTTER FARMING INVESTMENT AND PROFIT ANALYSIS

Initial start-up investment

 

Build a wooden cage for N30,000

Purchase 1 family of four grasscutter (one male and 3 females) = N45,000

Get your food supplements (soya bean, crushed animal bone, PKC) for N20,000

Miscellaneous = N5,000

 

Total = N100,000

 

 

Expected Income/profit on investment

 

1 female can give birth to an average of 4 animals within 6 months

 

Therefore, 3 females x 4 = 12 animals in 6 months

 

If they reproduce another 12 animals in the other 6months; it shows that 1 family of grasscutter will reproduce an average of about 30 animals in a year.

 

1 grasscutter weigh between 4-5kg at maturity, that can be sold for an average price of N6,500

 

Hence, N6,500 x 30 = N195,000

 

Therefore: Net profit for rearing 1 family of grasscutter will be N195,000 – N100,000 = N95,000

 

Don’t forget that the first set of 12 grasscutter animal litter will also reproduce their kind in another 5-6 months.  Therefore, your animals will keep multiplying as the young ones will grow to reproduce more.

 

Facts to consider

 

  1. You spent N100,000 to buy your parent stock (1 family of grasscutter) and for building cage and feeding.
  2. In the 2nd year you will not be concerned with housing/cage and buying breeding stock again, which means much more profit for you.
  3. Grasscutters rarely get sick and the cost of treatment is negligible.  Food poisoning is their greatest disease and sickness. When they have dysentery or you discover any form of illness; all you need to do is to administer only charcoal to them. Remove all grasses and food supplements from the cage and replace with charcoal for two or days.
  4. Please note that grasscutter as a delicacy is for the rich and is in very high demand at restaurants, fast food outlets, hotels, and pepper soup joints.
  5. Breeding stock is more expensive than the fully grown animals.
  6. Mortality rate in grasscutter is very low.
  7. Grasscutter have been known to litter (give birth) 11 offspring in some cases so using 3 offspring in the estimate above is just to be very conservation.
  8. There is joy in owning a grasscutter farm.
  9. Grasscutter business is an inheritable business that if properly managed; it may out-live the owner and pass onto the next generation.
  10. The cost of feeding is very low compared to that of poultry, piggery or fish farming.

 

Advantages of Grasscutter Farming

 

  1. They can easily be reared at home.
  2. They command a very good selling price as a family that is made up of five grasscutter is sold for   N45,000 or more.  A serious and dedicated farmer can have close to 150 families at a time.
  3. They are herbivorous animals, so they feed mostly on grass.
  4. Grasscutters are polygamous in nature; hence it makes it easy to raise a colony in captivity and in large number.
  5. It is a multimillionaire business, if one can take the courage to breeding them on commercial scale.
  6.  It is a business venture that can be started on small scale with a space of less than one room.
  7. Source of income and employment:  one can depend on grasscutter rearing for livelihood.  Grasscutter farming should create job opportunities for urban and rural dwellers.
  8. The business of producing, processing, transporting, storing, financing and servicing grasscutter products should give employment to many unemployed youths.
  9.  You can conveniently earn income a thousand fold higher than your present earning.  You can keep your present job and do this on part time basis.
  10. The demand for grasscutter meat is so large that it is not being met.
  11.  The meat has high carcass quality and protein as compared to other livestock.
  12.  The meat tastes well and highly relished.
  13.  There is no known religion discrimination against grasscutter meat.
  14.  Grasscutter do not compete with man for food.
  15.  As pet, people usually derived pleasure and satisfaction raising grasscutter from their homes.

 

 

We are here to training you on how to start your own Grasscutter farming business, how to build their pen/housing, cages, and good feed technique.  We are presently creating a standard awareness of the importance of grasscutter rearing for poverty alleviation and job creation.  With this, unemployment is no issue; job creation will be a work-over.  For all those who think agriculture is for the old and ancient parents in the village….you are missing a big deal.  Today, grasscutter farming is a secret money making business that can easily wipe away your sorry, struggling and sweat.  It has become one of the most lucrative businesses that can be done and you’ll quietly and silently make your millions from your backyard.  We are here to help you, so that in return we can all help Nigerian.