Meet Mrs Khadijat Balogun, a 44 years old rabbit farmer from Ijebu Ode, Ogun state. She is a good example of a full housewife that contributes to the household income. She manages her household and her backyard rabbit farm.
Although she has passion for livestock rearing, she said she ventured into rabbit farming due to circumstances and she eventually fell in love with the ‘rabbits. According to Mrs Balogun, 3 years ago her son bought a pair of rabbits for rearing but neglected them after a while. She doesn’t have a choice but to pick up the responsibility. She learnt all she knows about rabbit rearing through research and trial and error. Presently, she has about 50 rabbits of both sexes in her backyard rabbit farm.
She said rabbit farming is a very lucrative business because with the right condition, rabbits give birth monthly (gestation period of 28-31 days), and a single female rabbit can have between 1-8 babies per litter. She encourages people especially women to venture into rabbit farming to provide an alternative source of income and protein for their family. She said rabbits are very friendly animals. Many a time, she goes to sit among them, watch and play with them.
Talking about the challenges of the business, she said just like every other livestock farming, it requires time. “Rabbits need a lot of monitoring especially around the time the female wants to give birth because if the babies are not cleaned and moved to a straw or cloth lined cage that will supply additional warmth they may die”. Also, male rabbits are highly territorial thus cannibalism is rampant when more than one male is kept in a cage.
She enjoins the government to give farmers financial aid and not limit it to large scale farmers. And they should encourage the exportation of rabbits because rabbit meat is a great delicacy in some parts of the world.