Rabbit, or tsuro, has long been a staple source of protein for many Zimbabweans. Unfortunately these days, urban dwellers prefer chicken or beef as their main source of meat.
Rabbit meat contains less fat than other meats and it’s almost cholesterol free. It’s high in protein and contains iron, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and other minerals. Rabbit meat also has a high vitamin content – in particular B3 and B12 – and it’s absolutely delicious. Rabbit meat is generally not readily available locally in butcheries or supermarkets, so why not breed your own?
Rabbits can be fed almost exclusively on vegetables – wild vegetables or vegetables from your garden -or even leftovers or spoiled food like wilting carrots, old lettuce or brown apples. This means rabbit meat is free of the hormones, steroids and antibiotics commonly found in chicken, beef or pork.
Raising rabbits does not require a large amount of space and is simple and low maintenance. They use up far fewer resources than cattle in terms of space, feed and water. Rabbits are also supremely efficient at converting food and water into protein – almost six times as efficient as cattle. And they breed like … well, rabbits. One female (doe) can produce up to 1,000% of her body weight in a year. In addition, rabbit manure is great for your garden and can be placed directly onto plants or added to compost.
Building a home or hutch for your rabbits is not difficult and requires basic DIY skills. There are a number of different designs but this is the easiest and simplest. The standard dimensions for a single rabbit hutch are 60 cm deep, 80 cm wide and 50 cm high. Most people keep a single rabbit in a hutch, but if you want to keep two or more, increase the width of the hutch proportionally. Some people keep a single male (buck) with up to five does. This means the hutch should be at least 60 cm by 4 metres wide, but the construction method stays the same.
Ensure that your rabbits have easy constant access to fresh water and you’re ready for your first breeding pair.
For more detailed information check out: www.crossroadsrabbitry.com/building-a-rabbit-hutch