6 Reasons Why You Should Raise Grasscutters or Cane Rats
May I introduce you to the Grasscutter, Giant Rat or Cane Rat, a micro-livestock animal that many people don’t know has a lot of money-making potential. The scientific name for the Cane Rat or Grasscutter is Thryonomys swinderianus. In this article, I will give you six good reasons for keeping and raising grasscutters.
There are many reasons you need to keep and raise grasscutters or cane rats. Apart from the fact that they are very friendly animals, they are also good entertainers, as they will entertain you with their playfulness. Additionally, your kitchen vegetable waste can be used to feed them and they can be used for agricultural exhibitions.
Cane rat / grasscutter farming is very good and lucrative if you have access to a rearing space like a small parking store, room or a kitchen. They are never a trouble or threat to you as they rely majorly on grasses as their food source. Cane rats are considered to be the most efficient bush-meat producers.
Why Do You Need to Raise Grasscutters?
- They are Very Cheap to Keep
You can start raising grasscutters with a wooden cage and one colony (a family of grasscutter breeders). A colony of grasscutters comprises of one male and four females. The cost of a colony ranges between ₦40,000-50,000 (Nigerian Naira), depending on age and species. You should be able to get a good cage constructed by an artisan carpenter for as low as ₦10,000. You can place the cage anywhere in your compound, provided it is not exposed to direct sunlight.
- For Meat Production
A good means to produce meat for human consumption is by raising grasscutters. They are fast-growing, tough and long-living giant rats. They attain a very good body weight within a very short time and little feed. That is, they are high, efficient converters of feed. In fact, they feed on and convert a wide range of grasses and vegetables to meat. There are many bush-meat consumers across the globe. The males attain a body size that doubles the size of chicken meat. In addition, Thryonomys swinderianus grows fast and at 12 weeks of age, they are ready to be sold as breeders. The combination of their fast maturation and cheapness of feed qualifies cane rats to be kept and raised for market purposes.
- For Breeding Stock Production
The most lucrative part of cane rat farming is the breeding stock production. A cane rat is ready to be used as breeding stock at age 3-4 months old. I stated earlier that a colony comprises of 1 male and 4 females. A productive colony that is well managed can produce between 50 – 56 cane rats in a year. Can you see the profits you will make?
- To Create Employment Opportunities
Financing, producing, processing, transporting and exporting of the products of grasscutter creates employment opportunities for a lot of people. Additionally, keeping grasscutter for local human consumption will greatly reduce the rate of importing fish, turkey, chicken and frozen meat, and there will be increased Forex earnings when grasscutter meats are exported. The GDP will improve and inflation and unemployment will also reduce.
- To Make Profit
Grasscutter farming is one of the ways you can put food on your table and generate money into your purse without spending a huge sum of money. You can earn profits by selling grasscutters to restaurant owners (live or smoked), you can sell the manure to small-hold farmers and worm growers and you can as well sell to people who intend to raise them.
- There is a Ready Market
No doubt! The meat of grasscutter is delicious and there is a ready market for your grasscutters or cane rats. Many people go to restaurants to eat grasscutter’s meat; hence, making restaurant owners demand more to satisfy their customers. No matter the number of cane rats you possess, you will surely get buyers who are ready to buy them. Don’t let me forget to inform you that their meat is low in cholesterol and health scientists had confirmed that there are health benefits to consuming it. Nutritionists have also advised people to consume “bush meat” because it is in the class of white meat. Also, know that eating the meat of grasscutters has no religious or cultural taboos. Therefore, they are universally acceptable.
I believe you are now 99.99% convinced that grasscutter / cane rat farming should be your next livestock farming project. If you want more information about this micro-livestock, don’t hesitate to send me a message. You can drop your comments as well.
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About Akinbobola A.
Grass Cutter Farming
Grasscutter farming is gaining popularity in Africa for good reasons. The Greater Cane Rat popularly known as Grasscutters belong to the rodent family and is very closely related to the porcupine, almost looks alike except that porcupine is bigger. The spiny fur on the back and rounded nose distinguish Grasscutter from true rats. It reaches a length of about 720 mm when fully matured. Grasscutter farming can make you at least ₦3million per year if you take it seriously.
So, how do you start Grasscutter farming in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa or any part of West Africa where this animal is most fond of? This article will address that.
The Grasscutter I: A Livestock of Tomorrow
The grasscutter (Thryonomys swinderianus), variously known as the marsh cane-rat, ground hog and in Francophone West Africa, the aulacode or incorrectly, the agouti is a rodent but not a rat proper, since it belongs to the Hystricomorpha (porcupine family). This rodent subclass embraces similar species in both the old and new world, species which were originally classified according to the differentiation of the masticatory musculature.
Due to their spatial separation, a common origin has often been contested and the hystricomorphic rodents of the new world have now been classified as Caviomorpha (guinea pig relatives). Hystricomorpha are correctly comprised of hystricidae (family of porcupines), Bathyergidae (family of sand-diggers), Thryonomydae (family of grass-cutters) and Petromuridae (family of African rock-rats) with the Phiomydis (African tertiary) as the common tribe group. Grasscutters are found only in Africa, where they are represented by a single genus, Thryonomys (identical with Aulacodes).
Most of the species, subspecies or breeds described can be allied to one of the two following groups of species: Thryonomys swinderianus the larger grasscutter and Thryonomys gregorianus, the lesser grasscutter.
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