Rabbit-keeping is well suited to small units, and the rabbit can play an important part in providing animal protein in those parts of the country where protein deficiency is a serious health hazard. The rabbit is one of the few domesticated animals that can live on woody material, and can convert grass, maize stalks, hay and garden or kitchen waste into meat. Small producers can use all these foods, although maximum productivity is obtained by feeding a balanced diet. However, whatever food is used, successful rabbit production depends on good management and regular attention.
The Rabbit compares very favourably with other animals as a source of meat and meat protein:
In recent years improved breeding and the introduction of hybrid rabbits has produced a marked improvement in rabbit production. These improved strains have does that will raise over 50 offspring a year, and the young rabbits have a high growth rate, low food conversion and good carcass quality. The age for slaughter has been reduced from 16 weeks to 8 – 9 weeks, and the killing out percentage raised to 60 – 65 %. Weaning has been reduced from 8 weeks to 4 weeks so that the breeding interval is much less, and better feeding standards mean that the animals can produce to their full genetic potential.