In today’s article, I’ll show you the simplest and most crucial technique to establish a lucrative grass-cutter farming business in Ghana.
How to Get Started with Grasscutter Farming in Ghana
If you’re wondering how to start grass-cutter farming in Ghana, you don’t need any specialized skills to get started. Many people are moving to eat white meat, which has raised the demand for grass-cutters in metropolitan areas. The noticeable shift in eating patterns, as well as the inexpensive cost of farming grass-cutters, are compelling reasons to start up grass-cutter farming.
What Is the Definition of a Grass-Cutter?
Grass-cutter is a micro-livestock with the scientific name Thryonomys swinderianus. Grass-cutter farming is becoming more popular in Ghana, and it is providing a source of income for a large number of individuals. Grass-cutter is suitable for a wide range of tropical vegetation. They live in mangroves, swamps, rainforests, and savannas. Grass-cutters prefer farmlands, sugarcane farms, oil palm plantations, and waterways to live. The grass-cutter is a monogastric (one-stomach) herbivore. Grass-cutter is also known as cane rat or chopping grass. locally called Kpin (pin) in Ghana.
Grass-cutters are not dangerous creatures. They live in groups and do not burrow; however, they can exploit holes excavated by other animals. At night, the grass-cutter in the bush is more active. Most religions and communities tolerate grass-cutter meat. In Ghana, a considerable amount of the grass-cutter consumed is hunted in the bush. One kilogram of grass-cutter can cost up to twelve times the price of one kilogram of beef, ten times the price of goat meat, and eight times the price of chicken. This makes grass-cutter farming an extremely profitable industry in Ghana.
The Benefits of Grasscutter Farming in Ghana
· Bush meat is one of the most popular meats in Ghana and Africa, which means that there is always a supply.
· It is simple to raise at home.
· They are herbivorous, which means they eat largely grass.
· The grass-cutter company provides self-employment.
· Female Grass-cutters are extremely fertile, making them a good candidate for breeding.
· A very profitable and prosperous business.
So, how can you get started with grasscutter farming in Ghana?
This article discusses the prerequisites, how much capital you will need, how much profit you will make from establishing your own grass-cutter farm, and other topics. Consider this to be a how-to guide for beginners who want to build their own grass-cutter farm anywhere in Ghana.
It may be of interest to you that grasscutter farming is one of the most profitable types of enterprises in the animal farming industry. Unlike snail farming, you may earn a whooping 2000GHC each year from the business.
Facilities to start up a Grass-cutter Farm
The ideal technique to breed grass-cutter is to raise them in an intensive system, i.e. in cages, pens or inside a secure shed. It is crucial to select a decent location because it is critical for successful grasscutter rearing.
Other requirements for a good grass-cutter upbringing include:
· The area/location must be conveniently accessible and flood-free.
· It must be well ventilated, secure, and have access to a source of feed and water.
· The size of the structure or pen is determined by the number of grass-cutters retained and the output goals. The standard, however, is that a family of grass-cutters, consisting of one adult male and four females, should be given a space of 1.6-2 m2.
How to Build Grass-cutter Rearing Sheds?
Grass-cutters’ rearing sheds can be built out of a variety of materials, including breezeblocks, bricks, straws, and bamboo. To lower construction expenses, it is usually recommended to use local materials. The building must have adequate lighting and ventilation. The pen’s long sides must be low-walled (1.5 meters high), and the upper half can be covered with a chicken net. The rearing shed can be roofed with corrugated iron or other waterproof materials.
Grass-cutters are frequently maintained and grown in pens. The amount of pens to build is determined by the manufacturing goals. One breeding female per pen is advised, with a surface area of 0.2 m2 per adult grass-cutter.
Your pen setup could be as follows:
· A pen designed for grownups.
· A pen for mating; a pen for giving birth and feeding the young; and a pen for feeding the young.
· A fattening pen for juvenile grass-cutters.
· The materials used to make the pens determine how they are laid out. Metal pens are mobile, whereas brick pens are fixed and unmovable.
It is not recommended to build grass-cutter pens out of wood, bamboo, or straw since the grass-cutters can consume them. Rearing pens can be opened or closed, thus it is critical to have passageways between rearing pens while building.
Pens that are open
These are enclosures with a surface area of 3m2 and a height of 1.5m that are not covered at the top. The pens contain side entrances that allow the farmer to move in and out of the pens with ease.
Pens that are Closed
These are enclosures that have a suitable roofing material covering the top. These pens have the option of being divided into segments. The surface area might be 2-3 sqm with a height of 80cm.
If two compartments are constructed, their surface area should be the same. They should also be partitioned and include a 15cm opening for unrestricted circulation of grass-cutters between sections.
The covering can be made of a variety of materials, and the floor of the structure should be even and smooth, while the floor of the pens can be plastered.
How to Build Grass-cutters’ Feeding and Drinking Troughs
These can be made of clay or cement, but they must be heavy enough to support the grass-cutters. This is to keep the animals from knocking over the troughs. The farmer can build the troughs themselves by sculpting them out of wood or metal. Three grass-cutters should share one trough.
A squeeze cage is used to make it easier to handle grass clippers. It should have the same dimensions as the animal being handled. You can create a squeeze page by constructing a rectangular cage with fine-mesh screening. The average weight and variety of the animals should be considered when building this cage. It should not be designed in such a way that the animals inside the cage can turn or move around.
The following are some basic facts concerning grass-cutter reproduction:
· Male grass-cutters reach sexual maturity in 8 months or 32 weeks and have a minimum body weight of 2.5 kg, whereas female grass-cutters reach sexual maturity in 6.5 months or 26 weeks and have a minimum body weight of 1.8 kg.
· The sex ratio is 1 male to 4 to 10 females.
· Ovulation: Female cane rats, like female rabbits (does), begin ovulating when they see a male.
· 152-day gestation term.
· Litters produced each year: 2 litters.
· Number of children each litter: 3-11.
· The suckling stage lasts 40 days before weaning.
Random selection should be avoided in grasscutter farming. The best animals should be obtained from the nearby breeding centre or another grass-cutter breeder. Furthermore, when making your choice, consider your body weight. All females in a family should be roughly the same weight, while the male grass-cutter should be 0.5-1kg heavier than the females. Do not purchase or breed closely linked mating pairs, i.e. a male who is closely connected to the females.
A male grass-cutter can mate with multiple female grass-cutters at the same time. The male grass-cutter should be put in the mating pen, and the female grass-cutter should be moved from her own enclosure to the male’s pen. Allow both to sit in the pen for 24 hours.
It is important to note that moving the male to the female pen may result in a conflict and a lack of mating. Also, avoid mating a male who is lighter in weight than the female.
In grass-cutter farming, there are two mating options
· Permanent mating: The male and female grasscutters are permitted to mate in the same pen, but the young are transported to another pen once weaned.
· Temporary mating: Here, the female is placed with the male until she becomes pregnant, at which point she is relocated to another pen.
Your newborn grass-cutters should be weaned 40 days after birth. This is vital since any prolongation will lead the mother to become weak as a result of prolonged breastfeeding. Separate the males from the females when weaning. A male grass-cutter can be identified by separating the genitals and anus, which are twice as large as those in young females.
Grass-cutters should be fed meals that suit all of their nutritional needs on a daily basis. Because the grass-cutters would be kept in captivity, their diet should primarily consist of green forage, though fresh or dried food could also be provided. They can also be provided with energy, protein, and mineral concentrates.
Grass-cutter Farming Feeds & Feeding
Grass-cutters require a well-balanced meal on a regular basis. Some grass-cutter farmers make a green mistake by only providing their animals with green fodder. This is one of the reasons why nursing female grass-cutters grow slowly and produce little milk. However, if they are not fed green fodder such as grasses or legumes, they will develop stomach difficulties. A balanced diet would result in male and female cane rats weighing 3.5kg and 2.8kg, respectively.
Some forage and concentrates that grass-cutters could be fed are listed below:
· Grasses and legumes that are edible (click here to see the list of grasses and legumes)
· Garden waste, leftover vegetables, ripe or unripe fruits, coconut, leaves, pawpaw, and bamboo shoots are examples of agricultural byproducts.
· Brewers dried grain (BDG), corn bran, wheat bran, and groundnut cake are agricultural byproducts (GNC).
· Yam, yam peels, cassava, cassava peelings, potato, potato peels, cocoyam, and cocoyam peels are all tubers and roots.
· Rice, millet, sorghum, and corn are examples of cereal grains.
· Eggshells, oyster shells, and bone meal are examples of shells.
Grass-cutters should be fed at all times. Grass-cutters should also be fed fodder two hours before being fed concentrate in the morning and evening. It is also critical to always offer water to the animals. As a result, green fodder must be sun-dried for 1-2 days before giving to animals.
Grass-cutter Farming Health Management
In all facets of livestock farming, health management is critical. As a grass-cutter or cane rat farmer, the health of your huge rats should be very essential to you since if they get sick, you’ll have to spend more money to treat them. Of certainly, your production costs are rising. The following precautions should be taken to safeguard your grass-cutters from disease:
· Inspect grass-cutters on a daily basis to catch any sick animals early.
· Giving your animals the proper nutrition and practising basic cleanliness help to reduce potential disease losses.
· Avoid rough handling and needless noise with your animals.
· Disinfect the pens, sheds, cages, and their surroundings and materials on a regular basis. Twice a week, wash the feeding and drinking troughs.
· Allow fresh grass-cutters to be quarantined for two weeks before integrating them into the main stock.
· Make the feed store rodent-proof to keep mice away from the feed.
· Supplement with minerals and vitamins every two weeks. You can also give sweetened lemon juice, which has been shown to enhance the immune system. To prepare this juice, combine 400 mL of pure lemon juice, 55 cubes of sugar, and 20 litres of water.
Adult Grass-cutters are sold between 60 – 100 Ghana Cedis.