Rabbit Rearing (Enterprise)

Poverty and deprivation are widely prevalent in our country and gender inequality plays an important role in it. With size of agriculture fields per family reducing and increase in input cost and low yield, tradition crop cultivation is no longer profitable to farmers particularly SC/ST people having very less land. These situation calls for an urgent insight to the problems effecting rural economy and demands for an integrated approach to provide alternative agriculture. It has been found that animal husbandry plays an important role in mitigating poverty among landless labour and poor/marginal farmers, and that women perform significant functions in this activity. In recent times, increasing attention is being paid to small animals since they require less capital and contribute more to women’s empowerment.

Function in Brief

Selection of Breed : Rabbit rearing is considered a minor agriculture enterprise. Choosing or selecting real breeding stock is the foundation stone of successful rabbit production. If the right doe with real generic potential is mated with the right buck with desirable characters, all the progeny will be healthy, prolific and efficiently productive. High meat production, good breeding rates and adaptability to local conditions are the main considerations for choice or rabbit species. In the above case, five exotic varieties of broiler rabbits were selected for propagation. They are:

Feed: Apart From kitchen wastes, Pre-cultivated fodder grass and locally available green leaves used. Rabbits fed on forage developed through cultivation of Rajka, Berseem and cowpea. This is very nutritious and liked by rabbits.

Balanced feed ratio for different categories of rabbits

  Adult rabbit Pregnant/milking doe
Maize 20% 15%
Barley 20% 15%
Soyabean/Gram 10% 10%
Groundnut cake 5% 15%
Mineral mixture 0.5% 0.5%
Salt 1% 1%
Alfa-alfa/Berseem 45% 40%

Veterinary Aid: Arrangements are made with local veterinarians for providing regular medical aid to rabbits. Indigenous cures and herbal remedies for rabbit diseases can also be evolved. The average mortality rate is 20 percent of which 10 percent is in the first week, 5 percent in the second week, 3 percent in third week, and 2 percent in the fourth week after birth.

Marketing & Collection Centres: Through the project, a centralized marketing system developed to ensure reasonable returns. A marketing network formed among the farmers. Major portion of the rabbit meat sold as dressed meat in nearby areas. It was found that, as rabbit meat is low-fat, good demand could be promoted in the open market.

Fur Processing: Fur processing can also be started for making different items like caps, coats, bags, purses, toys, dolls etc. However, it has been found that quality of the fur obtained from the broiler breeds is not very good. Since this forward linkage can be a significant source of income, technology development activities in this area may be taken up at a later stage.

Equipments required

a) Cage for rabbits Structures       20

b) Tools                                           5

Cost of the Unit:

Economics - Illustrative costs incurred at the nodal unit are given below:


The approach is to have a decentralized system of rabbit rearing with women breeding them in their homes and selling either the meat directly or after processing through a centralized system. SED GVK is provided essential training, in turn trains the beneficiaries and organizes the entire network and operation. One of the better field models has been developed and successfully demonstrated, with technical support from the DST, Govt. of India.
• Community mobilisation: About 375 people made aware about Rabbit rearing.
• Training: 14 beneficiaries are trained and started rabbit rearing.
• Nutrition: Started consuming rabbit meat, thus increasing the level of nutrition among their family.
• Economic Benefits: Beneficiaries has started earning from sale of rabbits.
• Institutionalisation: Formation of Self-help Groups.
• Marketing: Marketing of rabbits.

Poultry Farming (Enterprise)

Poultry farming is raised, either for eggs, or for their quick formation of high class flesh, or for a combination of both. The poultry keeper has to first decide for which particular purpose he intends to keep fowls and then to decide which particular breed will suits his purpose best. Nirbheek variety of Hen developed by Maharana Pratap Agriculture University is good in meat as well as egg production. They are bigger in size and lay 250 to 260 per year then local variety of hens lays 60 to 70 eggs per year. Training of both I & II batch of 16 trainees is in progress and five pairs of hens are being provided to the each trainees after completion of training.

• Bigger compact body confirmation and longer shank length
• Active birds with high stamina, majestic gait and aggressiveness
• Capable to save itself from the predators to a great extent
• High disease resistance to tropical diseases
• Adaptability to various climatic regions
• Low input cost & Improved productivity with larger size coloured eggs
• Better survivability & self propagation capability

Performance of economic traits of Nirbheek

Trait Nirbhik Desi Fowl
Body weights at 20 weeks (g) Male 1800-2000 1200-1500
Body weights at 20 weeks (g) Female 1200-1400 800-1100
Age at sexual maturity (days) 174 220
Annual egg production (number) 160-180 45-60
Egg weight at 40 weeks (g) 53 30-35
Survivability (%) after 6 weeks 90-95 70-80

Function in Brief

Housing and Management

No special care is required to grow them. They can be raised as free roaming birds and can be fed with locally available materials. After 4-6 weeks of age, they can be let free for scavenging in the backyard surrounding the house. During the initial acclimatization, care need to be taken to make them use to reaching the nest in the evening for night shelter. Night shelter provide good ventilation and protection from the predator. Availability of plenty of clean and fresh water is essential.

Rearing and feeding of chicks

Nirbhik can easily pick up its food from the backyard once it learn scavenge in the fields. They can also fed on farm and kitchen waste. If the purpose of rearing is for egg production feeding layer cheek feed up to six weeks, followed by either complete feed or grain (like bajra, raggi, jowar, broken rice with equal part of rice polish or rice bran. Nirbhik pullet give supplement calcium source (lime stone powder, stone gritt, marble chips) mixed with feed or grain during the laying phase @ 4-5 gm per birds per day.

Balanced feed ratio for different categories of Chicks and hen

S.No. Material Chicks Chicks Layers
(0-8 weeks) (9-20 weeks) (more than 20 weeks)
1 Chick con. 35% - -
2 Poultry con. - 25% 25%
3 Rice Polish 30% 40% 40%
4 Maize 30% 25% 25%
5 Jowar, Wheat, bajra 50% 10% -
6 Lime stone 50% 10% 3%
Diseases and their control measures

The cheeks are moving in free range, there is possibility of parasite infection. Therefore, periodically deworming at two to three months interval is required.

Vaccination Schedule:
Age (Days) Vaccine Dose Route
One Marek’s Disease 0.20ml Subcutaneous
Seven Ranikhet Disease (Lasota) 1 Drop Eye Drop
Eighteen Ranikhet Disease (Lasota) 1 Drop Eye Drop
Twenty Ranikhet Disease (R2B)(Repeat R2B at six month interval) 0.50 ml Subcutaneous
Equipments required

a) Cage for Hens      20

b) Tools                      5


Besides economic security, Backyard poultry also provide desired/ higher quantity of animal protein in the form of egg and meat for the family. Marketing of poultry birds and eggs has no problem. Farmers easily market this commodity from their doorstep.


• Community mobilisation: People of the area are made aware about the Nirbheek Hen.
• Training: 16 beneficiaries were trained and started Backyard Poultry.
• Nutrition: Increase in the level of nutrition among beneficiaries by consuming meat & eggs.
• Economic Benefits: Earnings from sale of eggs, cock and vermicompost.
• Institutionalisation: Formation of Self-help Groups.
• Marketing: Marketing of eggs, cocks and vermicompost.

Animal Health

• Animals are part of human civilization and they have been co-exiting since evolution of human beings on the earth. This link between human and animal populations, and with the surrounding environment, is very close since ancient time as animals provide transportation, recreation, draught power, fuel and clothing as well as proteins (meat, eggs and milk).

• Many factors lead to the emergence of zoonotic diseases. Environmental changes, human and animal demography, pathogen changes and changes in farming practice are a few of them. Social and cultural factors such as food habits and religious beliefs play a role too.

• About 75% of the new diseases that have affected humans over the past 10 years have been caused by pathogens originating from an animal or from products of animal origin. Many of these diseases have the potential to spread through various means over long distances and to become global problems.

• In addition a number of well known and preventable animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans (i.e. zoonoses) such as rabies, anthrax, teaniasis and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy continue to occur in many parts of the world especially in the developing world where they mostly affect the poorest segment of the human population. They cause a serious amount of deaths and millions of affected people every year.

• All major zoonotic diseases prevent the efficient production of food of animal origin, particularly of much-needed proteins, and create obstacles to international trade in animals and animal products. They are thus an impediment to overall socioeconomic development. From way back veterinary medicine played a major role in the preventing of and interventions against animal diseases including zoonoses.

• Taking into consideration above facts the Society for Environment & Development, Delhi with support from Rashtriya Vigyan evam Prodyogiki Sanchar Parishad (RVPSP), DST, New Delhi has developed innovative programme to create awareness about diseases spread through animals in human among students, teachers and rural people of Kota, Baran, Jhalawar, Sawai Madhopur and Bundi districts of Rajasthan with the following objectives.

• Students are the future of the country and making them aware about the zoonosis is very important. Ten programmes on competitions for students of eco-club/science club were organized (two in each district) for duration of two days each. Students of standard 9th to 12th from 5-6 schools participated in the each programme.

• Lectures by the experts were given on day one while competition (essay, quiz, slogan & posters) and field visit were organized on day two. Around 200 students from 5-6 schools participated in each programme. The student participated in quiz and poster competition and interacted with experts to understand science behind the disease caused in human beings through animals.

• The students took keen interest in the diseases spread through domestic pet animals and shown great interest in understanding the factors responsible for them. Prizes were given to winning students.

• Animals are reared by the rural people for their various needs and for income. The are unaware about the various diseases spread by the domestic as well as pet animals. Ten awareness/training programmes for progressive farmers and rural people (two in each district) were organized at Tehsil headquarters.

• Around eighty farmers/rural people participated in each programme covering 5-8 nearby villages from each tehsil. The duration of programme was one day each. Experts gave powerpoint presentation followed by question-answer sessions. Following are the places where programme was organized.