Guide to Grasscutter Farming and Rearing

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Grasscutters can easily be raised in your backyard provided there is space to build their house. Grasscutters can be raised in cages or

hutches. The grasscutter cage must be built with metal or iron wood, this is to prevent them from destroying the cage. A cage that is not built with iron wood can easily be destroyed by grasscutter.

Terminologies
A male grasscutter (cane-rat ) is referred to as A BUCK.

A female grasscutter (cane- rat ) is A DOE.

A newly kindled young are referred to as LITTERS.

A group of 1 male to 4 females is referred to as Family.

Behaviour
Cane rats are predominantly nocturnal in the wild and travel through trails in the reeds and grass. They appear to live in small groups of up to 12 animals. In captivity, greater cane rats exist as family groups of one male and from one to seven females.

The dominant male will not tolerate the presence of another mature male. They are vegetarian and eat the roots, shoots, and stems of various grasses. They cut the grass stems at the base with their powerful incisors, and then while sitting in an upright position, they manipulate the grass stem or other foodstuff with their front paws while pushing it into the mouth and chopping it into small pieces with the incisors. Grasses are their principal food, including elephant grass, Pennisetum purpureum, and buffalo or guinea grass, Panicum maximum. They consume the soft parts of the grasses and shrubs, and the drier sections and leaves are often discarded.

Foods :
Grasses (elephant grass)
Guinea grass
Sugar cane
leguminous fodder.
Coconut palms
Unripe Fruits (such as paw paw, pineapple, mango)
Tubers (cassava, sweet potato, etc)
Food crops (such as groundnut, rice, maize and grain legumes).
Bread.
Kitchen leftovers.
Salted corn cobs

They can become severe agricultural pests in some areas where crops, such as peanuts, maize, sorghum, wheat, cassava, and sugar cane grow in close proximity to their habitat.

Breeding/Reproduction in Grasscutters:
The principal objectives of a Grasscutter breeder would be to reproduce good quality animals with a low rate of mortality, observed in both the kindled litters and the nursing doe.

In order to maintain the Grasscutter polygamous culture, as obtainable in their natural home, for reproduction purpose. It is advisable to house a colony of 4 Does to be serviced by a Buck.

The gestation period of grass cutter is 156 days . A newborn young grass cutter is born fully furred with open eyes. Mass at birth varies from 75-204g. The young are weaned at about four to six weeks. Naturally grass cutters produce throughout the year although birth peaks occur at certain times of the year, presumably during rainy seasons when more food is available. In captivity, birth can occur any time males and females are placed together.

Average weight of wild grass cutters is 4 - 5kg, males can reach up to 10 kg. The female reaches sexual maturity at 5 months, but it is not advisable to be used in breeding until it is 6 months old, when it weighs approximately 1.5kg. After a gestation period of 152 days (about 5 months), the female gives birth to an average of 4 young ones, which are morphologically identical to adults. The largest litter is obtained at the second parturition. The male reaches sexual maturity at 6 months, but it may be used for breeding from the age of 8 months, or a minimum weight of 2kg.

Credit: Fortress Farms

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Segun Ogunlana

A social innovator, a fixer, who likes to make a difference and get things done better. His focus covers Project Management, Systemic Innovation, Product Development, Design Thinking, Business Strategy, Set-up & Development. Some call him a super manager, natural marketer and sales man. He is a Chelsea fan too.

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