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Original:Back Yard and Commercial Rabbit Production 15

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A Complete Handbook on Back-Yard and Commercial Rabbit Production (Peace Corps, 1982, 92 p.)[edit]

Marketing rabbits[edit]

Marketing is the number one problem with rabbit raisers in the Philippines today. In theory, the demand is great considering the current population explosion and world wide food shortages. In actuality, the demand for rabbit meat is either too high or too low for the rabbit producers to supply.

Presently, the lack of statistical data concerning the feasibility or the marketability of rabbit meat plagues the backyard and commercial rabbit entrepreneur. Hopefully, in the future, with the involvement of national government agencies and private organizations in rabbit production as an alternative protein source, there will be studies conducted on the various potentials and/or detriments of this field for the entrepreneur to utilize as guidelines. Until these needed studies are conducted, we truely are pioneers in the field of rabbit production.

Marketing prospects should be located and developed promptly when one engages in rabbit production. The FIRST market for meat is the family, neighbors, towns and cities within the locality. Rabbit meat can then be sold in dressed form to hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and open markets. Rabbit barbecue can be sold by sidewalk vendors. But if we are to succeed at all we must successfully market the IDEA of eating rabbit meat to ALL strata of the population...not only to the middle and upper class but, to the strata that compose the majority of the populace... the grass roots. WE must in fact convince ourselves before convincing others!

By-products of rabbits such as fur, tails, paws, and manure are certainly added income. In fact, more money will be made in marketing by-products than in the sale of meat alone.



Cutting and packaging rabbit meat[edit]

After slaughtering the animal (see later chapter on simplified tanning) and washing the carcass thoroughly, hang it to drain. Wipe excess water with a clean cloth and pack meat attractively in a cellophane bag. Record weight on the bag with a pentel pen (Fig. 29, A and B).

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FIGURE 29 - Inexpensive meat packaging method:

A. Fold hind legs into chest cavity leaving liver and kidneys exposed.

Chill the carcass in a refrigerated cooler. Arrange the carcass on a cooling rack so that moderate air movements and suitable temperature within the cooler will reduce the internal temperature of the carcass to no less than 2.22°C and to no more than 4.44°C within 24 hours.

Hanging by the hind legs for chilling may cause a carcass to be drawn out of shape so that the pieces will not fit satisfactorily into a cartoon. Some processors chill carcasses in wire trays, arranging them so the pieces will be of a proper shape for packaging.

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FIGURE 29 - B. Place in cellophane bag and record weight.

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FIGURE 30-Common cuts of rabbit meat.

Hotels, restaurants, hospitals, clubs, and other establishments usually purchase the whole carcass with the liver intact. Their chefs prefer to cut them to meet their own requirements. Housewives usually prefer the cut-up packaged product. Cut up the fryer rabbit with a knife; using a cleaver may splinter the bones. Common cuts from fryer carcasses are illustrated in figure 30; in large commercial processing plants, a bandsaw is used. For sale in supermarkets, a paraffined box with a cellophane window makes a neat, sanitary package for the chilled rabbit carcass. If the package is to be handled considerably or the meat is to be frozen, use a box without the cellophane window, but wrap the meat or the box in a special wrapping to prevent freezer burns and loss in palatability.

A box 22 ½ mm long, 10 mm wide, and.164 deep is suitable for a fryer carcass weighing 750 grams to 950 grams. Again arrange the cut attractively. Include the heart, kidneys, and liver.

If you sell to the home trade or furnish butchers with meat that is to be consumed locally, a cellophane bag will suffice or you can make a neat, sanitary, and inexpensive package by arranging the pieces of fryer and a spring of parsley on a paper plate and covering them with a piece of clear cellophane or other wrapping materials.


Crating and shipping live rabbits[edit]

You can ship rabbits almost any distance with safety, if they are in good condition, properly crated, and provided with food and water. Do not ship them in extremely hot or cold weather. Always use well-ventilated crates that are long enough to permit the rabbit to lie down. Use straw for bedding. Crates with slanting tops discourage stacking. Consult the quarantine laws in your area (Fig. 31).

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FIGURE 31 - (Left) bag with holes for transporting rabbits short distances - up to 24 hours. (Right) crate with grass manger in the center for long distances.

Put only one animal in each compartment of the shipping crate. Animals to be in transit 24 hours or less need only a small quantity of feed and water. If the trip is longer, more feed and water are needed. It is wise to attach to each crate a bag of feed and a printed request to feed and water the animals once a day. Plenty of fresh water and feed should be accessible to the rabbits at all times. For rabbits in transit, use the type of feed given in the rabbitry. As an alternative, any root crop or vegetable such as sayote placed in the crate will provide enough feed and moisture for several days travel, and eliminates the possibility of spilling feed and water supplied in containers.

Label the crate clearly, advising against exposing the animals to sun or rain. Notify the purchaser when rabbits are shipped.

You can make shipping crates from packing boxes. It is good business, however, and effective advertising, to ship rabbits in durable crates that are neatly built, light weight and attractive. Furnish ample space in each compartment and be sure that wire netting keeps the rabbits from gnawing the wood.


How to assess sales prospects[edit]

To find out how your product will sell, gather and analyze the following information.

Basic

1. Geographical information. Area of country, the terrain, the climate, distance between main population centers. Things that will influence demand for your product. In other words..."who needs it?"

2. Population. What is its size, age range, and concentration?

3. Income. What is the level of income, who has the income (distribution) and who might need your product?

4. Natural resources. Is it limited or not yet developed? (this is especially important in determining earnings from staple agricultural and other products.)

5. Industrial development. What is the extent and stage of industrial development plans at present and for the future? Amount of foreign investment?

Market Potential

1. Demand: What is the current and future demand for the product?

2. Domestic production: Who is now making the product, where are they located, and what are their plans for future expansion?

3. Imports for product: Increasing, decreasing? Need information on imports by volume, value, and country or origin.

4. Dominant price range for the quality: choose the range with the largest potential sales.

5. What are the prices for the importer? the wholesaler? the retailer?

6. Is there market control by traditional suppliers? Acceptability of new products by buyers?

Market Requirements

1. Need to conform to a standard or grade and a procedure for approval of grading system.

2. Special packaging because of climate, ship conditions, government regulations or local tastes and prejudices.

Distributions

1. How much markup and commission is expected for importer / manufacturer / commission / agent / distributor / etc.?

2. Normal distribution patterns.

3. One firm with exclusive distribution rights or several representatives in various locations?

4. One large shipment or several smaller ones to meet quota.

5. Advertising support? Source?

Sales Promotion

1. What media are available for advertising the product? newspaper / magazines / radio / t.v. / cinema / word of mouth?

2. What is the cost of advertising? Which would give the most benefit for the cost?

3. Where are there suitable trade fairs / exhibits to display rabbits? Cost of participation.

4. What forms of advertising do customers respond to best?


The economics of rabbit production[edit]

Every rabbit raiser is a businessman whether he raises a few or a hundred rabbits. For success, he must put money, time, and talent into the project for some expected return. Economists describe this business operation in this way:

COSTS - INPUTS

1. Land and building
2. Hutches, watering and feeder troughs.
3. Feeds
4. Other overhead.

RETURNS - OUTPUTS

1. Livestock
2. Rabbit meat
3. Rabbit by-products
a. fur
b. paws
c. tails
d. manure
1) Fertilizer
2) Methane gas

Rabbit production is one backyard industry that promises a bright future. Why' Because almost 99 per cent of the rabbit is useful - the meat for food, the fur for clothing, paws and tails for trinkets, and the manure for soil improvement and for new energy source... bio or methane gas.

The returns from rabbit raising vary from place to place and from time to time. So rabbit producers may either expand or close down their projects on the basis of local and national demands.

However, rabbits are perhaps the most economical and profitable of all kinds of livestock. They can utilize inferior feeds and still provide quality meat and fur. Moreover, with a better quality feeding program, they can increase bunny production thus allowing a higher profit margin for the producer.

A good rabbit raiser strives to raise as many bunnies as possible from one doe within a year or during her productive life. Good management includes the wise selection of initial breeding stock and the determination of how much time and capital is to be invested in the project. It also includes good care of the does, bucks, bunnies and paying alert attention to housing, cages, sanitation, and record keeping.

Here is an example of profit potential for one doe and a kindling of six bunnies.

1. At 4 months of age, 6 fryers slaughtered 6 kilos @ PI2.00/K

P 72.00

2. Fur - tanned skins sold 6 fryers @ P6.00................................

36.00

3. Manure - 1/3 of total feed - 82 ÷3 = 27 kilos @ P.25 or about.3. cubic. Ft/doe/year...............................................................

6.75

4. Paws and tails 30 pieces @ P1.20 each.......................

36.00

GROSS TOTAL...............................................................

P 150.75

Minus cost of commercial feed @ P-/K..............................

99.00

NET GAIN (for one doe)..........................................................

P 51.75

If bunnies are all sold live at 4 months of age the following computation is applicable:

1. Six bunnies @ P40.00 each

P 240.00

2. Manure

6.75

GROSS TOTAL

P 246.75

Minus cost of commercial feed (see above)

99.00

NET PROFIT

P 147.75