How to Start Grasscutter Farming in Nigeria and Ghana

Posted by: Darlinton Omeh on Friday, September 06, 2013 Category:
Greater Cane Rat popularly known as Grasscutter belongs to the rodent family and is very closely related to the porcupine, almost look alike except that porcupine is bigger. The spiny fur on the back and rounded nose distinguish Grasscutter from true rats. It reaches a length of about 720 mm when fully matured.

So, how do you start Grasscutter farming in Nigeria, Ghana or any part of west Africa where this animal is most fond of? This article is going to address that.

Grasscutter-Great-Cane-Rat
Grasscutter or Greater Cane Rat

Grasscutter is one of the animal that is extremely suitable for commercial rearing for very good reasons. If you are in the village and still complaining about money, you need to be brought out to the village square and be given 24 strokes of hot cane on a hot afternoon. Why? Because you've been allowing opportunities to pass you by all these while!

If your family in the village still ask you for money for their up keep, then they need to be taken to the village chief for judgement. After reading this article, I give you 6 - 12 months to make at least one million naira in this business. If not, then something is wrong with you somewhere. So, let's get down to business and see how it goes -

Grasscutter farming is highly profitable, more profitable than you imagined. The meat is widely consumed allover the West Africa region and beyond, making it one of the top 10 animals whose meat is in highest demand in the market. A market ready Grasscutter is sold between N4,000 to N5,500. Five hundred Grasscuters in a year could earn you between N2 Million to N2.75 Million.

  The animal reproduces very quickly and in good numbers. A fully grown female Grasscutter after gestation, carries the pregnancy for 140 - 150 days and deliver about twice a year. Each pregnancy produces average of four to seven young ones per birth. Sometimes up to ten, that means one female Grasscutter could produce 8 - 20 other Grasscutters in a year

It grows big and very fast too. Grasscutter is one of the biggest rodent in Africa. A fully mature female or male that is ready for market weighs between 3.5kg for the female and 4.5kg for the male. While measuring 45cm to 60cm in body length. The standing height is between 25 to 30cm. The body size of a fully grown male is about the size of a nine inches block.

A good number of Grasscutter is consumed yearly but most of them still comes from the wild through hunters who goes into the bush to hunt for them but usually not easy to catch, making the animal meat very scarce in the market.


Getting Started as a New Farmer


Colony - Grasscutter lives in colony, two mature male doesn't live together. Therefore, start with a male and few females together. A colony should consists of one male and three to four females. Your capacity determine how many colony you wants to start with. A small farmer may start with one or two colony, with the arrangement of one male and 3 females in each colony.

Breeding - Grasscutter is kept 100% for the meat, it has to grow well and healthy in other to be profitable. To achieve this, a new farmer must lay emphasis on the choice of breeding stock. Each colony must have a very health male. The male is the engine of reproduction, a healthy male makes a healthy stock. While selecting the male, pay attention on the well being, good weight gain in male animals is a very important factors that determine how healthy it is.

In any case, both the male and female stock you are selecting for breeding purpose must be healthy. While a healthy, strong, agile male animal should be selected for breeding programs, if the female is not genetically healthy too, it will also affect the breeding stocks. To ensure that you achieve the best possible result, both has to be healthy.

Grasscutter Pen - Grasscutter don't sleep where they eat! If you are providing them house you must put this factor into consideration - either cage or house, you must provide steeping place and dinning and playing place.

They can be breed either in a properly build cages or in a house specially designed for them. Grasscutter is sensitive to good habitat, for a colony (1 male and 3 females) the dimension of the cage should be 180cm in length, 60cm in width and 45cm in height. Build your cage that way, separate for each colony.


Grasscutter-Cage-Picture
Grasscutter Cage

If you are using walled pen or house, make sure you build it in such way that the place they eat must be separate from where they sleep. Also the production building must be designed to protect the animals from excess temperature and humidity.

The biggest enemies for Grasscutter are Snakes and Soldier Ants.Make sure their house are built is a safe place and you must also be wary of human thieves. To protect them from the invasion of soldier ants, you may pour black engine oil around their houses, especially at night during raining season mostly.

The floor should be overlay with dry soft grasses to protect their feet from being hurt and to provide them soft cushy play ground condition.

Feeding - Grasscutter is a herbivorous animals meaning their source of food is basically from the bush, that's why they are more comfortable in the bush where their foods could easily be found. Their major food is Elephant or Napier grass. They also love Sugar cane and most farmers use sugar cane mainly for their feeding, Guinea grass, Gamba grass, Congo grass.


According to experience farmers, Hygiene and good feeding are the most important factors for successful, profitably Grasscutter farming. You can also fatten the male with broiler’s finisher or broiler starter’s feed to help attain market weight within short period of time.


The animal also like Gliricidia sepium, herbaceous legumes like Stylo (Stylosanthes gracilis) and Pueraria phaseoloides. The root and pitch of oil and coconut palms, bark of the anacardium and fruits such as half ripen pawpaw, plantain, pineapple, mango etc are their delight. Food crops such as groundnut, rice, maize, grain legume, tubers like cassava, sweet potato etc also make part of their food, stressed the grasscutter farmer.

The farmer also stated that grasscutter feed on palm wine and that is why they destroy oil palm plantation. They take their water mostly from the field and go to the river during the dry season only. But when domesticated, you can give them water by adding some attractant to it. Cane rate it should be noted does not dig a hole and cannot climb a tree either, he further stressed.

They can also be fed with formulated concentrates like pellet as well as other processing by-products like wheat bran, corn bran, groundnut, soya, oilseed, cotton seed cakes, brewer yeast, grain legume pods, brewers’ grains, maize shucks and cobs, brewer’s yeast etc as feed supplements. - Seye Adeniyi
Grasscutter don't like cold environment.  The rooms or cages where you keep them must neither be too cold nor too hot. Environment that is suitable for human is considered suitable for Grasscutters.


Weaning time - With good, adequate feeding, the grasscutter kids can be weaned between four to eight weeks. But as a family, they can be with the mother for four months. The kids can be separated from the mother between five to seven months and place with a male to mate with them.

The weaned animals can be mated at the age of between seven to eight months from birth. Indefinite mating is expected to have taken place when the weaned male grasscutter is seven months old and the female is eight months. The indefinite mating period is 140days. But if after 160 days of separation from the male, there is still no sign of pregnancy , then it should be taken back to the male for proper mating. Usually there should also be an extra male that can serve the same purpose.
The Market - The market like I stated earlier is very big. Grasscutter meat or Bush meat is probably the most desirable animal meet in the market. Everyone loves it and it sells very fast. Big restaurants uses it to prepare high priced delicacies. Full meat of a mature Grasscutter goes for N4,500 in the market and the market women who trade on it are always in demand of it.

Most people in the city couldn't buy the meat because it's very scarce, so no amount of Grasscutter you produced that can't be sold within days. It will take combined efforts of thousands of farmers to fill the need of bush meat in the market in west Africa right now. 

Grasscutter is a fast reproducing animal and starts mating with 7 months after birth. It gives birth twice yearly and produce 4-7 at a time. That means, if you have 100 females that gives birth twice in a year, you would be having 900 to 1,500 in your farm within just a year! Such number will bring you nothing less than N5 Million when they are matured for marketing.

43 comments

Hello Darlington, thanks for the post. My question is, does grasscutter feed elephant grass that have been dried under the sun? What about silage?

Reply

Grasscutter feeds mostly on fresh succulent grasses and plant roots. However, they do eat dried foods too

Reply

Dear Darlinton,
Thanks so much for the article. Please is it possible and safe(health wise) to have a chicken pen and a grasscutter pen on thesame farm.

Reply

If the farm is a big farm (build in five to ten acres of land) yes it is. But if the farm is a small farm (build in one or two plots) it not. The reason is because Grasscutter is a neat animal that doesn't survive well on dirty environment

Reply

To chinedu eluwa, please how long have you been in the business with one colony to be expecting one thousand next year December,then how many litters have you experienced per birth? And does all the female give birth the same month.Am planning to invest in it with more than two colonies but i have to now how profitable it is before i invest my time in it .

Reply

@anonymous, i started in march 2011, its all about investing in knowledge, people like darlington invest heavily in knowledge and you can see the results in the contents he posts on his blog. grasscutter farming is a goldmine, you cant even meet the demands. I OFFER FREE GRASSCUTTER MANUAL THAT OUGHT TO GO FOR N15,000 AND FREE CONSULTATION FOR PURCHASING YOUR GRASSCUTTERS FROM OUR FARM. JUST CALL ME. THIS IS A LIMITED OFFER, I SUGGEST YOU TAKE ACTION NOW.

Reply

Hello Chin edu I'm so impressed by your selfless generosity. You are the kind of people this nation needs to move forward.
How can I get a copy of your free grass cutter manual? Am preparing my grass cutter farm and would like to get some healthy families from you to take off. Where are you based?

Reply

@Eluwa, pls how do you handle in-breeding with starting with a colony? I learnt inbreeding is not allowed in grasscutter farming. Tks

Reply

Inbreeding isn't ok. Every colony must have permanent one male

Reply

very nice one on the grass cutter business. another business i want you to explore on is steel business and plastic business here in Nigeria. a friend of mine spoke to me about it today and it sounds very interesting. hoping to hear from you soonest. thanks

Reply

nice one on grass cutter business. pls i want you to explore steel and plastic business here in Nigeria. a friend of mine spoke to me about it today, it sounds interesting and lucrative. thanks.

Reply

i have a grasscutter farm in benin-city,and i hope to grow-up as soon as the grassies in nigeria!

Reply

i have a grasscutter farm in benin-city,and hope to grow-up like the grassies in nigeria!

Reply

Hello, pls can I start this biz @ my backyard and will my generator noice not disturb this animal, pls I need ur phone number.thanks

Reply

Hello, pls can I start this biz @ my backyard and will my generator noice not disturb this animal, pls I need ur phone number.thanks

Reply

Hello Alex, Can you send me more details on that?

Reply


I am most impressed with your selflessness. As a means to an end, I implore our youths and the unemployed to explore agriculture as a business and an industry.

Reply

Can one combined this with snail village in 2 plots of land@chinedu

Reply

@ Omeh please i want to start up this businees but i don't know how to get a good species to buy.

Reply

Thanks for the article, I want to start this grasscutter farming how can I get the cage and good species to buy

Reply

Chinedu,
Cld u plz, let me have ur number

Reply

Thanks a lot for this eeducation on grasscutter i have just began with one male and one female but more about illnes and treatment pls. Greeying from Ghana.

Reply

Samuel, I will do articles on that soon, just keep on the watch

Reply

Meet welders to help you construct good cage following the sample cage in this article. Then approach existing grasscutter farm to buy good species

Reply

Pls @Darlington we need phone ur number so we can contact U if there's any more question

Reply

@ Darlington we need ur phone number so we can contact u, I'm really interested in d business too

Reply

Pls, where can I buy good breeds of grasscutters to start my own farm, & which time of the year is the most appropriate time to start

Reply

You can buy from any reputable farm near you. I don't have record of farms so I can recommend one to you

Reply

Hi Darlintonl
Thanks for this information. How much space is required for this. I'm interested in starting.

Reply

i ve just finish building my pen and want to start with one colony. am in abuja any close farm?

Reply

pls darlington can i start in one room?

Reply

Why do some grasscutters dislike pellet formulated feed?

Reply

Darlintonl Pls where can som1 get good breed of grasscutter in abuja?

Reply

Thank you very much for the writeup.

Reply

Thank you very much for the writeup.

Reply
Ogundijo OBA mod

Oga this is a good work, God bless u, but I need your no to make the contact more easier.

Reply

Pls can i make use of 2rooms for 2colony?

Reply

information on this site is invaluable. Tnx folks

Reply

thanks so much for the write up. please are there no other ways or types of cages that can be made . because the type you have in the write up is too expensive for me now.

Reply

Ya....let's raise a nasty disease filled rat that helps spread ebola just to make a profit.

Reply

GrassCutter is not rat and is not ebola infested. Meat is for consumption but if you decide to eat only meat-pie and burger, that's your choice :D

Reply

Wow! I learnt enough today through your post.,i will love to be among thoes whotrain grasscutter...were is the market located?

Reply

Post a Comment

Please, no email address or phone number in your comment. Tick "Notify me" to follow the conversation and get notified whenever there is new comment!