Utilisation Of Grasscutter For Household Protein Intake Food Biology Essay

Sustainability in Nigerian Agribusiness with penchant to grasscutter production was examined in this survey. The survey is considered necessary due to deficient information on the topic, uneffective reforms embarked upon by authorities, single and donor-sponsored animate being production undertakings in the Torrid Zones at assorted degrees and graduated table of production the stock that has small impact. Grasscutter is an herbivore and so can feed handily on some eatages, harvest residues ( e.g. rice straw ) , agro-industrial byproduct and kitchen leftovers. Some fresh fish species that can besides be fed to the animate beings are Pennisetum purpureum ( elephant grass ) and Panicum maximum ( guinea grass ) . It is concluded that grasscutter production which is suited for backyard household production offers a great possible for increased nutrient security, income coevals, employment chances and above all, proviso of high quality animate being protein intake.


Animal protein intake is drearily low in less-developed states than in the developed states. The Food and Agriculture and Organization ( FAO ) recommends a lower limit of 70g of protein day-to-day per caput, out of which at least 35g ( 50 % ) should come from carnal protein, but the mean Nigerian consumes 10g of protein with 3.2g of this sum from carnal protein. Pathetically, Nigeria with population of about 140 million, the highest in Africa, has the highest figure of under-five mortality. These deceases occur because of low protein intake. To bridge this spread hence, all sensible and practical options deserve thorough consideration. Micro-livestock such as coney, guinea hog, grasscutter, elephantine rat, iguana and pigeons have been suggested by Vietmeyer ( 1984 ) as rapid agencies of obtaining carnal proteins. The grasscutter is the 2nd biggest wild gnawer after hedgehog in Africa. About 40,000 dozenss grasscutter meat per twelvemonth is consumed in West Africa of which merely 0.2 % is provided by domesticated grasscutters. Its meat, said to resemble that of piggies is greatly apprehended and extremely favoured in West and Central Africa ( Adjanohoun, 1988 ) . The grasscutter belongs to the mammalian order and household of Rodentia and Tyronomyidae, severally and is genetically more closely related to the hedgehog than to the rat.

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The expanded demand for grasscutter meat presently poses the greatest menace to its really familial endurance, although the species is presently classified as unthreatened harmonizing to the FAO ‘s universe ticker list ( FAO, 2000 ) . The populations of wild grasscutters in West and Cardinal African states are worsening due to over-hunting and devastation of their home ground. In order to guarantee their sustainable being and usage, their domestication at this occasion is hence innevitable,


given the fact that some success in domestication has been achieved in this part ( Mensah, 1985 ) .

Physical Features of grasscutter

Grasscutters are purely herbivores, and prefer chiefly thick-stemmed grass species ( Schrage and Yewadan, 1999 ) . Grasscutter ( Thryonomys swinderianus ) besides known as cane rat among some people is one of the best animate beings now domesticated in Nigeria every bit good as in other sub-Sahara portion of Africa. With grasscutter agriculture, income coevals from the initial constitution would go on to boom because of its fast coevals of income. The animate being has many traditional names depending on the folk. Among the Yorubas, it is known as Oya, while some people called it Obije, Nohi every bit good as Gafya. It is a heavy, compact and the largest African gnawer after the hedgehog ( Hystrix Cristata ) . When to the full grown, the organic structure length varies between 42 and 58cm. its tail step between 22cm and 25cm and standing tallness is between 23cm to 30cm. The mean grownup weighs about 3kg for female and 4.5kg for males doing grasscutter to hold an outstanding weight than mean full-blown broiler with lesser capital engagement.


Although many assortments of grasscutter have been described, they belong to two different species: Smaller grasscutter ( Thryonomys gregorianus ) , as described by Thomas ( 1894 ) which is smaller in size and may make 8 kilogram and a organic structure length of 50 centimeter and has a shorter tail. They are found in savannas in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Zaire, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and due south to Rhodesia while Larger


grasscutter ( Thryonomys swinderianus ) Thomas, 1922 which is of greater size, weighs 9 kilogram or more and has a head-body length up to 60 centimeter, a instead long tail and spread from Senegal to South Africa ( all states of West, east, and southern Africa ) .

Breeding and Reproduction

Grasscutters are induced ovulators ( Stier, et Al. 1991 ; Adjanohoun, 1993 ; Addo, et Al. 2001 ) and breed all twelvemonth unit of ammunition ( Asibey, 1974 ) . Therefore no consideration was given to the clip of coupling. The female grasscutter is known as Department of Energy while the male is known as vaulting horse. Puberty in female is attained from 5 month and male from 7th month. The female should non be put to service until 6 month of age and live-weight of about 1.5kg while male can be used for first service from age of 8 months upwards at approximately 2kg.

Some of import factors that can impact the generative public presentation of grasscutter are nutrition, illuming government, emphasis, and deficiency of H2O. The gestation or gestation period is 145-167 yearss with an norm of about 150 yearss ( 5 months ) . The gestation period cut down with consecutive gestations. The grasscutter is capable of engendering two times a twelvemonth. The litter size ( figure of immature 1s per birth ) varies between 1-7 with an mean litter of 4. The Department of Energy has no definite heat rhythm. The incidence of station partum heat ( i.e. happening of heat merely after giving birth ) suggests that the grasscutter can be mated instantly after birth ( giving birth ) .

The recommended coupling ratio is one male for every three to six females.



Before the purchase of grasscutter, a topographic point to house them must hold been provided. Under the


intensive system, grasscutter may be housed in a container, hutches or deep litter. However, house or edifice is required for grasscutter. Grasscutter edifices are built to protect the animate beings against rain, air currents, larceny, marauders, and flight etc. Buildings ( houses ) should be located in clean and stress-free countries. The substructures consist of stable and pens equipped with coops and/ or floor hutches. Other stable and pen equipment indispensable to successful grasscutter farming in the intensive system of rise uping include feed troughs/mangers, irrigating topographic point and restraint coops

Cane- rat lodging should be located far from really noisy environment to avoid emphasis, should be far from bad smell to forestall unwellness, and should be near to the abode of the breeder to guarantee security, close monitoring and supervising.

There are two chief types of coops Colony Cages: used for rise uping grasscutter in groups and single coop: used for rise uping uncastrated grownup male grasscutter and besides a quarantine country for ill or injured grasscutters.

Colony coops dimension: L * W * H: 2m * 1m * 0.4m. Entrance: – Liter * W: 30cm * 25 centimeter. Two entrywaies on each side is recommended.

Individual coops: Dimension: – Liter * W * H: 0.5m * 0.45m * 0.30m. Entrance: – Liter * W 18 *18

Feeding direction

Grasscutter are herbivorous animate beings whose beginning of nutrient is fundamentally 70 to 80 per cent from the wood. Their major nutrient is Elephant or Napier grass ( Pennisetum purpureum ) . They besides love to eat certain gramineous works with thick succulent chaffs such as Sugar cane ( Saccharum spp ) , Guinea grass ( Panicum upper limit ) , Gamba grass ( Andropogon gayanus ) , Congo grass


( Brachiaria ruziziensis ) every bit good as dried foliage of Leucaena leucocephala i.e. intercrossed Tamarindus indica.

The animate being besides like Gliricidia sepium, herbaceous leguminous plants like Stylo ( Stylosanthes gracilis ) and Pueraria phaseoloides. The root and pitch of oil and coconut thenars, bark of the Anacardium and fruits such as half ripen papaya, plantain, Ananas comosus, Mangifera indica etc are their delectation. Food harvests such as Indian potato, rice, maize, grain leguminous plant, tubers like manioc, sweet murphy etc besides make portion of their nutrient.

They can besides be fed with formulated dressed ores like pellet every bit good as other processed byproducts like wheat bran, maize bran, Indian potato, soybean, oil-rich seed, cotton seed bars, brewer barm, grain legume cods, beer makers & A ; acirc ; ˆ™ grains, corns and hazelnut, brewer & A ; acirc ; ˆ™s yeast etc as provender supplements.Fresh formulated provender should be placed in the feeder every twenty-four hours.

Irrespective of the sort of eatage, grasscutters eat chaffs before any other portion, the following is the bark of branchlets and eventually some foliages. This eating wont causes have oning of the animate being ‘s dentition which unluckily leads to high eatage wastage. The grasscutter does rehearse coprophagia, when it is hot, H2O consumption is reduced, and when the out-of-door temperature is low, the carnal drinks much more. ( Baptist and Mensah, 1986 ; Holzer 1986 ; Holzer et Al. 1986 ; Adjanohoun 1988 ; Mensah et Al. 1986 ; Mensah 2000 ) . The ground for this instead unexpected behavior is nevertheless non yet to the full understood and should be a subjected for farther research.

Water Consumption:

This is determined by an environmental factor ( the measure of H2O in the ambiance ) low temperature and less eatage leads to high rate of H2O been consumed, and frailty versa.



Preventive steps

In order to forestall grasscutter from diseases, the undermentioned rules must be adhered to purely:

Merely healthy stock should be acquired.

Grasscutter should non be raised together with other types of animate beings in the same edifice.

Rats and wild birds are agents of diseases and should be kept out of the carnal house.

Adequate control of temperature, humidness and airing in the carnal house should be maintained.

Keep the house ( within and outside ) clean. Feeding and H2O troughs should be washed on a regular basis.

Restrict motion of visitants in and out of the house.

Isolate any ill animate being from the group.

Any dead animate being should be removed instantly.

Feed nutritionally balanced diet.

Observation and proper records can besides be of aid.

Significant Diseases of Grasscutter

Enterotoxaemia: This is caused by bacteria Clostridium perfrigens. The being produces toxins which are absorbed into the circulatory system of grasscutter doing mortality. Vaccine against this status is available. Antibiotics can be used for intervention.

Coccidiosis: This is caused by being of the Eimeria household. Symptom of the disease include


diarrhoea and collapse. Drugs for intervention are available.

Staphylococcaemia: This is caused by a bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus. Most of the marks of this disease are seen at station mortem but discharges from the anterior nariss and vagina could be seen. Antibiotics are besides employed in its intervention.

Pneumonia: This is caused by a bacteria, Diplococcus pneumonia and it is prevailing during the cold conditions. Aspiration pneumonia could besides happen through the inspiration of provender dust.

Worm infestation and Ectoparasites like ticks can besides impact grasscutter

Influence of Grasscutter Production on Sustainable Agricultural Production in Nigeria

Grasscutter can function as a beginning of nutrient or protein, as the meat of grasscutter can be compared favorably with those of domesticated farm animal species. Harmonizing to Olomu et Al. ( 2003 ) grasscutter had the highest protein content and lowest fat of 22.7 % and 4.2 % severally when compared with coney 21.0 % and 6.5 % ; chicken 19.2 % and 6.1 % and hog with 15.1 % CP and 31.0 % fat. The meat is besides preferred for its tenderness and gustatory sensation. It can besides function as beginning of income and employment, as one can depend on grasscutter for his support. In fact, grasscutter can supply occupation chances for both urban and rural inhabitants who can be engaged in assorted facets of grasscutter production like rise uping, processing, transporting, cold storing, hutches edifice and selling of grasscutter merchandises.

Pancreass of grasscutter is believed to hold high concentration of insulin which is a good stuff in the pharmaceutical company for the local readyings in the intervention of diabetes.



Government, Non-Governmental bureaus and spiritual organic structures can assist to form preparation in grasscutter production in order to eliminate idling and hopelessness in the state.

Fiscal crises and offense rates can be reduced in the state when larger citizen particularly the unemployed are self employed through grasscutter production.

The authorities should set up a national grasscutter Program with the wide purpose of hiking grasscutter production in Nigeria.

Grasscutter keepers should besides form themselves into co-ops where they can hold entree to some loans and subsidies.

Selling of grasscutter and their merchandises need to be promoted to prolong the economic enterprise of the manufacturers.

Unemployed young persons can be motivated by authorities, Non-Governmental bureaus and spiritual organic structures by developing them and doing financess available to them.


Grasscutter production can supply destitute urban population and the hapless rural inhabitants the chances to run into portion of their entire protein intake and earn extra income. The grasscutter can be a possible moneymaker if decently managed. In order to accomplish this, authorities, Non-governmental bureaus, faculty members, persons and contrivers will hold to fix a well-coordinated action program to advance grasscutter production.