This is Shep O'Neal with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
Rabbits are easy to raise. The long-eared animals are clean and quiet. They do not need a lot of room. And you do not have to spend a lot of money to feed them. With rabbits, you get a big return from a small investment.
One male and two females will produce in a year as many as fifty more rabbits. That is enough to provide a good supply of meat for a family. Rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat.
You do not have to be a farmer to raise rabbits. You can raise them in the city.
There are about sixty different kinds of rabbits. The ones that produce the most meat from the least amount of feed weigh four and one-half kilograms.
Rabbit houses are easy to make with wood and wire fencing material. They do not have to be very big. But each rabbit must have its own little room in the house. This is very important. Each room should be about seventy-five centimeters wide, sixty centimeters high and one meter deep.
Fencing is used for the sides and floor of the rabbit house. The holes in the wire fencing should be about one centimeter square. Wastes from the animals will drop through the holes. This keeps the rabbit house clean and dry.
Rabbits need a lot of fresh air and sunlight. Cover the sides of the rabbit house only to protect it from rain.
Rabbits eat mostly grass and leaves. Feeding containers hung on the outside of the house let the rabbits eat whenever they want. They simply pull the grass and leaves through the holes in the wire.
Each room should have fresh water. The water containers should be heavy so the rabbits cannot turn them over. Or you can tie the containers to the wire.
One month after mating, female rabbits give birth to about eight babies. In two months, a baby rabbit should weigh about two kilograms. This is big enough to make a meal for a small family.
Rabbits are also valuable for their fur. It takes time, skill and money to prepare the fur and skin for use. If you have only a few rabbits, it probably would be best to let a professional tanner prepare the fur for you. Skill is also needed to remove the fur from the rabbit.
But rabbits do not have to be dead to be valuable. Many people enjoy keeping rabbits as friendly pets. And rabbit manure makes an excellent fertilizer. It can be mixed directly into the soil to improve the growth of vegetables, trees and flowering plants.
And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. Read and listen to our reports at voaspecialenglish.com. This is Shep O'Neal.