Rabbit rearing – an enterprise with a healing touch -Special girl turning into an entrepreneur
Manisha Susan Philip of Ayroor Panchayath is not any other girl. She is a special one .And she has proved it too. She is a differently abled child who has been trained up so well that she is now the proud owner of Deepam rabbit farm . Born to Philip M Simon and Lalitha Philip ,Manisha was diagnosed with moderate grade of mental Retardation .She underwent schooling at a special school ,where the focus was on the personality and all round development . However after schooling ,she could not do anything worthwhile .It was under such a circumstances with an idea to bring about more cooperation among the parents of Mentally Challenged(MC) children and to remove the boredom of such MC children that a special Kudumbasree was formed .Kerala already had kudumbasree’s which is today one of the largest women-empowering projects in the country. And which has succeeded in addressing the basic needs of the less privileged women, thus providing them a more dignified life and a better future. Now this was a kudumbasree for the disabled and MC children wherein any female member of the childs family can be a member. Under the aegis of the special kudumbasree ,it was felt that the children should be allowed to be engaged in something productive that which will also act as a sort of therapy for the children at the same time can help them financially to be selfesteemed .
It was with this intention that Philip M Simon and lalitha Simon first approached Krishi Vigyan Kendra ,Pathanamthitta .They were interested in rabbit farming .The rabbits were loveable and the children with moderate MC could handle them without fear .The parents were given initial training for a period of three days. Manisha was also allowed to interact and grasp the important points related to rabbit farming .This was followed by various interaction sessions and advisory services and conversations .
They decided to renovate their unused dairy shed and turn it into a rabbitary .With technical advice from Team of experts from Krishi Vigyan Kendra ,they were able to set up a rabbitary with 8 female and 2 male bucks consisting of breeds such as Newzealand white, Soviet Chinchilla and Grey giant. Manisha then had the oppurtunity to practise what she had seen during her visits to Krishi Vigyan Kendra .She was helped out by her mother in her cleaning works .They made a plan of works to be done starting from cleaning to breeding .She was helped by her mother in maintaining her records .
The rabbitary is very scientifically maintained with a foot dip at the entrance which she empties each day and fills with solution of Potassium permanganate .All the parent stock in her rabbitary are named .The Newzealand towards the right side of the entrance is Rani,followed by Taniya,Bindya and so on .The bucks are named Peter,Ritu etc.All the cages in her rabbitary are marked with a hutch card which has the details of the rabbits including the date of birth,fertile date and particulars regarding breeding and delivery .The rabbitary itself is divided into three parts with one prtion for the breeding does ,one for the bucks ,and another area for the kids and bunnies.The sick rabbits are placed in isolation sheds which is around 7meters from the main rearing area .Every morning she examines the rabbits for any signs of disease .Then her mother cleans up the shed while she mixes the feed to be fed to the rabbits .The feed is put aside for some time. Then Her mother helps her in the breeding schedule of the rabbits .After breeding she and her mother writes it on the breeding board but up in the unit where she can easily find the date of delivery.Then the feed consisting of good quality rabbit pellet ,Wheat bran, maize husk and a pinch of saltis given to the rabbits . She herself puts the feed thus prepared into the feeder attached to the cage with a premeasured and premarked cup giving 150 gms to growers and bucks and 200 grams to pregnant ones .The bunnies are given 50 to 100 grams as per the weight .Then come the turn for filling of water. She uses automatic watering system made of cost effective tubes and waterers .So she needs to fill the buckets only with fresh drinking water from the nearby pipes.
Her rabbitary has a Thermometer which automatically displays the temperature and humidity. If she finds that the temperature is higher than 300 C, she puts on the fan and covers the part where sunlight is falling with green shade net. Thus she keeps her rabbits very comfortable .Her skills for writing are not much developed and so she takes the help from her mother to maintain her records .Her mother takes the pain to maintain an impeccable record with each rabbit being weighed at monthly intervals .Her breeding register and medicine records are well maintained .
She is presently selling her rabbits at a rate of 150 per rabbit bunny and 300 to 350 per kg .She has got a net profit of around Rs.30,000/-till now .The farm sells its products such as rabbits ,rabbit cages,feeders ,waterers and rabbit feed with the help from her brother through the net under the name ‘Green carrot agro farms’. Local sale is catching up but she has most of her coustomers from outside the district and state .
Her parents are happy that she has accepted rabbit rearing as her work .Her development after she has entered into the rabbitary field is tremendous .She handles cash to a limit and is part of the decision making process as far as the rabbitary is concerned .She is fully engaged all the time and this has acted as a sort of therapy for her and is cheerful all the time .
The Ayroor Community Development Society (CDS),to which Manisha’s special kudumbasree is affliated to has been selected as the best CDS in Pathanamthitta district this year and she is a star at the moment . So the effort of a special girl has turned her into a successful entrepreneur .