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2016 by Sanyaolu Kehinde

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All images are copyright of Kehinde Sanyaolu and MoAgro farms
Cover Image: A grasscutter and her five cuttlings Kehinde Sanyaolu

MoAgro Farms Limited

12 Mogbotoluwa close off Olaiya Street Egbeda Lagos
Tel: 08060043692, 07088625468


Parturition simply means the process of giving birth. The process

of giving birth can also be referred to as to litter. The gestation
period of grasscutters is averagely one hundred and fifty five
days (155) that is approximately five months. After mating is
comprehensive and has resulted in pregnancy, the doe begins to
show physical signs of pregnancy from three months upwards.
At this stage is when slight protrusion can be noticed in the
stomach of the doe. The protrusion at this stage is usually
convexed downwards. At four months upwards the belly signs of
pregnancy becomes more obvious and a side bulge can now be

The doe may also show signs like excessive sleeping, laziness in
getting up from its sleeping or lying position etc. At the point
where the pregnancy is advanced, if a buck is in the cage it is
unlikely the doe will allow any mating though it is recommended
that the buck be removed from eight weeks of been with the

Once the grasscutter carries the pregnancy to term, it will litter

in the cage and can litter even safely litter in the presence of
other does. The process starts with the doe doing a slight push,
when the birth sack appears it bends its head towards the anal
region and pulls out the baby. Once the baby is out it usually

looks dead or unlikely to survive but that is not a problem. The

mother first eats and relishes the umbilical cord after which it
then has time to give attention to the new baby. The doe licks
the birth fluids off the baby until it springs to life, starts getting
up and is able to stand erect. When another one is due to come
out the doe repeats the same process and may even abandon
nurturing the new cuttling to give birth to a new one.

A grasscutter giving birth and eating the umbilical cord

Some does are fast and do everything in a brisk and crisp manner
while other could be clumsy and slow. The doe then pulls out
other debris of birth remaining inside it out including the
placenta and eats them all with relish. It will also lick up all the

blood if the cage is a flatbed cage. Once all the cuttlings are out,
the mother resumes nurturing them by licking the birth juice off
them until they are neat and dry.

The whole process takes about an hour to an hour and a half to

litter 4-5 grasscuttlings. First litter usually gives 3-4 litters, litter
size increases with subsequent deliveries and the grasscutter can
litter as much as 7-11 cuttlings. The cuttlings are born fully haired
and immediately start searching for the mothers breast even as
soon as they can stand erect.

The sucking of the breast by already born cuttlings sometimes

gives the mother a hard time bringing forth the remainder. The
babies are a small replica of an adult grasscutter and can run
around from a few hours after birth. The average birth weight
for grasscutters is 120gm with a range of between 110-140gms.
Some could weigh as low as 80gms and as much as 150gms
depending how many cuttlings in the litter.

The doe has three pairs of teats so special care should be giving
to mother and children if it litters more than six cuttlings. The
doe should be well fed after parturition to avoid any transfer of
aggression to the cuttlings.

A grasscutter and her cuttlings

In the case of large litters supplementary milk should be

provided or a multivitamin solution. Powdered milk dissolved in
water with glucose and a pinch of salt added to help the doe. A
surrogate mothering system should also be adopted if there is
another breastfeeding mother on the farm. Some of the cuttlings
of the large litter are removed and transferred to the surrogate
mother for nurturing.

Grasscutters have a strong sense of smell so the surrogate

mother can sniff out her cuttlings from the lot. It is therefore
advised that transfer of the cuttlings is preceded by masking for

both the new babies and her original babies to prevent her killing

The cuttlings can be sexed from a day old and will start trying
their teeth on forage fed to the doe from a day old too. Weaning
is after a period of 4 weeks and can extend to 6weeks in the case
of large litters. The doe can be reintroduced to a buck after a rest
period of 7-14 days post weaning.

Read online at
See uncensored grasscutter videos including a grasscutter
giving birth at

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