‘Rabbit commander’ to expand furry army in Year of the Rabbit

YINCHUAN: Even during the Spring Festival holiday, Ma Xili never fails to wake up early and take care of his bunnies.
“Our family spent the festival in the rabbit farm this year, hoping for good luck during the Year of the Rabbit,” said Ma, in his 60s.
Ma’s success in operating a rabbit business for nearly 20 years has earned him the pet name of “Rabbit Commander” in Youfang Village, Guyuan City, northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
“Rabbits are highly reproductive and have short gestation periods. They breed rapidly with each capable of giving birth to 40 bunnies. I can make 100,000 yuan (about 14,750 U.S. dollars) in pure profits from them each year,” said Ma.
Over the past 20 years, Ma’s rabbit farm, with a population of 3,000 rabbits, has seen its income steadily increase, with Ma and his wife mainly selling them to customers in Sichuan Province, southwest China.
As a kid from a poor family, Ma did not have the opportunity to attend school. He once worked as a vendor and a grocer. But with rabbit farming, Ma has personally developed his own methodology, and has since been hired by the local government to teach other farmers how to breed the animal.
Rabbit farming is so popular among Ma’s village that there is even a saying that goes, “three rabbits keep your belly full, 10 keep your body warm, and 100 bring you the road to wealth.” –Agencies