Rabbit farming what you need to know

rabbit farming mkulimatoday.com

Mkulima today rabbit farming is no longer a hobby for the youth or women. Rabbit farming is a profitable venture for both youth and the old. Today we cover the basics of rabbit farming and what you need to know.

Rabbit farming has taken the Kenyan market by storm over the last few years; but like with any other upcoming business idea in Kenya, farmers are encountering a couple of challenges.

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Rabbit farming

Due to that, I did some research on this agri-business opportunity.

 

I was able to put down a short informative article to help young farmers (as well as buyers) who want to venture into rabbit farming in Kenya.

 

Types of Breeds That Do Well in Kenya

 

According to the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), there are three (3) breeds of rabbits in Kenya; California, Chinchilla and New Zealand white.

 

Flemish Giant is also quite popular around the country. Chinchilla is a grey-brown breed and is preferred because it has a large mature weight.

 

Most rabbits reach maturity in 5 months and achieve slaughter weight in just 3 months. Rabbits reproduce 3 to 4 times annually.

 

New Zealand and California are popular because they can be relied on for fur as well as meat. Chinchilla is preferred for meat because of its large mature size.

 

Benefits of Rabbit Keeping

 

Apart from the high turnover that is characteristic of this field of business, rabbits have numerous benefits. First, their meat is categorized as white meat. Rabbit meat is white, high quality, easily digestible and low fat. It has low cholesterol and high protein compared to most other meat.

 

Rabbit meat provides low calories per kilogram of meat consumed than pork, turkey, chicken or beef.

 

Rabbit urine is used both as an insecticide and fertilizer. Their skin and fur can be used in the manufacture of fashion items.

 

Rabbit droppings serve as tilapia food for those with ponds. A 20kg sack goes for between Ksh.50 and Ksh.200.

 

Some local agrochemical companies have shown interest on Rabbit droppings but inadequate supply has always proved to be a challenge.

 

{Rabbit meat has 20.8% protein as compared to lamb meat which contains 15.7% and beef 16.3%}

 

Cost of Rabbit Farming

 

The cost of rearing rabbits depends on the type of system you use. Feeds are a major cost because rabbits consume about 25 grams of pellets per day.

 

This translates to 2.25Kg in 90 days. On average 2Kg of rabbit pellets cost between Ksh.90 and Ksh.150. These feeds can be easily found in local agrovet shops and supermarkets.

 

Alternatively, you can feed them on vegetables. An average rabbit feeds on 2 leaves of sukumawiki (Kales) per day. You may also feed them on carrots. Aside from the cost of feeds, you should also add other costs as follows:

 

*Cost of labour (constructing rabbit hutches)

 

*Depreciation of hutches

 

*Transport to the nearest rabbit market

 

Regions

 

Rabbits can be kept in virtually any part of Kenya provided they are housed properly and protected from predators.

The Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries will be able to furnish you with specific information like – where to source the right species and so forth.

 

Kindly visit your nearest ministry offices to inquire more on requirements for starting up rabbit farming in your area.

 

Market

 

Finding a market for Rabbits has proven to be a challenge to most farmers in Kenya. To some extent, this can be blamed on the poor flow of information from the sellers to the buyers (and vice versa).

 

Normally, there are two different avenues that you can use to sell your Rabbit products.

 

First, you can sell through local companies that have established themselves as an authority in this line of business.

 

The Rabbit Republic is one such company. Benida Foods is yet another example of a company that deals with rabbit marketing in Kenya.

 

The second way to market your rabbits is through direct marketing. In that case, you would have to visit big hotels and research centers looking for a market.

 

You may also want to approach supermarkets in your area and request them to sell your stock.

 

To market rabbits, you need certification by the Veterinary Services department (MALF), Kenya Bureau of Statistics.

 

One place to find a market for rabbit meat is at local hotels. Most 5 star hotels are looking for consistent suppliers. You only need to visit several of these hotels in your area and talk to them about your farming business.

Rabbit meat retails at a price range of Ksh.500 and Ksh.700 per kilogram.

 

Data from the Export Promotion Council (EPC) shows that demand for rabbit meat globally has not been fulfilled. For this reason, farmers with less than 100 rabbits are being urged to form groups at the county level in order to strategize on how best to supply other countries.

 

There are many factors to consider before you venture into Rabbit farming in Kenya. I advise you to carry out thorough research before you rush to invest in any kind of business.

Credits; Justine Nyachieo

Business Man & Mentor

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