Rabbit Farming in Kenya
Rabbit farming in Kenya is yet another business venture that requires very little capital. It requires little capital outlay because it needs simple facilities and very small land area. Keeping rabbits is no longer a hobby to be left to children. It is now serious business.
Rabbits are valuable for their wool, fur, meat and even urine. There are several breeds of rabbits such as the Flamish Giant, New Zealand White, California White, chinchilla among others.
Benefits of rabbits
Rabbit keeping is cheaper, more efficient, and more productive than other agricultural businesses including poultry farming. This is partly because rabbit feed is much more easily available and constructing a rabbit hutch is very simple.
Apart from meat, Rabbit skin and fur can be sold separately providing extra income. The skin and fur is used to make expensive coats in the western world where hunting of foxes has been banned. Additionally, rabbits produce dung, which is excellent manure.
They are also used as testing specimens by laboratories. The breed usually determine how they are used.
A Rabbits cost around Ksh.350 at the age of 1-2 months. The price of mature rabbits depends on weight and size. Mature rabbits can have a live weight of 5 – 6 kg.
You can buy breeding stock to start with from local breeders. Rabbits start to breed at the age of 6 to 7 months and give birth after a month of gestation. Female rabbits can produce up to 50 live rabbits per year. They produce an average of 9 kits per birth.
To start your rabbit farm, prepare a rabbit hutch that is well lit and well ventilated with heating and cooling systems. You can build the hutch from scrap materials. Metal cages are usually recommended for its ease of cleaning.
Equip the hutch with feed and water basin and a nest box. To keep your start up cost low, you can construct rabbit housing yourself from available construction materials you have.Cleanliness is important to ensure that the rabbits do not get sick.
There a high demand for rabbit meat in Kenya. Mostly the meat is sold to restaurants and hotels who serve it as an exotic dish and charge up to Ksh.1000 per plate.Rabbit farmers are therefore keen to sell to big hotels and restaurants.
Local butcheries sell rabbit meat at Ksh.250 per kilo while Supermarkets can sell it for up to Ksh 500 per kilo.
You can also breed rabbits to be used for controlled experiments in laboratories. Breeding rabbits for laboratories has different demands because you will have to meet specifications such as weight and age.
It is important to identify your market segment before you embark on the venture. However you will not lack a market for your products once it is ready.
Watch these videos for more information about rabbit farming in Kenya: