How to Start Rabbit farming Agribusiness in Kenya
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There is a new wave in Kenya – that of rabbit keeping. Rabbit keeping in Kenya is encouraged by companies such as the Rabbit Republic that are ready to make contracts with Kenya for rabbit farming. Rabbit breeds vary, although they have one thing in common – they are easy to keep and they quickly reproduce such that the money you use in your start-up capital can be recovered within three months to six months depending on the breed you keep. Kenyans are not accustomed to eating rabbit meat despite the numerous nutritional benefits that come with rabbit meat. But this is all set to change given the intensive education on rabbits that is already underway. So how can you make cash from rabbit farming?

Rabbits come in different breeds and sizes. There are those that take up to six months to mature and those that take up to two months to mature. The California White matures quickly and reaches up to five kilograms in weight. Learn about rabbit habits so that you will be able to quickly notice if anything is amiss or if your rabbit is uncomfortable. Learn about diseases and what to do in case your rabbit becomes sick. Learn how to differentiate male and female rabbits and how to know if your rabbit is pregnant.

"Rabbit rearing is very easy and entertaining."

How to start commercial rabbit farming in Kenya

Choose rabbit breeds

There are different types of rabbit breeds available all over the world. The most popular and highly productive breeds include; New Zealand Black, New Zealand Red, Dark Gray (internal), New Zealand White, Belgium White, and Chinchilla etc. Depending on the availability of breeds, you can choose a breed for your production.


Rabbit farming method

Cage farming method

Cage method is the best method for rabbit farming business in Kenya. In this method, the rabbits are kept in a small or big cage, which is made by wire or iron plate. Cage method is very helpful for raising a maximum number of rabbits. Keep necessary facilities and sufficient space, within every cage. Keep the male rabbits and female rabbits in a different cage. During the breeding period, keep male and female rabbits together in a separate cage.

Deep Litter Method

If you want to raise less number of rabbits then deep litter method is best. For deep litter method, the concrete floor is more appropriate. Make four to five inches depth litter hay, husk, wood shavings or straw. In this method, the maximum number of rabbits you can raise in a rabbit house is thirty. Keep the male rabbits and female rabbits in a separate room. Risks of diseases are increased in deep litter method. To manage the rabbits in this method become difficult for sometimes.


Breeding Farming

At the age of five to six months, rabbits become suitable and mature for the purpose of breeding. But don’t use the male rabbits for breeding purpose until they reach their first birthday. Doing this will make sure, quality young rabbits for commercial production. For breeding purpose, you should always go for healthy rabbits with appropriate body weight. Provide nutritious feed and take special care to the pregnant female and breeding male rabbits. The development period of rabbits is about twenty eight to thirty days.


Housing

Rabbits reproduce at a first rate as their gestation period is just 30 days. This means that they can give birth up to ten times in a year. However, caution should be taken to allow your rabbits a period of rest in between giving birth. They can give birth to up to ten rabbits; therefore, a serious rabbit farmer has to prepare housing beforehand. Do not start with a large number of rabbits if you are new to the business. You can start with one male and one female and expand as they grow. It is vital to build several cages for your rabbits so as to avoid inbreeding. Inbreeding causes production to go down. Each rabbit that gives birth should be kept in a cage with its children and once the children are of age, you need to separate them and find them their own cages so that they can start their own family. Remember to adhere to the space rules required for rabbits so as not to keep them in debilitating conditions. While rabbits can be housed on the ground, it is prudent to keep them in raised cages that use wire mesh. This will enable you to easily keep the cages clean as the waste falls through the wire mesh. It is also advisable that you position the cages in such a way that you will be able to collect the urine as this can later be sold instead of going to waste.


Food

Rabbits enjoy eating dry grass and green vegetation that can be found easily in the environment. They also enjoy vegetables such as cabbages and can eat things like maize, banana and cassava peels and ugali. If you are planning on going large scale, you should plant grass and stock up on dry grass to provide nutrition in the dry season. Also try to experiment on various growing plants. Rabbits are usually very careful not to eat anything that can harm them so you will quickly be able to discern if your rabbits like a particular food or not. So basically, finding food for your rabbits should not be difficult. Ensure that you also give them water to drink as part of their diet.


Hygiene and prevention of disease

When you embark on rabbit farming, you should take the prevention of diseases seriously. Disease outbreaks can occur in a region, and this could cause havoc to your rabbit farming venture. However, if you develop a habit of disinfecting before handling rabbits, your rabbits will be free from disease. Do not allow anyone to enter the rabbit houses before disinfecting as this can lead to your rabbits becoming sick. You can put a container with the disinfectant just outside the door so that those who go in can quickly step on the disinfectant before entering.


Record Keeping

Ensure that you keep accurate records of the rabbits in your care. Keeping records will enable you to notice any anomalies such as a rabbit that is not good at reproducing or a rabbit that has developed carnivorous habits or rabbits that are dwarfs in size. It will also enable you choose which rabbits should be kept to continue the line and which should be sold for meat. Keeping accurate records is very useful when it comes to breeding as you should be able to prepare a litter box for a rabbit that is about to give birth and you will also know when to do the breeding.


Rabbit market in Kenya

The process of marketing plays the most important role in rabbit farming business. For selling chicken, fish or goats there is formal markets but there is no formal market. If you keep rabbits for sale purpose then also you can earn a good amount of money. Due to increasing demands of rabbit meat, slaughterhouses of rabbit meat are coming up. Now-a-days, many people are keeping rabbits and others want to join this business because they know very well that the animals fetch good income. Rabbit farming market is very huge. The main markets for rabbit meat and rabbits are listed below.


Rabbit Breeders Association of Kenya (RABAK)

Rabbit Breeders Association of Kenya is a company which provides a market for rabbits. This organization was started to generate employment and wealth for farmers. Recently, the organization supplies rabbit meat to Uchumi Supermarket chain at an average of two Tonnes monthly. Peter Waiganjo of Rabak says the organization liaises with the Ministry of farm animals in Thika to slaughter and buy the animals. “We slaughter every Wednesday morning. The exercise ends at 11 am. We buy the rabbits at Sh360 per kilogram. Payment is made in the afternoon.” Said by Peter Waiganjo He also adds: “Once the rabbit is slaughtered and skinned, it is inspected by a health official before it is packaged and sold to Uchumi supermarkets.”
To know any information regarding rabbit farming training in Kenya click here.
Contacts
Address: Rabbit Breeders Association of Kenya (RABAK)
C/o DPLO THIKA (West) P. O. Box 630 – 01000 Thika
Website link
E-mail: [email protected]/ [email protected]
Telephone: +254 722 661088


The Rabbit Republic Limited

Rabbit Keeping in Kenya is encouraged by the The Rabbit Republic Limited and many more companies. Florence Ndambi of Rabbit Republic says they deal in buying and selling of animals. The company buys the animal and sells to different hotels in Nairobi. This is one of the best sources of rabbit farming income in Kenya. “We deal with over 500 farmers. We sell to them our hybrid rabbits and train them on the best feeds and hygiene procedures. We then buy their bunnies.” said by Florence Ndambi.
Contacts
Address: Room No. 20, 6th Floor, Standard Building, Standard St, Nairobi, Kenya
Website link
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +254 20 2247970.


Alcare Group

Alcare Group is an organization that buys rabbits. The owner of this organization, George Kibanya says that the company works with the owner of rabbits in twenty-four countries, out of the forty-seven. These are Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos, Nakuru, Migori, Vihiga, Uasin Gishu, Mombasa, Nyamira, Bugoma, Bomet, Malindi, Kitui, Isiolo, Taita Taveta, Nyandarua, Murang’a Nyeri, Trans Nzoia, Kericho, Kilifi, and Kakamega. “We are working with about 1,000 rabbit farmers. Currently, we have about 800 farmers. We are open to about 200 more.” said by the owner of Alcare Group. Alcare deals mainly with Canadian Dorwan Giant Rabbits. The firm slaughters approximately 3,000 animals in 1 month and exports to Canada. George Kibanya said “We insist on training the farmers, and then we sell them a stock of eight rabbits, of which six are female and they have been served (inseminated). In about four months, each of the female rabbits will produce about eight bunnies. We buy them at Sh500 per kilogram.” He adds: “This is contractual farming and we work with farmers who we know the type of feeds they are giving to the rabbits we buy. However, we still work with independent farmers who have rabbits not bought from us. However, we pay about Sh350 to Sh450 per kilogram for their stock, depending on the type.
Contacts
Address: Gitaru Near Gitaru Market, Next to Eagle Home Baglers
Website link
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0718784649


Kenya Com Rabbit Consortium Ltd

Kenya Com Rabbit Consortium Ltd offers products, mainly urine which farmers can use to make fertilizer for rabbits. You need at least twenty rabbits to start selling urine to any organization. This company buys 1 liter of urine at Sh100. In a recent interview, the director of KCRC, Robinson Runyenje said “We use it to make fertilizer, which is a mixture of the rabbit urine and compost manure made from cow dung, wood ash, and foliage from plants. The mixture is put in a special digester and what comes out is an organic fertilizer called Rabbit Urine Extra.”
Contacts
Website link
Email: [email protected] rabbitsurineextra.com
Telephone: +254 725 600 710

Rabbit farming profitable in Kenya

Rabbit farming business is one of the profitable ventures in Kenya. The productive capacity of rabbits is very high. Since a healthy female rabbit is able to produce more than 25 young in a year. You can start Rabbit meat business in a small area without investing huge money. To start this business, education qualification is not needed. You can easily earn a good amount of money after six months of establishment. Along with wool and meat, you can get large income by selling pelt, kits, and manure. Rabbit farming profitability in Kenya depends on the farm management.
Here is an example of Josephine Razugu, who started rabbit farming as a hobby after that she becomes a wealthy business enterprise. He also said that this business is profitable for her.
She stated, “It started as a hobby in 2014. I began with 10 does (females) and eight bucks (males) which I kept in a small cage behind my house. They multiplied and I decided to go for training in Ngong town to familiarise myself with rabbit keeping”. She wanted to expand this rabbit keeping business.
“I built five wire mesh cages as I saw an opportunity to make it a profitable business venture. I was ready to handle the risks that came along with it,” she said. After 2 years, the numbers of rabbit she had is increased. Currently, she has 100 or more rabbits of four breeds- Californian White, New Zealand White, Dutch Dwarf breed, and Chinchilla.
She highlighted, “I have sold hundreds of rabbits. I never thought it would be such a successful venture because of the problems I had when I started out”. Her rabbits generally feed on pellets and hay. When the rabbits are mature, their weight becomes 3-4 kilograms.
She said, “I sell a mature buck at Sh6, 000 and a doe for Sh5, 000 to farmers. Mine is a business enterprise but I am planning to start a project where I will be donating one rabbit to active groups of farmers for free and help them grow their own businesses then later extend the same to other youths or groups,”.

RABBIT FARMING KENYA CASE STUDY

Standing next to his rabbit cages in Mtopanga, Mombasa County, Nathaniel Mwaringa wipes out some raindrops from his face. It is drizzling when we meet, but he is undeterred as he checks on the animals. Mwaringa, who studied at the Mombasa Secondary School for the Physically Handicap, says he started the business with the help of his brother, Samuel Munga. He bought for him six rabbits, five does and a buck for a total of Sh18,000 in late 2016. He also funded the construction of a three-storey structure made of wire mesh and wood, hosting 42 cages at Sh120,000. By April last year, Mwaringa had over 30 bunnies aged four months, which he sold at Sh1,000 each making Sh30,000. “I sold the rabbits through Justin Magiri, a large-scale rabbit farmer,” says the 30-year-old.

High-end restaurants rabbit rearing cusustomers
The farmer buys the animals from other small farmers and sells them to high-end restaurants, supermarket and butcheries in Mombasa. Mwaringa further sold some 25 more rabbits during last year’s Mombasa International Agricultural Show with the help of Magiri. But as the business was steadying, in December his animals were attacked by coccidiosis, a disease that leads to constipation, diarrhoea, and loss of appetite. He lost some 30 young animals. However, despite the loss, he has picked up again, and is readying to sell more, thanks to the ready market. “A rabbit consumes an average of 100g of pellets daily, which is minimal with a 50kg bag costing Sh1,600. I also offer them salt lick, water, hay and dry vegetables leaves.” Ruth Wanja Shutu, a farmer in Kilifi County, also sells her animals through the established market. She has 10 mature rabbits currently after selling 10 recently through Magiri. A mature live rabbit fetches Sh3, 000 while a kilo costs about Sh650, says Shutu.

Rabbit Meat Supply
Magiri says he supplies rabbit meat to La Veranda, Italian Restaurants at the Coast, with the 10 carcasses inspected by a vet every week. Naivas Supermarket entered into an agreement with Milly Mag, the name of his farm, to get 40 rabbits per week for the Ukunda and Nyali branches since 2016. The farm gate price per kilo of rabbit meat is Sh650. Other products he sells are rabbit urine at Sh100 per litre and 1kg of manure sh50 per kilo. Magiri says he has provided market for rabbits for 14 farmers based in Taita Taveta, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Nairobi and Nakuru counties. The 2008 Bachelor of Commerce graduate in Finance at Kabarak University says he is working on a website to widen his market. He ventured into the agribusiness in 2014 when he realised there was a demand for rabbit meat at the Coast.

Rabbit breeds With Sh836,000 capital accumulated from his savings, he constructed six cages. Now he has 130, which house his 202 rabbits, 84 does, 11 bucks and 107 weaners. “The farmers and I keep Chincilla, New Zealand white, Flemish giant, California, Dutch, Kentucky, Kenyan white and Fransk vender breeds.” Magiri says cages should be cleaned regularly and the rabbits should be shielded from direct wind and rain, which cause pneumonia. “In November 2017, I sold 48 mature rabbits to Bomu Health Centre at Sh3,000 each to be supplied to their farmers,” says the farmer, whose gross sales from urine, manure, live breeds and meat were over Sh1 million in 2017. James Kaingu of Kwetu Training Centre in Kilifi County says they train women on rabbit farming for empowerment and have a ready market from Milly Mag Farm. “We sell mature rabbits for meat but he weighs them in kilo for his profit. We cannot complain about the market, there is potential in the industry.” Dr Francis Maina of Mombasa Animal Clinic says housing is key in rabbit farming to prevent diseases. “The animals are prone to diseases such as Pasteurellosis which causes snuffles, and pneumonia. In Mombasa, rabbits suffer mostly from intestinal and liver coccidiosis and mites, which are treated by applying sulphur based drugs.”

"INAWEZEKANA - GO FOR IT. "

DISCLAIMER

This article is intended for education and informational purposes only ; to see to it that the Kenyan Population is enlightened and informed.

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  • Pick the yellow peach that looks like a sunset with its red, orange, and pink coat skin, peel it off with your teeth. Sink them into unripened.

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