Ever think of earning money by rearing sweet animals that are not only pretty to look at but also yummy on your plate?
Rabbit farming is that one venture that will entice and earn you that extra coin. In Kenya, rabbit rearing is done by pet lovers more than for commercial gains. In recent times change in people’s eating habits have created a market for rabbit meat.
Here is how to begin your rabbit venture for either commercial needs or as a pet lover.
Types of Rabbits
There are over 3000 types of rabbits making it easy to choose which type to rear. The commonly found types of rabbits include;
· New Zealand White
· Kenyan White
Your pick should be what best suits your environment and intentions
How to brood Rabbits
Rabbits gestate for 28 – 30 days. This means that you have the opportunity to grow your brood every month throughout the year.
Each doe giving birth to 2 – 8 litters every time. Rabbits grow and mature fast compared to all other animals.
The rabbit hutch should be made with metals and spacious enough to allow for movement. Rabbits can nibble through anything and everything. Such a natural way to tell you if your hutch needs any adjustments.
Rabbits are prone to rodents why you should build the hutch raised to keep the unwanted visitors at bay.
Why it is important to keep the Bucks separate from the Doe’s to allow for a proper brooding plan.
Doe’s mature within 5 – 6 months making them the best at their purpose.
Bucks mature slower and are ready for mating on their first birthday.
Rabbits are free-spirited animals and for that reason, they need space to move especially after having their meals.
Two ways you can do rabbit rearing is either through a Deep litter system or Cage Farming System.
The Deep litter System
Choosing to rear your rabbits using the deep litter system allows them to have more room to move around.
Use concrete floors and pad them to avoid injury to the rabbits. Padding can be from straws, wood shaving, hey, and husk. Regularly check the padding to remove droppings and urine.
Bucks should be kept separate from the Doe’s for a better brooding plan and to avoid inbreeding.
It is an important caution to remember deep litter system has various limitations such as a high risk of disease infections.
This is considered the most appropriate method to rear rabbits for commercial purposes.
Remember to build the cages appropriately otherwise, rabbits will show you their most cunning side!
Make each cage self-sufficient. Means enough clean water and space to move around after feeding.
Rabbit’s diet is the simplest there is. Fresh vegetables, kitchen vegetable waste, vegetable cuttings I can continue this all day.
Crude proteins of 18 – 20 percent, 15 percent fiber, and a bit of mineral at 7 percent ratio.
Water is life and the same is important to the rabbit’s growth. Make sure to provide plenty of this and in clean measures too!
Feed your rabbits enough food and in good measure too. Have appropriate portions to allow for good growth for economic reasons. Morning feeds should be made smaller than evening feeds supplemented with enough water to quench their thirst.
Source potential markets appropriately for your end product.
For meat source your markets to butcheries or hotels that serve rabbit meat. Rabbit urine and droppings are used to produce manure.
Potential markets would include biochemical and agricultural institutions. The cloth manufacturing sector is a good market for rabbit fur.
Having potential leads adds to your market survey and connections. People love rabbits for pets another market potential that can become a source of income.
Learning institutions use rabbits for projects making this another market potential.
The current market price for a kilogram of rabbit meat is at Ksh; 300. A grown rabbit for meat will weigh 8 – 10 kgs. Making rabbit a good source of income for you.
Invest wisely and choose your kind of agricultural venture. Sure rabbit rearing is a gold mine in many ways!!!