General information on rabbit farming in Kenya
For a long time, rabbit farming in Kenya has not been taken seriously. In many African societies, rabbits are considered as pets for young boys. This is however not the case as farmers can now make good money rearing rabbits. We set out to find out more about rabbit farming in Kenya.
Rabbits have a maturing period of 4-5 months after which they can start reproducing. A female rabbit gives birth every 2 months (60 days) to a litter of 6 on average after a gestation period of between 28 and 31 days. The litter number may be more in some cases. The weaning period(suckling) is 28-31 days after which a farmer should start feeding them on hay and pellets.
Rabbit farming requires very little capital and can be done on literally the smallest of spaces provided the ventilation is good.
An important aspect of rabbit farming is shelter. It is recommended that for every female rabbit, there should be 3 cages. This is simply to prepare for when she reproduces so as to accommodate the litter.
The estimated cost of the cages which measure 2.5ft cubic including labor and material is sh3500. This cost is however dependent on factors such as the source of material so if well sourced, the price should be brought down significantly.
The cages do not require a lot of specification, they should be well ventilated, have access to sunlight and should not face the wind, so a farmer should be aware of wind directions in his area.
A breeder rabbit costs between sh3000 and sh5000 depending on its age. A 3 month old rabbit costs sh3000 while a 5 month one costs sh5000. This means that a farmer who buys a 5 month old rabbit would expect the rabbits to start reproducing immediately while those that go for the 3 month old ones would only wait for at most 2 months before they reproduce.
The maintenance costs majorly arise from feeds for the rabbits. On average a rabbits will cost a farmer between sh500 and sh700 in its lifetime. That is from its birth to the moment a farmer sells it.
Rabbits are fed mainly on pellets, hay and water all of which are readily available in the market. A mature rabbit consumes about 120gms-150gms of hay/pellets per day. These costs are all inclusive in the sh500-sh700 mentioned above. Another cost is disease management which can be done with the help of experts.
At maturity, a rabbit weighs 4kg on average and it may weigh more if well fed. Farmers sell them at between sh400 and sh500 per kg. Industry wise, rabbit farming in Kenya is however not well defined and not every farmer who ventures into it ends up making a fortune. We advice out farmers to first figure out the market.ie where to sell it before venturing into it. This is the same approach that we would like each farmer to follow before starting farming.