What is the Current State of Rabbit Farming in Kenya in 2024?

What is the Current State of Rabbit Farming in Kenya in 2024?

Rabbit farming, also known as cuniculture, has gained significant popularity in Kenya over the years. The agricultural practice has turned out to be a lucrative venture with low initial investment and a high reproductive rate.

This article explores the statistics, prominent breeds, and market dynamics in rabbit farming. Keep scrolling to learn more!

Macharia, a rabbit farmer, says “Due to the preference for white meat among Kenyans in recent days, rabbit meat is in high demand and there is not enough supply. It is a market people should take advantage of

On average, a well-fed rabbit can weigh between 5 to 7kg. When selling a kilo at Sh 500 and above, you can easily earn between Sh 2500 to Sh 3500+ from one rabbit.

If you sell 10 rabbits per week, that will equate to Sh 25,000 to Sh 35,000 per month and over Sh 140,000 per month.

You can keep breeds such as Flemish Giant, Angola, French Earlope, California white, and New Zealand white. French Earlope is heavier and bigger.

Rabbit Breeds In Kenya

In Kenya, there are several breeds with distinct characteristics and suitability for various purposes.

  • Chinchilla, it’s ideal for pets and fur.

  • New Zealand White is known for its fast growth and high meat yield, and good for fur and meat.

  • Kenya White is an indigenous breed known for meat and fur.

  • California White has a good reproductive performance and is ideal for meat and fur.

  • Flemish Giant is a breed good for meat and fur.

  • Checkered Giant is ideal for pets and shows due to its distinctive checkered pattern.

  • Dutch breed is a small and compact breed known for show.

Current trends

According to statistics, small-scale operations dominate the rabbit farming sector. Today, we have a rabbit population of about 800,000 heads. Livestock Research for Rural Development (LRRD) highlights that around 68% of farmers keep less than 10 rabbits.

Also, LRRD states that about 89.6% of production caters to both income generation and home consumption. However, the number of people rearing them commercially is still low.

Breeding and Production of Rabbit

The starting point for rabbit farming is a good breed. Rabbits multiply faster and start breeding at around 4 to 5 months of age.

The female rabbit known as doe has a gestation period of 31 days and can bear 6 to 10 kits (baby rabbits) at once. They have a high productivity capacity and can reproduce seven times a year. This means the female can produce up to 50 baby rabbits.

After mating, the buck (male) and female (doe) must be kept in separate cages. The process can be scheduled for every 3 to 6 weeks.

Rising demand and market opportunities

Recently, the demand for rabbit meat has been increasing as it’s a healthy alternative to other types of meat. It has a low-fat content and cholesterol. Nearly every part of the animal is used. The skins are used to make jackets, hats, and gloves while the meat is sought after by restaurants, hotels, and individual consumers.

Some Buyers of Rabbits in Kenya

You can sell rabbit meat to;

  • Farmers markets, which attract many buyers in search of what you have.

  • Butcheries that sell rabbit meat.

  • Hotels and restaurants, especially high-end ones.

  • Supermarkets as they have a high customer base.

  • Online marketplaces like Jiji.

  • Exporters of rabbit meat.

Low Startup Costs and Quick Turnaround

Compared to other livestock ventures, livestock farming requires relatively low startup costs. The affordability is attracting many inspiring farmers who may not have substantial capital for large-scale investments.

All you need is the right breed, enough food like weeds, and proper guidance and knowledge and you will be good to go.

Also, rabbit farming has a quick turnaround. Unlike cattle and poultry farming which requires months or years before a return on investment is realized, rabbits reach maturity at around 3 to 4 months and start producing in 4 to 5 months. The low gestation period allows farmers to breed rabbits more frequently and generate income at a faster rate.

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