Four friends from different professions find opportunity in rabbits - Manila Bulletin

Four friends from different professions find opportunity in rabbits – Manila Bulletin

Rabbits are lovable and are traditionally cared for as companion animals. Unknown to many Filipinos, this remarkable mammal is also bred for its meat and is valued for the health benefits it can provide to humans.

Although rabbit farming is legal and practiced in different parts of the world, many people are still hesitant or dislike the practice.

This is changing. Some people choose to explore and take advantage of the potential offered by rabbit farming. Among those who fall into this category are four childhood friends, Kirby Bonobra, Charles Chavez, Chino Agengarenghi and Jason Dam, who also became partners in the rabbit trade.

Although these young entrepreneurs are currently involved in their own careers that have nothing to do with farming, that hasn’t stopped them from launching an agricultural business together, particularly one focused on rabbits.

“Our goal is to inspire young professionals to venture into the agribusiness, to be a testament to the fact that we can do farming even part-time, and to be able to help educate our fellow Filipinos about the benefits of eating rabbit meat..”

From childhood companions to business partners

These four guys, all in their twenties today, officially established their rabbit business in December 2020. They split it up into brands: (1) Healthy Rabbit PH, which sells rabbit meat in two forms: lechon rabbit (originally available and Korean spicy.) and frozen rabbit meat, and (2) the Quadro Rabbiteros Company, which sells live rabbits to current aspiring rabbit breeders.

They started with 24 rabbits in 40 square meters in Santa Maria, Bulacan. In less than two years, they have increased the number to more than 300 rabbits. Sixty-three of these are breeders of meat and live production.

They keep a wide variety of breeds on their farm, including PS100 (GMO rabbits from France), Californian purebred, New Zealand pure, Holland Lop, Teddy Lionhead, Himalayan, Holland dwarf, and dwarf hotot.

The group’s interest in rabbit production can be traced back to years before they started the project. For example, Kirby, the youngest of the owners, attended a rabbit breeding seminar in 2017, which inspired him to run a rabbit farm after graduating from college.

When asked how they learned the craft, given their minimal background, their response was: “We began by studying and expanding our knowledge about rabbit farming. We have attended seminars in the province hosted by various rabbit farm owners with years of experience in the field.”

Then, they searched for the right location and individuals who can work for them, especially since they are all based in Manila because of their day jobs. Then they began to breed the first batch of rabbits.

To ensure that the practices they want for business are implemented when they are not in place, they said, “We have established a structure and system in terms of managing and monitoring our roles and responsibilities, so that we can make sure that we deliver results. We also meet [in person every week] And maintain constant communication on a daily basis to address urgent matters. Moreover, we were particularly in the selection of the right people who will work with us and run our farm in Bulacan as they play a huge role in our business.”

They added, “Because we only get to visit our farm once a week, we’re maximizing the use of technology to connect with our workers in our rabbit world.”

Today, the founders employ four people to help run the business: a rabbit keeper, a butcher (to prepare meat – from butcher to packaging), a chef (to prepare rabbit lechon), and a delivery rider.

Encourage the consumption of this special meat

The continued reluctance of many Filipinos to eat rabbit meat remains an obstacle to the growth of the rabbit business and the rabbit industry as a whole. The group is investing in educating the public about the health benefits of rabbit meat to help overcome this.

They also wish to emphasize that the use of rabbits is not only for consumption and agriculture because rabbit hides or leather can also be processed into products such as rugs, hats, bags, key chains and the like, while their dung can be used as vegetable fertilizer.

rabbit breeding course

A rabbit or mother’s pregnancy lasts for a month and then gives birth to an average of five to six kits (baby rabbits) per cycle.

The groups will stay with their mothers for a month until they are ready to receive feeds. “The groups will be considered quail (rabbits aged 2-4 months) when separated from the dam, which will eventually be processed for meat or sold as live rabbits.”

What do rabbits eat

In terms of diet, rabbits are supplemented with (1) forage or pellets as a source of protein and (2) forage crops, such as napier grass, malongai, and banana leaves. It is also beneficial for rabbits’ teeth, as it helps them avoid malocclusion, which is the dental anxiety caused by overgrown teeth, which leads to misalignment or abnormal posture.

The breeders’ meals are controlled, while the baby rabbits are fed as desired, or whenever they need or desire. The “Four Rabbis” said it was crucial not to overfeed rabbits because doing so could lead to bloating or even death.

They added that the feeding routine varies depending on the breed and age of the rabbit.

While it may take some time for the general public to accept rabbits as a food source, it does not change the fact that their meat is a huge potential market both locally and internationally. People like these young entrepreneurs are playing a vital role in promoting initiatives to break the country’s rabbit taboo.

Photos courtesy of Kirby Bonobra

For more information visit PH صحي healthy rabbit or Quadro Rabbiteros

Read more about farming and gardening at Agriculture.com.ph

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