Although it has a high potential, the demand for rabbit meat is still significantly low. However, there are some farmers who have seen the potential and are taking advantage of it. Justin McGeere, owner of Millimag Rabbits, is looking to expand his rabbit colony from the current 2,000 rabbits as he pushes to meet the growing demand for rabbit meat locally.
Magiri started raising rabbits nine years ago as a part-time job to supplement his income, but has since seen exponential growth.
“One of the things I love about rabbits is that they reproduce quickly and they can reproduce quickly,” says Magheri.
Currently, it boasts a restaurant in Nairobi, along Ngong Road, near Adams Arcade and a rabbit farm in Mombasa. He says the restaurant necessitated venturing into adding value to the rabbit, as they diversified their consumption of rabbit meat.
Rabbits require less space and mature faster within four months. It is also very prolific as a female rabbit can give birth to up to 14 rabbits each month.
Rabbit pregnancy period
Rabbits have a gestation period of 28-32 days and are ready for slaughter within four months. The farm sells rabbit meat and its derivatives and breeds. In the restaurant, they make sausages, samosas, pancakes, pizza, burgers and kebabs.
Research shows that the consumption of rabbit meat in Kenya is very low. This is attributed to insufficient promotion, irregular product presentation, unreasonable prices, and competition from other types of meat.
“If people had opened their minds to the value of white rabbit meat, today there would be fewer diseases associated with red meat,” says Magiri.
Rabbit meat is rich in vitamin B12 which is not only beneficial for brain health, but also improves the function of the nervous system. Eating rabbit meat prevents degenerative conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, according to Healthline.com. Rabbit meat also contains less sodium than other meat, which makes rabbit meat more attractive to people with high blood pressure. Compared to chicken, rabbit meat contains higher levels of phosphorous and calcium. These two minerals work together to help build healthy bones. It is also high in niacin, a mineral that helps convert carbohydrates into energy.
As with all types of meat, the amount of nutrition you get from rabbit meat depends on how you prepare it. It can be fried with little or no oil thanks to its texture. Other popular methods include baking, grilling, or cooking in stews or soups.
Magiri has savored the huge potential of business.
“We serve the local market with outlets, food delivery and restaurant while we supply farmers with breeders,” says Magheri.
A kilogram of rabbit meat costs 750 shillings.
Apart from meat, the farm uses rabbit products such as leather to make sandals and mats and urine to make foliar fertilizer.
“Rabbit urine contains high levels of nitrogen. Nitrogen is an essential component of healthy leaves. This makes it a suitable fortified fertilizer. Due to the concentration of the compounds in the urine, the liquid also kills crop pests such as aphids.”
To take advantage of the urine, a rabbit coop is built in such a way that the urine seeps through wire mesh on corrugated plastic sheets into a gutter that drains it into a collection bucket. It takes three to four rabbits to collect a liter of urine per day through a specially designed cage to enable collection. According to the Kenya Agricultural and Animal Research Organization (KALRO), rabbit urine is rich in macronutrients that plants need for nutrition.
Rabbit urine is sold at 100 shillings per liter, although it is packaged in a five-liter package.
Rabbit urine can be used as a fertilizer treatment.
To make rabbit urine compost, you need 25 liters of jerry can, sugar liquid, EM4 (bacterial hydrolysis), hydrolyzed cornstarch or thick rice water – to help feed the microorganisms.
Steps to follow:
Rabbit urine is placed in a 25 liter jerry can mixed with 500 mL of liquid sugar, 240 mL of EM4 (bacterial hydrolysis), and 1 liter of thick rice wash water or 100g in 1 liter of cornstarch mixture to help feed the microorganisms.
Then the vessel is closed, but the lid is perforated and secured with a hose. In order for the compost fermentation liquid to remain sterile, the hose is dipped in a bottle filled with water.
At least once a week, the fermented urine liquid should be stirred so that it dissolves evenly and does not precipitate. After three weeks, this liquid will turn black, and smell like wine.
sandals and mats
The leather with its fur can be used to make sandals, hats, and mats. This Millimag Rabbits farm sells on their website. The price of sandals ranges from 800 shekels to 1000 shekels. Mats are sold at Sh500.
“It is also necessary to learn to tan animal skin, as this will greatly increase profits. Leather is more profitable than meat,” says Magiri.
Magiri has been able to make rabbit production a successful agricultural business by integrating other players along the value chain. It supplies rabbit breeders and trains new farmers who are looking to venture into rabbit farming.
Like any other small scale producer, its expansion plan faces industrial constraints such as access to fodder while financial challenges also played its part in starting the business.
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