As in any business you want to venture in, you need to do your research before embarking on rabbit farming. As noted before, rabbits come in different breeds and sizes. There are those that take up to six months to mature and those that take up to two months to mature. The California White matures quickly and reaches up to five kilograms in weight. Learn about rabbit habits so that you will be able to quickly notice if anything is amiss or if your rabbit is uncomfortable. Learn about diseases and what to do in case your rabbit becomes sick. Learn how to differentiate male and female rabbits and how to know if your rabbit is pregnant.
Rabbits reproduce at a first rate as their gestation period is just 30 days. This means that they can give birth up to ten times in a year. However, caution should be taken to allow your rabbits a period of rest in between giving birth. They can give birth to up to ten rabbits; therefore, a serious rabbit farmer has to prepare housing beforehand. Do not start with a large number of rabbits if you are new to the business. You can start with one male and one female and expand as they grow.
It is vital to build several cages for your rabbits so as to avoid inbreeding. Inbreeding causes production to go down. Each rabbit that gives birth should be kept in a cage with its children and once the children are of age, you need to separate them and find them their own cages so that they can start their own family. Remember to adhere to the space rules required for rabbits so as not to keep them in debilitating conditions.
While rabbits can be housed on the ground, it is prudent to keep them in raised cages that use wire mesh. This will enable you to easily keep the cages clean as the waste falls through the wire mesh. It is also advisable that you position the cages in such a way that you will be able to collect the urine as this can later be sold instead of going to waste.
Keep accurate records
Ensure that you keep accurate records of the rabbits in your care. Keeping records will enable you to notice any anomalies such as a rabbit that is not good at reproducing or a rabbit that has developed carnivorous habits or rabbits that are dwarfs in size. It will also enable you choose which rabbits should be kept to continue the line and which should be sold for meat. Keeping accurate records is very useful when it comes to breeding as you should be able to prepare a litter box for a rabbit that is about to give birth and you will also know when to do the breeding.
Rabbits enjoy eating dry grass and green vegetation that can be found easily in the environment. They also enjoy vegetables such as cabbages and can eat things like maize, banana and cassava peels and ugali. If you are planning on going large scale, you should plant grass and stock up on dry grass to provide nutrition in the dry season. Also try to experiment on various growing plants. Rabbits are usually very careful not to eat anything that can harm them so you will quickly be able to discern if your rabbits like a particular food or not. So basically, finding food for your rabbits should not be difficult. Ensure that you also give them water to drink as part of their diet.
Hygiene and prevention of disease
When you embark on rabbit farming, you should take the prevention of diseases seriously. Disease outbreaks can occur in a region, and this could cause havoc to your rabbit farming venture. However, if you develop a habit of disinfecting before handling rabbits, your rabbits will be free from disease. Do not allow anyone to enter the rabbit houses before disinfecting as this can lead to your rabbits becoming sick. You can put a container with the disinfectant just outside the door so that those who go in can quickly step on the disinfectant before entering.
Rabbits are kept for their meat, manure and fur. These are all products that are beneficial and can provide you with a regular source of income. Collect rabbit manure instead of letting things like urine go to waste. You can decide to sell the rabbits whole various businessmen (this is a good way for those who do not want to be involved with slaughtering). Hotels especially those frequented by Chinese would also be a good place to sell your rabbits as rabbit eating is nothing new to them.
Or, you can sell directly to customers or to butcheries. There are also many people who keep rabbits as pets that would benefit from your rabbits. With a mature rabbit going from shs2000-shs 2500, you can indeed reap a lot from rabbit farming. Schools are also a good place to sell your rabbits as most students look for activities to do in their school clubs, and rabbit keeping does not inconvenience them. So why not make rabbit farming provide you with a source of income?
Plan for expansion
This is a point that cannot be overemphasized. Rabbits breed at a fast rate. When you start with two rabbits, you can get up to 80 rabbits by the end of the year. And the next year would lead to more rabbits as the younger rabbits mature and give birth to their own rabbits. Many farmers utilize space wisely by stacking up cages. This ensures they use only a small amount of space for their rabbit farming business.
Use social media
Internet marketing is a tool that Kenyan farmers should not ignore. It is relatively cheap and it brings great results that will enable you to continue to benefit from your rabbit farming business. The future of rabbit farming is great in Kenya. When done well, rabbit farming has the potential to change livelihoods and employ many Kenyans. So let rabbit farming become a source of revenue for you. It is a fairly easy venture to pull off and its returns are awesome!
What type of career do you aspire to have? Do you want to be an artist, a business person, or a policymaker?
Or, have you ever wanted to become a farmer? I would not be surprised if you said no.
When weighing career choices, many young people in the developing world tend to shy away from agriculture. I, too, once found myself disenchanted by the small villages and rice fields I grew up seeing every day. As the conventional belief goes, agriculture means an archaic lifestyle and a future with limited opportunities for youth.
But I later learned I was wrong. Plenty of evidence shows us that agriculture provides youth a viable way to harvest success and grow a sustainable future. In other words, I believe youth can, and should, choose agriculture. Here are five reasons:
1. Agriculture matters to the future of development.
Agriculture is up to four times more effective than other sectors in reducing poverty. Increasingly, the world is counting on agriculture to produce more nutritious food for — and improve the livelihoods of — a booming population, especially the poor. What could be more meaningful than being part of a proven solution to such a critical challenge?
2. Agriculture can be a gold mine for young entrepreneurs.
Meet Randa Filfili, a young entrepreneur from Senegal. She is also the first Senegalese producer who saw value in the fruit of cashew trees that others had considered waste, and turned it into “niche” jam products for export. Through agribusiness, Randa has not only carved out a successful career of her own, but also helped local farmers reach global markets, and create jobs for other young people — especially women. So, the next time you come across Randa’s all-natural cashew apple butter in your local produce store, think about how you can also start up a business in agriculture to help both yourself and the rural poor.
In Uganda, a young team with the World Bank and UNICEF used a mobile and web-based app called “U-Report” to swiftly help 190,000 farmers save their bananas — a staple food for Ugandans — from a vicious disease. Countries like Kenya and Rwanda are also eager to boost productivity through information and communication technologies and other creative solutions. Agriculture in the developing world has become a field vibrant with effective innovations, thanks to a growing number of young techie minds that make it happen.
If you are a “young nerd” into development research, agriculture may be the right place for you. Numerous stories from East Africa and other places have shown that research revolutionizes agriculture and transforms livelihoods. Today, more than before, climate change and a growing demand for nutritious food are for fresh ideas and renewed knowledge to explore ICT in agriculture, foster climate-smart agriculture and innovate in the sector to power future growth.
5. The trend of youth choosing agriculture is growing.
Attitudes toward agriculture are already changing. In Cameroon, where agriculture is becoming more competitive, young educated Cameroonians “have decided to become farmers, acquire land, grow maize professionally for trade, and manage their enterprises in order to earn a living,” according to Félix Nkapemin, an agricultural expert working with local farmers. Other countries like Armenia, Brazil, Malawi, and Senegal are investing in youth and agriculture with the support from the World Bank Group and other development organizations. Young people are also increasingly speaking up for themselves on why they choose agriculture.
The trend is growing. Support for the agriculture sector is increasing. The list of reasons is endless. This International Youth Day, I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on why you think youth should engage in agriculture, and how it can help reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity.
Bee keeping in Kenya has been practiced since time immemorial. Bee keeping is associated with old people and most bee keepers in Kenya base their practice on indigenous knowledge which has been passed from one generation to the next.
This project will be launched at Mutindwa Market on 14th August 2014 at New Bairunyi Honey Refinery Grounds (Mutindwa Market), in Maara Sub-County, Tharaka Nithi County at 10.00 am till 2.00 pm. The project targets over 200 unemployed youths in the region willing to learn and venture into bee keeping with the advantage of using Mt. Kenya forest to put up the bee hives. The initiative also aims at encouraging the youth to conserve the forest and natural ecosystems as bee keeping as worked as the ideal tool to raise awareness about the value of forests and engage people in conscious protection, conservation and sustainable resource management.
Best Blog with Business Potential winner Mwenda David, with the blog “Foundation for young Farmers” Receiving an Award Plague and a Certificate at Kenya School of Monetary Studies.
The winners of the Youth in Agriculture blog competition (Yobloco Awards) were announced on the 17th of July, 2014 during the cocktail dinner organized at the Fin4Ag International Conference in Nairobi, Kenya where Foundation for young Farmers came out as the Best Blog with Business Potential in the competition. Results were announced by Philppe Couve, Jury member, assisted by Ken Lohento, in charge of the ARDYIS project. The results were announced in presence of participants of the conference, during a cocktail, and in the presence of various personalities including the Director of CTA, Michael Hailu.
The Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards) was organised in the framework of the CTA ARDYIS project, in collaboration with FARA, CAFAN, AYF, ANAFE, SPC/PAFPNETYam-Pukri, and e-Agriculture. It aims to put into limelight successes and issues faced by youth engaged in agriculture, in urban and rural areas; and to encourage the production of information and the use of new information and communication technologies by young farmers groups and organisations interested in the youth in agriculture question. For more information, visit www.yobloco.info.40 ACP countries joined the 2nd edition of the YoBloCo awards and 194 Blogs were submittedout of which 121 blogs in the individual category and 24 blogs in the institutional category were selected to go through the public evaluation process (http://www.yobloco.info/). 30 qualifying blogs which received the highest number of public votes in the individual and highest number of comments in the institutional category were selected and evaluated by the jury. The jury made its decision and Foundation for young Farmers emerged as the Best Blog with Business Potential out of the 30 finalists.