How to make better use of rabbits’ by-products
Rabbits are reared mainly for their sweet meat which fetches good money but little is known about their by-products.
Rabbit meat is one of the best-known sources of protein and is said to be healthier than other meats due to its rich nutritional value.
Rabbits are fast-growing animals reaching maturity quick and become suitable for slaughtering within four to five months.
Rabbit farming in Kenya requires very low capital investment to start and easy to keep as they feed on most natural green plants and vegetables.
Besides a farmer earning revenue and a source of income from the sale of rabbit meat alone more can be made from the selling rabbit by-products.
There are many breeds of rabbits reared for various reasons like the skin, fur, manure, and urine.
All these products are beneficial and can provide a farmer with an additional regular source of income.
A farmer should collect rabbit waste which is used as manure on the farm to add soil fertility or sold to other farmers and is reported to be one of the most valuable manures of all livestock.
Rabbit droppings also serve as tilapia food in fish ponds.
A farmer can creatively place iron sheets below the rabbits’ hutches with gutters leading to buckets to easily collect the urine for sale.
This also helps in keeping the hutches clean, dry and free from wetness and moisture which can act as breeding places for disease-causing pathogens and pests.
One rabbit ordinarily produces 250ml of urine daily. Therefore, with at least five rabbits, a farmer can tap a litre of rabbit urine every day.
Rabbit urine is said to be highly corrosive therefore a farmer should use materials that do not rust when constructing the hutch. It should not be used directly on the farm as it may burn crops.
The urine is used to make fertiliser by companies such as the Kenya Com Rabbit Consortium Limited (KCRC).
The company buys a litre of urine from Sh100 to Sh350.
To make the fertiliser, rabbit urine is mixed with compost manure made from cow dung, wood ash, and foliage from plants.
The mixture is put in a special digester and what comes out is an organic liquid fertiliser called Rabbit Urine Extra according to media reports.
The fertiliser is reported to be also used as an insecticide during cultivation of vegetables and maize.
The fertiliser is used by mixing it with water before spraying in the farm on the leaves of the crops.
The organic liquid manure is said to greatly improve the soil structure, texture, water-holding capacity, and humus content.
To start selling urine to the organisation, one needs at least 20 rabbits.
The fur and skin are used to make expensive coats, shoes, sandals, headgear, and bags.
According to an online publication by infonet-biovision.org rabbit hides often referred to as pelts are highly sought after for tanning though are usually too delicate.
After slaughter, the rabbit’s head, spleens, kidneys, and heart are used to manufacture excellent dog food.