After graduating from the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication in 2012, Joel Wambugu searched for employment in vain.
As a result, he decided to venture into rabbit farming in 2015, with a capital of Sh10,000. He had tremendous hope that he would make a lot of money at the beginning. However, things did not go well at the beginning as he had thought.
The 29-year-old says that he spent Sh3,000 to purchase three rabbits: one male and two females, from a neighbour who was doing rabbit farming. He bought the rabbits at Sh1,000 each. Wambugu spent Sh7,000 in constructing structures that he uses to rear his rabbits.
“I tried to look for employment….and I got one in 2015 in Westlands, but it did not satisfy me. That is when I decided to venture into rabbit farming,’’ reveals the farmer, who also carries out poultry farming in Kitale, Trans Nzoia County.
His rabbits had increased in number, but he sold some and slaughtered others. The farmer reveals that he has been feeding his rabbits using various vegetables such as collard greens (sukumawiki), sweet potato vines, among other feeds. Nevertheless, when there is dew, he feeds them with special feeds that his father uses to feed his pigs.
The farmer says that his intention of venturing into rabbit farming was to sell rabbit meat and sell the rabbits alive, to those who intend to venture into rabbit farming.
“My main aim of venturing into rabbit farming was to get rabbit meat and sell rabbits to those who would like to keep them. I do not do so to get manure, but there is a section of a farm where we put the manure so that we can use it to plant crops,’’ says the farmer, adding that they mix rabbit urine with water in order to be used as manure.
He sells his rabbits at various prices, depending on age, weight, size, and gender, among other factors that he considers. One-month-old is sold at Sh800, whereas two months old one goes at a price of Sh1,500.
The farmer also sells rabbits that are three months old at a price of Sh2,000, while four months old ones go at Sh2,500 each. He sells five months old ones at Sh3,000 each.
Besides selling the rabbits alive, the farmer sells rabbit meat when a customer wants the meat. He reveals that he sells the meat at Sh550 per kilogram.
Wambugu, who also works in his father’s agro vet in Kitale, reveals that his rabbits have never been attacked by any diseases. “I clean their cages every week,’’ adds the farmer.
According to the farmer, the main challenge is the lack of a reliable market where he can sell his rabbits and meat. However, he does not lose hope easily in this kind of farming.
Apart from rabbit farming, Wambugu also indulges himself in poultry keeping, and he has chicken which he intends to sell soon. The farmer adds that there is a market for chicken and chicken products especially in the western part of Kenya.
Despite the fact that the farmer has experienced some challenges such as market challenge among others in rabbit farming, he urges those who would like to venture into this kind of farming not to fear to venture into the agribusiness.
Nevertheless, he warns them not to venture into this kind of farming thinking that they can make a lot of profits soon after embarking on the agribusiness.
In a good month, the farmer can make over Sh20,000 from the sale of his rabbits and meat.