By Prudence Minayo
Rabbit meat has been slowly gaining popularity in a number of Kenyan homes. Unlike before when people perceived rabbits as cute pets, some have realized that their meat is tasty and on high demand. Rabbit farmers are also making money from its urine which is in high demand.
When Consolata Atuti decided to rear rabbits, she did it out of curiosity. She also felt that the business was growing in popularity and wanted to get into it while it was still lucrative.
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Here is her story as told by WoK.
Armed with Sh4,500 she set out to start rearing rabbits in 2020 starting with three rabbits; two females and one male. In six months, the number had increased to 40 excluding those that had died or had been eaten.
She bought the rabbits at at a price range of Sh1000 to Sh1500 and believes that anyone can start this business with a paltry Sh5,000.
At first, she was simply interested in rearing them for meat before she discovered the potential in their urine which is both a fertilizer and a pesticide. According to her, rabbit urine is rich in nitrogen which is good for plant growth and getting rid of pests.
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During a January 2021 interview with a local daily, she said that she harvested around 150 litres per week which fetched her Sh30,000 at the time. This is because a litre of urine went for Sh250 at the time. For the urine to be harvested, the rabbits cage is made with a wire mesh floor with slanted iron sheets or in rare cass plastics placed under it. This urine is then directed to a container or gutter for collection. Consolat ensures that her rabbits get amino acids and mineral rich pellets.
“I feed them on Far Pellets which are rich in amino acid and minerals. These soft pellet feaces are re-ingested by the rabbit to supplement their nutritional needs,” she was quoted by The Standard in January 2021.
Apart from rabbits, she also kept chicken and grew french beans for export. This makes her farming model self sufficient as the rabbits benefit from the vegetables and vice versa.
Benefits of rabbit urine
Research indicates that rabbit urine contains high levels of nitrogen compared to that of any other animal. It is also rich in phosphorus and potassium making it a very good addition to the soil especially at this time when many farmers are embracing organic farming. According
to various Kenyan farmers, the urine can also be used to control a number of pests, such as, caterpillars, moths, aphids, mites and leaf miners.
The urine has become liquid gold for many farmers practicing organic farming and is also used by several companies to manufacture organic fertilizers. Farmers get to sell the urine to companies, like, Kenya Com Rabbit Consortium Limited (KCRC) for a decent price. One litre of the urine can be mixed with 20 litres of water as a pesticide and foliar.