A Machakos farmer who adopted crossbreeding to boost the weight of his rabbits from three to five kilograms in three months is now making more per rabbit than he used to earn two years ago.
Ng’atu Mbaluto, 20, started rearing rabbits three years ago and selling them for meat. However, he noticed that some breeds could grow bigger and faster than others raising his curiosity to find out how to match them to increase his earnings.
“Since I started rearing rabbits, the California White never weighed more than three kilograms until I mated it with chinchilla-a giant superior breed. A mature giant Chinchilla can weigh between five and six kilos,” said Mbaluto.
Mbaluto says the chinchilla rabbit is a heavy breed, which if well fed can be twice the weight of the California White. “I used to practice pure breeding. But when I crossbred the Chinchilla with the California White, the results were awesome.”
He has a herd of 50 rabbits, which include chinchilla, California white, and New Zealand White breeds. This has seen him win supply tender with one supermarket chain in Machakos Town where he sells his rabbits monthly.
“I sell my rabbits to rabbits to Peter Mulei Supermarket in town. I expect to earn more from the grafted rabbits because they are almost twice the weight of New Zealand and California White,” he said.
Early this year, he sold 30 rabbits, which earned him Sh120,000. He sold them at Sh4,000 to the supermarket and he has since increased his stock to about 45 rabbits that he is yet to sell in December and new year festivities.
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He feeds his rabbits on weeds he finds from farms around as well as vegetable remains like cabbage and kale.
Given that Machakos is dry, greens are unavailable for such a big number of rabbits. The youthful farmer buys 50kg of feed pellets, which they will consume alongside the little green matter he finds.
The 50kg sack, can maintain the herd for three to four weeks. He collects fecal matter and mixes it with urine for use on his farm.
It takes about 10 months for the rabbits to reach three kilos.
Mbaluto maintains his operational stock at 20.