When DAVID MWANGI began rabbit farming as a side hustle in 2019, he never knew the business could transform into an empire. He speaks on how he is giving back to society by training other farmers to run successful rabbit ventures:
Tell us about yourself.
My name is David Mwangi. I run a rabbit farming business called Rabbit Crew Kenya. We are a rabbit breeding and farming business, with a focus on meat production and rabbit farming training. We also make rabbit hutches, feeders, nipple drinkers, and rabbit nesting boxes. In our fifth year now, we are committed to continue providing value in food production.
Tell us about your rabbit farming; when did you start and what was your motivation?
I started the farm in January 2019 to provide my family with rabbit meat. After a year, the meat became too much. I saw an opportunity and decided to sell the meat to other people. The motivation was simply having a side hustle. I spend more time on rabbit farming than before.
What has rabbit farming helped you to achieve so far?
It has been a major source of income. It has also become a skill that I share with others by offering training. The business has also evolved and now has different dimensions. We keep seeking value-addition avenues.
What informed your decision to start training other rabbit farmers?
Most Kenyans don’t view rabbit keeping as serious business. This could be because it is the youth who have historically kept rabbits. Those venturing into commercial rabbit keeping face many challenges. Traditionally, people kept only a few rabbits which were easy to manage. Any farmer who wishes to keep rabbits on a large scale needs to know what to do to succeed.
From your experience, what impact has these trainings had on the beneficiaries?
We have received many reports of farmers who are running successful rabbit farms. They are able to find buyers for rabbit meat. Anyone who completes the cycle, from production to the final customer, is a successful rabbit farmer.
Why do rabbit farmers really need the special training you’re offering?
I made some costly mistakes when I started this business. That is why I want to share these experiences with farmers so they can succeed with some ease. Also, I keep getting questions via social media on the challenges many farmers face, validating the need for training. The primary goal of any commercial rabbit farmer is successful production. A beginner will mostly experience the death of rabbits, among other challenges. Through the training, we guide farmers on how they can avoid this.
Where did you gain the skills, knowledge and experience in rabbit farming?
Other than my own experiences, I attended a three-day training at the National Rabbit Breeding and Training Institute in Ngong in November 2018.
What does the actual training entail?
The training covers the identification of breeds and breeding. It also covers feeding, rabbit husbandry practices, management, marketing and costing, diseases, hutches construction, meat processing, and record keeping.
How do you charge for the training and how much do you earn on a typical month?
I charge Sh2,500 per person for a day, with free support afterwards. Income comes from selling rabbit meat and making hutches. Monthly earnings are not constant. Many factors determine this, including marketing. But I live comfortably, able to pay my bills and my workers.
Is the training only physical? How about those who are far away but are interested in being trained?
We do physical farm-based training for demonstration purposes. For those who are not able to come to our farm, we offer virtual lessons.
Your parting shot?
Rabbit keeping is a viable business. A family that keeps rabbits can easily slaughter one and get animal proteins. Keeping chickens is a common practice in Kenya. We can do the same with rabbits.