By Herbert Musoke
Kalf Rabbitry is a subsidiary company for keeping rabbits under Kapeeka Agro and Livestock Farm. The farm is owned by Mahawiyah Mukasa.
Mukasa says rabbits are easy animals to rear, especially for the youths who don’t have jobs and capital to start their businesses, but also those on jobs but looking for a side business.
“To earn from rabbitry, you must understand them and the market dynamics,” he explains.
At Kalf Rabbitry, rabbits are kept in cages; each rabbit is in a separate cage. He says this helps to protect rabbits from wild animals like stray dogs, rain and strong winds.
According to Mukasa, at 5-6 months a doe will be mature.
“At 5-6 months we take the doe to the buck to mate. Like other animals, does do not go on heat, but when put next to a buck, they are stimulated hence conceiving. In a month a doe will produce,” he says.
The emphasis at Kalf Rabbitry is on meat. They mainly have breeds like; Chinchira, Newland white, Dutch, Califonia and Giants.
“For the meat business, one needs to keep breeds that put on weight. A rabbit should weigh at least 3kgs,” he adds.
Besides meat, a farmer can get droppings, urine, fur and skin among others from rabbits. The droppings and urine are used as fertilizer and pesticides, skins are used for making jackets, shoes and bags, the heads after slaughtering are used to make dogs meat and the intestines are used to feed the fish (catfish).
Feeding the rabbits
The cages are constructed with feeders and nipples for water. He feeds his rabbits on hay and supplements it with pellet feeds which he makes at his farm.
“Pallets contain fibre while hay helps in digestion,” he says.
Mukasa who has over 1000 rabbits also feeds them on grass.
“We are targeting the foreign market, but because we haven’t reached the exporting level, we have restaurants in Kampala where we sell our rabbits at sh60,000 a kilogram. We supply 30kgs-50kgs a week,” he says.
He explains that according to their market, they only slaughter rabbits that can weigh 3kg.
“To meet the demand quantities, we contracted out growers who now have over 30,000 rabbits,” he says.
Kapeeka Agro and Livestock farm has 50 workers according to Mukasa since there are seven enterprises on the farm.
“The contract workers are paid between sh200,000 to sh300,000 and supervisors are paid sh500, 000 a month. However, we also hire those paid per hour (at sh1,000),” he says.
Working with family
Mukasa says his wife is fully involved in the running of the farm and that whenever her husband is not around, she takes charge of all the activities including sales and payments.
Mukasa says all the workers are hired from the neighbouring communities. They also organize training at the farm which is free of charge. The farm also takes in intern students from institutions of higher learning for hands-on training.
“For the years we have existed, we have inspired youths to join farming as a business and for that we won an award for inspiring youths in the district,” he says.
According to Mukasa, keeping records is part of their work such that if there are any queries like treatment, sales, innovations, or births among others, they have something to refer to.