Feedback: Here is how you can utilise rabbit urine

Monday August 1 2016

Ms Winnie Mumbi displays rabbits under the Rabbit Millionaire Project at a past Nakuru ASK Show

Ms Winnie Mumbi displays rabbits under the Rabbit Millionaire Project at a past Nakuru ASK Show. PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

RABBIT FEEDS

Rabbit production is growing in Kenya but just like the poultry industry it faces challenges more so regarding the cost of feeds.

It is against this fact that I would like to know how to formulate feeds for rabbits. Pregnant, lactating does and growing rabbits tend to have higher protein/energy needs than bucks and resting does.

I would like to learn how to make feeds to improve my profit margins and shorten the fattening period and ensure quality feeds for all rabbit classes/stages of growth.

I am farming rabbits in Kinangop South and Nairobi.

Joel

Rabbit feed formulation uses various ingredients with ratios that differ depending on the available ingredients. It is a wide area that requires one to understand comprehensively.

For further assistance, kindly contact me through the following email address: [email protected]

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences - Egerton University

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Thank you for the advice on rabbit mating, it worked.

First, is it normal for rabbit to deliver two or three bunnies or is there something wrong?

Second, if I were to feed the rabbits with hydroponics, how much of it do I feed to each rabbit and bunny?

Third, how many days a week should I substitute them for pellets and should I worry about bloating?

Is it okay to feed them with dry maize? Fourth, when is the right age to castrate a rabbit and how is it done?

Five, is there a market for rabbit urine and other than manure how else can it be utilised considering I rear them in Nairobi and don’t have a farm.

Thank you for your assistance

Gladys

Does giving birth to two or three young ones is normal. Litter size in rabbits depends on type of breed and number of services during breeding.

It is recommended to use repeated services (between two to three) at two-hour intervals in order to increase litter size.

As a result of its high moisture content, hydroponic fodder may cause bloat and caution should be taken when feeding it to rabbits.

William Gitau of Helitech Youth Group demonstrates how to make organic manure using rabbit urine.

William Gitau of Helitech Youth Group demonstrates how to make organic manure using rabbit urine. PHOTO | FAUSTINE NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Alternative feedstuff include, sweet potato vines, cabbages, kales, Lucerne as well as weeds like MacDonald’s eye and black jack supplemented daily with about 50 grams for a mature rabbit.

Avoid using maize due to the uncontrolled nature of rabbit feeding. Castrate males at three months of age using the open castration method.

Unfortunately, rabbit urine market has been on the decline but one can still use the same at his/her farm as foliar fertiliser or insecticide.

As foliar fertilizer, mix every one litre of rabbit urine with five litres of water while as insecticide, a ratio of 1:2 urine to water is recommended.

The urine can also be added to a rabbit manure biogas digester to boost gas productivity.

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences - Egerton University

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GOAT BREEDS

I am an ardent reader of Seeds of Gold and I thank you for the educative fora. Though I have a small piece of fenced farmland, I am interested in establishing dairy goat farming in Tiaty, Baringo County.

Could you kindly educate me on the following:

1. The best breed in an arid environment?

2. Where can I get the best breed and how much it can cost me to get one?

3. My bias is to get Toggenburg or Anglo Nubian breed.

Can I get such breeds at Egerton or any reputable farm in Nakuru or Nyahururu?

Lopunei

Crosses of the German Alpine and Toggenburg dairy goat breeds with local East African or Galla goats do well in arid areas.

The breeds can be sourced from Dairy Goat Breeders Association of Kenya and the Meru Dairy Goat Breeders Association operated by individual German Alpine and Toggenburg farmers respectively.

Julius Kitur feeds his dairy goats at his farm in Kamagut, Uasin Gishu County.

Julius Kitur feeds his dairy goats at his farm in Kamagut, Uasin Gishu County. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The two associations are easily contacted through the affiliated Kenya Livestock Breeders Organization located at Nakuru town next to ASK grounds.

Prices range between Sh7,000 and Sh20,000 depending on the pedigree of the goat. The two goat breeds are bred at the university though not for sale at the moment.

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences - Egerton University

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COW RATIONS
I have a cow that eats a lot. I kindly need to know the kilos or as I feed it boma rhodes, hay, maize germ, wheat bran, sunflower, high phosphorus salt and grind maize stalks.

Mathew

Cattle are fed on the basis of body size and productivity. Each day, a cow should eat between 3-4 per cent of its own body weight in dry matter basis (feed minus its moisture content).

This may translate to about 10-25 per cent in terms of fresh matter content (feed with about 50-60 per cent moisture content).

You can approximate the cow’s weight using a weighing band. For dairy cows the ration must provide at least 16 per cent crude protein.

Your ration appears deficient on protein sources. Attempt to balance this out by substituting maize stalks (low nutritional value) with legume forage like lucerne, desmodium or vetch.

The formulated ration should constitute at least 60% of a mixture of good quality grass hay and the legume. With the ingredients at your disposal, try out the following ratios; Maize germ 8 per cent, Lucerne 18 per cent Rhodes hay 45 per cent, wheat bran 8 per cent, sunflower meal 20 per cent and high phosphorus salt 1 per cent.

For further advice, consult your local livestock production office to advice you on other alternative feed sources available in your area

Kimitei K. Ronald, Department of Animal Sciences - Egerton University