Which is the best rabbit breed in Kenya?

Successful rabbit farmers make millions of profit every year.  You can easily turn their white meat, manure, pelt, fur and urine to quick cash.  To make sustainable profits, you need to select the best rabbit breed. In this post, we give you a list and characteristics of the best ones in Kenya

There are many reasons why rabbit farming in Kenya is very successful. They are;

  • Growing demand for white meat; white meat is tasty, with low fat content leading to its unmet demand among individuals and hotels.
  • Has a lower cost of production for housing, feeding, and disease compared to other livestock, poultry and crop farming.
  • Rabbits are quick growing, they mature at around 5 months.
  • Rabbits are prolific breeders with a short gestation period of 28-31 days.

Kenya rabbit farmers prefer 7 best rabbit breeds as listed below.

  1. Kenya White
  2. New Zealand White
  3. California White
  4. Dutch
  5. Flemish Giant
  6. Checkered Giant
  7. Chinchilla

In the section we detail key characteristics of each and why you should farm it.

Kenya white rabbit

Kenya white is the most common indigenous rabbit breed in Kenya. It’s the hardiest breed in the region. Besides, it’s the most adapted to the Kenya’s climatic conditions.

It is popular among rabbit farmers in Central, central rift valley and the western regions. It’s mostly bred with the California and the New Zealand breeds for their quality meat

Kenya white rabbit characteristics

  • Coat color; purely white
  • Weaning weight; 0.4-0.6 kg
  • Litter size; 6-8 does/kits
  • Mature weight; 3-4 kg
  • Maturity age; 5-6 months

New Zealand White Rabbit

The New Zealand white rabbit is native to America. Its the most bred rabbot breed in Kenya. Farmers mostly crossbreed it with the kenya white since the breed have an albinism condition where it lacks the melanin pigment.

New Zealand white characteristics

  • Coat color; purely white, pink eyes and broad head
  • Weaning weight; 1-2 kg
  • Litter size; 8-10 does/kits
  • Mature weight; 5-6 kg
  • Maturity age; 5-6 months

California White Rabbit

Also known as the Californian rabbit. The breed is popular for its fur and meat production. It’s commonly cross bred with the local breeds to improve them. The following characteristics show why you should rear them.

Californian rabbit characteristics

  • Coat color; body is white with black patches on ears, tails, legs & nose.
  • Weaning weight; 1-2 kg
  • Litter size; 8-10 does/kits
  • Mature weight; 5-6 kg (bucks), 4-5 kg (does)
  • Maturity age; 5-6 months

The Dutch Rabbit

The Dutch rabbit breed is also known as the Hollander or the Brabander. It’s the oldest domesticated rabbit breed that originated from the Holland.

The Dutch Rabbit is fairly small and compact. Its forelegs are shorter than its hind legs. Its fur is dense and short. The head is round, full and its neck is short. 

Some Dutch rabbit sub types are the Black Dutch and the Blue Dutch. Its key characteristics are as follows

The Dutch Rabbit characteristics

  • Weaning weight; 1-2 kg
  • Litter size; 6-8 does/kits
  • Mature weight; 5-6 kg
  • Maturity age; 5-6 months

The Flemish Giant Rabbit

Flemish giant is the largest rabbit breed of all species. In Kenya it was introduced by white settlers in the colonial era. They are farmed for meat and fur production. It is one of the most docile breeds to handle.

The Flemish head is broad and proportional to the body. It has a thick, glossy and uniform fur over its body.

On the downside, the Flemish rabbit is prone to the sore hock or the pododermatitis disease under unsanitary conditions.

Flemish giant rabbit breed characteristics

  • Coat color; varies
  • Weaning weight; 1.5-2.5 kg
  • Litter size; 8-10 does/kits
  • Mature weight; 6-7 kg
  • Maturity age; 5-6 months

The checkered Giant Rabbit

The Checkered giant is believed to be a cross breed between the Flemish giant and the ear lop rabbit breeds. It is classified as a large breed is compared to other rabbits. In some instances, the checkered giant rabbit breed can be heavier than the Flemish and the giant Chinchilla rabbit breeds.

The Checkered giant rabbit breed have a a slender longer body. Their back is arched and their legs are very long and powerful.

Checkered giant rabbit breed characteristics

  • Coat color; white with patches of black or brown in the entire body
  • Weaning weight; 1-2 kg
  • Litter size; 8-10 does/kits
  • Mature weight; 5-6 kg
  • Maturity age; 5-6 months

The chinchilla Rabbit

The chinchilla rabbit is the most popular breed among commercial rabbit keepers. The breed is farmed for meat and fur. Besides it’s widely crossbred with the Kenya white Indigenous type for improved breeds.

There are three key subtypes of the Chinchilla rabbit breed; The American Chinchilla, Standard Chinchilla, and the giant Chinchilla.

Chinchilla rabbit breed characteristics

  • Weaning weight; 0.5-1kg
  • Litter size; 6-8 does/kits
  • Mature weight; 3-3.5kg
  • Maturity age; 5-6 months
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