Search This Blog

Swiftlet Farming Seminar On May 5 & 6th, 2018

Swiftlet Farming Seminar On May 5 & 6th, 2018
Calling for participants to this special Swiftlet Farming Seminar to be held in Sandakan, Sabah. You will be given the opportunity to learn and at same time to enter two BHs plus how to prepare MV3 aroma, Seminar will be held at Sandakan Hotel, Sandakan Sabah. For detail please PM 0177551318

Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year Present: Canon Powershot Camera


Today I pampered myself with a brand new digital camera. I bought a Canon Powershot A570-IS.

Price is below RM 1,000 (to be exact RM 999) and due to promotion period got a memory stick of 2 gigabyte which I can snap at least 1,300 pictures without reloading.

I am hopefull the camera will help in my blogging works.

I need to take as many pictures as possible to provide better explainations on articles that I write.

From now on the camera will be with me to where ever I go. I need to keep snapping as many as possible. All for the sake of my blog readers who needs more then words. They need to see in coloured pictures. Very demanding lah !!!!

Let me try to learn to use the camera first then will do the necessary.

A Picture That Have So Much To Say !!!



Just have a look at the above picture that have I just found.

Two beautiful birds sharing a snack (insect).

How I wish all of us be the same. We live harmoneously with no barriers, no racial, no prejudice, no issues about different religion and no hassel that my blog is better then theirs.

Whatever said and done please enjoy the picture and I truely wish that the New Year will be much better then the previous.

I am going to make mine better ......

Capitalise on Swiftlet Farming


The Star Malaysian Newspaper found at: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/11/17/nation/19499658&sec=nation

Saturday November 17, 2007


Capitalise on bird’s nest industry, says Johor assemblyman

By FARIK ZOLKEPLI

JOHOR BARU:

Bird's nest harvesting is a lucrative business, worth some RM240mil in the state annually. However many of the 5,000-odd breeders involved in the business are operating illegally.

Datuk Tee Siew Kiong (BN-Pulai Sebatang) said only 12 premises had licences at the Johor State Assembly yesterday.

“The breeders have complained the industry is not gaining much attention from the authorities.

“This is a lucrative business with nests fetching between RM4,000 and RM30,000,” he added.

Tee also had the state assembly in stitches after he said the breeders made more money than an assemblyman.

He urged the state government to prepare guidelines for this industry, which would benefit both the breeders and the government.

Tee added that the state government should also look into enabling a more centralised breeding method at a particular location such as the one at the “Eco-Park” in Manjung, Perak.

State Agriculture, Heritage, and Rural Development Committee chairman Ahmad Zahri Jamil told Chun Yoon Fook (BN-Senai) that the state government was planning to build an Aerodramus (Burung Walit) Eco-Park in Mersing.

“We are also formulating guidelines,” he said, adding that most breeders were operating in Mersing.

Ahmad Zahri said the breeders would have to move their businesses out of cities and towns, as it was part of the state government’s plan to streamline the industry.

How Do Birds (Swiftlets) Helps Our Forest ??


I did not actually celebrate the new year eve but spend more time on my swiftlet farming Blog.

One very interesting article that I think my blog readers should read is about the relationship between swiftlet (birds) and our forest. They depend on each other.

Please read this relevant article which can be located at: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ConservationAndScience/MigratoryBirds/Science_Article/default.cfm?id=11

Do Birds Make a Difference?
by Sunshine van Bael (December 2003)

How important are birds for maintaining the integrity of ecological communities?

Birds provide many services to the forest, but we usually think of them only as pollinators, seed dispersers, or eaters of mosquitoes. However, birds have other important relationships with forest plants and insects


For example, a study in Missouri found that young trees experienced high levels of herbivores from insects when birds were experimentally kept away from them. The damage was severe enough to slow the growth of these young trees when measured over two years. Thus, birds that eat insects can make an important difference in the structure of forests.

When bird populations decrease, we can expect the effects to reverberate throughout the forest community. With fewer birds, insect populations increase, and the insects do more damage to the trees.

The decline of insect-eating birds has been shown to produce this effect in temperate forests, but, until recently, the phenomenon had never been studied in a tropical forest. The question is particularly interesting in tropical forests because of their high diversity of birds and insects. Some ecologists predicted that predators would not effectively limit the densities of insects in a tropical forest, where there is very high insect diversity


Do birds affect the amount of insect damage to trees in the tropical forest canopy?
In other words, are birds indirectly helping out trees by eating herbivorous insects? I examined this question through experiments, observations and comparisons between different forest types. forest canopy. Enclosures are structures designed to keep birds away from certain branches in the canopy. Because birds could not forage on these branches, the insects were free to chew away with impunity. Other branches were designated as the control branches and were open to bird foraging.

A comparison of the damage to leaves and the numbers of insects on enclosure and control branches demonstrated that birds limited insect density. At one site, the damage by herbivores increased by 50 percent inside of the enclosures than outside. This suggests that birds are important because they indirectly help the trees by cleaning off their herbivores.

Conservation Implications

Interactions between birds, herbivorous insects and tropical canopy trees may suffer ecological change as a result of human disturbance. As habitat destruction continues in tropical regions, forest canopies will become increasingly reduced in area and fragmented. Severe fragmentation will undoubtedly affect bird populations, whose decreasing numbers could have a cascading effect through the community.

The result of this cascade would be an increase in insect populations and resultant greater damage to trees. On a larger scale, global climate change, the most massive human-induced change, may affect photosynthetic mechanisms of trees. Changes in leaf properties will reverberate throughout the assemblage of species feeding in tropical forest canopies. For example, leaves could become more palatable to herbivores after a drought, encouraging insect outbreaks.

In the face of such changing dynamics, it is imperative that we have baseline knowledge of how herbivory is limited in forest canopies. Without this knowledge, we will lack the necessary tools to maintain the integrity of forest canopy communities and tropical ecosystems.

At Least I know I Make Someone Happy



This is what I like to do.

To make someone happy.

Mr Phuc of Ho Chin Min City sent this short note:

Hi Harry,
Thank You. I had read your blog, And i saw " A Vietnamese visitor in town"
Oh! very interesting!!
I send for U some photo during the trip.
My father is very happy when I send this photo. He said" when Swiftlet Farming harvest the nest he will come to Malaysia".
Do U know which month are they harvest?
Phuc.


I surely will arrange for his father to visit any harvesting activities that I can get my hand on. Any one out there that can help????

Above picture taken by Phuc during the trip to Sekinchan ..

Legalised Swiftlet Ranching: Perak Swiftlet Eco Park

This article was published in many newspapers and I would like to add as one of my collection:

Found at: http://properties.emedia.com.my/listphase.php?propNewsID=145&CatID=PI00Date: 17/7/2007
By Zoe Phoon

Incredible, but true! An astounding RM13 billion worth of edible birds nests were produced around the world last year alone, with a significant portion coming from swiftlet houses in Malaysia and Indonesia.

And there's no letting up. So much so, in fact, that with demand from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan on the rise, there's now a "housing shortage" for these birds!

Enter the Perak Swiftlet Eco Park @ Manjung the world's first legal, structured park to accommodate swiftlets.

Here, "housing units" of detached, semi-detached and terrace types permit edible bird's nests to be cultivated in an organized manner, with the park also serving as an eco-tourism centre.

The first phase of the project being jointly developed by Bio Research Centre (M) Sdn Bhd (BRC) and the Perak State Development Corp, which provided the land, is expected to be ready for the swiftlets to occupy come June 2008.

BRC co-founder and executive chairman Datuk Dr Abdullah Fadzil Che Wan said the park, which has garnered federal government support, will adhere to Good Animal Husbandry Practices to protect the welfare and behavioral aspects of the ranched swiftlets and ensure that they will not become a public nuisance or health hazard.
The three types of swiftlet houses available for sale with individual titles, round-the clock security and bio-environment management system are all specially designed, with BRC offering professional management to guarantee efficient commercial harvesting of the bird's nests.

The three-storey terrace units with dimensions of 25ft by 75ft will have 4,600sq ft of built-up space. Priced at RM398,800, they are suitable for those with little or no experience in swiftlet farming and intend only to put out minimum capital outlay.
End-financing of up to 85 per cent is being offered by Bank Pertanian Malaysia, which has termed birdnest cultivation an agro-based industry.

All the 13 units in the first phase, and over 50 per cent of the second phase, with 13 units as well, were sold at a soft launch recently, with the official launch slated for the end of this month.

?As long as the birds are well taken care of, they’ll earn millions of Ringgit for the investor,? said Dr Abdullah.

Those already getting returns from their swiftlet farms but seek properly managed premises can opt for one of the 18 units of 60ft by 105ft three-storey semidetached houses with a typical built-up area of 8,500sq ft. These are priced from RM678,000.
For an even larger house, there’s the choice of a 75ft by 150ft three-storey detached unit with a built-up size of 13,600sq ft. Seven units are for sale, at RM988,000 each.

A medical doctor by training, Dr Abdullah was a former deputy minister in the Foreign Affairs and Defense ministries. He is also the executive chairman of Bio Perak (M) Sdn Bhd, which promotes the biotechnology industry in the state on behalf of the Perak government as well as an established developer and major shareholder of Perak Integrated Network Services Sdn Bhd, which builds telecommunication towers in the state.

His partner and BRC managing director, Loke Yeu Loong, has 22 years of property development under his belt.

The duo initiated the Perak Swiftlet Eco Park @ Manjung project to bring an end to unregulated swiftlet farming in the state, particularly in the Manjung district, and to create a niche investment opportunity.

They target to launch their second swiftlet housing scheme in Taiping by the end of this year.

BRC has also identified sites in Selangor, Pahang, Terengganu and Johor that will be suitable for legalized swiftlet farming and eventually, the firm aims to venture into other states, and even abroad to Vietnam and Thailand.

On why Manjung was selected for the first site, Loke said "abundant food supply is vital for swiftlet farming, and the project in the town of Sitiawan is one of the best swiftlet farming areas" in the country.

He added that other areas considered excellent for commercial farming of Birdnest are Parit Buntar and Taiping, also in Perak; Kota Baru in Kelantan; Endau and Kota Tinggi in Johor; and Kuantan and Kuala Rompin in Pahang.

"The swiftlet farm site must be located in the direct flying path of swiftlets, amidst forest reserves, mangrove swamps, plantations, rivers and the sea," he said.

"This creates the perfect environment for the birds... and for investors to make money."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Birdhouse Construction: U Need To Check The Quality Of Work Regularly !!!

After my second trip to the Sekinchan new build birdhouse it come to my mind that there seem to be a lot of sloppy workman ships that I wish to make my points.

Most critical were the improper installation of the wooden ceiling made for swiftlets to build their nests.

The three stories building looks very well done from the outside but it might not be inside.

The main thing that I think that went wrong might be lack of experience by both the proud owner and the contractor that he employed.

These were what I saw and if I am the owner I will do the followings:

1)Visit the house on a regular basis to ensure that the construction phase are being carried out properly and in accordance to the agreed plan.

2) I will ensure that a special attention be given to getting a very smooth surface on the cement ceiling layer.

3) I will take special attention on the selection of the ceiling wooden panels that I wanted to use in my birdhouse. The panel shall be from a qualified supplier and they are not newly cut. I will also have them applied with the aroma to attract the birds.

4) The corner covers are those with high quality and a very smooth well formed construction. They must not be any cracks or odd shape and poor cutting edges. They are also being treated with swiftlet aroma liquid.

5) When these wood panels are install I will first ensure that they are installed in a manner that the volume of swiftlet nests that can be generated per square meter of the ceiling area to its maximum.

6) The wooden panel shall not be installed crooked. Each wood panel must be cut to the right length using sharp saw.

7) I will use a special air gun that can nail the wood to the ceiling without its nail tops jutting out of the wood. It should be pushed about 1 mm below the wood surface. In this way I will not have problem during harvesting operation.

8) The gap between the wood panel edge and the cement ceiling should be minimized. This is normally caused by the uneven surface condition of the cement finishing. The smooth surface can be achieved if a layer of smooth surface plywood installed to support the cement slurry when poured.

Any gap will allow air to pass and will affect my precious swiftlet while resting or nesting.

9) The corner covers must be installed with its highest precision. The exact location where the nails are to be placed must be precisely determined and when pushed in its head must be embedded by at least 1-2 mm inside the wood. Remember these nail heads, if not embedded deeper inside will damage your harvesting tool (scrapper) plus the nests during your harvesting operation.

10)I will also ensure that I will lay additional layer of nesting planks just below the one touching the ceiling at those areas where they are touching the cement walls or the support beams. This will create additional nesting areas at a very minimum cost.(Make sure those higher wooden planks are thicker then the lower plank. This measures is to avoid birdshits from falling into the lower nests).


The above "I wish list" are just my personal opinions and ideas. I am not trying to be too smart but if you can digest the points carefully and understand the hidden reasons you will appreciate each of them.

These are from a perspective of a person who has carried out the nests harvesting himself.


That's me harvesting in an unknown cave. Just joking brothers .....

Which Type Of Swiftlet Rancher Are U Categorised ???



Today I was asked about how much time do you need to spend with your swiftlet ranching?

Well many of us will say once a week or perhaps once every three weeks. You just need to drop by to check on the sound system, the humidifier condition and perhaps count any new bird shit spots on the shop floors.

U might be right but is that all?

My answer shall be as follows:

The amount of time U spend at your birdhouse will depend on which rancher category U choose to be.

There are three categories:

1) Passive.

A passive owner will spent all the money that is required to put a birdhouse running and after that he will drop by maybe once a month to check the house, the sound system, look at the humidifier and perhaps collect those utility bills for payment purposes. This will normally take about 20 to 30 minutes.

Every three months he will do the harvesting and do some logging/recording and off he goes. This might be about another one hour to be added to his normal monthly of 30 minutes.

2) Semi-Active.

A semi active rancher will do a bit more where he will come more often like once a week to look after not only the birdhouse chores but also the surrounding. He might need to replace those old rotten fruits that he placed in those huts to breed extra food for his swiftlets. He will also tend those Lao Gondang trees he planted around the house on those extra lands and make sure they are healthy.

He might also have a pond where he has some fish to be fed. These ponds are build not only to breed some fish but also a place where insect breeds. These insects are food for his swiftlet.

The time that he spend there might be like one full day a week.

3) An Active Rancher.

This type of rancher takes this unique business seriously. He is there nearly every day. He employs a few staff to assist him to actually look after the birdhouse, the surrounding plus breed the swiftlet from eggs.

The eggs are purchased from a supplier and they are hatched using a special incubator. Once hatched these baby birds are hand fed by these dedicated workers and will ensure that they are ready to fly within 90 days.

There will be a team that will look after the breeding of the insects that act as food for the young birds.

By involving in this business on full time the rancher will be able to determine how fast he wanted his birdhouse be full to the maximum.

A passive rancher might take 5 years to see a profitable returns of his investment but an active might cut it to just a year or lesser.

So which one are you going to be? It is your choice and U will actually determine the amount of time you spend with your swiftlet ranching business.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Vietnamese Visitor In Town....


I was very suprised to received a call from Mr Phuc, a Vietnamese, who came to KL to learn more about swiftlet ranching.

We met yesterday and have a lengthy discussions about swiftlet farming.

He was actually about to board his bus to Spore but I told him that he should stay and join me for a trip to Tanjung Karang, Selangor.

He was so glad that he aborted the bus and stayed back.

This morning I drop my wife at her clinic and proceed to pick Mr Phuc for the long trip.

I took the North South highway from Jalan Duta to Rawang. From Rawang I droved up toward Kuala Selangor via Batang Berjuntai town.

I took about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Batang Berjuntai town. We stop at the town and I shown his four to five shops converted to birdhouses. He was so excited and took his camera and he became my first eco tourist visitor from oversea.

He was becoming very excited and wanted to stay longer. What I observed was his curiosity about the bird call sound. It seem that there were three differrent sounds played. Then he ask me which one is the best? My answer was simple. Observed yourself which one have the most response? He pointed to one that have lots of birds flying around in and out. So that was the best sound.

Now my biggest problem. "Harry can U get me that best sound?"

Ai ya ya, I cannot just break into the house and get one for him, can I?

Anyway we have some brain storming and came out with a very genius idea on how to collect all these birdcall sound for our use or sell to those who wanted them badly. Sorry cannot decribe here. This is our secret ma !!!



We boarded our car and proceeded to Sungai Rambai Swiftlet city. I really love this unique architectureand design. Yes that colorfull birdhouses plus one office in the middle. We drove to the entrance and ask the Security guy to let us in.

" Hello uncle, I got this special visitor from Vietnam. He wanted to see the birdhouse from inside. Is it okay sir?". He gave us a long smile and give us the green light.

We entered until the back portion and took a few pictures. Stayed there for abour 10minutes and proceeded to Tanjung Karang.

We say thank U very much to the Indian security guard and hope to see him again. No problem, he answered.

Passed Kuala Selangor town and proceeded to those birdhouses located in the Sekinchang padi fields. I could not believed what happenned when I stopped at one of the contruction site of a birdhouse. My Vietnamese visitor was so excited and he walked straight into the building. Luckily the owner were out for lunch.

There were a few workers (Indonesians from Surabaya)and they were nice to let us in. I spoke in Indonesian Malay and they seem to like it and became very friendly.

We asked a few questions and collected wood samples both the ceiling panel and corners covers. The meranti wood is with grooves that are suitable for swiftlet to grab when resting or building the nest.

We managed to climbed up to the upper floors (3 stories high) and took some trouble to climb to the roof top.

Looks interesting and well done job.

What about the pilling works before they build the house? One of the Indonesian guy indicated that they use mangrove trees trunks as the piles.

The side room is designed to place the sound system and store room.

The top roof have a water pond suitable for a 10 inches depth of water.

That was it.

I told him that the trip was over and lets go home.

On the way back he wanted me to arrange one more trip for his farther to come to KL.

Wah liow weh, I need to take this profession seriously. Perhaps I need to prepare a two or three days birdhouse tour to include:

1) Site visit to Kuala Selangor: 1st day.
2) Site visit to Setiawan, Perak: 2nd Day.
2) View How Birdnests are Harvested.
3) View How Birdnest are Processed.
4) Visit Shops Selling Birdnests.
5) Dinner served with birdnest soup.

Travelling to use Toyota Estima.

Price tag: RM1,200 per head excluding hotels and lodging and food??????

I am sure the Malaysian Minister For Tourism will soon publish this new eco tourism in their Year 2008 Visit Malaysia. He he he....

What do You think ??????

Selection Criterias of a Good Piece Of Land For Your Swiftlet House !!!



This morning received an email requesting for some tips on the selecting criterias for lands suitable for birdhouse ranching.

This was what I replied:

Dear Dennis,

Thank you on your compliments about my blog site.

As for the land characteristics, suitable for swiftlet ranching, please see these tips:

1) The land must be firmed and not those swampy type. A building of 3 stories is heavy. If they are soft like peat land the foundation might be an issue. U need to pile them to ensure that your birhouse remain standing.

2) Not far away from the main road. U needs to move your building materials to your building site. A proper road will be a great asset.

3) The surrounding, if U can, is closed to a kind of river or pond or water sources. If there are padi fields close by then that is superb. Also there are thick forests a distance after the padi fields. U needs to read my blog about swiftlet fooding behaviors to understand why. Go to: http://swiftletfarming.blogspot.com/2007/12/what-is-swiftlet-fooding-behaviour.html

4) The land size must be big enough to retain its title as an agricultural land. According to the land act U can only put in building structure including the fencing not more then 1/3 of the land area. Example if the land is 5,000 square feet then your building structures including of the fencing cannot be more then 5000/3 = 1,666 square feet.

5) It must not be too near to any housing scheme (minimum 100 meters) or a school or a mosque/Indian temple. The sound from your birdhouse might cause lots of complains. The mosque/temple might be a bit noisy with their prayer call. Birds are said to be stress with these noises.

6) Not to be too close with factories that produces smoke or fumes example palm oil refineries or rice processing plant or a steel mill or road tarmac processing factory. The smoke are also said to cause some stress to these wild swiftlets.

6A) Not too close to any airport. The noise from those jet engines are not very nice to their ears. Worse those gapping hole on the front of the engines might suck them in and you know what I mean.

7) The configuration of the land must allow the house to be built as such that the sun path will not be hitting on the larger side of the wall. The sun tend to heat the house a bit too much if it hit the larger surface area of the house.

8) Most important before U pay your deposit is to conduct a bird call test and ensure that there are swiftlets in the area. If U intends to be an active breeder then it is okay.

9) U will still need to ensure that the local council has no objection in building the birdhouse in the area.

I hope the above are good enough for your kind reference.

Thank U.

How Does A Humidifier Work???


I spend hours to trace the best explainations on how humidifier works. Among all this is the best that I think U should read so that U will be more inform on how to improve your birdhouse operation.


There are two types of home humidifiers. One is a warm air humidifier. The other is a cool air humidifier. Both accomplish the same thing but come at it from differing directions. Normally, you will use a warm air humidifier when the temperature outside is low, and you don't mind if the temperature rises. You may also want to use this type if the intent is to facilitate sweating.

A cool air humidifier is used when you want to just add moisture to the air without the temperature increase that comes from the warm air version. A cool air humidifier works by a similar principle as the atomizer on your perfume bottle. It forces the air through a sort of nozzle that breaks it into extremely fine droplets. These are expelled into the room air. Because of the tiny size of the droplets, they become vapor as they encounter the dryer air of your house. This way they can raise the humidity without raising the temperature.

The warm air humidifier works from a much simpler method. It has two electrodes that go below the surface of the water in the holding tank. The surface of these plates heats the water rapidly causing a warm vapor to rise. It's a little cooler than steam, but still quite warm. As the vapor rises, it exits the device and fills the room with warm moist air.




This description is found at: http://www.helium.com/tm/290796/there-types-humidifiers-humidifier

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

China Daily: U Might Like To Read This News !!!


MALAYSIANS are kitting out old buildings with stereo systems, humidifiers that emit cooling mists and rustic fittings all to attract guests whose spit is their most valuable attribute.

The white-nest swift uses its saliva to string together a tiny gauze-like nest perched in often inaccessible spots. Gathered at great risk, they form the chief ingredient of the wildly popular Chinese delicacy, bird's nest soup.

Now canny entrepreneurs are luring the birds to old buildings in urban areas, making it easier to harvest the nests and take them to market - and rake in the profits.

In doing so, they have triggered a property boom.

Traditionally men tracked the birds to their isolated caves and climbed bamboo poles to knock the nests off the walls.

But entrepreneurs have found that the swift, a relative of the hummingbird, can be enticed to nest in urban buildings.

"There's lots of money to be made - $2,000 to $3,000 a kilogram," says Mary, who attended Malaysia's first national workshop on birdhouses in search of ways to make her two-storey building in northern Penang state swift-friendly.

More than 400 people flocked to the one-day gathering, more than twice the number organizers had expected, as rumours of swift profits took wing.

Entrepreneurs from the eastern state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, where searching caves for nests is an old tradition and birdhouses are unknown, attended the workshop.

One owner in Sitiawan, the country's most active 'bird' town in central Perak state, reputedly rakes in 400,000 ringgit ($105,263) per collection, once every three months.

John Chen owns a row of three shophouses in Sitiawan, whose upper floors and backrooms are home to swifts.

Chen is one of the few operators who will let outsiders into his houses but he won't talk profits and is vague about the exact number of houses he owns around the country.

The birdhouse is dim with the pungent smell of droppings. Dozens of swifts wheel in and out through a 2-foot square hole high in the wall.

The birds navigate with sound waves bounced off walls and crevices, so the air is filled with the clicks of flyers along with the peeps of the chicks.

Rows of white nests, like half-moon-shaped balconies, jut from thin, wooden planks attached to the ceiling.

The birds are encouraged to nest on the wood because the nests can be removed more cleanly than from the building's original cement walls, says Chen, president of the year-old Malaysia Bird's Nest Merchants Association.

Newborns' tiny pink heads bob out of many nests while older birds, too big for the three-inch nests but still unable to fly, perch on the nest edge all day, waiting to be fed.

Adult birds can spend up to two months slowly building the nests with their saliva. Once the babies leave, the nests are collected, processed in local factories to remove feathers and other debris, and packaged for sale.

About half of Malaysia's nests are consumed at home. The rest are exported, mainly to Hong Kong and Singapore, Chen says.

The soup may be low on nutrients but is popularly credited with clearing up women's complexions and flushing out the male digestive system.

A 150-gram box of superior nests - about 30 pieces - on display at the workshop was priced at $1,316.

Restaurants sell a bowl of the elixir for about $21.

Those prices have encouraged hundreds to launch bird businesses in the past two years, sending real estate in small towns soaring.

The prices of Taiping's vacant shophouses - two-storey buildings designed for retail trade on the ground floor with living quarters above - doubled in 2000 to $65,789, according to a local real estate agent last year.

The cost of a shophouse in the town of Sitiawan jumped to $92,105 in 2000 from $65,789 in 1999, birdhouse owner Ling Jeng Chai says.

Since he set up his first house - "as a hobby" - over two years ago, the number of birdhouses has soared to 300 from 20.

The wildlife department says there were just over 150 birdhouses in the whole of Malaysia three years ago. Today the number approaches 2,000.

Builders may spend over $10,000 to renovate a property.

Many install stereo systems that play recorded birdsong to attract swifts. Others buy humidifiers that pour out a cooling mist to keep the temperature in the ideal range of 25 to 28 degrees Celsius (77 degrees to 82 degrees Fahrenheit).

Chen's birdhouses resemble neighbouring buildings and he scorns gimmicks like recorded birdsong. "It's quite easy. Nature does the work for you," he says.

Chen believes some owners make themselves targets for criticism when they renovate buildings and turn them into fortresses, removing windows and sticking rows of pipes into walls for ventilation.

Steel doors are installed and equipped with multiple locks.

Neighbours in many towns have complained about the smell, droppings and the 24-hour recorded chirping many owners play to attract feathered tenants.

"These birds' nests problems are one of the major items on our agenda every month," says Mohammad Pilus Mohammad Noor, councillor for Seberang Prai, a Penang municipality.

"Most of the birdhouses are sandwiched by residential units. That's where the problem comes up."

Found At: http://app1.chinadaily.com.cn/star/2001/0510/fe20-1.html

Humidistat: Automate Your Humidifier Operation.

Found this simple product at: http://www.airandwatercentre.com/store/SEURLF/ASP/SFS/CID.6/PID.259/SFE/productdetails.htm

The picture and description are as follows:


Plug in Humidistat

Plug in your humidifier or dehumidifier and this device will manage its ouput
Price: £46 incVAT

Plug your humidifier or dehumidifier into this humidistat and it will regulate the units output to your preset level.

There are two operating modes: de-humidify or humidify mode depending on the unit. In each mode you can preset your required humidity level in the range of 10% - 90%rH making the running of your unit much more efficient as your humidifier or dehumidifier will not operate when it isn't required - saving you money and giving you better unit environmental control.

Once the humidity level reaches the set point the humidistat will turn off the humidifier or dehumidifier. Then once humidity falls below the set point the unit will turn back on again to adjust the atmosphere accordingly.

For the best indoor air quality of your birdhouse nesting area set your humidistat to between 80-90%rH. You can then be sure that you will be achieving the right humidity level you need.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I Finished My Sungai Besar Trip Report !!!!

Last night was Boxing Day eve and I did nothing but to finish up my trip report.

Promised Chia that the visit report will be ready by today. What a plan?

Anyway managed to do some housekeeping on the report and email draft copy to him.

It looks okay and in total it was 15 pages inclusive of pictures and front cover.

It looks presentable and will be good for my reference and hope I can share details with my blog readers who wanted benefit from the trip.

These are the list of content:

Title: Trip Report To Sungai Besar.

1)Introduction
2)Purpose of the visit
3)Trip itanery
4)Visit of 1st birdhouse
5)Visit of 2nd birdhouse
6)Visit of 3rd Birdhouse
7)Visit of 4th birdhouse
8)Observations made
9)Recommendations
10)Conclusion
11)Pictures


Will wait for his comment plus perhaps check for anything that I might have missed.

Total number of recomendations made was 19. I am sure there are a few more if I am given the opportunity to follow up.

Those who are interested to have a copy of this report can get a copy by sending an email to harryswiftlet@yahoo.com with subject Title: Trip Report To Sungai Besar.

Report will be email to U after a donation of RM 150 is remitted to a nominated account.

Some Electronic Stuff That Can Remotely Display the Room Temp. and Humidity !!!



Having a birdhouse is exciting especially when the nests populations are increasing from month to month. Every time you enter the house, recommended once every three weeks, you have this euphoria of observing the growth of the swiftlet count.

While doing that, U must always carry out checking on the room conditions especially in the temperature, humidity, the room smell, the humidifier machine, the water pool in the house, any sign of attack by rodent or ants or bird of prey and so forth.

Many can use visual inspection but there are a few that need the use of special gadgets.

The recommended gadget is those that have something to do with the measurement of the room temperature and more important is the humidity.

I prefer the installation of this remote sensing sensors that are wireless. You mount the sensor in nesting area while the monitor is place in your control room or area close to your sound system. In this way U need not enter the nesting room very often just to carry out the recording.

The product which cost about US 22 can be installed on a DIY basis.

Roof Top Ventilation Fan

What happenned when your swiftlet nesting area is hitting more then 29 degrees centigrade?

Well I am very sure that the population will get lesser and they will move to your next door neighbor !!!

There are a few reasons why your birdhouse room temperature are above the the 28 degrees centigrade. The most important is due to the outside temperature. During noon the sun is at the highest and the amount of energy it provide to the building is great.

The other reason is when your house is designs wrongly where the sun directly hit both the side walls (the larger surface area) in the morning and in the everning.

The rooms must also have enought ventilation holes to draw the cool air and a proper exhaust to remove the hot air out.

One of the method to reduce the birhouse tempearture is to use a roof top turbine ventilation fan..



Technically the fan use external wind velocity to turn and this is how it works:

The ventilation fan works by utilising the velocity energy of the wind to induce air flow by centrifugal action. The centrifugal force caused by the spinning vanes creates a region of low pressure area which draws and throws out hot air from below and fresh cool air from out side comes in. The slightest breeze will cause the turbine to spin and even after the breeze has stopped, the fly wheel affect of the rotor cage will use its stored energy to continuously remove air giving rise to ventilation. Suction is maintained even at low wind velocities. The Convective Thermal currents are given boost by venturi dome to further enhance the rotation of the fan.

I believed that this might help birdhouse user to minimise their electrical cost since it operates by external air velocity.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Wishing All Friend and Colleague, Merry Chrismas and Happy New Year !!

Before the clock struck 12 am I would like to wish all friend, colleague and blog readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

May U find the grace of God and at peace all the time?

Swiftlets City Birdhouse Complex at Sungai Rambai.



This is something which I think no one will ever report on the web.

As a Good Samaritan, I would like to share this special picture and report to all bird enthusiasts.

Along the way to Kuala Lumpur from Kuala Selangor, I came across this colorful building that is something like Institute Lim Kok Wing but it turned out to be a swiftlet complex that will turn your head around.



The complex is situated at Sungai Rambai about 5 kilometers to Batang Berjuntai Township.

I was driving my car and when I saw this weird, colorful building and those ventilation holes on the walls. I predicted that it got to be a birdhouse.

Well I slammed on the car break and immediately make a U turn straight into the compound.

The security guard was a very friendly Indian male and he allowed us to park inside the 4 1/2 acres land.

At the front, there were two 40 feet by 80 feet by 3 stories high birdhouses. In between there seem to be an office about 15 feet by 80 by 2 stories high. It might be a swiftlets breeding center, I suspected.

Just after these two birdhouse, there is a car park facing another building that seen to look like a training center on the upper floor and a restaurant on the ground floor.



We drove till the back and there was a much larger car park at the back. The rooms at the back of the restaurant seem to be rooms occupied by their workers.

We quickly snapped some pictures and post at this blog.

Beware: An Article for Mr Rosdi, A Newbie !!!

This write up was sent to Mr Bong long ago. The gist of the article is about how U can get crazy in swiftlet ranching:

Quote:

Dear Mr Bong,

U should visit a couple of towns in Malaysia and everytime U stop or pass each town just look out and up.


The best is to start your own business in BIRDNEST FARM TOUR. Get an MPV and have a few friends who have some money for a JV and visit a few towns in Malaysia.

I suggest Setiawan, Sungai Patani and Taiping.

In Sungai Patani I can give U the locations of various converted shop houses. I have one there too.

In Taiping, I know a few houses but I can get U to meet my SIFU who have a couple of birdhouses.

During my last visit there, I went for a coffee break at a roadside
stall. While walking to the store I look up to the sky and I could not believed it. U know what I saw???

Swiftlets. Thousands of them flying above, layers after layers. Chasing each other and perhaps mating.

The view was so beautiful and only birdnest enthusiast knows how to appreciate.

Your eyes see ringgit flying up there. That day there must be about 500,000 ringgit if each bird is a ringgit.

That what I have been saying that birdnest bisness is addictive. Once U are in U want more. Every black bird fly infront of U, U see money !!!

It is crazy but I like it.

It is good for all newbie like U.

The other suggession is to cross the border to Thailand, Southern part. There are huge birdnest houses.

They are gigantic. They are as big as a hotel (ShangriLa) in KL.

Some are actually hotels but when the recession starts they were poorly occupied so the owner turned them into Birdnest Hotel.

If U reach this level U will be amazed of how big the birdnest business is.

U now reach a UPHORIA stage and your eyes cannot close and U cannot sleep.

Every minutes is too long to pass by and U will be crazy of having your own birdnest house.

U will go against your wife, your uncle, your brother and even your own blood mother. This is how crazy U will get.

So watch out before it gets into U. This birdnest business is truely siok !!!



Unquote

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sekinchang Birdhouses That U Must See !!!



I was on the way back to Kuala Lumpur when my friend Micheal took me to a detuor of Sekinchang Town. We took the another lane(small road) running paralled with the main and inside the padi fields plots.

To my amazement I saw a bit to many of gigantic birdhouses build by these adventerous sekinchang business man. Each unit is at least 20 feet by 70 feet and 3 stories high. Two that I saw was 40 feet by 80 feet by 3 stories high.

One unit was under construction and we drop by to talk to the contractor for about 10 minutes before the owner drop by to ask why we are sneeking around at his birdhouse.

The cost indicated by the contractor was RM300,000 excluding any sound system. The unit was 40 feet X 80 foot X 3 stories plus a control room of about 20 feet by 20 feet one story beside the tall house.

I was thrilled to the bone and I wish I can have one as big or bigger then this house !!!!

More along the way home in Sekinchang:



Looks very tall and heavy.


Looks like a house on the ground floor.



At the back we saw a family staying. Maybe they were paid to stay and act as Security guard to ensure that the birdhouse is looked after.

A Full Day At Sungai Besar, Selangor, Today.


Started as early as 7.30am to fetch Mr Micheal Wan for the planned trip to Sengai Besar.

Purpose of the trip was to accept an invitation by Mr Chia who would like my opinion on his new birdhouse.

From Damansara, stopped at Jalan University KFC and fetched Wan. He brought along with him a digital camera and we were on the way at about 8.00am.

The trip was about two hours since we stopped at Kuala Selangor for breakfast.

Mr Chia waited for me at Sungai Besar Petronas Petrol station . After a short get to know hand shake he quickly drove towards his birdhouse and we followed from the back.

To my big suprise the birdhouse, which he was concerned about, was the one above his current house where he is staying. Been operating for about one month only.

The house was close to the town center, near a river where there are firsh landing jetties. Just infront his house, about 10 meters away, there was this birdhouse having lots of birds flying around.

This neighbours of his have been operating for almost 3 to 4 years ago and was said to be doing pretty well.

Chia, a electronic engineer by profession, indicated that he was attracted to swiftlet farming after paying a visit to successful units owned by Dato Beh at Pekan Lama, Sungai Patani. Yes my home town.

He became so attracted to swiftlet farming and wanted to master the business by having a trial unit above his own home. He hope to go big by buying a piece of agriculture land and build one big house. Well he got a beautiful dream.

While busy with him, I was invited to see a few more units that need some quick advise in improving their birds population. There seem to be more then 2 other uncles who also operating swiftlet ranching. I am amazed and intriqued.

Well from two units it became three and it increased to four unit that I was forced to visit. They really know how to maximise and make my trip worth !!!!

U will be suprised that there are more then 300 units of birdhouses in Sungai Besar town areas. Chia indicated that 150 units were with proper licenses while the rest were not. The number is increasing daily according to him.

Base on what was told by Chia, the local council gave these birdhouse owners two years to get ready to move.

Overall the trip was wonderful. Saw more then four and on the way back saw many more especially in Sekinchang, Sungai Rambai and Batang Berjuntai.

There were plenty of swiftlets especially in Batang Berjuntai.

As for Chia, I will be preparing a full visit report complete with pictures taken plus all the necessary recommendations that I believed he must do to improve his birdhouse. I might need to add additonal recommendations on the other three birdhouses that I was forced to visit.

Copy of this report shall be made available to anthusiast who wanted to gain from those recommendations made and required to make his/her request by sending an email to harryswiftlet@yahoo.com. There will be some cost to cover expenses.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Drosophila (Fruit Flies)Good For Your Swiftlets Fooding



Found at: http://www.insectstore.com/keeping-breeding-buying-fruit-flies-drosophila-livefood.php

Overview

Fruit flies (Drosophila sp) are an excellent source of nutrition for many birds, such as baby swiftlets, and adult flying swiftlets.

There are 2 main species, readily available in captivity, the Drosophila Heidii and the Drosophila Melanogaster.

The D. Heidii are the larger of the 2 species. For some hatchling mantids of smaller species, these may be a little too large to feed; so then you will use the D Melanogaster.

Fruit fly culture

Flies are mostly sold in cultures. A culture in a cup or tub, with some laying medium, usually a pre-made recipe if bought from a pet shop, however some private breeders may use mashed potato, banana, other types of fruit, or a bran/oat/ground fruit mix.



This will be the medium for the flies to lay their eggs in, and will provide nutrition for the growing larvae. There may also be a wad of cotton wool, or strips of a wood like substance, curled up. This will provide a surface for the larvae to pupate on, and hatch out. The larvae will also swarm up the sides of the container, and on the lid.



When pupated, they need no further attention. If left in a warm place, they will hatch out after about 6 days or so. The warmer the culture is kept, the faster the pupae will hatch.

When the flies emerge, you can offer them to what you are feeding straight away. If you wish to keep a culture going, then you should keep the culture tub in the container where the flies are being fed. After a few days, when matured, the flies will then start laying in the original culture tub. If a lot of flies are offered, then it is likely that the flies will breed, before they get eaten. When all the flies have been eaten, remove the culture tub, and store it in a warm place, for the eggs to develop, and pupate. Thus, the fly cycle goes on.

The fruit fly culture cycle



The best temperature to keep the flies at is around 20-25c. In these temperatures, the cycle will be at its fastest. To slow the cycle down, simply cool the culture. To prevent any mould, or fungal infections occurring, make sure the culture is very well ventilated. Piercing small holes in the side of the culture tub can do this.

However, these holes need to be small enough, so the larvae cannot squeeze through.
A method that has proven successful is to use clear, plastic tubs or cups, with no lid. As a substitute for a lid, a piece of thin cotton like material can be fixed to the top, using an elastic band, or something of the sort. This way, the larvae cannot escape though holes in the side of the tub, or through holes in what could be mesh, used as a lid.

Humidity does not need to be high when breeding Drosophila. Depending on the mixture used, it is important that it doesn’t dry out. If the mixture does look dry, then simply spray some water in through the top, which will absorb down into the mixture. Do not spray too much water in, as this can drown the flies, and the pupae.

Creating the medium



There are various different culture mixtures that be easily made at home.
There is one very easy option, which is usually used to feed flies on mass. Get a large bucket, and put a few handfuls of rotting fruit in it. Keep this in the corner of your garden, or somewhere similar, and this will attract swarms of drosophila. The fruit has to be rotting, as they will not reproduce on fresh produce. The bucket should be covered with a fair fine mesh, large enough to allow the flies to enter, but to keep out any other pests, such as birds and other fruit eaters.
Another, smaller scale recipe is one that can be made easily indoors. Mix a table spoon of sugar, with a cup of instant or mashed potato, which is readily available from most supermarkets. This can be put in any size cup, jar or tub. When added, pour water in, that is half as deep the mixture that was put in. Mix this, until you get a soggy medium. Then sprinkle some dried yeast on the surface of the medium.
Just cups, jars or tubs of rotting fruit can also be used as a medium. Ripe bananas can also be used on their own. These will not dry out, because as they rot, they release liquid. As this is the case, it might be necessary to put in some cotton wool, which will absorb the liquid.

In all cultures, be sure that the cup, jar or tub you are using is sterile. This way, you will not encourage moulding, and other infections.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fig Trees(Cemara): Why Is It So Special To Swiftlet Ranching ?....

A Brief History of Figs



Figs (moraceae ficus) have a long and well documented history. They are thought to be native to the arid regions of Asia Minor and ancestors of the modern fig tree still grow there today. Figs were cultivated more than 6000 years ago, as show by ancient writings from the countries of Babylon and Sumaria. The Bible makes numerous references to figs. A fig tree was present in the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve used the leaves from the tree to cover themselves once they learned they were naked. Humorists point to several verses in the Bible to show that God hates figs.



Figs were extremely popular in Ancient Greece and Rome. The Greek city of Attica was famous for its figs and the fruit was reserved only for Greek citizens. Many people tried to illegally export the figs. This lead to the term "sycophant", which translates to "to show the fig". Sycophants were informers who revealed people who were trying to export figs. Ancient Greeks prized figs for their healing properties and were eaten by and awarded to Olympic athletes. Fig syrup was also commonly used as a sweetener. The Romans thought the god Bacchus, the god of wine and festivities, gave the fig tree to humans and fig leaves were a symbol of that god. Figs were a favorite of Cleopatra, and the asp that killed her was supposedly delivered in a basket of the fruit.



The Greeks and Romans were responsible for spreading the fig to Africa and the Mediterranean countries. Figs were then brought to Europe and China by Italy during the Renaissance. Figs were later brought to California by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s. Other varieties of figs were later imported from Europe to the East coast of the United States. Today California is the third largest producer of figs in the world behind Turkey and Greece.

Growing Figs

Figs are actually not a fruit but a flower that has inverted onto itself. The fruit is actually the tiny seeds and pulp that are present inside the fig. Many botanists think the fig is similar to an inverted strawberry. Figs may or may not need to be pollinated depending on the variety. If the figs are pollinated the resulting fruit has seeds on the inside, otherwise the fruit remains seedless. Pollinated fruits are larger than the nonpollinated fruits and have a nutty flavor due to the presence of the seeds. Seeded figs tend to dry better, while seedless figs make better preserves. Tiny wasps (Blastophaga psenes) native to Asia Minor are vital for pollinating the Calimyrna/Smyrna variety of figs. The wasps enter into the developing fruit and pollinate the inside section. Fig growers in California were unable to produce this variety until they imported these wasps.



Fig trees are deciduous and grow to be roughly 30 feet tall. They grow well in semi-desert regions with warm, dry summers and mild winters. The fruits are generally harvested twice a year, first in June and later between August and September. Figs are the only fruit that are allowed to fully ripen and even dry on the tree. Only a very small percentage of figs are harvested when they are ripe because fresh figs ship poorly. Most figs are allowed to dry and fall off the tree before they are harvested.

Varieties of Figs

There are several hundred varieties of figs grown around the world today, with roughly fifty commonly grown in the United States. The varieties are loosely divided into two groups: those with black skins and those with green or yellow skins. The most common varieties of figs available in the United States are:

Mission:

This large variety was named after the Spanish missionaries that introduced this fruit to California. It has a deep purple to black thin skin with light pink flesh and has a distinctive sweet, fruity flavor. This variety does not need to be pollinated.

Calimyrna:

This large variety is derived from the Turkish Smyrna variety and is the most common variety grown in California. It has a golden to green thick skin with a pale pink-purple inner flesh and seeds. It is considered the best fig to eat fresh and has a pleasant nutty flavor due to its numerous seeds. It is also the most common variety that is dried.

Kadota:

This smaller fig is native to Italy. It has a light yellow, green, or almost white thick skin. It does not need to be pollinated, and as a result is nearly seedless. These figs are a good all-purpose fruit and are commonly eaten raw, dried, or canned.


Adriatic:

This variety is native to the Mediterranean area. It has a green to yellow skin with a light pink flesh. This variety contains the highest amount of sugar and is mainly used to make fig bars and paste. This type does not need to be pollinated.
Using Figs

Fresh figs are delicious eaten raw. They are made up of about 50% sugar, making them sweeter than any commercially sold fruit. To prepare them, simply cut off the tougher stem region and halve or quarter the fruit. The figs, especially the thicker skinned varieties, can also be peeled. Figs are commonly wrapped around prosciutto like cantalope. Figs can also be stuffed with sweet or savory fillings such as soft cheeses, cream, chocolate, or nuts. tdent notes that figs go well with thick Greek yogurt. Fresh figs can also be baked.



Besides being eaten raw, figs are also canned and made into preserves. Dried figs add moisture, flavor, and an interesting crunch from their seeds to baked goods like muffins and breads. Concentrated fig syrup can be purchased at some specialty stores. It is used to flavor and sweeten baked goods. Dried fig paste is also used in baked goods.

Figs have the highest amount of fiber in any fruit or vegetable, containing both soluble and insoluble forms. Figs also have a high amount of calcium, iron, and potassium. They contain an enzyme called bromelain, also present in pineapple and papaya. This enzyme will prevent jello from setting, so if you have a desire to make fig jello use canned figs instead of fresh, as the canning process destroys the enzyme. Conversely, bromelain is thought to also help tenderize meats, making fresh figs a good addition to a marinade.




Each of the over 900 different kinds of fig trees in the world is pollinated by its own specific kind of fig wasp. Fig tree flowers do not open to the outside world. Instead, the tiny flowers are located inside the hollow center of the growing fruit. In a complex process, the fig wasps develop within the fig (from eggs previously deposited by an adult female fig wasp), pollinate the flowers, and then exit from the fig, usually before it ripens and falls to the ground.

In the tree or on the ground the fig fruits are eaten by many animals, including birds, bats, monkeys, and animals living on the forest floor. These animals help scatter the fig seeds to other locations in the forest. Thus, while accomplishing its own reproduction, the fig tree also enables successful reproduction by the fig wasp, and provides food for many animals especially birds of the forest.





Fig wasp larvae somehow prevent the fig from ripening, thus increasing the likelihood of their survival (i.e. they mature to adult wasps and escape from the fig before it ripens and is eaten by some animal). But even inside the fig they are not totally safe! There is still another kind of wasp (the "fig wasp" parasitic wasp) that drills a small hole into the fig and deposits her egg near a developing fig wasp larva; the larva hatching from the egg survives by eating the fig wasp larva.





This write up is found at: http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=FIG

BuildingABirdhouse: Points to Consider .....


Birdhouse is usually terms as a "Five Star Hotel" made specifically to attract wild swiftlets to stay and build their nests.

The house must have all the basics that are build to make the swiftlets feel welcome, no disturbances and environmentally friendly equal or better then their previous place of stay in the wild. In this case the CAVE.

Beside the house, the surrounding, if possible should be seriously look into creating additional factors that will helps in providing shade, food and perhaps the forest smell.

The cost to create these relevant admosphere, both inside and outside, might be expensive but this one time cost is nothing compaired to the continuous returns that the owner will harvest month after month.

The points that this Five Star Hotel should have are said to be as follows:

a) Five Star Location.

The locality where U build the house must be peacefull with little disturbances from human made noise, pollution, smoke or enemies like bird of prey. The house is preferably located on a piece of agriland, away from human residence, fenced with proper security features.

The best is still an agricultural land located at the fringe of a town hidden between those trees or perhaps in an old orchard plantation that have proper supply of water and electricity. It will be perfect if not far away from the birdhouse there are rice fields and slightly from it are thick virgin forests or palm oil plantations.

b) Pollution from Smokes and Factories.

Beside having a peacefull surrounding, swiftlet are said to be seceptable to pollution especially smokes from chimenese or open burning. It was also observed that smoking of cigerrete is also not suitable in the house.

As such the birdhouse must be located away from factory areas that emit thick smoke in operating their plant. Avoid open burning around the house and instruct all workers who conduct birdnest harvesting to stay away from smoking in the house.

c) Right Temperature and Humidity.

Swiftlet have their own set of mind of what temperature and what humidity that suit them. Remember they are used to dwell in their normal habitat, in caves and as such similar temperatures and humidity must be created arficially.

The house must have a temperature range of 26 to 28 deg Centigrade and humidity range of 85% to 90%. Proper design in the house airflow will provide the temperature required while the humidity can be created artificially using suitable humidifier and mist sprayers that can be activated by humidity sensors or timers.

In helping to maintain the right temperature and humidity it is recommended that the surrounding should be planted with trees that will provide shade plus water ponds.

d) The Use Of Artificial Aroma.

One of the most important point in creating the right environment that depict a natural cave is the smell.

It is therefore observed that the use of aroma either naturally or artificially in the house will make the swiftlet feel at home as if they are in a cave. These aroma should be applied on the house floor, the wall (internal) and some even on the nesting wood panels.

Naturally the smell of bird shit mixed with water then apllied to the floor and wall (from floor to half the height is recommended). The uper portion of the wall until the wood panel should be applied with aroma made of birdnest processing water. The water can be applied onto the wood panel but make sure that they do not breed spores (fungi) that might effect swiftlets nesting.

Artificially there are many aromas sold at those walet shops that U can consider to apply in the house.

e) Provison of Food Around the House.


Swiftlets in the wild basicly live to eat and breed. Once they are awake in the morning, as early as 6.00am - 6.30 am (West Malaysia Time), they want to fly out and find food. Their basic needs are flying insects small enought to be swallowed.

The moment they are out of the house, they will search food around the house before proceeding to other locations further from the house. In the everning when they reach home, they will again scout around for food around the house before entering their nest chamber.

So a successfull birdhouse operator will normally provide suitable arrays of things that will create these insects. The best is to plant trees that produce fruits where insects likes to breed (Fig trees recommended Read:http://swiftletfarming.blogspot.com/2007/12/fig-trees-why-is-it-so-special-to.html ) or install suitable den (similar to chicken den) to place fruits like papaya, pinnaples, bananas or any other fruits that attract fruit flies to breed. Once these flies flew out of the den, it will be a food to your swiftlets.

My next Topic will be on "Swiftlet Behaviour: While building their nest".

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Is "Swiftlet Fooding Behaviour"?

Good morning to all readers.

To those who celebrate Hari Raya Haji, I wish to say Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adhar. To those who will celebrate Christmas Merry Christmas .

Today I intend to write about this special terms call " Swiftlet Fooding Behaviors".

I read in a few of the reference books that I have and it is very nice if every Birdnest enthusiasts to at least digest and expose to the term.

Fooding Behavior is termed as the normal daily movement of swiftlet searching for food. They have a peculiar behaviour in searching for food the moment they come out of their nesting house or caves.

If U understand their behavior U can then be a better swiftlet rancher.

The swiftlets will start leaving the nesting caves or houses as early at 5am (much earlier then me). Their first area to look for food is areas around the cave/house. This will the areas closed to or surrounding the BH. They will spend about one to two hours here.

Once they are satisfied that the food is no more heavy they will start to move towards a newer destination especially flat areas like padi fields, grass fields and so on. They will spend about 1-2 hours.


Once the flying insects are not many they will then continue their journey to the higher and further locations especially towards those Kampung and plantations. By this time there are lots of insects starting their pollonisation of those tree's flowers. The best will be those plam oil plantations.

By noon their destinations will be the forest canopy. Lots of insects seem to be emitted from those forest canopies or from those ripe fruits (figs trees). This fooding above forest canopy will last for 3 to 4 hours. Normally from 11.00 am till 4:00pm.

What next? By 4.00, once the insects quantity is lessening, their next destination will be those water sources like lakes, rivers and canals. It seem that those young insects will pupate and leave their shell at around 4:00 till late in the evening. Those swiftlets will be a good time cathting and eating those fresh insects.They do this until the end of the day.

By around 7:25pm the birds will normally fly home at around 7.25 till 8:00pm. Most of these birds will be inside their respective BHs by about 8:00pm however during dry seasons they might come back at late as 9:00pm.

Swiftlet eat their food on the flight. They do not behave likes other birds where they catch the food and rest on trees to swallow their food.

Swiftlet body construction is geared toward flying the whole day without any rest and come home to their home to rest, sleep, make love or feed their babies.

It is observed that while on the way back to their home they will take the opportunity to visit the rice fields and makes a last minute dash for food around the cave/house.

If you read carefully about their fooding patten, you might realised that these birds are intelligent beings. They know exactly where they can find the most insect at a particular time of the day.

If you wanted to conduct birdcall test, I advise you to follow the above explaination on how to choose the right time for a particular type of land. Example for flat land test it in the morning before 10:00am. For a plantation you test it at around 10:00 till 11:30am and near to a forest test it at 11:30 until 2pm. If your property is closed to a river or lakes try at 4:30 onwards.

Base on the above Fooding Behavior, it is recommended that birdhouse owners should provide a kind of food for the swiftlet to catch when they are out in the morning and when they are back in the evening.

The best is to plant those plant species that will generate insects, like Cemara or Lao Gondang and Chinese Beans Plan (Lamptoro) around the house. If the piece of land is reasonably big, create fish/prawn ponds around the house. The plants and the pond not only will provide insects but will also provide a cooler air.


Better if a suitable den (like a small chicken den) where U can place rotten papayas or pineapples or star fruits or any type of fruits that will breed small insects. Once these insect fly out of the den, it will become food to your swiftlets.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Some Interesting Problems From Kedah !!!

Again received a plight from a birdhouse owner in distress.

His problem sound like this:

Hi Harry,

My name is xxxx from SP Kedah...a friend of K from KL.

I call you sometime last week to introduce myself.

We have a bird nest house in Kuala Kedah which is not so productive. We have some issue, in which i have posted in the Klub Peternak wallet last week. Until now still no reply. So i hope u can help to advise us what is our next step to take:
Below is the issue that i posted in the Klub

sudah 2 tahun tapi baru ada 10 sarang

Saya mengusahakan rumah burung di kedah. Bangunannya 20 kaki (6m) X 60 kaki (18m)...2tingkat ...setiap tingkat setinggi 8 kaki (2.5m).

Masalahnya selepas 2 tahun, baru 10 sarang burung yang dibuat...lapan di bahagian bawah dan 2 di bahagian atas.

Suhu di bahagian bawah agak stabil di dalam 26 - 28C, humidity juga agak baik sekitar 90%. Tetapi di bahagian atas, suhunya boleh meningkat sehingga 31 walaupun humiditynya dapat di kekalkan pada 90%.

Dindingnya dibuat dari bata pasir selapis, dan bangunanya tidak berbumbung (hanya berbumbungkan konkrit).

Di dinding ada di buat kolam setinggi 1 kaki dari lantai sekeliling dinding. Ada 2 bak air di setiap tingkat dan ada satu kolam air yang besar di atas bangunan (bumbung concrete)

Saya rasa faktor yang menyebabkan ia lambat ialah suhu bahagian atas yang tidak consistence. Jadi saya bercadang untuk melakukan sesuatu untuk mengatasi masalah ini

Saya minta nasihat kawan-kawan bagaimana cara terbaik (dan termurah) untuk mengawal suhu bahagian tingkat atas khasnya (dan keselruhian banguna amnya). Antara cadangan dalam fikiran saya ialah:

1. Menambah bumbung di bahagian atas. Tepapi kosnya terlalu tinggi ~ RM 10ribu.
2. Memasang styrofoam di bahagian dalam bangunan untuk mengawal suhu. Jika saya memasang styrofoam tanpa disiemenkan ke dinding..adakah ia akan berfungsi. Ini untuk mengurangkna kos dan mengelakkan bau simenyang bakal menganggu anak walet di dalam
3. mengecat bangunan dari bahagian luar untuk memantulkan haba...risau bau cat akan menganggu walet nanti
4. Memasang aluminium sheet diluar untuk memantulkan haba ... kos yang agak tinggi

selain dari mengawal suhu, saya amat mengalu-alukan sebrang nasihat bagaimana saya harus lakukan untuk meningkatkan populasi.

Segala kerjasama dan nasihat kawan-kawan saya dahului dengan ucapan Terima kasih.


For my record purposes, I gave him some unswers that I hope will help him without being there to view the birdhouse myself and are as follow:

1st email:

Dear W,

Sori for not responding much earlier.

There are many reasons that might be causing the low nests population. Since I have not visitied your birdhouse and examine some fine details, I can only provide some points or opinions. They might not be right but please check on each of them.

U might think that it is due to the temp but there are many other reasons like:

1) The sound system both the external and internal. First the type of tweeters and second is the sound that U are using. One of the biggest reason why the birds are not coming is perhap the sound that U are using are no longer clear. U might need to change the CD or perhaps use the MP3 players.

2) Maybe U shud try to conduct another birdcall test on a few occasions both morning and afternoon close to the house. Maybe the number is not there. Did U conduct a test before U build the birdhouse? What was the result at that time? If U have never carried out then you were misled by your so call consultant.

3) Do U apply any aroma? Birdshit and liquid aroma that U can buy from those birdhouse equipment selling shop. Apply to the house walls, internally. Lower portion to middle use a mixture of birdshit plus water. From middle of the wall up to the bottom of the wood panel use those liquid aroma.

4) If the temperature and humidity is about right then what about the lighting? Must be dimmed enought.

5) Are U using any water spray? If yes make sure they are properly functioning.

6) Any chance of providing food around the house? Yes U need to provide an insect which is the staple diet of the swiftlets. Simplest is to make a small reban (hut)with wire mesh to prevent any birds from entering and put rotten papaya, pinaples,and any other local fruits. The rotten fruits will attract flies to breed. Once these baby flies fly out it will be a good source of food for your swiftlet.

7) Is the birdhouse build on an Agri land? If that is so U shud have excess land to be use to plan pokok cemara (Lao Gondang) and Chinese beans plants (Lampora). Let them grow around it and when they fruit insect will bread on the ripe fruits. At the same time the tree will cool the house a bit. Make sure they do not grow too high and block the birds enterance into your birdhouse.

8) What about the air circulation in the house? Are those air pipes working? If blocked need to unblock them.

9) Make sure no one enter the house without proper preparation. No smoking before entering and no perfume. Never ever smoke in the house when visiting or harvesting.

10) U should ensure that the house is only entered in the morning around 9am to 12 am when all the birds went out to cari makan. The frequency of entering shud not be more then one time a month. U can enter the music room but not the resting/nesting rooms.

11) Do not harvest the nest until they reach a total of 50 nests. Let them multiply to the maximum then U can harvest using Maximum Sustainable Harvesting Technique

12) Do U observed the number of birds circiling above the roof when the external music is on? How many? How about try to put a hexgon tweeter? The hexagon tweeter is proven to reach longger range and will catch the attention of birds flying around the house. It will also lure those birds from your neighbours house too.....

13) Do U have a proper roving room? What is the size? Have U check the number of birdshits on the room's wall.

14) Ada kolam dalam rumah tak? ayer nya besih?

15) What about any chance there have been some disturbance from prediator? Rats, eagle owl snakes etc. If there is then that might have chase the birds away.

The best is to do a site visit and from there come out with the exact treatment.

Hope The above helps a bit.

harry


My second email:


Dear W,

I read a book about how to reduce the temperature of the top section by using simple materials.

Place a layer of old gunny sacks as the first layer on your flat cement roof.

On the gunny sack spred a layer the cockcreal shell (kulit kerang).

Then lay a layer of padi husk (serkam) to about 3 cm thick.

Use wood planks to contain the serkam.

On the top place another layer of guni sack.

Then apply tap/rain water to wet them.

The temperature both the top and lower floors will drop down tremendously.

Thank U

harry


I hope it works but I am planning to visit his house to see what actually can be done to reduce the temperature at a minimum cost plus to increase the birds population.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Three Common Types of Birdnest Harvesting !!!


Have U ever thought that harvesting of Birdnest is an art. A legacy that , if carefully digested, will eventually helps you to rake in a bountiful of cash and at the same time increase your birdhouse population tremendously.

After reading those beautiful books, I would like to summaries these relevant harvesting techniques:

If U own a birdhouse in Indonesia, you have at least four streams of incomes. It is of course from the nests ( main income) but there are three more that they can generate income. The one that U have never thought of are selling of the eggs, the baby birds and last but not the least the birdshits.

Yes in Indonesia, they practise in increasing the birds population by incubating the swiftlets eggs and manually feed the babies. In this way, they buy swiftlet eggs and babies from those owners who have excess eggs and babies for sale.

The birdshits are mainly used as aroma to lure the birds into new build houses plus as fertilizer.

Okay let me touch on the three types of birdnest harvesting.

If U remembered my last topic on " How Many Times Can U Harvest The Birdnests A Year?", I did described the whole birds breeding cycle. I mentioned that the birds after finding a suitable mate will start looking after a suitable place to build their nest. When they found one, the male sill start to build using his saliva. The female will help and when the nest is acceptabled the female will sit in the nest and start to lure her mate to come and copulate (make love). They will make love for at least 5 to 8 days before the 1st eggs is laid and followed by one more within 2 days after the 1st.

Immediately after laying the two eggs, the birds will take turns to incubate the eggs. Of course they will still go out to eat in the day time.


The above informations is very important in my next explaination on the three types of harvesting which are:


a) Harvest Before The 1st Egg Being Laid.



This is one of the most preferred harvest by swiftlet ranchers. Reasons being, the nests are clean and without any dirt, feathers, shits and etc. The nest value is at the highest since processing time are shorter.

The birds after finding that their nest are missing, will immediately built a new one.

The setback is that they are lighter due to lesser quantity of saliva. The birds being forced to build a new nest which will effect the bird's health especially the female birds carrying the eggs but without a nest to lay.

b) Harvest After The Two Eggs Were Laid.



This method of harvesting is done once the two eggs are laid. U must never harvest when only one egg is in the nest. If U still continue to harvest, the chance of the
2nd egg inside the female swiftlet will most likely kill the motherbird and will cause lot of stress to the male.

The advantage doing this method is said to be that U can do them four times a year. The nest are more complete is its construction, thicker and the nest quality is at its best.

The disadvantage is that the bird population will decline since there aren't any egg to be hatched and it is advisable to hatch these eggs manually using incubator and have workers to raised the babies.

c) Harvest After The Babies Leave the Nest.



The third method is to harvest once the babies leave the nest.

Advantage is that your bird population will increase since the babies leave the nest and normally they will stay and add to the population.

The disadvantage is that the nests, after breading the babies, are dirty due to contamination by bird feathers plus dirt from the food and baby shit. The nest quality will be affected.

So which method should you apply to your birdhouse?

My opinion, might not be the only solution, is a combination of all the above.

U should have a prepare or adorpt a suitable harvesting procedures that calls for maximum income while the population will also increased. They called it as "Sustainable Birdnest Harvest Management".

During the early part of the birdhouse, U should let them multiply to the maximum. U should install as many fake nests as you can. You should not harvest any until the house have at least 50 nests in operation.

Once the number is achieved, U now need to start giving each nest a kind of color code. The code is actually a strip of color marker that are easily stick just below each nest.

Use red color for those nest that are with baby birds.

Blue color for those with one or two eggs.

White for those that are without any egg or just being build/in the process of building.

U now keep the log of these numbers in a book kept in the birdhouse.

During the nest visit U now will begin your harvesting operation by only harvesting those whose babies are no longer in the nest. Yes collect only those with the red color marker but are empty. This indicate that the babies have left and these babies will be your new nest producers.

After harvesting, U now need to redo the color marking operation. Red for those with babies, blue with egg(s) and white without any egg or new.

Do the same method until the nests count reach say 100 or 200 nests.

Once this is reached U can start the combined harvesting method.

U will harvest those that are labelled red but empty (no more babies) plus those white labelled nests but with no egg in them.

U do this until the total number of nest reached say 500 nests.

Once it reaches this new number, U can actually harvest intelligently in giving U the optimum number that will give U a good harvest and at the same time the population will continue to grow.