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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Only Swiftlet Farmhouse in Brunei !!!

I was given the opportunity to visit this particular swiftlet birdhouse that seems to be abandoned.

Victor, my Brunei blog follower, took me to the location on the second day when I was in Brunei.

The building looks like made of bricks and cement about 18 feet by 30 feet and two stories high.

On the flat cement roof, the owner placed a roof made of metal Zink.

From my perspective, I think the unit was not a bad unit but the owner seems to be with little or no knowledge about swiftlet farming.

These are some observations that me and Victor concluded:

1) The house dimension (18 feet by 30 feet) is suitable to be a good birdhouse. It meets the 4X4 meters criteria. The top roof is well done to cool the internal nesting room temperatures.

2) The entrance hole was facing the hill side and not towards the direction of swiftlets flying direction ie Northwest.

3) We cannot see the other side of the building so we could not estimate the entrance hole size.

4) The owner seem to focus only on edible Birdnest swiftlets but make little attempt to harvest the grass swiftlets colony that are abundance in Brunei/his area too.

4) The sound system was down and out. We think he has given up hope. There were lots of chicken in the house compound. Maybe he now prefers chicken then swiftlets. he he he

5) The location chosen was not very ideal because it is too close to the hill.

6) There were many tall trees around the house and these trees can act as perching points for birds of preys.

I did mentioned to Victor to arrange for a meeting with the owner and see if he can turn around the unit using new techniques that he have gained/learned so far.

I left it to Victor to make his next move.

My This Weekend Plan !!!

Frankly, got a few more reports to finish but I am very itchy to visit a birdhouse in Tanjung Malim,Perak.

Main objective of this short trip is to get to know a swiftlet ranching farmer who also supply ranching equipments.

I hope to bring along one or the most two newbies who have been asking to let him have a look at a birdhouse.

To those who have never visited any birdhouses before and would like to visit one please PM me on a private basis. I can schedule my trip with them on the condition that they are willing to be puntual in meeting me at place that I choose.

I can only accept two person per trip.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome To The Land Of Serinti (Grass Swallows) and House Swallows (Mud Swallows) !!!

Just arrived from Brunei and quickly sat down infront of my computer to check on various emails plus do my report.

The trip was enlightening and this was the first time I felt very embarrassed when something that I was very sure of Walet (edibile birdnest swallows) but turned out to be Serinti (Non edible Birdnest Swallows).

My full report is as follows:

After the Catamaran boat ride from Labuan Island to Bandar Seri Bangawan, I took a pirate taxi to Centerpoint Hotel in Town. Trust me these are no other taxis once it is after 4.30 pm !!!

The first thing I did was to call Mr Victor to meet me for a short introduction.

Bath and came down to meet him. He was staying somewhere near the Hotel. We chat for almost 3 hours.

The next day after my other business meeting Victor came to pick me up for an advanture that I surely will never forget.

We went to Tempurong, a Brunei land area that is located to the North East which is divided by Malaysia in between.

We crossed the Brunei border, chopped our passport and then got it chopped again at the Malaysian Checkpoint. Passed a small town called Limbang. After a short drive we took a small ferry to cross a river and again got to chop our passport.

Once we were back in the other part of Brunei we quickly find a suitable place to conduct our birdcall test. The first area was a flat land closed to a padi field and thick virgin forest. Before we do that we can clearly see lots of those House Swallow, which victor called "lazy swallows", plus those which I assumed as "Walet". These so called "Walet" fit perfectly like those edible birdnest swallows. They way they fly, with their wings not closed and they just what I thought to be the edible birdnest "Walet".

We blasted our music for almost 5 minutes. The so called "Walet" did came near just for about 10 seconds (maybe they were just flying by) and immediately after that they ignored the sound in total. There were only about 8 to 10 of them. Yuks I was very very dissappointed and in my head I keep guessing what went wrong.

It could be the sound that we played? No way, since we played more then three birdcall musics.

It might be the tweeter? Cannot be, since the same tweeters were used in Pontianak, Indonesia a couple of weeks ago they were perfect.

Then my next guess was that the bird must be a wrong species? But they fly just like those Walets that I used to see in Merbok and Sekinchan and many more places in Peninsular Malaysia.

I was not satisfied and insisted that we should find a few more spots to carry out the call test.

We selected four more locations all were with swallows flying ("Walet") around. All the four other test resulted the same. More often, they actually ignored the calls in total.

I was very frustrated and confused. It cannot be, but the truth is that they do not respond.

By late evening we make our way back to Bandar Sri Bagawan and reached home at about 8.30 pm.

Well, this time Victor wanted to show me something that change my perception about those so called "Walet" that I always assummed.

He took me to this Apartment where in their car parks there were numerous bird nests that were located about 12 feet high. The place was brightly lited and the nests were those of grass kind with a bit of the bird's saliva. They were dark in color.

I took my camera and captured almost all the nests that I saw. The birds were roosting and after taking photos a few jumped out and flew around the car park.

That was the time of the real truth. These were the so call "Walet" that we saw in Tempurong today.

They are not Walet but Serinti (Grass Swiftlet). I was so disappointed but I do learn a very good lesson. They looks the same, fly the same but they are not the edible birdnest walet that I assummed.

Please view these pictures and hope you can see the different.

My conclusion is that there are lots of Serinti in Brunei and I told Victor that if he wanted to start his birdhouse he should either do them in other country like Malaysia or Indonesia. But if he still wanted to do in Brunei he need to harvest these wild Serinti and then swab their eggs with walet eggs.

What a good lesson .........

Double Click On the Picture For A more Detail View.

Double Click On the Picture For A more Detail View.

Double Click On the Picture For A more Detail View.

Double Click On the Picture For A more Detail View.

Double Click On the Picture For A more Detail View.

Double Click On the Picture For A more Detail View.

Insect Powder ( Serbuk Penambah Serangga)

The most unique product displayed at the recent Seminar in Seremban, Negeri 9.

Among all the items being displayed, I am very attracted to this product which is labelled at "Insect Powder".

The Distributor, Swiftlet Equipment Technology, distributed a phamplet which decribed the product as follows:
(Double Click On the Photo For More Details Information):

Insect Powder is a specially formulated mixture of insect food and eggs of a selected insect that is well liked by your swiftlets.

The insect that will be generated from the powder will reproduced by itself and contineous until the food media is totally eaten. When there are more insect flying from the provided container there will be signs that your swiftlets will be flying around it.

Your young birds who have just started to fly will be able to learn to catch these insects once the insect starts to fly out of the container.

Insect Powder is a very powerful instrument in luring/traping swiftlets that are flying close or above your new birdhouse. Once they are attracted to these insects they will visit your new birdhouse and some might consider migrating to your building.

Insect Powder can also improve the speed of new nest building. This is mainly due to the fact the it allows the swiftlet to feed on readily available food that is not dependent on the season.

How To Use Them:

Place the INSECT POWDER into the container and mixed evenly in a ratio of 2 kilo of powder with 4 liters of plain water. The best location to place the container is in the roving area or any other areas that can attract young swiftlets to be lured into your new birdhouse.

Cover the contained with mesh cloth or wire mesh of 0.5 cm size to prevent rats or birds from entering but allowing insects to fly out. Add two glasses of water every 2 weeks to ensure that the breeding is continuous until the food is totally consumed.

Once the mixture is added with water, give 1 week for the first lava to appear and will turned into pupa. By the 2nd week the pupa will produce insect that will fly out to become the ultimate food for your swiftlets. This will continue to happen for at least 3-6 months. For better effectivenes, we recommend you to place more then one container around the house but try to activated them within 1-2 weeks apart after the 1st container being activated.

The type of insect produced is well liked by your swiftlet and your swiftlet need not fly far away to find their food.

Insect Powder is recommended to be used during all seasons or very dry seasons when their food are scares. It is provent to be very helpful to many birdhouse owners where it allows a speedy nests building for all kind of seasons (dry or rainy).

Price: Around RM 120 Per 5 Kilogram plus a plastic container.

The above descriptions are for your information and I do not guarantee that it will work however using common sense it is a good choice.

I would imagine that it you have this insect powder, the birds will prefer your house as compaired to your neighbors. See you not only provide a place to stay but with meals too. He he he ....

If you wanted to try something, this will be something to consider.

Remember I am using this blog to dessimate things that I learned and wanted to share with swiftlet ranchers like you. If something is good then why not we share them....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Meeting Victor In Brunei !!!

Just to advise my blog readers that I will be away in Labuan, Sabah and Brunei this coming week.

Will be making arrangements to meet up Victor of Brunei.

He indicated that he will be free to show a potential birdhouse area in Brunei.

I hope will have a very good time talking about our common interest i.e Swiftlet Farming.

What Is The Ideal Size Of The Entrance Hole ???

I never thought so much about these entry/exit holes before.

All these while I thought they can be a big as I wanted it to be and told myself that the bigger the better.

That was a history. I am now a better person.

Remember I alway mentioned that everything that you see in your birdhouse have its own reasons. The sound system, the tweeters, the internal and external sound, the wood panel, the fake nests, the aroma, the humidifiers, the roving area, the enterance hole, the water pool, the insect breeder, the PVC holes on the wall, the birdshits splash on the birdhouse floor, those water fountains, the steel doors,those pinnaple skin used in the pool, double door system and etc etc etc.

If you are the curious type you surely will ask and take note of what they are for. There must be a reason for everything that are installed in your birdhouse.

Main trouble is that your Sifu will never let you have anything to refer too. He have everything in his head and he presumed that your head is his head ???? Very Stupid Sifu .... He he he he....

Okay coming back to the ideal size of an entrance hole, I have this to share.

The basic purpose of the inlet/outlet hole are as follows:

a) To allow your birds to fly in and out.

b) To limit the amount of light entering your birdhouse.

c) To provide positive effect to the house humidity and temperature.

d) To protect the house from swiftlet's predators.

e) To protect the house from burgulars.

So what is the ideal shape and size?

Before we can answer that, let us look at the shape and size of every swiftlet that fly in your house.

If you take a good look at one of your swiftlet, you will notice that the total length of your swiftlet wing span, from tip of the left wing to the tip of right wing, is about 20-25 cm. The thickness at it main body is just about 3 cm.

From studies made on their flight that they usually made just before entering, the recommended or ideal hole shoud be a rectangle with a minimum dimension of 20 cm width and 30 cm wide. This is ideal for one bird to enter or exit at one particular event.

What will happen when your bird population is full? Will the hole allow more then one birds to fly in and out? Say 5 birds entering or leaving at the same time? Will they crash into each other or more important will they hit the cement wall and become dead birds?

Accoding to some books, the most difficult time for any birds to exit or enter are those young birds who have never fly out or in before. They do not have that navigational skill to avoid hitting the hole's wall if they do not take the right flying angle.

Matured birds are usually are very skill and have little chances of slamming onto the wall. But you never know.

The best arrangment that was recommended by some consultant is to make the necessary enlargement plans during design stage. Use the smaller size first and once the house bird's population increases get to hole bigger.

With minimum height of 20 cm, one bird entering at a time is perfect. For two to enter stacking one above the other at one time the height have to be increased to 25 cm, for threes 30 cm, fours 35 cm and fives 40cm.

Similarly if you want to allow two birds to enter wing tips to wing tips, the width need to increase from 30 cm to 40 cm. For three to enter wign tip to wing tip you need to add another 10 cm width.

So you know now that the entrance hole size is mainly regulated by the number of birds entering into your birdhouse both by tips to tips and stacks.

The best rule of the thumb for you to consider is to use the following guides:

For 1,000 birds use 20 cm X 30 cm.

For 2,000 birds use 40 cm X 30 cm or 20 cm X 60 cm

For 4,000 birds use 40 cm X 60 cm

For 6,000 birds use 40 cm X 80 cm and so on .....

What about for a new birdhouse? What is the ideal size?

But what about the position of the hole? Where is the most strategic to open the hole?How far from the ceiling and how close to the building corners?

Some one have to answer that .....

I think it is better for you to find out your self ....... He he he he

PS: if you are still stubborn and wanted to know the answers, please call .....

Latest: Gudelines On Birdnest Farming By Jabatan Perkhidmatan Haiwan !!!

The third additions of Good Animal Husbandry Practises (GAPH) was issued in October 2007. The party responsible in preparing was Jabatan Perkhidmatan Haiwan of Kementerian Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani, Malaysia.

The book consist of 38 pages with 8 chapters and 8 appendixes.

The book is currently in Bahasa and is a must for every swiftlet farmers in Malaysia.

The book can be considered as the most up to date in providing the guidelines to all that are involved in birdnest farming.

According to Dr Redzuan Ibrahim, this book shall be used by all Local Councils in their assessment of all birdhouses in their jurisdiction and shall be the basis of any lisence to be issued.

Owner of birdhouse are required to ensure that their swiftlets are look after in a manner where their basic requirements are to be made available. Harvesting of birdnests must never be carried out if it will harm the baby birds or newly laid eggs.

Article 5.1.23, indicated that external call are only allowed from 7.00 am to 12.00noon and from 5.00 pm till 7.30 pm. For internal sound, they are allowed to be played for 24 hours.

The external birdcall sound must not exceed 40 decibels measured at 6 meters from the affected building.

Oh yes, smoking inside Birdhouse is totally not allowed (dilarang sama sekali) in article 5.1.29.

The guideline can be obtained from Jabatan Perkhidmatan Haiwan (hardcopy) or from Harry (digital/PDF). A small convesion fee shall be charged for those who requires the book in PDF.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Why Must The Nesting Room Light Be 2 Lux !!!

Have you ever observed that swiftlet will not built their nests where the place is in total darkness???

All the while we were advised that the birdhouse nesting area must be dimmed, not too bright and not too dark. The best is to be within 2 lux or candela. But why it is so ???

I have this special information that I wanted to share:

The lighting factor in any birdhouse only applies during the day since the house will be in total darkness in the night. It is said that during the day some amount of light is needed for swiftlets to perform their basic needs such as laying eggs, building their nest, mating, hatching and rearing of their offsprings.

It was mentioned somewhere that light is only required or useful for the regeneration process. After this period is over, most of the time these swiftlets will be spending their time outside the house seeking for food or playing (for baby birds).

The reasons why swiftlets do not like their nests to be visible are:

1) They will feel insecure if their nest are lighted or in too bright areas. In the wild they use Cave as their home. They like to be hidden so that they feel secured and their offsprings are save from predators.

2) They also feel more confortable to be located in a dim areas while laying their eggs. They can achieve this by choosing the right place in your birdhouse hidden somewhere among those nesting planks.

Absolute Conditions While Building A Swiftlet House !!!

I was going thru a document that I collected during th Seminar this morning.

My eyes catch this important piece of article that I would like to share with all those who are yearning for more things to know about swiftlet farming.

This was what the article says:

The first absolute condition is that there must be swiftlet around the location of the building. Without it, we will fail, in producing swiftlet.

Other absolute conditions are:

1) It will be much better if we build the house near the center of Swiftlet cultivation, where the population of the birds is bigh enough that we can raise them well. The nearer the location of the building to houses of dense population, the easier we can get the birds. The location should be in the birds flight route area before they come to their own house.

2) It's located around the area where birds hunt in which they fly all day long to get their food. The more birds that areflying there, the more ideal the location will be.

3) Bird's flight route location, where they fly away from their house to the hunt area, is also a good location for building new Swiftlet Houses.

I am sure there are some important message hidden in this article.

Just hope you have learn something from it.

PS: The picture shown above is a 5 star birdhouse hotel in Indonesia. It was mentioned during the recent Seminar in Seremban, monthly, the owner harvest nothing less them RM 1,000,000 (One Million Only). Hmm hmmm hmmmmmmmmmmm. Oh Yeah !!!!

A Canteen Turned Into A Birdhouse

These two pictures were sent my a friend from Brunei.

During his recent trip to Pontianak, Indonesia, he saw this wooden canteen turned into a Birdhouse.

The so call canteen turn birdhouse is just about 8 meters by 8 meters and currently havesting about 10 Kilo per harvest. If one kilo is RM5,000, the owner is raking RM50,000 per harvest.

Hmm not a bad income .....

Swiftlet Farming: Bank Pertanian Can Offer Maximun of RM 5 Million

One of the best news that was delivered by Mr. Muhammad Razali of Bank Pertanian Malaysia, Luala Lumpur during the Swiftlet Farming Seminar held at Seremban, Negeri 9 on January 24th 2008 is a special fund for Swiftlet Farming.

This was to support the Swiftlet Industries and encourangements to all Birdhouse Farmers.

Yes, if you are eligible, the Bank can provide up to RM 5 million at 3.75% interest per year. For 9th Malaysia plan they only have a total of 30 million allocation. If this is totally taken up, they will arrange from other unused funds.

A very encouraging news and for those who have land and short of fund, go and see the nearest Bank Pertanian Malaysia.

The fund is available under a Special Fund allocated for Malaysian or Malaysian Companies under Skim Kredit Pertanian Bukan Makanan.

To qualify, you must be Malaysian citizen or a company (fully owned or JV). For JV with foreigners, 51% must be Malaysian owned.

The money can be used for capital and operating expenses or for swiftlets farming expansion of business. You are not allowed to use the money to buy over an existing bird farm or company's shares.

From what you obtained, 30% can be used to buy the land to built the birdhouse.

Interest rate is 3.75% per year and paid back period is not more then 120 months inclusive of gestation period of not more then 12 months.

I hope this special news is attractive to everybody who have no idea where to get the funding.

More information can be obtained from Bank Pertanian Malaysia or Call Mr. Harry

Thursday, January 24, 2008

GAPH: Pictures Taken On Swiftlet Farming Seminar In Seremban On 24th January 2008 !!!

These pictures were taken during the recent Seminar in Seramban, Negeri 9.

The Hotel Selected.

The Seminar Description.

Registration 1

Registration 2

Main Speaker Dr Reduan

His Topic of Discussion.

Cool Mist Humidifier. (Double click on the picture to see more details)

Digital Timer Complete Set

Sound System with Attached Sound Card.

Insect Breeder Kit.(Double click on the picture to see more details)

Fake Nest Ten Pieces In A Pack : Rm 110/Pack(Double click on the picture to see more details)

Fake Nests In A Row.

Aroma After 1 month.(Double click on the picture to see more details)

Aroma Just After Compleation.(Double click on the picture to see more details)

Some of the Attendees

Dr Safuan Hilmi bin Ahmad Giving his speech.

All Participants Received their Certificate of Attendance Fron Jabatan Haiwan.

The Precious Certificate.

Two Good Friends From Kota Bahru, Kelantan.

Birdcall Test Infront of The Hotel.