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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talk Of The Town On In House Breeding Of Swiftlet !!!

I received a couple of calls from a few blog readers who wanted to share something that is becoming the talk of the town among swiftlet farmers.

The talk was about a company located in Kedah that have started a swiftlet farm based on breeding in house.

It seem that about eight months ago an official visit was made to a neighboring country and the idea was brought home with it. (I was invited but at the last moment could not join the group).

The most important was to identify the type of insects that are suitable to those young birds and how to breed them.

Once that is solved, the farmer need to import those loose eggs, incubate them and once hatch feed them by hand. Need to employ many workers to do this manual task.

That will not be a big problem.

The biggest problem will be how to feed them. When they are unable to fly we can employ a few dedicated labourers. You need to hand feed the young babies at least three to four times a day.

If one person can feed say 50 birds you need to get enought people to feed all at one time.

What about antibodies? How will the birds have enought resistance to combat those bacteria in the air? A cold or a flu will easily wipe them off in one week.

In the case of human being we encourage the mother to breast feed their babies. Only after a few week they can switch to those tin milk. The mother's milk provide the young babies with anti bodies.

In the case of these birds, I believed those enzyme from the mother's saliva mixed with the insect that the mother collected, are where the antibodies comes from.

Each trip the mother spend about 20 -30 minutes collecting as many insects as possible and when swallowed they are being mixed with the saliva and fermented in the mother's gullet (7 gullets per bird). These enzyme in the saliva will soften the insect and create the right antibodies for these young babies.

When they have grown and able to fly, the birds needs to be trained to catch their fod on the fly.

Currently the owner used a kind of blower that will push those insect, dead insects, into the air and those birds were supposed to catch them on the fly.

Any "insect" that were not eaten will be recycle using a stainless steel funnel that trap the fallen "insect" and re blow.

How to keep those birds in an enclosed area?

This is something that the owner is trying. From the picture shown they are using only a kind of netting on the roof of the cement birdhouse.

A very risky things to do however if it works then it will be a break through in Malaysia.

What do you think the percentage that survived from hatching until they start making those nests? Is fifty percent okay? Can we get 50%?

Will these birds one day be allowed to fly free into the air?

Will they come back?

When will be the best time to release these birds?

What happen to their next generation?

I was made to understand that a Vietnam company tried the same method about three to four years ago and they failed. Those birds got caught in the netting and mostly died. The 5 million project was abandoned after a very short period of time.

One more comment from an avid reader was the exposure to the sun. It would be better to place those birds in an enclosed area with suitable lighting that mimic the sun. In this way the birds have less tendency to fly and got themselves trap onto the netting.

At the moment my wise advise is to wait and see the progress of the project. If it works then it will be something special to all of us.

If this experiment works then we will no longer be harassed by those Perhilitan Department. Yes we are now breeding them and not dependent on those wild birds in the air. Something like breeding those chicken.

The key point will be to total cost to built one. I was informed that the cost to have the building fit with all the necessary fixture will run above 1 million ringgit.

The next biggest problem is the insect breeding. The current experimenter is not willing to share the source of these insects and how to breed them yet.

Maybe one day the top secret formula will be available for all. For this moment we need to find ways and means to get them.

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