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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gackos Or Cicak Tokek !!!

You might not like the picture above.

You can see how these gackos can be a big predator in your BH.

If you allow them to be in your BH they will not only clean all the baby birds but also the nests and the eggs.

They breed on anything that is alive that they can swallow whole piece.

This include insects (when small size), frogs, rats, snakes, birds and many others.

Have a good look on some species that can grow up to 10kg each.

A whooper and can you imagine what will happen if one of these creature happened to enter your BH?  Your BH will be empty in a very short time.

If you enter a BH and sees lots of young baby birds on your BH floor, you can safely predict that there is a gacko in your BH.

There will be also signs of nests being half eaten.

You need to search for this animal and catch it.

The best is to set those traps using PVC pipe with one end capped off.

One opening to be opened but with a cap ready to be used if they enter to hide themselves.

Place about four to six on each floor and when their are signs of it inside the BH start searching for them.  Once located chase them so that they will run towards the PVC traps.

The moment they entered to hide you close the opening and remove the tokek.

Look at the size of this Gacko !!!

They love to hide during the day time and hunt at night.  Use the PVC pipe as shown for trapping.

Monday, July 30, 2012

An EcoPark With 20 Newly Build BHs On A 10 Acres Of Land !!!

The first Swiftlet Eco Park in Malaysia that started an insect barn to draw more birds to its site.

I was very impressed with the chief operator of this Eco Park in Taiping, Perak.

My relationship with him started when he attended one of my Swiftlet Farming Seminar held in Setiawan, Perak.

After the Seminar he approached me telling me about his project and wanted my advise on how to bring as many birds as possible to his Eco Park from the surroundings.

My answer to him was simple : Provide them with free food.

"What do you mean by that, Pak Harry?"

Why don't you set up a number of insect barns in your Eco Park and see what will happen.

He took a bold step forward and stick his mind to my mind boggling idea.

"Pak Harry please drop by at the site and advise further where I should erect the Barn.  Also I need the formula plus those starter insects."

I did just that.  Drove about 3 hours from Kuala Lumpur and met him at a small town called Simpang, Perak.

"Please hop into my car and I will take you there."

It was just about 5 minutes drive to reach the location and I was very surprise with the number of BHs that were ready and under construction.

The Eco Park now (as at July 28th 2012) has four operating BH and 17 more under constructions.

The oldest unit (came together with the land) was indicated to be about 3 years old with about 800 nests now.

3 new units were recently launched and more will be added in stages (one unit at least per month).

A very brave and bold idea to construct a total of 20 BHs on a single piece of land.

The whole 20 units of BHs is single owned with no private investor.

There will a plan to invite investors but it will be done once all the BHs are up and running, according to the operator.

My main responsibility was to look into activating those insect barn(s) and I did not ask the operator to show me the inside of those newly completed BHs.

My plan is to follow up with him on the insect barn project with the hope that this pioneer project will be followed by many others who wanted to start their BH(s).

I sincerely believed that insect barn should be a part of all stand alone BHs.

All that you need is a building about 12 feet by 10 feet divided into four rooms.

Make sure they are insect tight and place a simple rack in each room to hold those insect soup containers.

With the easy access to those insect generating powder you can prepare the insect soup within minutes.

If you need those started insect you can just call Pak Harry at 017 7551318.

All that you need is the desire to be different from the rest.

Bring more to your BH site and you will have a better chance of populating your new or old BHs.

Have a look at these pictures taken during the recent trip.

I hope that the operator will not stop half way since he already constructed one.

The sign board beside the main road.  You can turn in just before this sign.
The first signs of BH under construction when you turn into the dirt road.

Further up you can see bigger sizes BHs under construction.

Another view of BH under construction (20 in total)

You can see some already in operation while a few about to be finished.

My job was to populate this insect barn (one of the many to come).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Drastic Way Of Cooling A BH !!!

Remember the Bagan Serai BH that was completed and put into operation about two months ago?

It has transformed into a fully blanket BH.

If you view these pictures you know what I meant.

I was in Taiping yesterday and after finishing my job activating an insect barn, I took a short drive up to the Bagan Serai.

They owner did mentioned to me about his final decision to cover the whole BH after seeking my advise on the matter before.

His problem started when he used those light weight bricks as his BH walls with no double layered construction.

He was new and never realized how hot it will be once completed.

After having all the civil works done, I was engaged to do the finishing.

It was during that time I told him that his BH walls was touching 36*C +.

The high temperature will give very little chance for those birds to even enter the house.

My advise to him is to quickly cover the wall from the outside using those zinc sheet roofing materials with once inch thick foam.

The new heat shield must be about a foot away from the cement plastered walls.

 The BH temperature now was about 30*C (highest) but normally about 29*C.

He needs to monitor the temperature from time to time.  If they are still high he need to conduct another inspection where the heat source(s) are.

After completing the task there were good signs that those swiftlet are entering and staying.

It was a good choice and I was glad that he took my advise seriously.

Remember the internal temperature should not be above 30*C.  If it happened those birds will not be your tenant unless there are no better place to stay around the heated BH.

Try to learn from this article and if you wish to visit and take a look call 017 7551318.

The whole BH being cladded with zinc with 1" thick foam.

View from the opposite side.

Closer view.

It was from top to the bottom.

No air gaps at the lower level.

The owner uses about 6 air blower run randomly.

Something Beautiful That We Should Admire !!!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Star Reported Another Article About Chinese Regulation !!!

Today Star reported about a comment made by Dato Chua on new guidelines for importation of swiftlet nests from countries with bird flu.

As far as I know only Indonesia is not being cleared as bird flu carrying country.

Those countries that are free from bird flu will not be affected.

Read this found at:

Stringent rules over bird’s nest

Chua said, however, the guideline would not affect local exporters as Malaysia was free of bird flu.
“We believe the move is targeted at other countries and not us. Local exporters should not be unduly worried but instead prepare to face competitors,” he said, after a dialogue with bird’s nest traders and farmers in the Bera MCA office here yesterday.
Chua said the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) requirements stipulated by Beijing were still applicable and negotiations were still ongoing.
He said Malaysia was prepared to send its officials to meet their counterparts in China and the ministry was waiting for a directive from the Cabinet.
In PUTRAJAYA, the Malaysian Federation of Bird’s Nest Merchant Association has sought Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assistance to resolve China’s ban on bird’s nest imports from the country.
The federation felt that the Prime Minister’s cordial relationship with Chinese leaders could bring an end to the ban which was imposed in July last year.
The federation yesterday handed a memorandum on the matter to Najib. It was received by his political secretary Wong Nai Chee.
The delegation led by federation president Datuk Tok Teng Sai later had an hour-long dialogue with Wong.
Tok said the federation felt that it was unsuitable to install RFID tags as the bird’s nest would have to pass through many hands between the time it was harvested and when it reached the consumer.
In KOTA KINABALU Sabah Wildlife Depart-ment director Dr Laurentius Ambu said the requirement by China for RFID for bird’s nest export is likely to hit Sabah and Sarawak which harvest its nests from natural caves.
The two states, which have the largest number of natural caves in the country, are concerned about the requirement for RFID.

The First Swiftlet Eco Park With Insect Barn Installation !!!

Today marked another milestone in breeding of insects for swiftlet farming industries in Malaysia.

Usually many people tends to look at it negatively.

However this particular person wanted the insect barn installation badly at his Swiftlet Eco Park, in Taiping Perak.

The idea started about six months ago when he attended my Seminar on Swiftlet Farming in Setiawan Perak.

I did not realized that he wanted to build 20 BHs on a piece of land about 5 kilometres away from Taiping main town.

During the initial discussion, he asked about my opinions on what will the best things to do to attract more birds to his swiftlet farming EcoPark with 20 BHs on it.

I jokingly told him :  "Why don't you erect a few insect barns that can produce about 5 kilograms of insects per barn per day?"

"Pak Harry, are you serious? Is there such a method?" he asked.

I was very serious about it and I told him that this insect generating system is nothing new.  Our neighbouring countries have been using the method for many years now.

Less that two days later I received a call from him asking about my scope of work and how much my professional fee will be.

"No before we discuss any further, can I come over to have a good look at the construction site?"  I requested.

I wanted to confirm that this young guy was not pulling my leg.

You see he looks very young about 25 years old and he was talking about 20BHs on one single piece of land. That will be nothing less that 20 million ringgit of total investment.

He must be a joker, I initially told myself.

When I arrived at the Eco Park location, I was shocked and disbelieved.

"Are you building these BHs for your clients?" I asked.

"No Pak this belongs to my Company.  We bought this piece of land with one BH on it and we now decided to expand by erecting 20 units more.  That is why I wanted those insect barns badly."  He replied.

Now I understand why he was so pressed for my working paper on those insect generating system.

"Give me one week and I will have them ready for you with all the pictures, dimensions of the barn and the insect generating powder formula and so forth." I assured him.

I set down with my thinking cap on and prepared a full report for him.

After obtaining my 30 pages insect generating barn paper he proceeded with the construction.

In between he joined my last outing, seminar on July 1st 2012 site visit,  to a BH with insect generator at the lower part of a three stories BH.

He wanted to be convinced that the insect generation system works.

Oh la la, today July 28th 2012 one of the many barns was ready for operation.

I promised to deliver to him 10 kilograms of those insect generating powder plus a container full of starter insects/maggots as a part of my service.

Upon reaching the location I took a good look at the barn and help to prepare the insect soup.

The process took about 30 minutes and it was ready for operation.

I told him to activate the next unit, four in total, within the next 10 days.  After that he needed to activate the other two 10 days lapse.

On the 40th day he needed to reactivate the first room back.  Try not to throw away the left overs.  Put them into a big container and leave the container in the same room.  They will still produce insects.

He was very happy with this new idea and was watching my every step in the preparation. A camera man was snapping every move that I made.  How wonderful to be a model.

I planned to keep a close eye on this insect barn project.  I need to make sure that he continue to prepare those insect food on a continuous basis.

Maybe I should get a long term contract to make sure the insect generating system will work as per my ideas.

Hmmm ...... need to talk to him again.

To those who would like to start one for their BH please call 1077551318.

There is a report ready for those who wanted to read in details on the insect barn erection.  Call for more details.

Have a good look at these pictures:

The insect barn shinning doors.  Two rooms on both sides.
The steel frame rack ready to receive the insect soup containers.

 The locally produced insect powder 5 kg per bag.
Mixed and poured in yellow containers 16 units for 10 kg of insect powder.

I brought a container of matured maggots for insect starter.

The insect started was placed at the lowest rack.
Arrange side by side

Ready on the racks 18 units.

Reminder:  This article is suitable for those BH owners who are serious about populating their BHs.  There is no use to run a BH but remain empty for a number of years.  You need to think of all the possible methods to draw more birds to your location.  You need to be daring enough to do something unusual to beat the rest of BH owners around you. Remember you can copy the above seen in the pictures but to be accurate call pak harry.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

RFID Tagging On Malaysian Birdnests Is Not Practical !!!

I might be wrong but this whole idea of tagging swiftlet nests is a bit too out of the norm.

Dato Chua claimed that it was the Chinese Authorities that wanted such requirement but I was under the impression that it was the Malaysian Authorities that push this idea to them.

What can RFID benefit to swiftlet farmers?

Give me just 10 benefits by having those RFIDs implemented in your BH?

I don't think there is anything significant especially when you just started to operate a new BH.

Let me ask you this simple question.

Will those RFID tags brings more swiftlet into your new BH?

All that I know is that the moment you apply your BH to be tagged with RFID, you will be soon receive about three carload of visitors from the local authority and they will start to scrutinize with their set of rules.

There will be some fees to start paying either one off or yearly.

Their rule is not to help you to bring more birds into the BH but ........

So what do you think you will gain from this unusual experience.

The RFID tagging makes the life of swiftlet farmer more complicated.

We are looking at it as a part time or hobby but these RFID tagging will force you to be a full time operator.

They need to carry out very careful implementation methods that I think is way out of the norm.

During harvesting you need to put them into those tags boxes and send to those approved processing centres.

These centres will handle your nests with lots of care and at a higher processing fees.

The main issue in hand is the nitrite concentration.

What those Chinese Authorities are concerned about is the high content of nitrite in nests that are exported to China.

Putting those RFID tags is not the answer.

Recent complains from many swiftlet farmers:

 Taken from The Star:

Bird’s nest traders laud move to reject RFID tags


PETALING JAYA: Bird's nest traders have welcomed the Government's effort to inform China of their objection to the plan to install radio frequency identification (RFID) tags on boxes imported from Malaysia.
It is learnt that the Veterinary Services Department would inform Chinese authorities of the local industry's objection to putting RFID tags on the boxes.
Malaysian Federation of Bird's Nests Merchants secretary Carole Loh said the federation was grateful that the Government had stepped in to help.
“It will be unsuitable to install RFID tags as the bird's nests will have to pass through many hands between the time they are harvested and when they reach the consumer.
“The integrity of the RFID tags will be compromised each time the boxes are opened, and there is also the danger of tampering,” she said yesterday.
The RFID technology is used to trace the origin of the bird's nests and identify the swiftlet birdhouse producing the nests.
The federation had earlier aired its grouses over obstacles in exporting bird's nests to China.
This led to department director-general Datuk Dr Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin and Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry secretary-general Datuk Mohd Hashim Abdullah to contact the Malaysian ambassador in China to inform him of the industry's objections to RFID tags.
Chinese authorities had halted bird's nest imports from Malaysia since July last year after tests revealed that they contained nitrite levels that did not meet health standards.
Loh said certificates obtained by bird's nests traders from the department and the Health Ministry could confirm that the products were fit for consumption and contained nitrite levels of below 30ppm.
“Since China banned our bird's nests last year, the industry has lost millions of ringgit in revenue,” Loh said.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How Those Figs Warps Lay Their Eggs Inside Those Figs Fruits !!!

I was under the impression that those figs warps will bore hole and enter inside the fruits to lay their eggs.

My impression was wrong.

Today while cutting some branches for budding I finally discover the truth.

The way these female figs warps lay their eggs is by using those long needle like probe.

First they will find the right fruit ie. ready to receive those eggs or should I say produce those smell that tells them that the fruit is ready to receive their eggs.

Once the land on the fruit, they will search for a kind of openings which allows them to insert their probe.

The length of their probe is about 3/4 of an inch.

Once the opening were located they will guide their probe and bend their bodies to allow the long probe to be entered.

Once inserted at the right depth the eggs will be released.

You might want to see these special photos and video clip to confirm my finding.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A New Idea That Might Lure Those Swiftlet To say "I Do" !!!

I completed a nest harvesting operation at one of those BHs under my care.

While driving home I keep thinking about how to use these raw nests to lure those swiftlet into a new BH?

Yes we already have those cluster tweeters, chandeliers, kite tweeters, fake nests made of gel, fake nests made of aluminium, fake nests make of cemara leaves but are there any other things that can be added to see if those swiftlet have any special preferences.

The idea that came to my mind was something like this.

"What if I glue those raw nests onto a piece of 4"x5 " boards or nesting planks 6"x5" and screw these planks/board onto the nesting planks?"

It looks something like this:

Before and after:

Put the fully formed nest onto the board/nesting plank.
Cut the base and the top into two
Use those glue gun to glued the raw nest onto the prepared board

Now ready to be installed onto those nesting planks.

Let try to install inside a BH that is currently with lots of birds staying and see what will happen within the next few months.

If this idea works than we now have another interesting method on how to lure more birds inside our new BH.

Just imagine if we put in 100 of these and say 20% are taken, we now have 20 sets of swiftlet that are our permanent tenant.

Once they use this nest for at least one cycle we can remove it.

Those swiftlet will still stay in and hopefully they will come and build their new nest on the same spot.

If it does not work, so what?

At least we try something new.

For any of you who try this idea please remember to send me report plus pictures so that we can share with the rest.

Best of luck to all those who are brave enough to try new ideas !!!

 How they looks like after installation 1

  How they looks like after installation 2
 How they looks like after installation 3

Friday, July 20, 2012

5 Nests After My Recent Visit !!!

I took some time today to check with a few of those owners whose BH I visited and recommended some ideas on what they should do.

The best was a BH in Raub Pahang, Bangan Serai and Pasir Mas.

The Raub BH owner was surprised to receive my phone call.

"Mr L how are you?  This is Pak Harry and how is your BH doing?"

His reply:  "As at this month I have 420 nests.  Thanks to you."

I remembered him telling about his wife have breast cancer and she died just after Chinese new year about two years ago.

I was invited to join the family for dinner and she was there with us.

When she died I told him that I am sure your wife will help you to populate your BH.

I visited his BH and recommended the modifications which was completed within 2 weeks.

Those birds started to come and now he is now a proud owner of 420 nests BH.

"Pak Harry my brother in law has 500 plus nests?"

The second BH owner is a Dato and his BH is in Pasir Mas, Kelantan.

"Dato how are you and your BH in Pasir Mas?"

His answer:  It is doing well after your visit and the recommendations.  Now the BH is with 5 completed nests with a few markings. Thanks to your recommendations.

I think he is in the right track and with his commitment to show the results to his partner, I think the future is great.

The third BH owner is the BH owner in Bagan Serai.

I remembered completing his BH with nesting planks and sound system.

I told him that his BH was too hot and recommended on the installation of external wall covers.

Initially he used those orchid plantation mat but later switched to zinc roof sheet.

"Pak Harry the BH is doing well and fine. Internal temperature is below 30.8*C and there are more than a dozens of bird shit spots.  I would like to thank you for all the guidance and revamp operation."

You can see a video clip at this facebook address:

The good news is that the three BH are doing well and the owners are happy with their BH results so far.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Sound Can Increase Your Rooftop Activities !!!

Two video clips showing how swiftlet react to a new sound that I named OMG (Oh My God).

They seems to make a circle in front of the entrance hole and once heavy enough a leader will swooped in and a few will follow.

Have a look at the second clip nearly the same reaction.

This two clips proved that the sound OMG can make your entrance hole or roof top area full of activities.

After two days the same actions seems to be continued.

I am of the opinion that if your BH have very little activities on its rooftop try to play this sound.

It will make your neighbours jealous.

There is no proof that it will immediately increase your BH nests population but we shall report on that after a few months.

Call 0177551318 for more details.