Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nest Farming: Indonesia, Malaysia: 70% Failure, Philippines: 83% Success, Part II

The esculenta, grass-nest or white-bellied swiftlets are found all over the archipelago. The species also nests in houses, even populated houses. While their nests are virtually worthless, esculenta colonies serve as the host for fostering fuciphaga or white nests swiftlets. In Indonesia, for convenience, fuciphaga is called walet while esculenta is seriti. For our purpose, and following Indonesian practice, I will refer to esculenta as swifts and to fuciphaga as swiftlets.

Having learned from by purpose-built farm failures where I had hoped the birds would follow me, I decided to do the reverse, to follow the birds to their colonies. At this time both my purpose-built farms were still empty.

Swift house colonies abound across our archipelago. Having begun locating these house colonies, I was surprised to find them quiet common. In some instances the owners have given up trying to drive the birds away and have abandoned that part of the house to the birds, usually the living room. I have reports of house colonies from Luzon to Mindanao.



Figure 2. Esculenta house colony in Northern Mindanao. The owner installed wooden ledges under the nests to catch bird droppings.

Having heard of egg-fostering technique from Indonesia, I decided to apply it here. Egg-fostering simply means replacing the swift eggs with swiftlet eggs. The adoptive swift parents raise the swiftlet hatchlings and the fostered birds return to the colony to nests.



Figure 3. Esculenta colony in an inhabited house in Southern Mindanao. The owners had already cleaned out the colony but the birds returned. Swiftlets have a very powerful site fidelity instinct.

There are only two important things to keep in mind when conducting egg-fostering. First, the host colony must number at least 100 nests. This means about 300 birds, including non-nesting juveniles. The colony will still survive should the fostering effort fail. Second, both egg sets must be approximately the same age.



Figure 4. Fostered fuciphaga hatchlings above an older esculenta nestling about to fledge.




Figure 5. Esculenta (left) and fuciphaga (right) nestlings, about the same age. Notice the smaller size and darker, metallic plumage on esculenta and the larger and brownish fuciphaga.


Both species reach sexual maturity in 10-11 months. You should begin to find white nests a little less than a year after the fostering was conducted. After the initial clutch of eggs, and depending on the season, the birds should breed every four months. The first nest will still have some organic material like grass or straw but will already contain more saliva than swift nests. These are called transition nests and are best left alone for at least two breeding cycles.



Figure 6. Transition nest with eggs. Note the higher saliva content but still lower than a mature fuciphaga nest.


24 comments:

  1. is Your house swiftlet infested? any place in luzon you can find swiftlet colony?'
    more power to your blog site.
    whats your email or contact address.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 我来自马來西亚,我们可提供转移技术吸引金丝燕进入农场屋子築燕窝,並收购燕窝,您可以通过面子书eseven resources或电话联系溝通+60127220055

      Delete
  2. Hello Tery,
    If by infestation you mean pests, no, I haven't experienced such in my sites/farms. As to your second question, there are cave colonies in Luzon but of another echo locating species, probably troglodytes, which produces nests inferior to fuciphaga.

    Thank you for your interest in nest farming.Please contact me thru this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. where can we buy a swiftlet egg in the market. Im planning to make an egg fostering technique.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How long will it take to produce swiftlets through egg fostering and where can i get an egg of swiftlets in the philippines?

    ReplyDelete
  5. No swiftlet eggs can be purchased locally. The first - and only - time I was able to bring in swiftlet eggs was from Indonesia in 2006. That was it. It's now prohibited because of avian flu concerns. But from this clutch of eggs I was able to conduct experiments to conclude tha egg fostering will work here.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is it possible if i visit your farm one of these days? I also see from balitang K in abs-cbn about the existing swiftlets in dumaguete, have you seen it?
    I really wanted to know more about swiftlets farming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 我来自马來西亚,我们可提供转移技术吸引金丝燕进入农场屋子築燕窝,並收购燕窝,您可以通过面子书eseven resources或电话联系溝通+60127220055

      Delete
  7. I am a bit confused. Are esculenta nests also sellable in the market? How much per gram vs fuciphaga? And how can I tell between the two?

    ReplyDelete
  8. may I ask your cell, telephone, skype or email address?

    ReplyDelete
  9. my email is dady.r@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi! I am from Palawan and would want to do EBN farming in here. You mentioned you are doing it and have studied several farms in the country. Can you give advice/consult in EBN farming in Philippines? How to do it successfully? Scenario is different in other countries, such as Malaysia, so it is really nice to get knowledge from Filipino first-hand. Please email me at dale_fuertes@yahoo.com (mobile: +639297421756).

    Thank you and hope to hear from you sooner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 我来自马來西亚,我们可提供转移技术吸引金丝燕进入农场屋子築燕窝,並收购燕窝,您可以通过面子书eseven resources或电话联系溝通+60127220055

      Delete
    2. 我来自马來西亚,我们可提供转移技术吸引金丝燕进入农场屋子築燕窝,並收购燕窝,您可以通过面子书eseven resources或电话联系溝通+60127220055

      Delete
  11. Good day! Gusto ko po mag-farm ng birds nest. Kaso taga taguig ako, may vacant lot kami dito na pwedeng gawin breeding area, saan po ako pwede maka-kuha ng mga swiftlet na pwedeng alagaan?

    Please Contact me - intelinvest.phils@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello Dick,

    i hope this blog is not yet dormant. kamusta na po?

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am Mr. Soun Dararith, Cambodian. I am working in Ministry of Agriculture forestry and Fisheries MAFF.
    I would very much interested in this farming. I needs to develop this farming in successful and proper methods.
    I did not know how to start fro A to Z.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 我来自马來西亚,我们可提供转移技术吸引金丝燕进入农场屋子築燕窝,並收购燕窝,您可以通过面子书eseven resources或电话联系溝通+60127220055

      Delete
    2. 我来自马來西亚,我们可提供转移技术吸引金丝燕进入农场屋子築燕窝,並收购燕窝,您可以通过面子书eseven resources或电话联系溝通+60127220055

      Delete
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  15. Hello everyone. I am a distributor and also a direct bird nest manager located in Singapore and Indonesia, our fine bird nests are nested in controlled conditions houses (better nest quality and minimal feathers) build especially for swiftlets in Indonesia . If you wish to buy or know more info eg. price and quality of our bird nest please do not hesitate to contact me at

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    Cheers, Ayu

    ReplyDelete