Swiftlet History
Traditionally, bird's nest harvesters often risk their lives clinging on to the cliffs to collect bird's nests from the caves. The harvested bird's nests will then find its way to an exclusive clientele of royalties, noblemen, and rich merchants. In more recent times, the bird's nest industry development gave rise to the need for a more efficient and safer bird's nests harvesting method: man made swiftlet houses.

It was more than a century ago in Indonesia, the world's first swiftlet house farm was created by coincidence. In 1880, a farmer named Su Jia Norma lived in East Java, Indonesia. Due to poverty, Su Jia Norma was forced to leave his home for several years to earn a better living. Upon returning home, he was pleasantly surprised to find that swiftlets had taken over his vacant house. He realised he has a new lucrative job as a bird's nests harvester just by reaching up to the walls and ceilings of his house. More significantly, his house has become the world's first swiftlet house.

 
 

Types of Swiftlet:
1. Barn Swiftlet
- Barn swiftlets build their nests with grass or mud mixed with saliva. However, this type of nests does not have nutritional values and cannot be consumed.Sea

2. Swiftlet
- Sea swiftlets build their nest with feather mixed with saliva. This type of nests is rich in proteins and high in therapeutic and nutritional values. The saliva also contains epidermal growth factor (EGF) stored in the water-soluble nest fibers that can directly stimulate cell division, regeneration, tissue reconstruction, and tonic for the human body.

 
 
Swiftlet Flight Paths
The picture above shows the swiftlet flight paths, along East Malaysia, the Indonesian islands, Vietnam, Thailand and partially through China's Hainan Island.
 
 
The Natural Way of Swiftlet Farming

1. The three successful guidelines in swiftlet farming
  • Understanding of nature - successfully select an optimal location for the swiftlet house within the swiftlet flight paths. The islands off Sandakan provide a sea and forest environment with ample food resources and away from pollution.
  • Mimic nature - successfully create a controlled environment that is functionally similar to the ideal swiftlet natural habitat. The use of quality wooden building materials and the application of swiftlet excreta creates natural smells and provides a comfortable environment for the swiftlets to nest.
  • Lure of nature - successfully influence the swiftlet to populate the new living environment using high-fidelity audio recordings of swiftlets.
 
 
2. Swiftlet life cycle
  • It takes about 30-32 days for a pair of swiftlets to build a nest
  • It takes about 30-32 days for the male swiftlet to build a nest
  • Mating starts after the bird's nest is completed
  • The female swiftlet will lay the first egg 1-2 weeks after mating
  • Usually, 2 eggs are laid, with one egg per day
  • The female swiftlet incubates the eggs for 3 weeks
  • Mother swiftlet will take care of the nestlings for 6 weeks
  • A fully developed nestling weighs approximately 8-10 grams
  • The fledglings learn to fly after 45 days
  • The young adult swiftlets are ready to mate after about 6 months
  • Swiftlets have a life span of 15-18 years
 
 
3. The basic swiftlet habitat
  • Ensure the swiftlet house is protected from the elements and undisturbed.
  • Install proper living air piping for air circulation.
  • Keep room temperature at between 26-29 o C
  • Maintain humidity at 80 % - 90 %
  • Provide dim and cool lighting.
 
 
Harvest and Production Earnings

1. Harvesting

  • Harvest begins when the production of bird's nest become stable.
  • Harvesting hour 0900 to 1500
  • Approximately 2-3 times harvest per month
  • Initial harvest consists of 1kg per month
  • After five years, harvest may increase to 5kg per month

2. Production earning

  • Floor area of 1 square feet may produce 1 bird's nest for every four months
  • One swiftlet house consists of floor area of 1,200 square feet.
  • The production of every four months is 1,200 bird's nest and for every year is 3,600 bird's nest
  • 1kg approximately has 120 bird's nest
  • 10kg consists of 1200 bird's nest and 30kg consists of 3600 bird's nest.
  • The market price of 1kg bird's nest is RM4,000.00,
  • Then one year production earning is equivalent to RM120,000.00
    *The market price stated above is for reference only and all calculation above is based on rough estimation.
 
 
Processing Flow
  • Bird's nest classification
  • Cleaning process
  • Air dry process
  • Specification analysis
  • Labeling and packaging
  • Storage
 
 
Bird's Nest Nutrition Information
  Details Benefits
protein glycoprotein builds and repairs cellular and metabolic functions
carbohydrate sialic acid, galactosamine, glucosamine, galactose and fructose contributes to neurological and cognitive development in infants
amino acids phenylalanine, valine, thronine,trpytophan, isoleucine, methionine, lysine and leucine important in cellular energy production,
Regulation of cellular functions,
Improves immune system by producing immunoglobulins and antibodies
minerals iodine, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron maintains the nerve impulse functions,
ensures the acid-alkaline balance and good neuromuscular activity,
high in antioxidants,
strengthens the immune system,
regulates the epidermal growth factor (EGF) for accelerated cellular healing
 
 
Bird's Nest Consumption Benefits
 

It is considered as a great delicacy and effective medicine as well as beauty enhancer within the Chinese community throughout the world.

Consuming bird's nest brings good effect for treating consumptive diseases, tuberculosis, dry coughs, hemoptysis (coughing blood), asthenia, stomach ulcer, weakness of bronchial ailments, suppressing cough and phlegm-dyspnea (difficult breathing), alleviating asthma, improving voice, and relieving gastric troubles .

It is also traditionally used to nourish the kidneys, lungs, heart, and stomach to aid renal functions, raise libido, strengthen the immune system, promote growth, improve concentration, increase energy and metabolism, and regulate blood circulation.

Consuming bird's nest regularly can give a person exuberant physical and mental strengths. The tonic power of the bird's nest also improves skin complexion and slows the effects of ageing.