During a lecture several years ago, Dr Charles Leh who is an authority on bird nest swiftlets mentioned about venturing into this field as a commercial venture in which decisions taken should ensure the viability of such an enterprise. He said that if anyone took lightly the decision to venture into this industry without sufficient knowledge and research; then one might unintentionally ended up as a hobbyist with a farm sparsely populated by few swiftlets and nests. It’s a case of like people who rear fishes in an aquarium unlike entrepreneurs who used ponds to rear fish on a business scale for profits.
A very important aspect of any commercial enterprise is the ingredient of time. The old saying goes that time is money and its generally true; for example. The sooner one can entice large numbers of birds stay and populate a farm, the sooner the farm will see returns in the form of nests. And the farm that can rapidly expand its population of birds and nests will see huge difference in the profits being generated. Actually, there is a old Chinese saying that goes further than time is money. For it said that: A measure of time is a measure of gold; but a measure of gold cannot obtain a measure of time. Time is constantly flowing like water in a river rushing to the sea. There are those contractors who counsel novice swiftlet farmers to have patience when there is no sign of bird shit in the farm even after months of those farms being in operation. Sometimes, they used the analogy of oil palm trees requiring three years to grow to a stage where they would begun to bear fruits and can be harvested. I think to be a commercially viable venture, one need to see swiftlets staying and making nests at the latest, several months after a farm becomes operational. Having said that, I should add that commercial swiftlet farming certainly required a time frame for a venture to succeed and patience is needed to see continuous growth until the farm is eventually saturated. But to trust to whims of fate and keep on waiting and waiting for your “luck” to turn is often wishful thinking. We should be more proactive and analyze the problems and try promptly to supply remedies.
Those who venture into this field should equipped themselves with sufficient knowledge and accumulate experiences from other practitioners and from their own observations and also use some common sense. This field not only require a high degree of technical proficiency but also substantial capital. For those who have lands, they still need large sums of money to build their swiftlet bungalows, and those who have no land but have to buy them require even greater capital. The expenses for those who have to buy buildings in town areas before converting them, the costs are also rather substantial. Only those who have existing buildings can get away with putting up large sums of capital to venture into this field. So, many swiftlet farmers often try to save money when they are equipping their farms. This can be false economy. They must spend all the money truly required on equipments that will be able to function in the competitive art of enticing birds to come and stay. For example, high quality and heavy duty amps are essential but not the top of the line models as they represent overkills such as using a large knife meant for killing a cow to kill a chicken. But significant savings can be achieved in using cheap tweeters especially for the nesting rooms. But the biggest decisions must be on the location and on the competent designs of the farm in order to achieve an ideal and optimum micro-climate and environment for swiftlets to visit, stay and built their precious nests.