Bird’s nest refers to the nests of swiftlets, normally made in spring. When the swiftlet is making its nest, it produces gelatinous saliva which turns into a translucent, ivory-colored substance. This is the main component of bird’s nest.
There are two main types of bird’s nest in the market – the cave nest and the house nest.
The cave nest refers to nests constructed in caves and on cliffs. As the cave nest is built in caves, they are harder and contain more impurities. Due to the lack of regulation of harvesting activities, the ecological environment of the swiftlet is being destroyed and this has stirred up much controversy among environmental activists. As such, the production of cave nests is decreasing. Due to the steep terrain of the caves which makes the collection of cave nests difficult and dangerous, the price of cave nests is relatively higher.
House nests are nests that are built on swiftlet farms. The main differences between the two types of bird’s nest are the nesting environment, hence the bird’s nest produced is also different. While the living habits of the swiftlets do not change, where they fly off early in the morning for food and return in the evening, the quality of the bird’s nest produced is different due to the differences in the nesting environment. If the design of the swiftlet farm is appropriate, coupled with good management and a clean environment, the bird’s nest produced contains fewer impurities and is better in quality. House nests are usually harvested on a regular basis, thus the nutrients in the bird’s nest are maintained.
The formation of swiftlet farms is to protect the natural habitat of the swiftlet, and at the same time to meet market demands for bird’s nest. Swiftlet farms are designed based on the ecological habits of the swiftlet where audio equipment is used to lure them into the farm, where their natural habitat is preserved. In this way, the swiftlet is being protected and thus increasing in numbers, preserving them from extinction caused by environmental pollution. Normally, swiftlets leave the farm to forage in the morning and return in the evening to roost. In principle, a swiftlet farm is just a breeding place for the swiftlets as they are able to source for food by themselves.
The construction of the swiftlet farm is divided into 5 main elements – environment, building materials, temperature, design, and audio equipment:
|The environment of the swiftlet farm
A beautiful environment plays a role in the quality of the bird’s nest. The ideal place to construct a swiftlet farm is in green areas that are far away from the city. Swiftlets are just like the human, in that they like to live in a peaceful and pleasing environment. When swiftlets are able to source for their own food within a conducive environment, they are more likely to produce high-quality bird’s nest. Conversely, if the environment of the swiftlet farm is deficient, the quality of the bird’s nest produced is equally low?
|The building materials and temperature of the swiftlet farm
Swiftlets like a cool, airy environment. Hence, the building materials used must have good heat insulation. The most suitable temperature lies between 26-29°C which is similar to the temperature of the swiftlet cave.
|The design of the swiftlet farm
Before designing a swiftlet farm, the flight-path of the swiftlet has to be taken into consideration. A large-scale flying space is conducive for population growth of the swiftlets. If the design of the flight-path is not suitable for swiftlet habits, they may hit obstructions unintentionally and die. Therefore, the internal layout design of the swiftlet farm requires high accuracy of calculation and careful planning of the flight-path.
|The audio equipment of the swiftlet farm
Playing appropriate swiftlet calls is the basic technical criteria to attract swiftlets into swiftlet farm. Identifying swiftlets chirping is specialized knowledge. Generally, the chirping of the swiftlet is high-pitched. When the swiftlet has yet to learn to fly, its chirping is gentle; the mature swiftlet’s chirping is clear and sharp, while the chirping sound prior to mating goes from medium to high pitch. We have engaged specialists to install speakers and audio systems around our swiftlet farms to play various swiftlet vocalizations continuously in order to attract swiftlets to breed their next generation there.