Ji…ji…ji!!! Heard through the four-meter-square cage-wire, big and small birds are challenging each other for food in their cages on a bird farm located in Chompustkiek village, Kiensvay district, Kandal province, Cambodia.
Even though bird farming is not well-known in Cambodia, it has become a proper career with which to eke out living. “I fell in love with this job when I saw one bird-farm at Siem Reap,” said 26-year-old farm owner Chie Salydat, who just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Law.
His community has four families with bird-farms — two big and two small. The birds that they feed have four kinds: Khmer-birds, Japanese-birds, Vietnamese-birds, and Australian-birds.
Breeding birds are not different from rearing other animals like chickens and ducks. With 10 thousands birds on his farm, he breeds them for meat and eggs. He keeps some of the eggs for his next batch of birds, making sure that these eggs aren’t cracked. The birds for eggs spend 50 days and birds for meats send 45 days to feed. Really, different jobs have different difficulties, and breeding birds is not easy as it requires the breeder to pay attention. During the winter season birds need more care, otherwise hundreds of birds will die.
Chie Salydat says, “Firstly, in order to get the healthy birds, I need to inject them with vaccinations and give the vitamins for the birds that just hatched. Secondly, I have to give them food regularly and always sanitise the cages.”
The average price of birds in the markets range from 2500 riels [US$0.25] to 3000 riels [US$0.75]. His birds are sold in Tamao market, Chbar Ampov maket, and O Risey market in Phnom Penh. He claims that he can earn US$500 for each batch of birds but that he requires an investment of US$10,000 to begin with.
You Thara, a full-time company staff, sometime makes additional income in his free time to be a middle-salesman, bringing birds from the farms to sell in the markets. He says, “I can sell nearly 150 birds per day and I can earn almost 200 thousands riels [US$50]”.
Chie Salydat says, “This bird-feeding allows me to be financially because I’ve stopped getting money from my parents”.
Similarly, government office Bal Chorn, also an owner of a bird-farm at Sangkat Preak Bral, Khan Men Chey, Phnom Penh says, “Although I do not get more income, it can create tasks for 8 children to do”. He continues, “Now my farm has 5000 birds for eggs and meat. I have not yet to found the market to sell because I just created it”.