Chicken whisperer offers unusual pets

Update: June, 22/2015 - 16:21

Big bird: Hong raises large chickens that weigh more than 10kg each. They can be sold for VN25 million (US$1,000) from his farm. — VNS Photo courtesy by Phan Minh Hong

by Nguyen Thanh Ha

Thirty-year-old Phan Minh Hong loves to raise chickens and his passion has got him hundreds of rare pet chickens worth billions of dong.

A pet chicken lover in HCM City, Huynh Van Thuc just bought a couple of Indonesian chickens known as Ayam Cemani, from Hong for VND4 million.

"I'm very happy with the Indonesian chickens. They are dubbed Devil-Faced because they are black, even their insides, and they look strong and attractive," says Thuc, adding that the breed is still rare in the country, so many pet chicken lovers excitedly come to his house to see the new arrivals.

Hong, who is from the southern province of Binh Duong's Tan Binh Ward in Di An Town, told Viet Nam News that his passion has been to raise precious and rare pets since he was a schoolboy, so he often looked for new birds to add to his collection.

Last year, while searching the Internet, he came across a breed from Indonesia, which pet lovers had been looking for since long.

"I asked my older sister who lives in Indonesia to look for the breed. After two months of making necessary procedures via veterinary offices of the two countries, I imported my first batch of 14 pet birds, including six males and eight females, with an initial investment of nearly VND300 million," Hong says, adding he had to borrow the money from his relatives and friends.

According to Hong, the Indonesian breed originated in Java Island. It's black feathers and meat are believed to bring good luck to breeders and hence is popular among pet lovers.

"An Indonesian chicken breader told me that the Ayam Cemani meat is very good for pregnant women as well as newly delivered mothers," he says.

To prevent his pets from contracting any diseases or infections, Hong reveals that he first get them vaccinated in a veterinary office.

"I was much worried when a male bird died, but a veterinarian told me that it died because it could not adapt to the new climate and environment in Viet Nam," Hong adds.

Dark meat: Hong said he sold a pair of "Devil-Faced" chickens for VND50 million ($2,500).

Hong's imported pets are looked after well, with suitable feeds. To date, he has successfully produced nearly 100 young pets, and sold them at a price of VND3-3.5 million per 1-month-old couple.

"I've already received orders for all my young pets. Those who want my pets should order two months in advance," Hong says.

Tran Anh Tuan, chairman of the Tan Binh Ward's Farmers Association, notes that Hong's first pet chicken that was imported to Viet Nam was raised in the ward.

"We are aware that the Indonesian pet chicken sell well in Southeast Asian countries, generating high incomes for their breeders. In the coming time, if the breed is well-developed, our association will talk with Hong to multiply the breeds for other farming households, particularly the poor ones, so as to help them to have a stable income," Tuan says.

Talking about his pet chicken flock, Hong says he now has more than 200 pet chickens such as giant chicken from the United Kingdom, lion chicken from Poland, fish-scales chicken from Japan and the Netherlands, as well as local Dong Tao and Ho chickens.

Hong just bought a plot of 700sq.m at Di An Town to raise his pets. In the past he had to move from one place to another because neighbours often complained about bad smell from his chicken coops.

"I hope in this new place, my pets will enjoy a peaceful life," he says.

Born in 1985 in the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre, Hong enrolled in the Accounting Department of the University of Economics in HCM City.

During his university days, he came across pet lovers seeking pet birds, which were available in his home town, but for a high price. He returned to his village looking for pet bird suppliers and then sold them online.

His business developed so well that in 2006, he gave up his studies to get married and began investing in pet birds and chickens business. — VNS