Trần Văn Thắng at his pigeon farm in Trực Ninh District, Nam Định Province. — Photo nongnghiep.vn
NAM ĐỊNH — With the right amount of effort and determination, anything is possible.
That is exactly the mindset of the disabled owner of a pigeon farm in Nam Định Province.
Pigeon farming is enabling Trần Văn Thắng, from Việt Hùng Commune, Trực Ninh District, to earn a steady income.
With a monthly income of more than VNĐ15 million from raising pigeons, it has helped him be able to support himself and his family.
Thắng's mother told him that he was completely healthy like any other child when he was born.
When he was seven years old, he fell down and broke both arms and then suffered a joint related disease two years later. His health has not been improved although he has undergone numerous procedures.
He had to drop out of school when he was 11 years old and started working at a local wood carving workshop.
"The work was not hard for me. At that time, the salary was low but it was enough to pay for my medicine every month," Thắng told Nông Nghiệp (Agriculture) online newspaper.
He had learned to live with illness, but he suffered whenever the weather changes, he said.
Now he is 28 years old but Thắng is only 1m tall.
His back is hunched due to the effects of the disease.
But that hasn't knocked him down, and he has been determined to change his fate with the thought of a "physical disability, not intellectual disability".
And time has proved that.
“In 2012, while working as a carpenter, I saw pigeons with beautiful shapes and feathers, so I bought some to raise for fun," Thắng confided.
"After conducting some research, in mid-2014 I started to understand the characteristics of the birds and decided to buy 50 pairs of pigeons to raise for economic development."
He lost a large amount of money in the first year because they got sick and died.
However, he was not discouraged and continued his research, learning more breeding techniques and how to raise pigeons.
After six years, he now has 700 pairs on his farm.
Every month, Thắng sells hundreds of pigeons to the local market for VNĐ110,000-130,000 per pair.
Sometimes, he did not have enough birds to sell due to the high demand, he said.
Building houses for birds
Thắng said raising pigeons was not difficult.
The birds are kept in cages and they are fed twice a day in the morning and evening.
The feed is made up of 50 per cent maize and 50 per cent high protein pellets.
The cages must be cool with enough light and clean with automatic drinking water system.
The birds should listen to music for about five hours a day, helping them to relax and not be afraid of the noise when someone enters, Thắng said.
Cages should also be cleaned once every five days to prevent disease.
It takes 18 days of natural incubation for the eggs to hatch, with each couple typically producing two chicks.
About 20 days later, the young birds are fully feathered and able to feed themselves. And it is also the time to take them to market.
Thắng's farm is quite different from other pigeon farms.
He has built a two-storey house to raise his birds, aiming to keep them indoors to avoid the wind and rain.
"They are kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer, helping the birds build up better resistance," said Thắng.
Many people do not believe that he built a house to raise birds.
"The house for birds will become my home in case my health does not allow me to carry on," Thắng explained.
He also breeds quails, pheasants, geese and chickens in the garden behind the house to increase his income.
He has dared to overcome all difficulties and become a pioneer for local farmers to make their homeland better. — VNS