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Monday, March 4, 2024

Meet a UAE resident with a Dh200,000 exotic bird aviary

During the COVID-19 lockdown, a UAE resident initially acquired four birds for companionship. Today, he boasts an aviary housing over 150 birds, some of which are among the world’s rarest, valued at over Dh70,000 each. This resident, Akbar Khan Qureshi, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid animal lover, dedicates approximately Dh3,000 per month to care for his birds, with expenses increasing to Dh5,000 during breeding seasons.

Akbar’s journey into bird breeding began when his initial four birds perished within ten days. He persevered and bought 12 new birds, but it was his encounter with Dubai-based Mohammad Mustafa Khan Hamdam, a renowned exotic bird breeder, that ignited his passion for the art of bird breeding. Akbar’s aviary includes various bird species, including White Bellied Caquies, Sunconures, and Monks. However, his most prized possessions are two three-year-old Blue Alexandrine birds, each valued at Dh70,000. He’s one of only two bird breeders in the country with these blue Alexandrines, and their demand remains high.

Ensuring the health and happiness of his birds is Akbar’s top priority. His 1,000 sq ft air-conditioned aviary in Sharjah industrial area is meticulously maintained, with cages double the required size to promote bird well-being. Akbar also emphasizes cleanliness, rotating cages every three months and using no chemicals, relying on the sun’s heat to eliminate impurities.

Raising healthy birds

The birds enjoy a varied diet, including fresh fruits like watermelon, apples, guavas, and berries, along with pulses, corn, coriander leaves, and mint. Pellets are provided for added nutrition. Caring for the birds has had a positive impact on Akbar’s health, helping him control hypertension.

Long term hobby

Akbar’s family is fully supportive of his hobby, with his wife sharing his interest and their children developing affection for the birds. He sees exotic bird breeding as a long-term endeavor, requiring up to 12 years of planning, given the maturation timelines. More people in the UAE are joining this hobby, with increased interest in exotic birds, particularly Alexandrines.

Born and raised in the UAE, Akbar’s involvement with animals isn’t new. He previously established a goat farm in his hometown of Rajasthan, India, aiming to address the declining cattle population and educate local farmers on cattle rearing.

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