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Pigeon Feeding – Feeding to Win

Pigeon Feeding – Feeding to Win

Pigeon Feeding - Feeding to WinDuring the racing season, the main function of food is to provide the fuel for flying. Our common aim is to provide the racing pigeon with the best fuel for race day. To do this consistently we must have a good understanding of the food itself. The following paragraphs will introduce you to the science (or theory) of feeding, but for racing success you must also become expert at the practice (or art) of feeding. Only practice and observation can teach you the art of feeding, but hopefully the methods of feeding described here can help you find the pathway to feeding success.

We can only begin the art of good feeding when both the quality of the food is guaranteed and the flock is healthy. A healthy bowel is required before we can test our feeding systems, because an unhealthy bowel fails to deliver the fuel of good grain to the pigeon’s body. Bowel diseases such as E. coli, coccidiosis, worms and wet canker all decrease the amount of nutrients entering the body.

By using the best quality grains and with a healthy race team, the fancier can now think about a racing mix appropriate for his particular family of birds and training methods. The mix chosen must provide a good balance of protein (amino acids) and for this to be achieved at least 8 different grains must be used. After this balance is achieved, the energy content of the mix becomes the most important part of successful feeding.

The feed system provides the race team with the correct energy levels for training and racing. The goal of feeding is to provide the training and racing pigeon with exactly enough (not too much and not too little) fuel (energy in the food) for sustained flight (loft exercise or racing). Of course, the fuel requirements of the training pigeon vary enormously from day to day. It is the constantly changing energy requirements of the competition pigeon that makes feeding such a challenge to even the best fanciers. The competition pigeon will not perform to its fitness level when the “energy balance” is incorrect. The “energy balance” must be assessed short term (daily) and long term (weekly) with fit flocks during the race season, because the fitness level will drop both when too much and too little energy is supplied. During young bird training special attention must be made to prevent depletion of the energy reserves in the liver and muscle.

Overfeeding relative to workload (positive energy balance) renders the race team less competitive because of excess baggage (“leady”). Excess energy is stored as fat with subsequent loss of buoyancy and fitness. It is well to remember that the excess energy of mixes which are too high in protein (legumes) relative to the work load will be stored as fat.

Underfeeding relative to workload (negative energy balance) renders the race team less competitive because of “depowering”. Feed systems low in energy relative to the workload of the race team will result in the depletion of the energy reserves in the liver, fat and muscle.

The fancier can recognise a race team that is in a negative energy balance by the following signs:

  • No wing flapping in the early morning or after feeding.
  • Disinterest in leaving loft or toss basket, lower lid laziness etc.
  • The race team in negative energy balance (inadequate energy intake relative to the workload) is susceptible to illness, especially “respiratory” diseases.

Buoyancy
Most fanciers understand the importance of buoyancy for success, but few understand the best way to achieve this in their race teams. Buoyancy is best achieved by supplying the flock with enough feed (a positive energy balance) to promote vigorous loft flying (or tossing) in order to maximise lean body mass (i.e. muscle) and minimise body fat. Instead many fanciers believe that the best path to buoyancy is to restrict caloric (energy) intake (feed less) in order to lose excess weight and thereby produce the buoyancy that we see with top form. However, buoyancy is not only weightlessness, but also power, and the buoyancy of fitness only comes when lean body mass is maximised. The restriction of calories in an effort to produce buoyancy in fact lowers the fitness level of the flock and renders it susceptible to illness. Severe caloric restriction will cause a loss of not only body fat but also lean body mass (muscle) with the accompanying loss of fitness and power.

I’m sure you can see by now why feeding and nutrition is so importnat to your birds, if you would like to get access to our own personal feeding and nutrition program which will show you in-depth how to seperate yourself from your competitors with proper feeding and nutrition and give your birds a head start in their next race then => click here.

Pigeon Feeding – Feeding to Win by Dr. Rob Marshall

Like this article? then you’ll love Pigeon Racing Nutrition Secrets Exposed

Pigeon Racing Nutrition Secrets Exposed
Click here to learn more.

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59 thoughts on “Pigeon Feeding – Feeding to Win

  1. I thank you for attention My name azoo of Libya, I’m not involved in racing pigeons, but I like pigeon Ornamental and I have some questions about the disease, I hope that answered me about the most important disease and twisting the neck of the disease not to cure us and I I’m confident in your experience and I hope your help

  2. HALLO
    I HOPE YOU CAN HELP!!!
    I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU CAN TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE DE NORRA [ DA NORRA ] PIGEONS.IT MUST BE AN OLD STRAIN I BELIEVE FROM BELGIUM. THERE IS FANCIERS THAT STILL DO VERY WELL WITH THEM IN SOUTH AFRICA WHERE THEY CROSS THEM WITH OTHER STRAINS
    I HOPE YOU CAN HELP
    ADRI STRAUSS

  3. NICE INFORMATION ABOUT FEEDING.I BELIEVE THEIR IS A LOT OF WAYS TO GO ABOUT THAT ALL WORK.I BELIEVE IN A MIX WITH A BIG VARIETY AND GOOD QUALITY.FROM HERE YOU CAN ADD FOR SHORT AND LONG DISTANCE RACING AND MOULTING AND BREEDING.
    THANKS
    ADRI

  4. Feeding is an art most of us do not understand,and believe me I wish i did.Do your homework,Tenmon has it right,get a base mix and adjust as needed.Here’s a heads up, read The New winning & feed to win, two of the books ALL flyers should have.I bet I read the new Winning about 4 times and still find different information I missed.Feeding is by far the toughest thing to do, since we all tend to show mercy (lol) to our birds.Barley is one of your best friends when it comes to feeding your birds.

    terry

  5. Gillie:
    The feed must be tied to the purpose at hand. That is breeding, moulting, racing, etc.
    Try to get a base mix which can be adjusted for any of the above purpose. The base mix should contain a variety of grains with an omega 6:3 balance close to a 1:1. Note that the safflower and sunflower seeds are about 600:1!. Like eating a burger with all the fries biggie sized just before “puropse” at hand. Not good. Also, don’t forget that feeding high fat diets do not equate to birds storing more fats. You can build fats more rapidly by feeding more carbs, eg. corn, than to fill them with a high fat seed. I would have love to see some hemp in the mix.

  6. without the right feed we are fighting a losing battle
    fat birds wont win anything either will birds that are starved get the ballance right and you wont be far behind on race day
    good quaility malting barley is priceless and keeps the birds honest
    regards
    peter

  7. Figuring out the right feed at the right time is something I still need to learn. In the meantime I purchased feed that I’m told is too fattening so I’m cutting it 50/50 with wild bird seed. I have 3 more bags and can’t afford to buy much else just yet.
    The birds are loft flying roughly every second day but are not ranging as much nor flying as long as they did before the snow came down. They use to fly an hour sometimes two but now about a half hour. They had some respiratory issues due to a lack of ventilation and were medicated and recieved probiotics and responded very well. Ventilation was installed.
    I’d like to know more about feeding requirements at different times such as the molt, breeding and racing and the slower times like winter when they loft fly a few times a week when the winds are low and the tempature around 0 Celcius but need extra heat due to the minus 10C to minus 30C tempatures that last for a few months each winter.

    Current Feed Mix

    Custom Oz Mix conatains – Moisture% 10.6; Protein% 18.4 ; Crude Fiber% 6.30; Fat% 6.81; Carbohydrate% 58.4
    ( 14 seed types) Hard Red Wheat, Canadian White Peas (trapper peas), Flax Seed, Red Millet, White Millet, Canola Seed, Maple Peas, Buckwheat Seed, Safflower Seed, Malt Barley, White Milo, Austrian Peas, Black Oil Sunflower Seed, Vetch Seed
    I mix the above seed 50/50 with the wild bird feed below.
    Wild bird feed – ( 6 seed types) ingredients include fine cut corn, fine hard red wheat, white millet, red millet and/or milo and black oil sunflower. Crude Protein, not less than 10%, Crude Fat, not less than 4% , Crude Fiber, not more than 8% , Moisture, not more than 12%
    Is this mix in low flying -14C bad, reasonable, good, great?
    Thanks… you guys keep me thinking and learning and I have yet to recieve an email anouncing a new article and think, “oh not them again” so good going!

    1. Try mixing your feed with barly, it’s one of the best things to feed period.Barley is like veggies to kids, but it’s the best thing for them they just don’t know it.Your race team should be fed about 12% protein durning the races,very little peas & beans,save those for breeding & moulting.

      terry

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