The Racing Pigeon Diet – Optimizing Nutrition with Supplementation Part 1

Racing Pigeon Diet | Optimizing NutritionThe racing pigeon diet has evolved over time as research has revealed the specific nutritional requirements for optimal breeding and racing performance in the racing pigeon. No longer is the diet of 30 years ago, a diet of just peas and wheat, sufficient. Even a bird diet of multiple seeds will not provide the necessary nutrition, even with the addition of a large variety of grains. In this three-part article series we will focus on optimizing our birds’ nutrition with supplementation.

Importance of Nutrition

Every fancier possesses the basic knowledge that nutrition is important. Good nutrition not only enhances the competitive performance of the racing pigeon but it is also necessary for successful breeding and survival of the offspring.

Inadequate nutrition will:

  • Result in poor health
  • Lower resistance to disease
  • Compromise growth
  • Prolong recovery from exertion or illness
  • Decrease reproductive performance

Seeds are the basis of the balanced diet

The foundation of a balanced diet in birds is seeds. Seeds provide protein, carbohydrates and fat. But seeds alone cannot meet the nutritional needs of the bird and, even with the addition of grains, must be supplemented.

Seeds are deficient in the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin E

The following amino acids

  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Tryptophane

The following minerals

  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Sodium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Iodine
  • Selenium 

The informed fancier knows the necessity of nutritional supplementation and will proceed with caution, avoiding the “backyard potions” that provide no benefit and considering that some of the older methods of supplementation are quite effective.

When supplementing, ensure that the supplements are actually digestible and in a form that the bird can assimilate. Another important consideration is palatability. It doesn’t pay to add foul tasting albeit healthy ingredients. Always make sure the feed is delicious enough that the pigeon will race home for it.
Next, let’s look at the recommended supplementation of each specific nutrient.

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6 thoughts on “The Racing Pigeon Diet – Optimizing Nutrition with Supplementation Part 1

  1. It is true not all grains are the same. Those that are grown on mineral deficient soils will not have the essential minerals for health and growth. let alone the added stress of racing. Therefore a good mineral supplement is good insurance. I am a old agriculture teacher and know of the poor growing techniques used by most farmers. which have depleted our food sources of proper nutrition. If this was not so we wouldn’t have all of the minerals being sold

  2. I do not feed supplements since a good quality feed will supply all the pigeon needs. We have more good birds today because a good breeding but the birds are not faster even though many think that supplements make them faster.

  3. I use Natural and Versele Laga products plus certain bush leaves and roots. What the bush is concerned is my uncle took me and my brother with him into the bush with a wicker basket and ask us by showing us which plants and roots we must gather for him. For the Natural products is all dry feeding and the bush leaves and roots just get chopped up into corn size pieces of which I would call wet feeding. This get mixed together. My pigeons don’t get fed as a all is scrambling and sort of fighting against each other. My pigeons get fed each one at its own feeding nest box small bucket of which my brother and I can monitor each one’s eating habits. But me now living in England, its my brother and his 17 year old son who does the monitoring, etc…..

  4. i know that indian corn [maize] has riboflavin and selenium can be present or not in the grain depending on the soil it is grown in i think u are just promoting supliments, perhaps that is what u sell?

  5. can you give me an advice what is the best supllement for racing period and for conditioning the bird before race…..

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