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.