Racing Pigeons Feeding
Feeding is one of the daily chores of every fancier .Together with housing and vet care it provides opportunities for enjoying the sport of racing pigeons.Understanding the basic aspect of this sport is essential in order to become a true champion .
Living beings cannot survive without food but athletes- and that is what arcing pigeons are - make higher demands .Just as sportsmen also need a more balanced diet then those who run the block once every fortnight.
Racing pigeons are far more dependent on their trainers than their human counterparts. We must enable them to perform training work ,to produce effort when is really need it .But racing pigeons do more than just fly : they breed, moult , and semi-hibernate during winter time .
All these activities demand a different approach to feeding from the fancier .
That approach must be aimed at enabling the pigeon to perform the vital function of the moment as well as possible. One function requires more energy or different building materials than the other.
The pigeons should find all these in the food we provide for them .
It is important to know the composition of the package if we are to purchase a ready made one ,in these way we can meet the needs of the season .
We cannot ,of course be continually racking our brains about the basis and effect of the birds food ,but it is useful to have some knowledge of it to refer to.
It makes our work easier ,as when we have to asses mixtures which are offered to us and it help us to act correctly.
The racing pigeons food is broken down in an ingenious interaction of its internal organs and made suitable for consumption .At the basis of this rich source are so - called nutrients ,of which there are three main groups: - proteins ,carbohydrates and fats .
They contain elements which are the building bricks for the body`s growth renewal and maintenance.
Carbohydrates ,for example ,consists of the elements of carbon ,hydrogen and oxygen .These elements are responsible for the manufacture of sugar,starch and cellulose,foe example.
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The fats also consist of three elements. The animal and vegetable proteins comprise a wide variety of building these so called bricks .The racing pigeons themselves manufacture or produce whatever we want to call it ,animal proteins from the vegetable substances which we administrate them so we do not really have to give them to much animal proteins.
Apart from the three main groups ,another nutrient is the rough fibre ,this can be found in the husks of barley, oats, beans, and other products.
A healthy racing pigeon diet also must contain such substance as minerals,(lime, phosphorus, copper. iron and manganese),vitamins and trace elements (cobalt, iodine and fluor).
The quantities are very often very small but this does not mean that we should ignore them at all.
All these nutrients can be found i the feeds, but one contains more fats, the second more proteins and the third more minerals. They also vary in the quality and quantity which tells us that variety in racing pigeons food is a MUST .
Without a shadow of a doubt the most important rule in feeding of the racing pigeons is to vary the composition of the diet at every stage of the pigeon`s life .Variation in food is indispensable even for resting pigeons (winter time) as different processes appear in every living organism. It makes no difference whether the organism is young ,adult or old, fully active or less active .
Even though the manufacture of the skin cells feathers and muscles are invisible processes to our eyes or the manner in which pigeon`s body is continually engaged in maintaining its temperature these processes do require a wide variety of raw materials , and they can function at their full potential only if we apply variety to the diet.
Further down i am gonna examine the various items of the racing pigeons diet but first lets take a look at what happen to the food once inside pigeon`s body ,how digestion take place , how excretion operates, and what practical conclusions can we draw from these processes of vital functions .
Everything that happens between the beak and the cloaca, the excretory organ at the end of the rectum ,has the purpose of breaking down the food into even smaller fragments ,even the the large molecules are broken down .
This is the point at which the blood is able to absorb the vital substances are needed.They are partly used for one of the variety of activities which the organism of the pigeon is able to perform and partly stored as a reserve . Indigestible products are transformed into droppings ,which form the start of a new cycle .
The circuit of the food which has been picked up start in the soft palate at the back of the throat and this circuit is 7 times longer then the pigeon itself .The soft palate forces the largely vegetable matter together with saliva ,into the gullet, at which point muscle contractions take over the pushing function assisted by mucus from small glands.
The food then arrives in the crop and the time of its stay there is determined by whether or not the intestines are full or not .After a short stay in the glandular stomach or proventricule , which is important for the separations of the proteins ,the food passes to the gizzard .
Here with the help of the grit the food is transformed and broken down into tiny small pieces and the remnants of the food is passed on to the intestines where important transformations such as manufacture of vitamins and the breakdown of sugars ,fats and proteins are performed by the pancreas liver and other organs.
Excretion takes place after the food has completed the whole journey through the digestive tract .
The excreted substances on the healthy racing pigeons should contain no water at all .
When this balance is disturbed the pigeons will be affected by diarrhoea .
A real fancier will always look at his pigeons droppings as this is the first indicator of a sick bird .
Droppings should be removed every day from the loft because in the end they are a chemical product which left on the ground and where the pigeons have access ,release poisonous gases ,such as ammonia and create a perfect breeding environment for infections.
Three groups of feedings are important for the racing pigeons diet and these are cereals , pulses and seeds.The mixtures for the different vital functions ,such as racing , breeding , and moulting are made up from these three groups .There is a number of special products of widely varying characteristics, from curly kale to garlic and peanuts to coffee but first of all the racing pigeon is a granivorus bird meaning is a grain eater.
Varying from species to species ,grain has in particular a high content of starches which are converted into glycogen or the muscle sugar .As a result grains are an excellent source of energy for activities that make great demands o the muscles .Proteins and minerals lime and phosphorus are represented in most grains in smaller quantities.
The most important grains are : maize with a value of 80 , wheat with a value of 74 and barley with a value of 72.
Pulses are excellent protein producers and there are some fanciers who include 60 % pulses in their mixture , i believe that 40 % is enough to guarantee the growth and renewal ,the vital functions that depend on proteins. This proportion is more than enough to be used for the proper formation of the young bird skeleton . It is also good to know that over dosing the mixture with protein rich products increase the chances of having bad racers and wing diseases.
The most important pulses are green , yellow and other peas, pigeon beans , lentils and vetches.
Seeds form only a small proportion of the arcing pigeon s diet , not more than 2 grams per meal.
Seeds such as linseed , hemp , millet , and sorghum have completely another role when served and this is to increase the trust between them and you the fancier ,as these particular type of seeds are very tasty for pigeons .
Extra seeds are given during the moulting season as it would be rape seeds and linseed but is really to avoid the hemp seed because of his aphrodisiac qualities .
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How much do we need to feed our pigeons ?
An average meal for an adult bird is 30 - 35 grams ,or a full soup tablespoon . We also need to look at how they eat and how they eat ... do they enjoy their food ?...Looking at this and the effects of the food we provide for them from their appearance and condition we can draw the conclusions of what and how much we have to feed our racing pigeons .The food left over is also an indication of the mixture and quantity we need to adapt for their daily feeding .
The maize is one of the basic elements of the racing pigeons diet . It is a top cLass product full of vitamins A , B , and E but despite its many good qualities, maize is an unbalanced food and it has no building materials for the skeleton and muscles . Maize is a fat producer and is recomended to be included in the mixtures when the birds are send to race and in the cold season when the reserve of fat will be tested .
Its unbalanced nature of the cereal is fully compensated by varying it with other foods . Maize is relatively cheap comparing it with its high feeding value and the pigeons loves it .When buying grains you need to make sure that you buy healthy grains these must be dry, not too small not too big , smell fresh .
The yellow maize is the most common sort but if have the chance it is good to mix with other type of maize when mixture is prepared .
Wheat contains a large number of proteins the vitamins B and E as well as the substance phytase ,which helps minerals to be released to the body .Racing pigeons love`s wheat but their diet must not contain more than 15 % otherwise their digestive system will be upset and the lose of appetite will appear .It is very recomended to NEVER feed your birds fresh wheat which can produce diarrhoea ,make sure the grains are dry and smell dry not wet which denote the freshness .
Rye has a high content of carbohydrates and vitamins B and E . The maximum percentage to be used is 5% in the mixture especially for the young birds here if used in higher quantities will cause red throat diarrhoea and blue flesh .If in doubt, do not use it at all there are plenty of other products that you can replace him with .
This cereal is reach in vitamins A , B , E and particularly D ,it is very suitable for building a strong skeleton in young birds and helps the metabolism process .Barley is used to adjust the diet of our pigeons especially for fanciers who don t have enough time to spend with their birds .
A good barley grain should look short , thick , heavy and dry. It is yellow in colour and smell fresh Despite all his excellent qualities racing pigeons are not crazy about it and if some is left over from the meal you will need to reduce a little bit the quantity .