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Dear pigeon fanciers:Willem tells us: “At the Dutch Open (pigeon racing fair), they spoke to a well know fancier that had very good pigeons. At the beginning of March, he had moved his flying lofts because he had come into possession of some more land.
Because of this echange his pigeons flew very poorly, in the first 7 races. So poorly he considered leaving the sport of pigeon racing.
He mentioned this at the club. The next day a sport friend and club member provided some help and gave him some good advice. This friend called me and asked if I could come over. It seemed that the lofts and the feeding methods were not right.
Now you are probably asking, “what advice did he give him?” I can tell you what was said, but it was advice specific to the particular situation.
Fast recuperation after the race is the starting point of a racing plan. To accomplish fast recuperation the feed has to be adjusted. After recuperation the intestinal tract must be properly cleaned.
After this, the important nutrients required for muscle repair must be absorbed. When the muscles are repaired and fed, we can fill the “tank” with energy in preparation for the next race.
The pigeons were fitted with an apparatus that fit over their beaks that measured the intake of oxygen and the discharge of carbon dioxide. This allowed for the precise calculation of the amount of energy used.
The results were a revelation for the researchers, because they learned that pigeons did not perform like humans and other mammals on carbohydrates, but mainly on fatty acids and that they used from 3 to 3 ½ grams per each hour of flying time.
When racing during the first half hour the carbohydrates will be used first, after this the pigeon changes over to burning fatty acids.
The most interesting carbohydrates for racing pigeons are those, that are gradually absorbed by the body. This ensures that less insulin is needed and the blood sugar levels don’t spike as much.
These carbohydrates are absorbed better and more gradually and the pigeons can use them longer during the race. These carbohydrates are called amylopectin.
A pigeon flies fastest when burning carbohydrates. That is why these sugars are of great importance. They can fly fast for longer, which provides a great advantage as they can arrive home sooner.
Too many of these vitamins will cause a loss of form although a shortage is also not desirable either. An excess of the water soluble vitamins B and C will be eliminated with the droppings.
You can see this by the yellow or orange colour of the droppings. All vitamins have an important function in the body.
We can separate the by-products into those products that provide little or no energy, but increase or help maintain health and those that can prevent shortages.
Products that can influence health are garlic, onion, thyme, all types of tea, apple cider vinegar, and probiotics etc. Products that prevent shortages are vitamins, minerals and trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium etc.
Besides these, there are by-products that provide extra energy for the muscles and the energy supply, products such as animal proteins and oils, fatty acids and specific sugars.
After cleaning the intestinal system, the muscles are fed with proteins after which the feed is changed.
The last days of the week the pigeons are fed enough so that the pigeons will eat very little on shipping day (one night in the basket), and if this is the case then they have been prepared optimally for the race.
The new scientific methods of feeding are designed so that they are less taxing on the birds’ digestive system; especially legumes (peas) tax the pigeons during the breeding and racing seasons.
We can choose to feed other easier to digest proteins, which produce fewer droppings and greatly reduce the burden on the pigeon’s digestive system. The same can be said for carbohydrates and fatty acids.
This is some of the advice I have given, but many questions come in daily on the care and maintenance of our pigeons and other problems that we can have with them.
It is impossible to personally answer all of these questions. That is why an E-book (in PDF format) has been put together, with all the best articles that I have written, translated from the original Dutch to English. To be precise, there are a total of thirty-seven articles included in the e-book.
I hope that in this way I can answer many of the questions you may have and that as a racing pigeon fancier you can use the material to your advantage to better prepare your pigeons for the races… Read more…