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Racing pigeons in the winter

Racing pigeons in the winter

Racing Pigeons What to do in the winter?

 

The warm coats have come out of storage. The radio is playing the top 1000 of all time.On TV the fat man from the North Pole is trying to lure us into the stores to buy presents. Its dark early in the evening and the moon shines through bare trees. Summer is definitely gone.The pigeons have almost finished trading their old feathers for a new shiny winter coat, they look fantastic. Some will be used for winter breeding and the rest will get more time to recuperate from the past racing season, and that seems right. Humans and animals sometimes need some time to rest and renew themselves. It can be a time for the body to clean itself. Something our western culture doesn’t have time for anymore. However, ramadan or fasting is good for humans, animals…….and pigeons.Matador foto 009 300x199 Racing pigeons in the winter

 Back to Nature:

If we watch the birds in the wild, we will see that in the fall there is plenty to eat. The grains and seeds lay on the land, fruits and berries are ripe on the bushes. To the wild birds it must seem like paradise, they can fill their bellies to no end. It is the time of year they are moulting their feathers and that they are building up a layer of fat for the coming winter. During the coming winter there will be days when the ground is snow covered and finding food will be difficult. If we get a cold winter the weaker animals will starve. Only the strong, well conditioned birds survive the winter. They will be skinny, but, when the sun begins to shine in the spring a time of plenty returns and their fertility will be optimal.

 

The moral:

What can we learn from this? It is important to let our racing pigeons become birds of nature again. This can be accomplished during the fall and winter. We can bring the abundance of berries, fruits and grains to our lofts during the moulting season, so that they can build a beautiful new suit of feathers. When that task is behind them, we should again see what occurs in nature. Having the birds miss a meal once in a while may be seen as “inhumane”. But, what happens in nature? There is much misunderstanding and ignorance in the racing pigeon world when it comes to feeding our pigeon athletes. There are many types of mixes on the market and just as many opinions.

 

Winter mixes are seldom seen. These should have little protein and without a lot of peas don’t look very appealing. Most dealers want to have a mix that looks “nicer”, because, it will sell better. If you don’t want to breed early you will have to cobble something together yourself. But, how do you do that?

 

Proteins are building materials: 

During the winter there is little to rebuild. The pigeon has to keep itself warm. That is really its only task. Meanwhile the intestines should be cleansed from the excesses of the racing and moulting periods. Food particles are caked, so to say, to the walls of the small intestine. There is a thin slimy coating, that the nutrients have to penetrate. If that layer has completely coated the intestine, all sorts of bacteria can find a perfect home for themselves. This provides a perfect place for them to multiply. We could of course use a strong antibiotic treatment. This will kill all those nasty bacteria, but also the good ones. If then the birds do eat something that’s infected, the gate is wide open, and there is no protection.

 

Fibers and breeding preparation:

It would be better to sweep the sidewalk really clean instead. How can we do that? With fiber rich feeds, such as, barley, paddy rice, safflower, whole oats and whole sunflower, but also milo, hemp etc. Whole oats should not be more than 10% of the total. The fiber grains can be up to 75% of the mix. There are hard and soft fibers. They each have their role to play and have different effects on the intestine. By using a mix with as large a variety of fiber as possible, the intestines will be completely cleansed, swept clean, like the sidewalk.Don’t worry if at first the birds’ droppings look a bit soft and slimy. This is exactly the waste we are attempting to remove. If you stick with it for at least 3 weeks, the intestine will be clean. The droppings will become better and better. During this period a new mucus layer will cover the intestinal wall. The old bacteria are gone. You can keep using this mix till just before you start breeding (than have the droppings checked, add some vitamins and increase the protein.). Proper feeding has been optimised the intestinal system. In other words: the feed will be digested better and the nutrients will be absorbed properly into the blood stream. Your birds will shine. I can’t think of a better way to prepare for a new crop of youngsters.

 

Fats:

Have you ever blown up a new balloon? The first time it’s quite difficult. Your face can turn red trying. Once you go through the point of resistance it becomes easier. Suppose, you blow up the same balloon 50 times, how hard is it to blow up now? Precisely! At a certain point it becomes very easy to blow it up and you can get more air into it besides. Now back to our pigeons. If during the long winter we only feed our birds a meagre diet with say 3% fat, the red muscle fibers will no longer be activated. The pigeon has to use all the nutrients it takes in to keep itself warm. We can choose to utilize these red muscle fibers. Pigeons have many muscle fibers and many of them are never utilized.

 

We can, thus, choice for a grain mix that is low in protein, high in fiber and somewhat higher in fat. I propose that you choose for a mix with a fat content of 5% to 7%. The birds should be in a cold loft with plenty of room with access to an aviary. If it is possible we can give the birds their freedom once a day. If this can’t be done due to hawks, then they should be in an aviary as much as possible. If we measure out the feed for the birds, the fats will first be stored in the red muscle fibers, and when needed will be used to keep the birds body warm. This way we will regularly blow up the balloons and new muscle fibers will be used, ones that have never been blown up before.

The pigeons will remain in good condition (not to be confused with winter form). Next summer during the races this will give us a step ahead. The more red muscle fibers that can be used the more fatty acids that can be stored, the easier our birds can come home from the races. Compare it to a car with 1000 cc motor to a car with a 2500 cc motor. The second one will come up to speed with less effort and can keep it up with more power, even after both cars have reached the same speed. This way winter can also be a useful time of year for the birds, at time we use to prepare our pigeons for the coming racing season.

I wish you much success!

 

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Feeding System of your Racing Pigeons
1.    Its origin.
2.    The application (how to feed, what to feed).
3.    By-products.

The origin of racing systems for racing pigeons.
When I look outside, out of the window in our new house in Odoorn, I can see the leavers falling from the trees. The leaves are of many different colours. Just beautiful! Day after day I savour the view.

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