Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing – Daily Schedule

Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing – Part 4 Daily Schedule

Daily Schedule

Sunday AM: barley

Sunday PM: 60% barley, 40% racing mix

Monday AM: 40% barley, 60% racing mix

Monday PM: 20% barley, 80% racing mix

Tuesday AM: 100% racing mix

Tuesday PM: 70% racing mix, 30% corn and rice

Wednesday AM: 25% racing mix, 75% corn, rice and hemp

Wednesday PM: 10% racing mix, 90% corn, rice and hemp

Thursday AM: 10% racing mix, 70% corn, 10% rice, 10% hemp

Thursday PM: Same as AM

Friday AM and PM: Same as Thursday.

The Widowhood Year by Dave Allen (UK). He feeds birds individually in small pots in their nest boxes. Widowhood mix-45% corn, 25% peas, 10 % wheat, 10% white dari, 5% pellets, 5% safflower.

Saturday- a teaspoon of barley on return from a race: evening- barley with brewer’s yeast.

Sunday– barley with brewer’s yeast all day. Evening 50/50 barley and widowhood mix.

Monday- One feed in the evening-50/50 barley and widowhood mix. (1 1/2 oz. Per bird)

Tuesday– Same as Monday.

Wednesday- Evening- 80% widowhood mix 20% barley. ( 1 1/2 oz per bird)

Thursday- Evening- 100% widowhood mix- no barley.

Friday-morning (shipping day) plenty of widowhood mix. Remove all feed at 1:00 PM.

Belgian racing mix: Light mix (sometimes called a diet mix)-20% barley, 10% white dari (kafir),

10% safflower, 5% rice, 8% paddy rice, 5% buckwheat, 7% red dari, 15% wheat, 5% hulled oats, 3% millet, 3% rapeseed (now called canola, in some areas) 6% flax, 3% hemp. Heavy mix: 35% corn, 12% wheat, 32% peas, 10% white dari, 4% safflower, 5% tares, 2% catjang mango (mung beans).

For an upcoming race of 350 miles.

Sunday: 80% light mix, 20% heavy mix.

Monday: 60% diet mix, 40% heavy mix.

Tuesday: 40% diet mix, 60% heavy mix.

Wednesday and Thursday: 100% heavy mix.

For short races, feed diet mixes more often and heavy mixes less often. For short races, one fancier feeds only the diet mix, with the heavy mix fed the day before basketing. For long races, little or no diet mix is given.

It is important to realize that the foregoing examples are jus that, and they can be modified at will. Be aware that you can substitute one grain in a category for another. For instance, if your favourite yellow or white pea isn’t available, substitute with available green peas: if you are short of corn, substitute with rice, popcorn and wheat, ect. It is also important to understand that the racing rations presented are high in carbohydrates which the liver converts very readily to the fats needed for any sustained flight, whether it is a short training toss or a marathon 500-600-7– mile flight or greater.

For these longer races, it might be a good idea to supplement these high carbohydrate diets with some high fat grains/seeds such as peanuts or sunflower seeds in the last 2-3days before shipping, to add a bit more fat to the reserves. Because it is known that glucose can be converted readily to fat, you can add glucose powder to your drinkers for a day or two, say Tuesday and Wednesday morning (fresh water Wednesday evening), if you are shipping Thursday night. You can also use another sugar-fructose- in the drinking water instead of glucose, because there is a high biological priority in birds to direct fructose to fat production. Honey (about 30% glucose, 40% fructose) could be used instead of either of the sugars mentioned- both sugars and honey are also a good pick-me-up for the birds when they return from a race.

These sugars should be used only for a day or two at a time. Because some bacteria and molds, ect., find them useful as well, in the own life processes. If some of these bacteria are dangerous types, such as the paratyphoid organism or some strains of E. coli, you don’t want to be aiding their growth by overusing these sugars. It’s the same with vitamins- use them in drinking water for only a day or two at a time, for the same reasons.

It is also evident that the level of peas in rations for racing is reduced, but no eliminated. Peas and other high protein grains are reduced in amount and are replaced by greater reliance on grains high in carbohydrates for the racing energy they contain. Peas are just no an energy feed, but as noted, their protein is important for the repair of damaged or degenerated muscle or other tissues. Some damage or degeneration may occur during any race, but logically seems more likely if a race is tough and birds are forced to work extra hard, so some protein should be present in the diet to be used in the repair process.

In addition, we have seen that high levels of protein in a ration will decrease the amount of fat the liver is able to produce. Why in the world would we want to decrease fat production ahead of any race, ince it is the chief fuel for sustained, rapid flight? In another example closer to home, why would we want to put kerosene instead of gasoline in the fuel tanks of our cars? We don’t want to do this, but we do want to provide the best available fuel- gasoline. The emphasis in preparing birds for racing should be a decreased reliance on high protein grains, but a much increased reliance on the high carbohydrate grains (and at some stage, depending on the distance for which we are preparing birds, an increase in some of the high fat grains for a few days). Some protein also appears to be necessary as a source of uric acid which, it seems, may be useful in preventing or reducing the effects of hyperthermia (over heating) during races, especially those flown in very hot weather.

Fanciers have asked about the amounts to be fed per bird during the race season. It seems that in birds, hand feeding a given amount each day results in a greater production of fat for fuel than does open hopper feeding. For the shorter races, somewhere in the area of 1 ounce per bird per day seems adequate. As the distances get beyond 250 miles, perhaps 1-1/4 ounces per day, and beyond 200-350 miles, 1-1/2 ounce per day. On some days, birds will need a bit more if they appear extra hungry for some reason, and on other days, they may need a bit less, but over all, it is still a judgement call by the fancier.

In all cases, birds should remain bouyant and light in the hand, and as form approaches, they should balloon out to appear larger in the hand, but continuing to be as light as feathers. Wattles should be sharply white, or even pink, as circulation improves with improving condition. The eyes should sparkle like diamonds, feathers should be tight and smooth, the breast muscles pink, and the skin clear and free of scales, with tiny blood vessels clearly crossing the keel.

During the last week before shipping, it is the philosophy of some successful fanciers that toward shipping day, especially for the longer races, the amount of heavy exercise/training should decrease, and the amount of feed should correspondingly increase. This seems to make a lot of sense. Why build up fat reserves for the race, especially a long race, if you are just going to burn it all off by training during the few days before shipping, thereby alternately building fuel reserves (fats) on the one hand, and then burning them off through excessive work, on the other hand? It’s something to think about. It would be like fueling the car for a long trip, only to use most of that fuel by driving around town at high speed, before leaving on that long trip. Result: the tank is empty or low in fuel, and more fuel is now needed to handle that long trip.

It is also the view of some of my veterinary colleagues who also race pigeons that, during the last couple of days before shipping, the birds should be provided with fresh water only-no additives of any kind. The idea is to avoid giving them anything that might induce unwanted thirst in the transporter on the way to the race point. Something else to think about.

I understand that some fanciers, past and present, have the idea that any amount of fat is a hindrance, and that it is important to strip the birds right down to eliminate this unwanted fat, (to be replaced with what, I would ask? I continue to wonder what they believe the birds use for fuel in the first place!) True, excessive fat is a definite hindrance, but as fat is certainly the fuel on which birds race from short to long distance, this idea of stripping birds right down in weight is completely unwarranted, and not in keeping with the established facts about fuel requirements. I believe that birds for the shorter races need to be somewhat lighter in weight than those for the longer races, but the point is that all of them use fat as the fuel on which to race any distance.

Another point: I think it is important not to ship birds to a race with a full crop of feed. If we have been feeding the birds correctly up to shipping day, by that time they should be sell prepared nutritionally, so it’s really not necessary to pack them with feed late in the afternoon of shipping day. Loading the birds with feed simply invites unwanted thirst, and if they don’t know how to drink in the transport truck, or if water isn’t provided, birds will suffer unnecessarily. As well, it has been found that birds kept off feed for up to 72 hours load their breast muscles with fat, so if they don’t get a good feed late on shipping day, there should be no further concern about them, as long as they have been well nurtured up to that point.

A few more points-birds should be fed in the transport truck late afternoon of the day before release, and the feeders removed before nightfall. Definitely they should not be fed on the morning of release, again because of the problem with unnecessary thirst during the race. The birds should be watered the night before and on the morning of release, without fail. (Fanciers also need to teach their youngsters how to drink in the transport truck.).

It’s likely a contentious point, but the amount and kind of feed to provide in the transport truck is also important. Birds likely don’t need more feed than about 1/2- 1 ounce (maximum) per bird the night before release. For a holdover, likely 1 ounce per bird per day is enough-remember, these birds should have been well prepared nutritionally, well before they were shipped!

Based on the facts, the grains to be fed in the transport truck should be the cereal grains only-corn, wheat, rice, ect.. In many cases, the main feed given is straight corn, which is just fine. The birds need the energy grains just mentioned, but not peas. (They likely won’t eat many of them anyway, as long as they have the choice of cereal grains, the most desirable feed.) As mentioned a number of times now peas are not an energy feed, and the birds need energy for the race ahead- hence, the value of the cereal grains, especially corn, to help accomplish this.

I am also aware that the subject of feeding large amounts of peas to pigeons is an article of faith to a number of Aussie and British fanciers, but information on the role of grains high in carbohydrates as presented her, is based on scientific fact. I understand why tradition and traditional views die hard. As I mentioned to an Adelaide (Australia) fancier who issued a friendly challenge during my seminar there, it was not my wish to tell fanciers what to do, but that I merely wanted to present facts that thinking fanciers could accept of reject, as they pleased.

In closing this article, it is my sincere hope that the facts (and the opinions I have formed and expressed as an outgrowth of these facts) presented here and in other articles surrounding this whole subject of racing and fuel, will be a means of shedding light on the subject rather than creating heat. Further, it is also my hope that all of this published material will allow the thinking fancier to approach the feeding and breeding of racing pigeons from a factual, practical and scientifically sound point of view.

Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing Part 1 – Introduction
Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing Part 2 – Protein, Carbs & Fats
Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing Part 3 – Suggested Rations
Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing Part 4 – Daily Schedule
Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing – Feed table

Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing – Part 4 Daily Schedule By Gordon Chalmers, DVM

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  1. #1 by remigio leal on February 18, 2011 - 2:44 pm

    real and scientific…no more secrets,iam gonna use this way of feeding,hooray! thank you so much for info in good and scientific method of feeding.

  2. #2 by Alister murray on February 17, 2011 - 4:39 am

    More thought about my protein question below has led me to expand upon my question.So,if say I feed about 20-30% maple pea’s in my feed mix,and to this I add some pellets which are 15% protein into a basic pigeon feed formula,would the compounds in the maple pea’s that prevent protein being absorbed,be sufficient or strong enough to prevent all the protein in that meal from being absorbed into the birds system rendering the protein wasted or would only a small amount of protein be affected by these compounds.Can anyone help?Only Facts please,no fiction.

  3. #3 by Alister murray on February 17, 2011 - 1:54 am

    Great article series.I really enjoyed that,and learned some stuff also.Interesting about the maple pea’s being a protein food but also containing compounds that prevent the protein from being absorbed.Can someone tell me if this is scientific fact that has been proven,or is it just the belief of some fanciers who dont like to feed maples.I have been a real believer in the maple pea especially during breeding season,and the birds seem to prefere them as the main choice of their diet during feeding young.Thanks.

  4. #4 by martin bandalan on January 14, 2011 - 5:26 am

    hi, it’s really nice reading your article about feeds for pigeon racing. my question is, i’ve heard of fanciers adding oil (peanut or olive oil) to the mix, does this really helps and how the bird will process it? cheers!

  5. #6 by Christopher Adam Trella on December 23, 2010 - 8:51 pm

    I’m gonna try to stay with this starting this year. Thanks and have a great christmas and a happy New Year!

  6. #7 by Janie S on October 30, 2010 - 6:56 pm

    Thanks so much for the informative article; keep them coming please!

  7. #8 by jayson amoranto on June 2, 2010 - 10:13 pm

    Sir Chris, thank you for the information that you gave…… this is the only site that i read that have the complete information about pigeon sport…..thanks again sir for the additional information…. thanks….. jayson amoranto

  8. #9 by john glemser on April 6, 2010 - 2:17 pm

    A good young bird mix 3 cans of cond.3 cans of small corn 3 cans of depurative 3 cans of barley 1 can of white kafir corn 1can safflower .Start with 1 1/2 ozs. per bird then cut back when they fly good then when you train we will mix light to heavy 6 weeks befor frist race.

  9. #10 by gee on April 6, 2010 - 3:23 am

    informative article. very useful to us new to the sport. keep up the good work. thanks and Godbless you!

  10. #11 by HERMAN BAPTISTE SR on March 31, 2010 - 1:42 am

    chris this information is good stuff keep it comeing GOD BLESS

  11. #12 by boggart on March 31, 2010 - 12:10 am

    thank you chris,big help to some mediocre fanciers like posted a very informative articles .you really did a good job.
    more power and godbless!

  12. #13 by Aamir on January 24, 2010 - 1:52 pm

    hi chris,

    Would you like to to write racing mix food(Which type of racing mix)
    Mr Dear Chris This is the reasion i can,t pass any comments because you don,t write racing mix food and quentity.Plz. if you want realy help the pigeon fancier plz. write complete racing mix food and mixing quantity in kgs.
    wait for your reply.

    Thanking you
    with regard

    • #14 by terry on March 9, 2010 - 5:52 pm

      Aamir, this is what i do. Take your basic pigeon mix and add your barley to about 50% of the total mix.When you see your birds leaving the barley in the feeder, cut back a bit until they eat it all.The barley is your control food, they don’t like it but it is VERY good for them,with time and observation you will see just how much your birds need.Barley is never feb when feeding YB in the nest.
      As the races get longer, 250-300 cut the barley and add safflower/peanuts/hemp.Remember the last 3 items are FAT so add them durning the last day or two before the race.Be sparingly with the peanuts except for the 500-600 races.Also remember, just because a food formula works for a friend, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Don’t be afraid to add or subtract different grains to suit your type of racing.I hope this helps.


  13. #15 by john glemser on January 22, 2010 - 11:22 am

    Thats the stuff that makes a pigeon racer. Not a pigeon keeper.Good stuff chris.

  14. #16 by aien sayo on January 21, 2010 - 9:06 am

    tNx 4 ‘d iNFormAtiOn Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing – Daily Schedule….tHE oNLy pRoBLem iS tHE gOOd peRfoRmAncE piGeON…bCosE i dNt hAve a gOOd bReeD oF rACiNG piGeOn’s,bCoSe i’M neW iN tHiS kiNd oF sPorT…………tNx a LoT! 🙂

  1. Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing – Feed Table « Pigeon Racing Pigeons
  2. Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing Introduction « Pigeon Racing Pigeons
  3. Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing Protein, Carbs & Fats « Pigeon Racing Pigeons
  4. Grains, Fuel and Pigeon Racing – Suggested Rations « Pigeon Racing Pigeons

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