Just like human beings, racing pigeons also have the need to be well fed in order to grow fit. Proper nutrition is vital for them to maintain the level of energy throughout the day, much more if they are racing frequently.
Racing pigeons adhere to a strict diet, which comprises mostly of grains, grits and water. Wild pigeons eat breadcrumbs and food scraps, but they are a no-no to racing pigeons. If you want to raise quality racing pigeons, then you have to provide them with food that are fresh, clean and of the highest quality.
Grains that are dirty will gradually affect the performance of the pigeons while they are racing, as toxins and poisons present in unclean grains will bring forth illnesses that would lead to the pigeon's poor racing performance.
Grits are also essential to the racing pigeon's diet. Mixed grains are a perfect source of energy and protein, but they are very low in vitamins and minerals that are required to raise top-caliber racing pigeons. Grits, on the other hand, supply the pigeons with a sufficient amount of salt, calcium and minerals that they need.
Vitamins for Extra Energy
Racing pigeons can actually survive on grains and grits alone, but if they are being led to racing most of the time, then they have to be fed with food having an extra amount of vitamins. Without vitamins, the racing pigeon might not be able to sustain itself from the pressures of racing and competition.
Vitamins supplements must be given along with food and water to increase the pigeon's level of health. Not all of the vitamins, minerals and trace elements are present in grains; therefore, these should be given to the pigeons in some other form. Some pigeon owners give spinach and shell grits, but these are still not enough to meet the nutritional requirements of a racing pigeon. They now add vitamins to water once or twice a week for added energy.
Feeding Practices during the Racing Season
Food, and balancing it, is most important during the racing season. It's not all about giving the racing pigeons all of the food that they need, but how these foods can be properly distributed to the pigeon's daily food intake.
First off, a healthy bowel is required of the pigeon. If bowel diseases are present, the nutrients that are found in quality grains will be decreased, and not all of the energy and protein present will be maximized fully by the racing pigeon.
A healthy mix of quality grains must also be prepared. Use at least eight different grains to achieve a good balance of protein. This would ultimately fuel the racing pigeon's flight to success.
Be careful, however, of overfeeding your pigeons. Excess energy will be stored in the pigeon's body as fat, thus making the pigeon feel heavier and will slow down his pace while flying. Meanwhile, underfeeding your racing pigeons mean that you're providing them with food having low energy values, thus, resulting to the exhaustion of energy reserves in the pigeon's muscles.
For you to know if you're overfeeding or underfeeding your racing pigeons, feed only what they will eat in 10 minutes. If they are leaving pieces of food, then it just means that you're already feeding them too much.