Grains

Hot Race Mix for Long Distance

The racing season is fast approaching. For all of you who like the longer races and fly under hot weather conditions, perhaps the article below will give you some food for thought.

Hot Race Mix for Long Distance

Although I am very busy at my new job and can’t follow all the information on Winning every day, I am incredulous at the way our pigeons are looked after on the way to the race point by some combines. The weather is sweltering, and I drink water throughout the day. Our pigeons also require a lot of fresh water, otherwise performing becomes impossible and losses will be substantial. Without water their brains can’t function properly due to dehydration and orientation becomes impossible. I cannot imagine that fanciers don’t find it necessary to give our pigeons a drink of fresh water before they are released for a race or while they are waiting many hours in the truck as it goes from club to club to be loaded. That is why I would like to invite those responsible for transporting and releasing our pigeons to the Matador stand at the Olympiade in Oostende for a “pleasant discussion.” Gentlemen, I look forward to seeing you, no, not for coffee. We will see if we can make some changes. Only, some changes, because regrettably, I have very little influence.

Hot Race Mix

Recently I have been asked various questions about the “Hot Race Mix” article and the mixes mentioned in it. The article appeared a while ago in Winning, but many of the newer subscribers had only recently read it. Their interest in the article is “hot” now because we are experiencing very “hot” weather. Naturally, this occurs every year. Last year at the same time of year, Willem was on holidays at Texel in a trailer, and the daytime temperatures were between 11 and 15 degrees, 19 degrees was an exception and a lot of wind, not too pleasant. At that time, I didn’t get a single reaction to the article. Now I regularly hear fanciers complain that their pigeons have no appetite.
If we look at ourselves, then our desire for heavy meals is at a low point during these periods of excessive temperatures. We eat less and search out a cool shady spot, and we take it easy. The joggers here in Ijsselkade often can only be seen very early in the morning or late in the evening and have a bottle of water with them. Our pigeons need a mix that will keep them in good condition, but that does not heat up their bodies too much. A lot of corn during the first half of the week is not a good idea.
We have already experimented with a different feed and a “plan for hot weather situations” and have some experience with it. Full amounts of corn are only given in the last four meals before shipping because they do need it during the flight (amylopectin). At the end of the week, the pigeons eat the corn eagerly because they have seen very little or none of it all week.
The requirement for proteins is also less. Peas are filling, and during periods of hot weather, they have less need or desire for them. It would be a better idea to provide a large part of the protein by feeding the fat rich seeds. Although, after a hard race they still require some legumes. Precisely what it is in peas that they need is a mystery to me, but feeding no peas at all, doesn’t work. It has been tried many times.

I have thoroughly reread the article on “tropical weather circumstances,” and I had determined that with what I have learned recently, I would make some different choices now then I did two years ago when I wrote the article. This reflects that scientific developments have continued and the same goes for my knowledge. Now I would make some different choices then I would have two years ago. I would choose different fatty acids and choose different carbohydrate-rich grains. That’s good; it will now be a mix that takes another step forward for such situations.
The feeding schemes were meant for distances up to 700 km with a maximum of two nights in the shipping basket. Rightfully many asked me different questions about a feeding plan for the overnight pigeons. A mix such as the “Hot Race Mix,” which is a mix that one can make yourself, cannot be used for the overnight long distance pigeons.
Such races mean the birds use more fat and protein. Often the pigeons must spend 3,4 and sometimes 5 nights in the shipping baskets. During this time the digestion must function adequately otherwise we would soon run into metabolic problems. For their last meals, we have given them a mix that will take a long time to digest and that will make them feel full. Legumes or peas take a long time to digest (48 to 72 hours). They should also be offered grains that are very energy rich. Peas are not in this category, we should make a mix that answers all our requirements.

WINNING MAGAZINE´S Long Distance Hot Race Mix

When I compose a feed for these situations, I keep several points in mind.

Fats: Firstly, the base food must contain sufficient fat and also, take into consideration the proper ratio of fatty acids.

Protein: Besides the more useable proteins in the fat-rich seeds in a long distance mix we also should consider the need for more peas.

Carbohydrates: We can choose in large part for carbohydrates that gradually become available for combustion. These can help the long-distance pigeon twice, during the first hour on the wing after release and during the first hour the second day. The liver never stops working. It processes the carbohydrate in the corn that the pigeon was fed in the shipping basket and turns the corn into glycogen. While resting after flying the first day, these become available to the pigeon.

I will now put together a long-distance mix that will work well under hot weather situations, one that will ensure that the pigeons store sufficient energy and make sure the birds will keep their appetites. This mix is composed in such a way that you can quickly make it up yourself. This means no 1-½% of this or 3-½% of that. The mix cannot be too one-sided, that is why I have chosen for a varied mix. So, let’s start.

Let’s make 100 kg of the mix:

  • 15 kilograms of a corn mix (crib corn, plata, popcorn etc.)
  • 5 kilos of wheat,
  • 10 kilos of milo
  • 10 kg white milo
  • 5 kilos of paddy rice
  • 5 kilos of white rice
  • 5 kilos of safflower
  • 2 ½ kilos of flax
  • 5 kilos rapeseed
  • 5 kilos of hemp seed
  • 5 kilos of millet
  • 5 kilos toasted soybeans
  • 22 ½ kilos of a pea mix.This will give us the following values:
    Fat: 9.2%, Protein: 15.6%, Carbohydrates: 53.9% Fibre: 6.5%

The corn can be a mix of several types if you want but is not necessary. I would personally choose for crib corn, as it is the most easily digested. But, a variety adds some colour to the mix and makes it look nice. The percentage of corn should never be higher than 20% in a mix meant for the situation we are discussing.

Feeding Plan

The feeding plan will be as follows:

For two days after the race: Winning Long Distance Hot Race Mix.
The rest of week I: 1/3 Winning Long Distance Hot Race Mix + 2/3 Cleansing Mix.

Week II: Gradually more Winning Long Distance Hot Race Mix and gradually less Cleansing Mix.

Week III: (Sunday and Monday = 2 days) this is the week the birds are shipped:
2/3 Winning Long Distance Hot Race Mix + 1/3 of a Candy Mix

The last two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) 1 part corn + 2 parts Winning Long Distance Hot Race Mix + 1 part Candy Mix. Finish off with peanuts (4 to 6 peanuts per pigeon).

This way we will be able to keep our pigeons eating sufficient amounts of food. The first week after recuperating after the race with the addition of a cleansing mix they barely get 6% corn in the mix.

During the second week, the percentage of corn is at a maximum of 15%, while during the third week we first go down to 10% and the last two days we give them full amounts of corn (+/= 35%). We can be sure that they will eat it eagerly despite the heat.
This way, we store 45 to 50 gm fat. This gives us 16 hours flying on fats and 2 flying hours on glycogen and blood fats. This manner of feeding ensures that our pigeons keep their appetites and build up sufficient reserves for the upcoming race.

I wish you success with the above.

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Willem Mulder