Spirulina and Chlorella
This week I had a question about the use of Spirulina. I have written about […]
Racing Mix for Hot Weather Situations
Even though pigeon racing is a beautiful hobby it is good to get some free time, time away from the birds. You’re probably thinking, that’s easy for you to say, you have a partner to look after your birds. But, if you do want a break, you’ll come up with a solution.
So now that I’m back let’s get some work done. We seem to be feeding pigeons from diverse countries. We’ve had questions from the hot districts of Australia, America and Spain, now we will go in the other direction via South Africa to Thailand. This is a country with high temperatures and high humidity that means when we work we sweat.
But, this time we won’t be discussing electrolytes but the feed for Praphon Pilunthanakul’s pigeons. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand and has a lot of experience racing pigeons in hot humid weather.
Praphon in principle has two mixes for his racing pigeons.
His basic racing mix is as follows:
Yellow and Australian peas: 25%
La Plata or Yellow French crib corn: 50%
Mung beans: 10%
Peeled red rice: 5%
Paddy rice: 10%
Okay, lets calculate:
3.1% Raw fat
14.3% Raw protein
3177 Kcal per Kilo
On the sprint races, he feeds 10% less corn and 10% more paddy rice. This changes the percentages above very little but does increase the fiber.
His treat seed contains the following:
Canary seed: 30%
Hemp seed: 10%
Safflower seed: 20%
15.1% Raw Fat
14.8 % Raw Protein
12.9 % Fiber
3544 Kcal per Kilo
In short this is how Praphon Pilunthanakul tells us he uses the above mixes:
The pigeons get the basic mix followed by a small amount of the candy mix during the entire racing season up to approximately 300 km. When the races are more than 300 km they get a few extra peanuts in the evening and for races longer than 700 km they also get extra peanuts in the morning.
When the pigeons come home from the race they get peeled red rice because it is easily digested. The temperatures vary between 30 and 35C. The heat plays an enormous role during the races and if we feed the birds to heavy when they arrive home, the birds will have a hard time to keep the food in their crop. Therefore, we feed light on arrival from the race.
Peanuts are fed before the long races and are divided over the entire week. We can assume that the total fat fed is sufficient. Now it is my task to make chocolate from the above. Well let’s see………….
When I analyze the information that the fanciers from the hot countries on our globe provide and if I assume that the birds, that spend two nights in the basket are fed properly then a clear picture starts to develop. The racing mixes that are used are not new to me. They resemble the race mixes used in Belgium as well as Holland.
The use of red short grain rice on arrival from the race is excellent for the circumstances. It is easily digested and rich in carbohydrates. Feeding of the usual Racing Mix can cause problems in their situation. Here I can offer some suggestions. It does not have to be the red rice by itself. I think that an easily digested race mix would not present any problems. The treat seed that Praphon Pilunthanakul uses at first glance seems all right, if the pigeons will eat all the flax seed……….
Pigeons that race in South Africa, Thailand or Holland on similar flights all have the same need for protein to repair the muscles. That is not where the differences lay. Mixes containing 35% legumes cause the same problems as here in colder climates. Mixes such as these have seen their time. How long have we been telling fanciers that mixes with these amounts of legumes have a detrimental effect, they block the oxygen supply after several flights. Dear people, do me a favor, please stop uses these mixes. Currently we handle feeding programs with approximately 5% legumes over the entire week. YES, YES, that’s 5%, also for long distance.
It is much better to get the protein out of oil rich seeds. All high fat seeds are also rich in protein, if we use these than we do not need all those peas. The lighter we feed (easily digested) the better it is for our pigeons. I am talking about low pea feeds not low protein. That is something entirely different.
If you really want to get ahead then you can’t keep following old fashioned ideas. Pretend that you are sitting on the moon or riding in one of the satellites and are looking down at the earth and think of the races over the last 3 years. Strange! I know but try to take an overall view and look 3 years into the future. Racing on 5% peas does not happen overnight, it is a process that takes 2 to 3 years. But, the process will mean that your birds will be less burdened and your average performances will improve significantly. You don’t use an outdated 286 computer, do you? You want the most modern appliances, don’t you?
If we feed mixes that are much easier to digest, we will get another type of pigeon. They will seem smaller and will weigh less but will be heavily muscled. What use is all that weight? It is just extra baggage for the birds to carry. The extra gravitational pull is unnecessary. Have you ever seen a marathon runner flash by? He doesn’t carry an ounce of extra fat, only muscles.
Be Brave, purposeful and forward looking.
Many fanciers are already feeding in accordance with the newest insights. It takes a little time but will pay off quickly. Racing mixes containing 35% peas are a thing of the past. Even if you are flying super using them now. You can do better. Don’t sit on you rear till everyone flies by you. Maybe your results are good now but, for how long?
Cold and Warm Countries
What are the differences between our pigeons and those from the hot countries? Pigeons in the hot districts have a greater need for omega 3 fatty acids. That is determined genetically, and we must keep it in mind. We can put omega 3 rich oil on the feed such as flaxseed oil, fish oil or walnut oil. We can also watch the composition of our mixes. But, even in warm countries we cannot feed our birds only hazelnuts and walnuts because they contain these oils. Let’s try to keep our feet on the ground.
Their metabolism is also different. The pigeons use less energy because they do not have to produce heat to keep themselves warm. Grains such as corn provide considerable heat and are therefore eaten less readily. We do the same thing. What do you eat when it is hot? Pea soup? Chili Con Carne? Pancakes?
We should also watch the prussic acid content of grains such as rapeseed, cabbage seed, safflower, vetch and flaxseed, we should not feed to much of these. There is much more to say about building a system, but I’ll stop for now. This is not about criticizing old ways but about providing the fancier with information that lets him gain better performances. That is our goal. Let’s make a new feeding plan for flights that take place under these hot circumstances.
The Race Mix for hot weather
This is a suggestion for all the hot countries, but also for countries such as Holland, Germany and Belgium that have summers like those of 2003. Let’s make a base mix. We will cut down on the corn because this is better used at the end of the week. If the diet contains sufficient fat and the pigeons can build up sufficient reserves, than corn at the end of the week is a welcome feed. This way we can provide extra starches (polysaccharides) that will provide energy over the longer term. The birds will be able to fly a while longer on carbohydrates and blood fat. This way they can be ahead of the field with the leaders, they can fly at a high rate of speed for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, they can’t maintain these speeds for long, but still an extra ten minutes at a high rate of speed because, of extra glycogen and light fatty acids, over the opposition is an enormous advantage. Try to gain that back in a race. The goal is: fly as long as possible at a high rate of speed. The pigeons through the week get very little corn and will be crazy for it at the end of the week. If we feed it all week they will leave it at the end of the week because of all the extra heat it has produced. They will have no appetite at the end of the week. Let’s compose a base mix to make it clear what we mean.
WINNING HOT RACE MIX?
Okay. We feed this mix the entire week for pigeons on widowhood. At the beginning of the week we make it slightly lighter to keep them from peaking to early. At the end of the week we provide extra energy in the form of treat seeds and corn. Very simple and effective
And this is the WINNING HOT RACEMIX 2004:
13% white Dari (milo)
10% paddy rice (unpeeled rice, husk on)
10% white round rice
5% mung beans
5% maple peas
2% toasted soybeans
This gives us:
8,2% raw fat
12,6% raw protein
3350 K. cal per kg
8,8% raw fiber
You could also use 1 part cleansing mix + 2 parts Super Diet or Super Energy + 1 part race mix.
How to Feed:
In the morning, the birds get approximately 10 grams each (1/2 ounce). Evenings we feed till they leave some barley or some go for a drink. The second half of the week we gradually increase the amount in the evening.
The Feeding Plan
Short and easy races:
Saturday: on arrival: Winning Hot Race mix possibly some extra rice.
Sunday: Monday: Tuesday: ½ Winning Hot Race Mix and ½ barley
Wednesday: Winning Hot Race Mix
Thursday Evening: ¼ corn and ¾ Winning Hot Race Mix. First feed the corn and then the Mix. Feed all they want.
Friday: Treat seed
This gives us 12 to 13 grams fat and with the carbohydrates the pigeons can fly +/- 5 hours.
Saturday: on arrival: Winning Hot Race Mix possibly some extra rice.
Sunday and Monday: ½ Winning Hot Race Mix and ½ barley.
Tuesday and Wednesday: Winning Hot Race Mix and some Treat Seeds.
Thursday: 1/3 Corn + 1/3 Winning Hot Race Mix + 1/3 Treat Seeds. First feed the corn and then the mixes. Feed all they want.
Friday Morning: ½ Winning Hot Race Mix and ½ white or red rice.
Friday Afternoon: Treat Seed.
This gives us about 17 to 18 grams of fat enough for approximately 7 hours of flying. If the race is thought to take longer than for every hour extra flying time each bird gets 9 extra peanuts divided over the week.
Long Distance to 700 km. (450 miles) Preparation time 1 week.
Saturday: On arrival: Winning Hot Race Mix, possibly some extra rice.
Sunday: ½ Winning Hot Race Mix + ½ Barley.
Monday and Tuesday: Winning Hot Race Mix + Treat Seeds.
Wednesday morning: 1/3 corn + 1/3 Winning Hot Race Mix + 1/3 Treat Seed
First feed the corn and then the mixes.
Wednesday evening: 1/3 corn + 1/3 Winning Hot Race Mix + 1/3 Treat Seed.
First feed the corn then the mixes. Feed all they want
Thursday morning: 1/3 corn + 1/3 Winning Hot Race Mix + 1/3 Treat Seed.
Thursday afternoon: Treat seed + white or red rice.
Starting Monday, we give the birds 9 peanuts daily. This gives us 28 grams of fat and with the carbohydrates they can fly 10 hours.
Translators Note: These races are shipped on Thursday in Holland. If yours are not you will have to adjust the above accordingly.
Long Distance to 700 km: Preparation time 2 weeks
If the birds stay home the first week then we go to work as follows:
Saturday: Winning Hot Race Mix with white or red rice.
Sunday: Winning Hot Race Mix
Monday to and including Friday: ½ Winning Hot Race Mix + ½ barley.
Saturday to and including Monday: Winning Hot Race Mix
Tuesday morning: 5 gram Treat Mix per pigeon.
Tuesday evening: 10 grams Treat Mix per pigeon.
Wednesday morning: 1/3 corn + 1/3 Winning Hot Race Mix + 1/3 Treat Mix.
Wednesday evening: 1/3 corn + 1/3 Winning Hot Race Mix = 1/3 Treat Mix
First feed the corn both morning and evening then the mix till the have enough.
Thursday morning: 1/3 corn + 1/3 Winning Hot Race Mix + 1/3 Treat Mix
Thursday afternoon: Treat Mix + white or red rice.
On Tuesday, we give them a small amount of very high quality food (Treat Mix). The following day Wednesday they will be hungry and will eat a large amount of corn and race mix, and that is exactly what we want. We have tested this often in the past and it works like a charm.
Naturally the fancier has to adjust the above if necessary. Races can be easier or harder and feeding has to be adjusted accordingly. Fanciers that live in the hot countries have to keep the omega 3 oils in mind and use them at least twice per week with some lecithin added. Further then that the electrolytes are of great importance. They regulate the intestinal functions on arrival from the race and the day before shipping to ensure the bird retains sufficient moisture. Moisture can also be retained by the white or red rice that is why we feed some on basketing day. I hope this article will get you thinking and that I will receive some reactions. This way we can all learn. So, ladies and gentlemen please let me know how it works and what you think. There are many roads to Rome, but there are also many that will never reach Rome. It would seem worthwhile to try this method on one of your sections next year. I wish you success.
From the city of Noupoort in South Africa Basie and Johan Lodewyk have let me know that they have won the first 5 races in their club. That is something that they have never done with their old methods of feeding.