Off-Season feeding

I hope that the article that was placed last month concerning overpopulation and the selection of your better youngsters had the necessary response. If you, by now, still think that the selection of your youngsters in not necessary, you will as in the past, face a difficult season.
Overpopulation equals big financial expenses towards medicine. I know of many fanciers that believe the basket is the only way of selecting your pigeons and this statement is very very true. But we should be more intelligent than making such statements. My question is: – How can the basket be the final judge on quality if you did not give them the change to enjoy an under populated, stress less and healthy environment during the moulting season. Thus giving them the opportunity to reach top condition so that the basket can do your selection properly. The basket can not select the best from an overpopulated, unhealthy loft. Pigeons do not like numbers as they originate from the mountain pigeon where they lived in open air conditions. For those of you that is going to pay some attention to your over population, I would like to congratulate with your progress in the pigeon sport. Good results will be your reward.

Now let us have a look at what is necessary to feed these under populated lofts of yours and mine in order to coat these pigeons with good feathers.

Firstly, you must always bare in mind that you must not allow your pigeons to get fat in the off-season. Therefore over feeding must be strictly controlled. A fat pigeon can not fly in front due to the fact that he carries excessive weight causing stress on his heart and lungs. Also remember that the heart and lungs are now also covered with fat deposits. It is not easy to reduce the weight of pigeons before the race season, therefore you will be racing over weight athletes during the sprints and will not win a bouquet of flowers.

Let’s have a look at our feeding and supplementation during the moulting seasons.

  1. Feathers consist mainly of protein therefore a high protein mixture is necessary during this period of the year. Add to the mixture 20 % sunflower and 20 % barley. The sunflower and barley will assist you in keeping the weight of the pigeons down. Feed your pigeons until the 1st one goes to the drinker, thereafter the food should be finished. In the event of food still laying in the feeding trough it must be picked up. Learn to give enough food until they go to the drinker. Pigeons should be fed in the mornings and the evenings to allow smooth growth of the feathers. Pigeons can be fed once a day and must then be allowed to eat as much as possible. The feeding must take place in the morning. Feeding them at night causes them to pick up weight.
  2. Flower of Sulphar (oral use only) can be given over the food. Mix two hands full into a bag of feed (50Kg) and feed as is. This product is very good for the feathers and also combats worms.
  3. Garlic is one of the best natural herbs that can be given to pigeons. It should be given to your whole loft for 365 days. There is three ways of giving garlic to pigeons.
    a). Use Garlic powder and administer it directly into the water. (One third dosage every day. I enjoy the Garlic Powder from Belgavet. b). Garlic Oil from any company can be administered over the food of the birds. c). Use your wife’s old stockings and cut the one leg off just below the promised land area. You will now have a long sock. Take a whole garlic bulb and put it into your wife’s favorite Tupperware bowl. Now smash it into pulp with the bottom of a coke bottle. Throw this pulp into the sock and tie it to the top of your watering can. The garlic bulb must be inside the water all day and night. Replace the garlic every week. Garlic is an invaluable aid as an internal purifier, a purge, health provider, an expectorant and a natural way to support physical fitness. It’s antiseptic properties also render a useful aid to keep pigeons worm free. It is also a very good natural antibiotic.
  4. A good vitamin combination is necessary to fill any shortages that might result in bad feather growth. There are various products on the market like: Breed & Moult Max (over the food), Premolt 100 (in the water), Avio Multi Breed (over the food) and Dova Moult (in the water). These products should be given daily in the mornings  .
  5. Should you want to add a pellet to your breeding mixture, I advise the pigeon breeding pellet from Avi Bird Products. These products are available from any Pet Shop and they can order it for you. Add one tea cup full to approximately 100 pigeon’s feed everyday in the morning only. You will not believe how soft the feathers become.
  6. Canker and Cossidioses is always a problem. Treat your birds every month for five days with any product that controls both diseases together.
  7.  No antibiotics must be allowed in the off season and should be given only if a severe outbreak of any bacterial infection occurs. Under population usually guarantees the minimum use of medication.
  8. 8. It is now time to inoculate your pigeons against the paramyxo, pox virus and Parathyphoid. These two inoculations must not be done on the same day. It is safe to do them two weeks apart starting from 1 March. Inoculate all the birds (old and young) against paramyxo and parathyphoid and only the young birds against pox.
  9. 9. Your race birds should be allowed outside every day and to fly at will. This will assist in the weight control program and also for the young birds to develop. You will find that it is very difficult to get your pigeons going in the beginning of the race season if they were lock up the whole off season. Letting them out daily allows you to start your roadwork much earlier thus improving their road experience much faster.You can contact me on 072 408 1666 at any time should you have any questions relating to our sport.

Contact Details

Address: 111 George Street, Kimberley 8301, South Africa
Telephone: +27 (0)53 831 2619 | Mobile Phone: +27 (0)72 408 1666.
E-mail: diamondpigeonstud@intekom.co.za