Feeding Methods

              By Raymond Julien

 

I have heard in many occasions that such and such fanciers keep the same feed year long for his pigeons and he succeeds well.  Of course, this is not what is now recommended but it will not hurt the pigeons even if is definitely not the best way to act. I will give you the latest news about feeding.
 
 
You should know that it is important to change the feeding methods in the different seasons mainly in the resting, breeding and molting time.  Recently, it has been recommended that in the winter rest period, just after the molt is finished until 3 weeks before the breeding period, it is best to give a small percentage of 6-7% of protein. It is not only adequate for this period but it is now recommended because it also prepares the bird for the next breeding season.  It might sound strange for many but the differences in protein gives a higher chance of success right at the beginning when you switch to 18% protein for the breeding period.  It is to be noted that in the rest period, the protein is then required only to replace dead body cell and 6-7% in a varied diet is enough.  Carbohydrates and fats are more important in the rest period, to provide warmth during the colder days and nights.
 
 
Preparatory to the breeding season, three weeks before courtship starts, the protein content of the diet must be increase to bring your pigeons into a good breeding condition.  16 to 18% protein in a varied diet is the ideal. Too high a % of protein can cause gout and other disabilities so it is not recommended. With 14% of protein, you will still have success but not as much as it should be. It is to be noted that a wide variety of seeds is highly recommended.
 
 
When you wean your babies, at the approximate 28 days old, the birds can be given the same diet as the adults until the full molt is finished what happen normally at the age of 5-6 months.  An average-sized pigeon weighs about 15 ounces (450g) and on a daily basis, a pigeon requires 1.5 ounces (40gr) per day.
 
 
Just before the molting period and after separation of the sexes, it is recommended to speed up the molt with barley given for about 3 days.  During the molt, a 14% of protein in the diet is adequate but with as varied a diet mixture as possible in order to supply a full quota of amino acids. Oil- containing seeds such as sunflower, linseed, cabbage seed, hemp, and rape fed in small quantities during the molting period will give an improved bloom to the new plumage.
 
Of course, the same apply for the Vitamin, Minerals and Amino Acids to be given depending of the season.
 
If you have any question, please do not hesitate.
 
Raymond Julien,
Canada.

 

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