What to Feed Racing Pigeons

Optimum nutrition to maximize performance.   There are many different opinions on what is best to feed a racing pigeon.  There are a lot of different seed mix and pellet options, mixes, additives and “secrets” out there.  I’ve read about many and there are many that I am not yet aware of.

There has been some successful racers who have switched to the Purina NutriBlend Pigeon Feed.  This is a great concept and there is a lot of science behind Purina Mills. They simply offer a 14% protein feed (Gold), and an 18% protein feed.  You mix the two feeds to obtain your desired percentage of protein.  This allows you to keep the same feed and make adjustments according to need or time of year.

“The NutriBlend Feeding System represents a revolutionary breakthrough in pigeon nutrition. The NutriBlend System involves two products: Purina NutriBlend Green and Gold. NutriBlend Green is a high protein (and lower energy) diet. NutriBlend Gold is a high energy (and lower protein) diet. By blending the two products, you regulate the protein and energy levels of your birds’ diet, while maintaining optimum levels of all other nutrients.”

I like this idea and if my local feed store would stock it I would be feeding it.  For me, it has to be convenient.  I can’t afford to buy feed a pallet at a time.  I need to be able to run to the feed store and grab it when I need it.   If there is a way to cut costs, I need to do it.  I’ve got 5 kids and all of their stuff takes priority over my “hobbies”.

Here’s my solution.  Keep in mind I’m a complete beginner, just learning and trying new things.  I started doing this in hopes of still using quality feed and making it go farther.  I use a really good seed mix as my base.  This feed is produced here in Utah by a an excellent pigeon racer.  “Top Flight” from Wheatland Seed Company.  This is an 18% protein mix.  Which includes: Maple Peas, Green Peas, Yellow Peas, Red Milo, White Milo, White Millet, Canola (Rape), Flax, Hemp, Oat Groats, Safflower, Red Wheat, and Whole Corn.  They also add a probiotic to the feed.  My birds get a minimum of half of their feed from this mix as my base.  Then depending on where I want to go with my protein percentage, I can add in feed pellets.  There are chicken layer pellets, available in 14% all the way up to 20% protein.  If I want to get a little more aggressive with the protein I can get turkey grower pellets in the 20 to 24% protein range.  I can mix in what I want to adjust for my birds current protein needs.

I’m currently in the camp that higher protein is better for younger birds, moulting birds and when they are being worked heavily.  The protein percentage debate is another big one that I don’t know enough about yet.  I’m looking to learn more about this.

Any of the poultry pellets I mentioned are suitable for pigeons.  They have useful vitamins and are generally a quality feed.  I stay away from the “medicated” poultry pellets because I don’t know the medications and I don’t want to just blindly throw medications at my birds.  I also stay away from the “crumbles” because they are messy.  The best part about supplementing with these pellets is the cost.  I can generally pick up a 50 pound bag for 12 to 14 dollars.  It saves a little money hopefully without sacrificing any nutrition that racing pigeons need.

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