Nutrition in modern pigeon sport
As already cited in the introduction, good nutrition is mainly a matter of addressing the needs of the pigeons. These needs are mainly determined by the burden on the pigeons, including the role played by weather conditions. Pigeons rearing youngsters have much higher protein requirements than pigeons that are on widowhood. Pigeons that are raced weekly with increasing distances up to 700 km have a much higher energy requirement than birds that only race sprint races or birds that are raced bi-weekly. An additional factor in respect of the burden are the weather conditions. When it is cold the birds need more energy than when it is warm weather. When the birds frequently have to deal with headwinds, they require a lot more energy than in races with tail winds. In short: the needs of the pigeons vary depending on the burden and it is up to the fancier to act adequately. The mixtures that we give to our pigeons must be balanced in such a way that they are responsive to the needs of the pigeons. Pigeon mixes consist roughly from three primary nutrients: carbohydrates (sugars & starch), proteins and fats. Depending on the needs of the pigeons, the relationship between carbohydrates, proteins and fats vary. The largest share is always formed by carbohydrates. A breeding mixture must have a relatively high protein percentage, while a mixture for the last days before a race should contain a relatively high fat content. The tip of the balance is based on the needs of the pigeons and is accomplished by varying the composition.