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The life of the racing pigeon ( or the homing pigeon if you would prefer ) is, arguably, as tough and as rigorous as any professional athlete. However, the racing pigeons that thrive and win in pigeon sport live very healthy lives and are given the best of care by their pigeon fancier owners. Racing pigeons are regularly treated to prevent canker, coccidiosis, salmonella, worms and other ailments so as to better ensure that they never suffer from ill health that could cause them unnecessary stress or prevent them from achieving top racing form.
In addition to a strict regime of preventative treatments against any possible illness, racing pigeons, the 'champions of the sky', are fed highly nutritious diets supplemented by a wide range of beneficially healthy vitamins, minerals and oils to maximise each pigeon's pure health and vitality. Many pigeon racers also use respiratory treatments to allow the pigeon to breathe with greater ease when under the strenuous conditions of sprint racing or long distance racing.
Without doubt, the due care and attention to health that pigeon racers give to their racing pigeons means that their birds can reasonably be perceived as far removed from their street dwelling cousins. For those involved in pigeon sport, pigeon racing is a passion, it requires loving dedication, patience and thorough understanding. For many, keeping pigeons and racing pigeons is a way of life.
Pigeon racers, arguably, go to great lengths when deciding the balance of nutrition required to maximise the racing performance of their pigeons, to ensure healthy young birds when breeding and to maintain healthy weight during periods of rest.
Often the pigeon food given to their birds is a carefully considered home made mix containing varying combinations of straight grains such as maize, tic beans, barley, wheat, maple peas, peanuts and many others.
Equally, many pigeon racers will feed a pre-formulated branded mix straight from the sack, relying upon the expert knowledge of such companies as Willsbridge, Buckton, BJF and Versele Laga (to name but just a few).
Whatever is the pigeon fancier's method of feeding it is reasonable to suggest that pigeon fanciers are, invariably, very serious when deciding the right diet for their champ's.
After all, just when it is considered that the winning system is in place, the pigeons are on form, the birds are trapping well and the wind is in the right direction... Someone, somewhere has pipped you to the post and timed in a cracker (in more formal english... beaten your pigeon to win the race).
Fortunately, many of these winning pigeon fanciers have been willing to share the secrets of their successes in books, magazines and dvds throughout the years so that all may benefit from their knowledge. Old 'Squills'' and 'Homing World' books, vintage / antique copies of 'The Racing Pigeon' and the 'Pictorial' are still available and all contain a wealth of information, experience and expertise that need not be forever lost in time.
In more recent decades the benefit of easily accessible films in the form of DVDs have been made available and, thankfully, there is no shortage of extensive worldwide footage showing the lofts, systems and even interviews with winning fanciers themselves.
So... How did he, she, they do that!? ... Arguably, just read, watch, listen to and learn from the pro's.