Pigeons: nutrition

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Apart from fruit pigeons, the pigeon is a typical granivore. Its diet basically consists of seeds from different cereals, legumes and oilseeds. These are supplemented with minerals, plants and to some extent animal feeds. This chapter informs the reader of basic principles of pigeon nutrition; feed mixtures; feeding according to energy demands; and nutritional disease.

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27.1 Water containers for pigeons. The ceramic pots on the left are preferable to the plastic pots (right) as the surface is smoother, allowing them to be cleaned more easily and bacteria and algae removed. Far right: this drinking system is used to train pigeons to drink through the bars, which they need to learn before being transported. (Courtesy of E and R Schmölz)
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27.2 Feeding tables such as this one are often used by fanciers for young pigeons, to allow all the birds to feed at the same time and encourage them into the flock more quickly. However, faecal contamination of the food is more likely using this system and so good hygiene is essential. A range of feeding systems (a roof is preferable). It is important to ensure that the birds cannot defecate on the food. (Courtesy of E and R Schmölz)
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27.4 Production of crop milk. (Courtesy of Gerry Dorrestein)
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27.5 Food for rearing young pigeons, rich in protein (peas and soya). (Courtesy of E and R Schmölz)
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27.6 Weekly programme for pigeons during the racing season, changed daily starting from the day after the race (left to right): return feed; maintenance; recreation with increased energy and protein until the next race. The pieces of dried carrot in the front are for vitamin A. (Courtesy of E and R Schmölz)
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27.7 Signs of vitamin B1 deficiency. (© Michael Lierz)
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