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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We've been trying lots of different seed/grain blends for Chauncey -- usually starting with a pigeon mix from the feed store, and then adding other seeds and grains to see what he likes best.

We found a "small seed" mix at Jedd's that he just loves. We supplement it as a special treat. It's got: Plate Millet, Linseed, Rape Seed, Clipped Oats, Rice, Hempseed, Canary Seed. He favors this mix over all others.

In researching, it seems that people who race pigeons strictly ration the small seeds -- but I'm not clear on why. Is this necessary with an indoor homing pigeon? Does it throw off their nutritional balance if they eat too much of the small stuff?

This mix is like pigeon crack to Chauncey. In the past couple of days, I even got him to eat out of my hands a few times using this blend -- and that's a first. He's been terrified of hands and is still leery. He circles my hand for about 10 minutes before he finally can't resist anymore.

Taste-Free Vitamins?

Also: Can anyone recommend a vitamin mix without too much flavor -- or with pleasant taste for pij? We're using Probios in his water a couple of times a week. I tried to add Provital one day, too, but after he took a sip of his water, he looked at me like I'd engaged in the ultimate betrayal. What in the hell did you do to my water? I tried not to laugh, the expression was priceless. But anyway, it doesn't seem he'll drink his water with the vitamins in it.

Grit - Daily or Weekly?

I've read about people giving their pigeons grit daily -- but some say no more than once a week. Is there a hard, fast rule?
 

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Hi Valeri!

I am also new to the world of pigeons and I still have a lot to learn but from what I have heard and read seeds such as Linseed (flax), canary seed, and hemp seed are very high in fats and oil. Most people agree that its okay to give them these as treats but they should make up no more then 3-5 % of their feed mix. Oats are also very high in fat. That is probably why Chauncey loves it so much! :) It is their version of our french fries! I give Stanley some hemp and flax occasionally as treats, thats how we trained him to jump on the scale and to fly to our hands and what not. Stan also LOVES french lentils, he will practically do anything for some of those, maybe Chauncey will like those.

As far as grit goes I am still unsure. I used to give Stanley grit about 3 times a week (around a 1/2 tsp each time) and he eagerly took it. Then I switched to providing it in his cage 24/7 and he didn't really eat that much. When I took him to the vet recently she said that I shouldn't give grit to him more than 2x a YEAR because it causes blockages in the intestines and can kill them.... So now I am even more confused :(. But for now, I decided to give it to him 1x a week. I am sure others will be able to advise you better but I thats just what I have heard on the subject.

Its exciting to listen to your progress with him, I went through a similar experience with Stanley and it is very rewarding when they do begin to warm up to you. :) I would definitely not add this mix to his seed but use it specifically when he eats out of your hands that way he will begin to associate you with delicious foods and that will help him to feel more comfortable with you.
 

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The grit is left in with them at all times, they take what they want when they need it, if you keep it from them the next time you give it they just may gorge on it, so have it in there for them at all times. the vitamins in the water are a good thing, so just add it in small amounts daily untill you get the amount you need to add to the water, then you can put it in a few times a week for him. As far as the seeds go not much else to add to what stanleypidge said. If you want him to have a more consitant diet, you can't over feed him, he should eat what is given in measured amounts, otherwise he will pick and choose. you can avoid all that if you slowly changed him over to a pellet diet like harrison's high potency fine, (that is what my house doves eat) no need to measure they take what they want as it is in front of them at all times and he would get 100% nutrition and use the seeds for training and a treat with chopped greens a few times a week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the help! I've tried switching Chauncey to pellets in all of the ways recommended. He just won't have anything to do with the Harrison's. I'll have to try another brand or put on a better thinking cap.

Great info on the small seeds! We'll keep them as special treats. That's what we're doing now and it seems to be the only way he's getting comfortable with our hands -- coming in for his pigeon-fast-food fix.

For our regular mix, I buy a pigeon blend that has two kinds of peas, popcorn, milo, and safflower. To that, I add brown rice, millet, a little bit of sunflower and groats. Should I remove the millet or is it okay to keep it in that mix? He really doesn't like the blend all that well, except for the smaller seeds. I try to reduce his quantity so he'll be forced to eat the stuff he knocks out of the dish. But it's been a challenge. He goes on mini hunger strikes and I know I can't let him do that.

As far as greens, the only green he seems to like (of the ones we've tried so far) is spinach. Is that adequate?

Vitamins . . . we'll have to find a brand that doesn't taste funky to him. I put even the smallest amount in his dish and he rebels.
 

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well I think this bird has you working yourself into a worry wart... they will eat and drink what they are given. the little that pigeons can eat and survive on is truley amazing esp a house pigeon that only lounges on a book shelf. they can do well on 1 to 2 oz of grain per day...that is it.. if he is truely hungry he will eat everything immediately, and they will and can get used to vitamins in the water, just need to do a drop at a time if that is what you have to do....really I think you are complicating this more than it needs to be. you may like to cater to him and spoil him, but that does not always keep a pigeon healthy.
 

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Well, in addition to what you stated above I also add the lentils, buckwheat, wheat berries (a type of wheat), barley (which he probably won't eat if he is not a big fan of the other stuff. Stanley only eats it if he is really hungry and thats all that is left in the bowl) and mung beans (they are another good source of protein). I do add millet to his diet as well, they are a good carb and relatively low in fat. As far as the greens, I think spinach is fine, it is really high in vitamins. Have you tried Kale, stan loves it.

Again I am a newbie to pigeons but in my opinion I do not think that you need to add vitamins to his diet (unless he is sick, etc). From what I have read if you start giving vitamins on a regular basis their bodies will rely on that and stop utilizing the natural vitamins in their grains, they just pass through the body. I have a great book that describes what foods provide what nutrients if you are interested I could scan the couple pages and e-mail it to you.

Here is part of what the book says:
Vitamin A is contained in green peas, yellow corn, carrots, green vegetables, and cod liver oil. Vitamin B1 and B2- wheat, green peas, and brown rice. Vitamins B6 and B10- grains, yeast, and bran. Vitamin C- grains. Vitamin D3- Cod liver oil. Vitamin E- cod liver oil, germ of most cereals and legumes (green peas, corn, wheat). Vitamin K- green vegetables.

I don't give Stanley any supplements. I do add cod liver oil to his seeds once a month plus greens once and occasionally twice a week. I have never tried giving Stanley any pellets before but I decided that I am going to start just as a supplement though to his grains. I did find this pellet called Herba- corn that seems a little more natural. I am going to try it and I will let you know how it goes :). If Chauncey doesn't seem to eat the pellet you can always crush it and sprinkle it over his seeds. The link to the pellets I ordered from Jedds is below:
http://www.jedds.com/Categories.bok

Hopefully this information helps you! Chauncey is a lucky guy to have such a caring mom!!
 

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The vitamins i do think are nessasary if you let your pigeon pick and choose what he eats... most can get enough from natural foods and sunshine, which the latter is very important too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I'm actually not trying to complicate things, even if it comes across that way. I'd love more than anything to simplify existence in a life that's already quite complex for the two of us. As far as catering to him and spoiling him at the cost of his health, I genuinely hope we're not doing that, but maybe I'm deluded. I do ask a lot of questions -- it helps me get clarity in new situations. But I'm not losing sleep with worry. I just like to know that I'm making the best choices.

It's good to know he'll eat if he's hungry. I was a curious about that only because there was a sad post here about switching pigeons to pellets . . . and how you have to make very sure they're eating the pellets. Sometimes they won't. I wasn't sure if pigeons would also go hungry if given only seeds they didn't like. I can't always tell how much he's eating because he flings the seeds everywhere, in spite of the many spill-proof dishes, upside-down-cut-tupperware, pigeon-proof-crocks, etc. that we've been trying.
 

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I'm actually not trying to complicate things, even if it comes across that way. I'd love more than anything to simplify existence in a life that's already quite complex for the two of us. As far as catering to him and spoiling him at the cost of his health, I genuinely hope we're not doing that, but maybe I'm deluded. I do ask a lot of questions -- it helps me get clarity in new situations. But I'm not losing sleep with worry. I just like to know that I'm making the best choices.

It's good to know he'll eat if he's hungry. I was a curious about that only because there was a sad post here about switching pigeons to pellets . . . and how you have to make very sure they're eating the pellets. Sometimes they won't. I wasn't sure if pigeons would also go hungry if given only seeds they didn't like. I can't always tell how much he's eating because he flings the seeds everywhere, in spite of the many spill-proof dishes, upside-down-cut-tupperware, pigeon-proof-crocks, etc. that we've been trying.

I have 40 pigeons so it is a bit easier when it comes to feeding believe or not...they get measured amount of feed and it is gone in 15 mins...I added the pellet a bit at a time and they left some at first but then they were hungry enough to eat it as it was added slowly it CAN be done. they do not slig the feed as they are hungry enough to eat all of it.....if they did sling feed and pick and choose I would cut them back.....a few seeds left in the feeder is just about right....I really do not know what else to add, but as said before to measure it out and pick it up in 15 mins....if he does not eat it all he will next time....because he will know it may not be there for long...
 

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If you want him to have a more consitant diet, you can't over feed him, he should eat what is given in measured amounts, otherwise he will pick and choose. you can avoid all that if you slowly changed him over to a pellet diet like harrison's high potency fine, (that is what my house doves eat) no need to measure they take what they want as it is in front of them at all times and he would get 100% nutrition and use the seeds for training and a treat with chopped greens a few times a week.
Spirit Wings- I was looking at the harrison's high potency fine food on a web site. I think it was trying to say that one would feed the high potency for 6 months, then switch to adult fine? I want to try it for my 2 doves and my 1 (hopefully 2 soon) pij. What is your recommendation? My birds don't get too much exercise, will the high potency be too rich/fattening?
 

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Spirit Wings- I was looking at the harrison's high potency fine food on a web site. I think it was trying to say that one would feed the high potency for 6 months, then switch to adult fine? I want to try it for my 2 doves and my 1 (hopefully 2 soon) pij. What is your recommendation? My birds don't get too much exercise, will the high potency be too rich/fattening?
it has not been for mine...they came to me eating wildbird seed..they of course slung it all over and picked out what they wanted and were in poor feather and weight. I added the high potency fine like a teaspoon at first to the seed mix and then say every other day up it by another teaspoon minus the seed untill it was all pellet....they do get safflower as a treat and cut up curly kale....they look 100% better, it could be time to put them on the adult fine as they are in condition now...I leave it down for them 24/7 and feed the safflower seed just about a teaspoon for three doves everyday or sometimes everyother day...the kale or greens a few times a week, they may not need those but thought it was good for variety and give them something to do...I do not have to measure feed to make sure they are getting all the seeds they need as the pellet is all the same...they really are slick and of good weight and the yearly molt went smoothly and quickly...
 

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Thanks Spirit Wings, I'm going to try the Harrisons out. So far mine do not seem to eat veggies. I give them a sample each evening when I feed the guinea pigs. Maybe they'll taste it by accident and decide they like them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
For those using pellets, is there a #2 choice to Harrison's? I've tried several incarnations (fine, etc), in the recommended manner, and I swear, Chauncey chooses to go hungry for long periods rather than eat it. I'll try again according to Spirit Wings protocol. I saw the corn mixes at Jedd's, too, StanelyPidge. Are they a good substitute for Harrison's?
 

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Thanks Spirit Wings, I'm going to try the Harrisons out. So far mine do not seem to eat veggies. I give them a sample each evening when I feed the guinea pigs. Maybe they'll taste it by accident and decide they like them.
I roll the curly kale up and then use scissors to cut in small pieces, they may just play with it at first...but at some point they will try it...they eat it up now...they seem to like the curly kale best as it is not a wet green but has a waxy feel to it...spinach seems to be a bit wet for them as it sticks to the container...oh fine grated carrot seems to be a winner too....
 

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For those using pellets, is there a #2 choice to Harrison's? I've tried several incarnations (fine, etc), in the recommended manner, and I swear, Chauncey chooses to go hungry for long periods rather than eat it. I'll try again according to Spirit Wings protocol. I saw the corn mixes at Jedd's, too, StanelyPidge. Are they a good substitute for Harrison's?
it is not the type of pellet, it is the way your doing it... if you want to change him over to all pellet no matter which one it is, it's your choice of the one you want to use... you have to get him to eat all his seed/grains in one feeding first... then you can add the pellet a bit at a time and reduce the grain feed...I mean like just a pinch at first for a few days...then slowly add a bit at a time while reducing the grain....at the point your at half pellet and half grain, you can always leave it like that, but you would still have to give him his measured amount so he would eat it all...he may save the pellets for last but he would get hungry enough to finish them IF you are not over feeding.....you would have to leave it down untill he ate all the pellets before giving more pellet/grain....you can make a mix of grain and pellet in one container and measure out 1oz per feeding from that twice a day.... or if you wanted him to eat all pellets, then keep going with your change over till it is all pellet...you can give him two meals a day with that...for doves they say 1/2 to 1 and 1/2 teaspoon a day is all they need..a pigeon I would say 2 to three teaspoons... if you did not want to measure and feed twice a day..you would just leave it in with him and let him eat as he wants....my doves eat free choice and are not overweight...but a pigeon may be different...so you would have to keep your eye on his weight and see how much he is eating..if he is a piggy you may have to measure and feed the 2x a day ritual. getting him used to measured amounts so he is hungry when you feed him is the way to help him try the pellet..they are not so sure what it is at first and need to try it... birds almost get addicted to fatty seeds and it is hard to wean them off sometimes...so sometimes they may have to not get as much of their beloved seeds to be hungry enough to try that pellet that is sitting next to his first choice grain in the dish...lol..
 

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Hi there,
I'm glad to hear of your success with the Harrison's, Spirit Wings.
One worry I've had about an all-pellet diet: I've heard some reports that an all-pellet diet too high in protein can eventually lead to gout. Perhaps they've improved the pellet formulas since that time, however. Dr. Wilmer Miller, the dove specialist http://www.ringneckdove.com said (if I recall correctly) that he put his doves on a pellet diet when pellets were first popular, and the birds developed serious gout. So, I've been hesitant. I do add Harrison's to my birds diet, but haven't given more than perhaps %30 pellets.

Valeri, I've sometimes used Mazuri Small Bird Maintenance Diet pellets instead of the Harrison's. I think Dr. Miller supplements with Purina's Nutragreen pigeon pellets.

Mazuri site: http://shop.mazuri.com/psittacinepasserinediets.aspx
 

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Hi there,
I'm glad to hear of your success with the Harrison's, Spirit Wings.
One worry I've had about an all-pellet diet: I've heard some reports that an all-pellet diet too high in protein can eventually lead to gout. Perhaps they've improved the pellet formulas since that time, however. Dr. Wilmer Miller, the dove specialist http://www.ringneckdove.com said (if I recall correctly) that he put his doves on a pellet diet when pellets were first popular, and the birds developed serious gout. So, I've been hesitant. I do add Harrison's to my birds diet, but haven't given more than perhaps %30 pellets.

Valeri, I've sometimes used Mazuri Small Bird Maintenance Diet pellets instead of the Harrison's. I think Dr. Miller supplements with Purina's Nutragreen pigeon pellets.

Mazuri site: http://shop.mazuri.com/psittacinepasserinediets.aspx

The harrison's is no chemical insecticides, herbicides or fungicides, no preservatives, no artificial colors, sweetners or flavors, no double dose vitamins, no bacteria or mycotoxins, it is all organic. they really do not know all of what can cause gout... Im sure vets would not recommend this feed if it did. further reading in the link. Ive use the nutagreen, for my homers as it comes in a 50lb bag...which is too much for a house pet pigeon...and it is not organic it has preservatives and fillers as well.
http://home1.gte.net/impekabl/kid.htm
 
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