The Racing Pigeon Enthusiast
~ Newsletter ~
Table of Contents:

About this newsletter   by John Vance, editor

Welcome to the thirteenth issue of the Racing Pigeon Enthusiast, This newsletter is sponsored by and it is hoped that many more issues will follow.

In this newsletter, you will find a "hopefully" interesting article on how pH levels affect mineral absorption, and another article about pigeon milk and passing immunity to the youngsters. You will find some tips on vitamins and feeding. I also introduce a new product called American "No Light" Pills.

If you have articles that you would like published in the newsletter please feel free to e-mail them to me. This newsletter goes out to about 750+ subscribers. The number of subscribers changes with every issue as some new subscribers sign up and others are dropped because they have changed their e-mail address and have not updated their new information in our database.

pH levels and Mineral Absorption   by John Vance

In a perfect world, any supplemental minerals we give our birds would be 100% absorbed and utilized. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Studies show that "in general" optimal mineral absorption occurs when pH levels are at or near 7.

I say in general, because not every mineral has maximum absorption at the same pH level, but in general, 7 is the target pH level we should strive for if we desire optimal mineral absorption by our birds. In contrast, when pH levels fall to around 4, mineral absorption (availability) can drop by nearly 50%. For some minerals, a pH level of 4 reduces absorption by 75%, so knowledge of this information can be used to your benefit.

I have included a list of substance pH levels for several of the ingredients common to pigeon fanciers, below. This list, shows that pure water would have the preferred pH level of 7. However, for pigeon fanciers, there is no pure water option.

What do I mean by that? Pure water would be distilled water and yes, we could use distilled water to deliver our minerals. However, once distilled water is exposed to the air....

To read the complete article go to:

Sweakers, Pigeon Milk, and Leaky Intestinal Linings (Part 1)   By: John Vance

Pigeons pass immunity to their young in two ways, first through the egg and and a second time in the pigeon milk. For the first nine or ten days of a sweaker's life, they receive pigeon milk from their parents. Along with essential nutrients, the parents are also passing immune factors to their young in this milk. in order for the youngsters to accept and utilize these immune factors, their intestinal lining must be what I call "leaky". Probably a better terminology would be that the intestinal mucosal barrier is immature or under-developed.

For lack of a better word, we will use "leaky" to describe the intestinal lining's ability to allow parental immunity to pass through the lining and into the blood stream (and associated lymphatic tissues). For protective purposes, at about nine to ten days of age (when pigeon milk is being replaced with seeds), the intestinal lining of the youngster "hardens". This happens for two reasons; first, since the pigeon milk is being replaced with seeds, there is no longer a need to allow the passing of parental antibodies and their associative immunoglobulins through the youngster's intestinal lining. Secondly, the intestinal lining must now prepare itself for the mechanics of solid food digestion.

So, as the youngster matures, it begins to receive seeds from the parents and it begins to explore its environment by pecking around the nest. At this time, the likelihood of ingesting pathogens which are present in the loft, greatly increases and in defense....

To read the complete article and see the photo go to:

American "No Light" Pills By: John Vance

American "No Light" Pills

Max Immune Plus and Show Stopper, have quite a following among those in the sport who are moving away from antibiotics and other medications. Over the past year, we have received many testimonials from satisfied customers, applauding the effectiveness of these two immunity building pigeon health products. There simply are not better products on the market today for maintaining pigeon health, without the need for medications or antibiotics.

Building on that success, I have always wanted to create a pill version of these two great products in order to extend their usefulness in maintaining pigeon health and hopefully in improving your race results. Therefore, I recently purchased a pill press and have spent some time learning how to manufacture pills. The beauty of doing it all this myself, is that I am not required by a manufacturer to purchase large quantities all at one time because of minimum "pill run" requirements. In fact, just like with the Max Immune Plus and Show Stopper products, I mix my ingredients once or twice a week as needed. When you order any of my products including the pills, you are getting fresh product not something that has sat on the shelf for months.

With the introduction of the American "No Light" Pills, I can now offer individual "pigeon sized" pills made from each of our successful immunity building products (Max Immune Plus and Show Stopper). Now, fanciers have the option, if they so desire, of treating birds individually, as needed.

To read more about our Immunity Building products, go to:

Tips (On Vitamins and Feed)   By: John Vance


The safest source for vitamin A is beta-carotine as it is converted to vitamin A as needed and there is no overdosing or taxing of the system to flush it out.

One concern about A and the other fat soluable vitamins is that when the bird is called upon to give an extreme effort and exhaust its stores of fat, the stores of vitamins are released (en mass) and can toxify the birds when their livers and kidneys are least able to process out any excess vitamins. I have heard of flyers dropping right to the bottom of the race sheet on the 500 mile race, because they "topped the tank" on the day of shipping with vitamins and the birds were hampered on race day by having to expel the excess vitamins stored in the fat being burned for racing energy.

Personally, I would not give those types of vitamins near the day of shipping for hard races. Better early in the week so some normalization can take place before the birds are shipped. This is a general rule and those who know the proper dosage have more flexibility in this matter. I perfer micro nutrient supplementation which means I would rather give half the recommended dosage early and half later in the week, instead of a once a week application.

Just don't over supplement with the fat soluable vitamins and you will be ok. I am sure others will disagree but this is how I do it!

Just one person's opinion,

John V

On Feed:

A while back, there was some information circulating about on how peas are not the most digestible source of protein, and the person was recommending the use of toasted soybeans. There was also some comments on the risk of feeding seeds high in tannin. One of the contributors said the following on how to toast the soybeans to remove the trypsin and make them safe for pigeons:

Soybeans contain trypsin, which can be toxic to pigeons. Roast them at 250 degrees for aproximately 10 to 15 minutes. They need to reach an internal temperature of at least 180 degrees for 15 minutes to destroy the trypsin. The easiest thing is to find a mill that handles roasted soybeans.

Below are comments I contributed on this subject (protein utilization, soy and tannins) and include them here for the hopeful benefit of anyone reading this newsletter who might have simular concerns.

One of my point was that peas are a good source of protein and heating them or most any seed or grain improves their utilization. Another point was that brown peas and brown milo are as useful as green peas and yellow or red milo and in some cases more healthful, though in high proportions brown peas and brown milo might be less beneficial in our bird's diets. The end of it all is that, all these grains and seeds are good if kept in a reasonable balance or mix.


Along the same lines, if you were to process peas with heat you would increase the availability of the protein. Also, if you treat high tannin Milo with heat and moisture, then extrude the product, you can remove most of the tannin. You can also leach the tannin. One of the reasons some pellet brands are so good is that the grain or legume is pulverized (micronized in some cases), moisturized, heated (sometimes steamed) and/or extruded (using the mechanical pressure of a turn screw to move heated product out an opening (die) and then dried, all of which increases the digestibility, and destroys the inhibitors to protein, mineral and vitamin digestion.

BTW, new varieties of soybeans have been genetically modified and testing has shown that trypsin levels are 27% higher before and still 18% higher after toasting compared to non-genetically manipulated controls. So beware of the seed source of your soybeans. A company genetically modifies for one trait and inadvertently modifies another unintentionally. Monsanto sells most of the genetically modified soybeans, though Bunge also markets their own genetically modified seed.

Just as dangerous is phytic acid or phytates. Diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies by preventing their absorption. The soybean has a higher phytate content than any other grain or legume that has been studied.

I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from utilizing soybeans (or any grains / seeds) in their bird's diet. I am only pointing out that there is "something bad" in most all natural foods and we must weight the good and the bad. Recently, high tannin Milo and maple peas have been getting a bad rap, but tannin is a strong Antioxidant (compounds that protect against cell damage caused by molecules called oxygen-free radicals). It has been shown to fight cancer and tooth decay and probably lots of other studies have also been done that simply slip my mind at the moment.

Did you know that tannin is a natural antibiotic?

I think I understand why Maple peas (also known as brown or Austrian peas) became popular in pigeon diets. On one level, they were helping to keep the birds healthy, even though they are less digestible (protein available) than the Canadian pea. What we give the birds should not be just to build muscle or restore carbohydrate levels, there are other positive health reasons to be considered and acted upon. The yellow Milo is good, the red Milo is good and the brown (high tannin) Milo is good, just not to much of it ;-).

The Canadian style peas (green) are good and the Austrian style peas (brown) are good, but not to much Austrian!!!!

The egg has been good, then bad, then good, then bad, now good again. It does have cholesterol but it also contains Lecithin to counter the cholesterol. Lecithin has been found to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. It helps dissolve the plaques already laid down in the arteries.

Nature has a way of keeping things in balance.

Personally, I am not afraid of brown Milo or Maple peas as long as they are in a mix and are not the major components of the mix.

John V.

[ RacingPigeonMall ] [ Race Results ] [ Auction ] [ Contacts ]