Water, probiotics and electrolytes
During exertion, both water and electrolytes are lost from the bird’s system. These need to be correctly replaced to restore the bird’s sense of wellbeing and to speed recovery. With short or easy races, plain water and access to grit and a pink mineral will be sufficient. However, with extreme exertion, significant levels of electrolytes will be lost. Recovery is therefore speeded by the use of electrolytes in the water.
Electrolyte/glucose preparation to be placed in the water on long races and in particular on hot days when the birds arrive at the loft distressed. Simple sugars do not need to be digested and
in pigeons are passively absorbed through the bowel wall. This means a quick replacement of lost energy. In most races where the birds are not arriving in a fatigued state I suggest that probiotics be provided.
Probiotics (beneficial bacteria from the bowel) are necessary for digestion and absorption of nutrients. These organisms are essential for health but are the first to be lost with any stress. Quick replacement enables bowel function to return more quickly, meaning the droppings in the post-race bird return to normal more quickly and that feather down drop resumes more promptly. In Europe, where widowers are often sent to a 300km race each weekend, the use of such medications has particular advantages. Quick recovery means a quick return to race form.
Words from (Dr Colin Walker)