The composition of the feed and the process of feeding turmans are not much different from the general rules. As previously mentioned, the less time pigeons spend in the nursery, the less they pollute it and, therefore, the likelihood of illness decreases. Therefore, it is better to feed pigeons outside the nursery, on a specially equipped feeding platform in the aviary. This will make it possible to observe how pigeons rush to the next feeding and less active ones to control in case of illness. In rainy, windy weather, the aviary is protected with a transparent film.
In order to correctly determine the composition of the grain mixture and the number of components in it, it is necessary to know the caloric content of each type of grain. The grain mix includes wheat, barley, millet, corn, sunflower seeds, peas, etc. Full and detailed data on feeding pigeons can be found by reading a chapter from the book of the German pigeon breeder Muller, where practical advice is given. A translation of the chapter on feeding is available in the library of the Moscow Pigeon Club. At present, it is not possible to have all the components for the preparation of recommended feed mixtures. Therefore, focusing on the recipes of Muller, one should not forget about reality and attach to it. In spring, after pairing pigeons and throughout the entire season of chicks, a grain mixture is used, which includes: 20% wheat, 10% small or crushed corn, 20% peas, 30% millet, 10% oatmeal, 5% barley and 5 % sunflower seed. Feeding is carried out three times a day. In the morning at 7-8 hours at the rate of 10 g per head, at lunchtime at 12-13 hours - the same portion. In the evening at 18-19 hours at the rate of 15 g per head. If the chicks still have a strong feeling of hunger after evening feeding, you can add a little feed, but not so much that the grain remains not pecked. This feeding schedule allows both males and females engaged in hatching eggs to consume the same amount of feed. For chicks, which are fed by their parents, saturation will be provided at night until morning feeding. If you can’t provide such a feeding regimen, you can limit yourself to a morning 40 percent and evening 60 percent meal.
In the autumn-winter season, the mixture consists of the same grain, but the percentage ratio of the components changes. In the cold season, pigeons more readily eat large grains. Given this, I compose the grain mixture in the following ratio: 30% corn, 30% barley, 20% wheat, 570 peas, 5% millet, 5% oatmeal, 5% sunflower seed. During molting, pigeons require food with a high protein content. Since it is not enough in grain, additives are needed. The most basic supplement consists of slightly soaked bread mixed with cottage cheese. Passed through a meat grinder, this mixture is easily and willingly pecked by pigeons. Do not harvest it a day in advance, the appearance of mold can lead to the disease of pigeons.
For young pigeons, a grain mixture of fine grain is more acceptable, but as they grow up and gain experience, they peck peas, sunflower seeds, and small corn with appetite. Therefore, give the mixture in the following proportions: 30% millet, 20% wheat, 20% peas, 10% crushed or small corn, 10% small sunflower seed, 5% oatmeal, 5% barley.
For all pigeons in a special wide box I sprout oats. When the sprouts reach 3-5 cm, put the box in the aviary. Pigeons love to feast on the sprouts of potato tops. Having sprouted potatoes in boxes under the net, to the height of the tops of 15-20 cm, I open the net and begin to sprout new tubers.
Pigeons willingly eat grass salad, made from leaves of dandelion, clover, plantain, lettuce, young nettle, wood lice. All this is washed, finely chopped and laid out in feeders.
If pigeons have a free exit from the enclosure, then you can limit yourself to the minimum amount of mineral additives to the feed. The simplest mineral dressing consists of crushed red brick, crushed limestone, old lime plaster and crushed egg shells. Many pigeon breeders make the so-called clay bread. This is done as follows: coarse river sand, chalk, crushed eggshells, bone meal, crushed limestone and salt are added to clay soaked in water. All this is mixed, dried, and then, crumbled, served in the feeder. Pigeons love to peck and charcoal, it needs very little. Coal collected from the bonfire, together with ash, crush, mix with coarse river sand and pour into a mineral feed feeder. Sand not only does not allow coal and ash to crumble, but pigeons also need it for normal digestion.
A common mistake of inexperienced pigeon breeders is excessive feeding of pets. Often you can hear that pigeons do not like this or that kind of grain. This happens if you give more feed than required. Pigeons become too picky, eat only the grain that they prefer, and the pigeon breeder does not wait until all the food has been pecked and sprinkles a new portion. The result is obesity, which is harmful to the health of pigeons. And what at first glance seems unbelievable, pigeons cease to well feed their chicks.
The difficulty in breeding domestic short-billed Turmans is that in addition to the problems associated with breeding short-billed birds in general, problems are added that were artificially created by misunderstanding by the pigeon breeders themselves.
Many breeds of our Turmans, spoiled by breeders, have been freed from parental duties for a long time, other pigeons - feeders fed their chicks. This breeding practice allows you to get two to three times more chicks in one season than with normal, natural breeding. The high price of Turmans led to the fact that in the pursuit of profit pigeons mercilessly exploited. Most affected by such breeding doves. They quickly weakened, laid defective eggs, often unfertilized, or completely ceased to bear and often died. As a result of such a barbaric "market" breeding, the offspring turned out to be weak, not viable.
Improper maintenance and poor care also led to the death of the Turman tribe. Pigeons, tortured by aviary, closely related mating, lost immunity to diseases, became weak and flabby, their life expectancy was reduced. In this state, the pigeons cease to monitor the purity of plumage, do not nest, and look apathetic. When, for decades from generation to generation, they are not only not allowed to feed their chicks, but simply lay eggs from under them, not even allowing them to incubate, their parental instincts become dull. And when today the pigeon breeder tries to let the Turmans feed the chicks themselves, parental efforts are usually enough for a maximum of 7-10 days, and then the pigeons cease to be interested in their offspring and look for a new place for the nest.
Starting to breed Turmans and not knowing about this serious vice, I was simply discouraged by their behavior. Experienced pigeon breeders suggested that it is impossible to breed Turmans without specially selected feeding pigeons. They didn’t tell me the details, but it seemed to me simple to transfer the chicks from one nest to another. I planned so that the feeders and the Turmans lay their eggs at the same time and simultaneously bring out the chicks, which I transferred from the Turmans to the feeders, and eliminated the chicks. The Turmans freed themselves from the chicks and began to prepare again for nesting - egg laying. At the same time, I was preparing the next pair of feeders to accept chicks from the Turmans. It often happened that the feeders hatched their chicks two days earlier and did not accept late turmanyats, because they were smaller, and the "milk" period of feeding was limited to a certain duration. But even then, when the exit of the chicks from the Turmans and the feeders coincided, it was not always possible to safely remove the Turman. During the transition from goiter milk to grain, part of the chicks slowed down, they refused to eat and died. In addition, not all outbred pigeons are able to feed other people's chicks, and especially short-billed ones. Over time, I developed a method for selecting pairs of feeders and learned how to use them rationally.
Usually, long-billed and medium-billed (half the cisar's beaks) pigeon breeds are selected for feeding.
Pigeon breeders often argue about which breed is most suitable for the role of helmsmen. Most prefer Moscow monks. These pigeons are endowed with talent for feeding short-billed young animals, patient, caring, persistent in the nest. Hamburg are also characterized approximately the same way. But among the aces of feeding there are "neumeiks". Sometimes, such feeders pecked the nestlings. Therefore, before entrusting the feeding of a valuable chick to feeders, it is necessary to check them, allowing to feed the chicks of medium quality turmans.
Pigeons, which I use in my household as a feeder, do not belong to a particular breed. I select the males with a thick, medium-long beak, taking into account the fact that they will have to feed the chicks of Smolensk rooks, whose beak is very thick and wide. Doves intensively feed the chicks for the first twenty days, their main task is to feed well in the first days after hatching. With this in mind, a feeding dove should be selected with a beak of medium length, thinner than a dove. But this is not a guarantee of success. The selection of nurses is not an easy task. It takes time to identify capable males and females, to pair them. You can’t leave their own chicks in the nests, often after that they either stop feeding the Turmans well or completely abandon them. Equally important is the age of the nurses. As a rule, young couples feed well, and when pigeons reach the age of seven to eight years, their quality is sharply lost. Diligent pairs of feeders can, if necessary, raise three chicks, but it is better if the third is placed in the nest a week after hatching.
Having gained experience working with feeders, I came to the conclusion that a small adjustment of the mating dates is needed. The changes boiled down to the fact that I spent the pairing of the feeders three days later than the pairing of the turmans. As practice has shown, the best results in feeding and preserving young animals are obtained if the chicks that their parents began to feed in the nest to the feeders. Moreover, the ideal moment of shifting is when the chicks of the Turmans reach three to five days of age, and in the nest of the feeders the eggs only bite.
You can plant the chicks and two days before the breeding of nurses - goiter milk will be provided to the chicks. In this case, the laying of eggs of the feeders is removed, and the chicks of the turmans, having fallen into the nest of the adoptive parents, having already passed the first stage of feeding, are easily assimilated and, moreover, will receive goiter milk for a longer time than with the usual day-to-day transfer. This technology for raising chicks guarantees success, and yet, if for some reason the feeders stop feeding the chicks ahead of time, human help is required. For help to be timely, you need to constantly, day after day, control the life of the chicks. If necessary, feed them from a pipette with semolina gruel, and more adults with soaked grain. It is necessary to feed not to a full goiter, but lightly so that the self-remembering nurses can feed them. Do not forget about mineral nutrition. Together with the soaked grain, give some good washed and calcined river sand, crushed eggshells, previously subjected to heat treatment at 100 degrees Celsius, and half a tablet of calcium glucanate per day. True, such a need to feed the chicks is rare. A special supervision is needed sooner when the chicks begin to feed on their own. At this time, when the feeders stop feeding them, you need to make sure that young pigeons do not have difficulty finding food and water. Only after the pigeons become capable of independent life, they can be transplanted into the aviary for young animals. A separate enclosure is necessary for young animals so that the chicks in the first weeks of independent life have sufficient comfort. In the general enclosure, adult pigeons prevent fragile chicks from quietly pecking food, swimming, resting on carers, etc.
An open-air cage for young growth is a seasonal structure. It’s not necessary to build it big. You can protect part of the general aviary. It is important that the chicks there are protected from the wind, can hide from the rain under a canopy. In the enclosure, you need to provide for sunny and shady places that pigeons could use if necessary. Cleanliness in the aviary should be ideal so that, by inexperience, young pigeons do not glue the dirt. When young people get used to eating at feeding troughs, the likelihood that, once in a common enclosure, they will seek out food in contaminated areas, peck garbage, etc., will significantly decrease. An exit for flights in this aviary is not needed. As the youth grows stronger chicks with precautions, one at a time, can be transferred to a common aviary. Precautions should be as follows: you need to watch so that the chick does not turn out to be driven by other pigeons outside the range, find a feeder and a drinking bowl, calm down, get comfortable. The chick must have confidence that only here he will find protection, food. In a word, feel at home. Only after this happens, the chick can be allowed to walk on the roof outside the range. After making sure that the chick has mastered and easily finds the entrance to the aviary, you can carefully scare him for a flight with pigeons that do not fly high and for long. Two or three days is enough for such walks. As a rule, after this lesson, young people do not have problems with orientation to the terrain. One should not accustom two or more chicks at the same time using this technique. If one of them happened during the first flight to mix up its roof with a stranger, in four out of five cases his inexperienced comrades followed him. If this happens, then it can be very difficult to wean pigeons from flying onto other people's rooftops. It is also not recommended to leave pigeons, among which a young, not overtaken chick, is walking without supervision of a pigeon breeder. The enemies of the pigeons - crows and cats, as usual, are closely monitoring potential prey. They very well feel the uncertainty of a young pigeon. As soon as you weaken your guard, a tragedy will occur.
Yes, there are difficulties when overtaking young animals, there are actually more of them than I described, but do not despair. The joy that aesthetic enjoyment of flight brings is incomparably greater than the afflictions that are inevitable with the chasing contents of pigeons. And try to be careful and accurate when enforcing the rules of overtaking. It's a shame to realize here the saying that "there are no pigeons of fools, and there are many pigeon breeders."
The better care and maintenance, the more carefully the pigeon breeder follows the pigeon breeding rules, scientific recommendations, accumulated experience, the more likely the success and prosperity of pigeons in his nursery, the more he will receive satisfaction from his birds.
The results of the last years of my work with the Turmans have shown that in their breeding one can do without feeding facilities or, at least, reduce their number, and significantly. You will immediately see one positive side of such a reduction. When the farm becomes thirty goals less, then the cleanliness in the nursery after cleaning lasts longer.
Grain mixtures, mineral feeds and other top dressing are saved per month about fifty kilograms. This is not only a solution to monetary problems, but also facilitation of procurement. After all, it takes a lot of time to produce mineral feed. Carrying bags of grain, especially in the attic, is not a pleasant occupation either. Another effect is the release of living space. Sometimes, due to cramped conditions, it is necessary to reduce the Turman tribe still needed in the work.
In the spring-summer season, when pigeons appear offspring, the extra hustle and bustle of a large number of inhabitants of the dovecote can bring considerable harm. But the greatest benefit of this reduction, if not strange, is received by those for whom they kept these nurses. "But who will feed the hatched turmans if there is no feeding?" - you ask. And no one will believe that the Turmans themselves are able to do this. This is not achieved immediately. The path that should lead to the restoration of the normal, laid down by nature itself, life cycle of pigeons, which consists of the stages: development of the embryo in the egg, hatching from the shell, feeding by parents, growing up, mating, egg laying, is not easy and fast. You can easily notice that in this way of life the Turmans lack the stage of feeding the chicks. It seems that the Turman’s breeders thought up well, having removed them from this hard work — when feeding poultry, pigeons lose a lot of strength and lose weight. During this period, the beginning of molting occurs, which is also associated with the depletion of the pigeon's body due to feeding of young animals. And then suddenly the chicks are transferred to the nests of the feeders and, thus, the main producers should have health now "a wagon and a small cart." Violation of the order created by nature does not pass without a trace. Obviously, artificially created simplifications of the life of birds only complicated the breeding of Turmans, put the breed under attack. No, over time it turns out that the breeds of the best representatives of the Turman tribe began to degenerate. Most pigeons have poor health. With such difficulty of breeding, the number of people wishing to breed these breeds sharply decreased. After all, not every pigeon breeder can find so much time for pigeons to enable this breed to at least reproduce. Given all these circumstances, I decided to try to restore the ability of Turmans to feed offspring. Realizing that physically strong and healthy pigeons could do this, the first thing I did was to restore flying qualities, abandoning the enclosure. It has been noticed that well-trained pigeons, capable of spending a long time in flight, get sick much less often than pigeons of cellular content, live longer and more actively. A sure sign of improving their health is the appearance, especially the sleekness of the feather cover.
Having created optimal conditions for pigeons, I began to teach young animals to drive. Training has done its job. The grown young growth differed from last year in significantly better physical condition, pleasing to the eye when compared with aviary pigeons.
After waiting for the start of the next season, I noticed the great activity with which such pigeons passed nesting. In order to give me the opportunity to practice feeding the chicks, I began to plant one chick from the long-billed pigeon breeds in the turman's nests. Basically, they were the chicks of Baku militant and pure tin. Oddly enough, the Turmans feed the long-billed chicks much more readily than their own, and the small long-nosed noses themselves are more active than the short-billed ones. And if a lot of tormented Turmans threw feeding after 15-20 days, then the chicks survived without their help. Over time, having trained and feeling confident in their abilities, the Turmans began to fully feed other people's chicks. After that, it was possible to feed not only one, but also two chicks, and I left the most capable to feed my chicks. Usually, for the second season this is obtained for all couples.
With free keeping, hatchability from eggs increased markedly. There was no longer any need to pick out the chick from an egg, as many short-billed pigeon breeders have advised. The moment of hatching from the egg is really crucial, and when on the seventeenth day of hatching, putting the egg to the ear, you will hear a faint tapping, be alert. Sometimes clumsy pigeons crush the shell of a hatching chick, it sticks to it, and the chick needs help in freeing it. But to wet the stubborn eggs, break the shell to facilitate hatching, I think, is unnecessary. Such actions are more harmful.
Now in my farm there are several pairs of Turmans, and among the Smolensk rooks, and among the Oryol beards, and among the Pakhovskys, there are individuals who can be trusted to feed the chicks. Other breeds of turmans that I have, I gradually translate into the same conditions. And still, I keep a helper, although I have three times less of them than other tourman breeders. I trust the feeding pigeons I especially need for Turman chicks or rare in beauty, the loss of which is unacceptable. In place of the transplanted, I do not forget to plant at least one chick from the feeders for the Turmans, so as not to block the feeding instinct.
There are methods of artificial feeding of chicks, but, firstly, it takes a lot of time, and secondly, chicks raised by pigeons are more developed in all respects compared to "artificial" ones. I recommend to all pigeon breeders - breeders of short-billed pigeons to use this experience of keeping and breeding, as the most promising for strengthening the breeds of turmans