Zoontjens feeding system - Yellow- and Blue Mixtures

When father Jan Zoontjens started as a pigeon fancier, more than 50 years ago, he was always studying about the food and the feeding system for pigeons. As a guide he used the Dutch booklet "Voeding en Duiven" (Feeding and Pigeons), written by late author Arie v.d. Hoek.

Together with his own experiences in this matter he developed feeding mixtures of his own. The first mixture was a so-called 'Basic Mixture' and existed of all kind of grains and seeds. The other mixture did exist of legumes and maize.

The idea for those mixtures was born while father Jan did sift the trading mixtures. The grains and seeds were fed in the beginning of the week, while the legumes and maize were fed several days before the pigeons were basketing.
Later on the mixtures were completed and calculated for food values.
In the meantime these two mixtures are placed upon the market by firm Beyers in Belgium. These two mixtures are known as the "Basic Mixture" or the "Yellow Mixture" and the other one is the "Blue Mixture".

The mixtures exist of following ingredients. (% Proportions)

The Yellow Mixture ("Basic Mixture")   The "Blue Mixture"
Wheat 21,17 %   Cribs/La Plata maize 30 %
Dari-Sorghum 26,67 %   Maize special 20 %
Cardy 13,33 %   Maize Popcorn 10 %
Tares 9,67 %   Green Peas 15 %
Lentils 8,33 %   Maple Peas 10 %
Milocorn 8,33 %   Sojabeans toasted 15 %
Katjan Idjoe (Mung beans) 6,67 %      
Paddy rice 3,33 %      
Buckwheat 2,50 %      

Throughout the years these mixtures always have been used in the lofts in Riel.
In consultation with the supplier of these mixtures several percentages of have been adjusted to improve the necessary balance of several of the ingredients.
These mixtures have become public from the moment on Wal did introduce these mixtures in the market by firm Beyers. In the meantime the "Yellow Mixture" has become

part of a basic feeding method by many pigeon fanciers all over the world.
During the winter Wal feeds all his pigeons a mixture of:
1/3 part of the Zoontjens Basic "Yellow Mixture"
1/3 part Breeding Mixture, and
1/3 part of Barley
When the pigeon are mated they get that same mixture till they have to feed chicks of 6 days onwards. Then they will also receive a mixture of 50% of Breeding - and 50% Zoontjens "Basic Mixture" additional in their nestbox.

The young birds also get this mixture (50% Breeding / 50% Zoontjens "Basic Mixture") after they are weaned from their parents. When the young birds have an age of three months, they will get these 3 parts mixture (1/3 Zoontjens "Basic Mixture", 1/3 Breeding, 1/3 Barley).
With this mixture the young birds fly the races till 300 km in an excellent way. When the 300 km races are passed the Barley will be left out and the young birds get the mixture 50% Breeding / 50% Zoontjens "Basic Mixture".
The result obtained in the races when using this 33% parts mixture and the 50% mixture afterwards, are spectacular and even national races were won.
In 1994 Wal and Hans won the famous national young bird race Orleans and in 1999 they won the national Etampes.
In following scheme we will try to give an overview of the feeding system for the widowhood cocks during the several of disciplines and distances.

Feeding scheme for widowhood cocks

  • Short Distance (from 80 to 300 km). The widowhood cocks are basketing on Friday evening and stay in the basket for just one night.
  • Middle distance (from 300 to 500 km). The widowhood cocks are basketing on Thursday evening and will stay in the basket for two days.
  • One-day races (from 500 to 700 km). The widowhood cocks are basketing on Thursday evening and will stay in the basket for two days.
Saturday This is the day the widowhood cocks arriving at the home loft. In their box they will get the "Basic Mixture" till they are satisfied.In the meantime the widowhood hens go back to the aviary, where they will stay during the week. They mostly get only Barley to eat. When the race was under warm circumstances, at arrival the widowhood cocks also receive electrolyte in the water. For the rest of the day they rest and recover.
Sunday In the morning (every morning)
All widowhood cocks will receive a handful of the "Basic Mixture". The amount is to be compared with the amount on a spoon. When there are still some hungry widowhood cocks, Wal will feed some small amounts of Barley on the floor till these widowhood cocks are satisfied too.
  In the evening

On Short-, Middle distances and One-day races: All widowhood cocks get a handful of the "Basic Mixture".
Remark: All the widowhood cocks, which fly the One-day races, get this "Basic Mixture" also in the evening during the week they stay at home. After this week Wal follows this scheme.

Monday In the morning A handful of "Basic Mixture"
  In the evening
    On Short- and Middle Distances: a handful of "Basic Mixture".
    On One-day races: depending of the distance the widowhood cocks has to fly on the next race, Wal already starts to feed the Blue Mixture. The widowhood cocks have to eat all they get and are satisfied.
Tuesday In the morning A handful of "Basic Mixture"
  In the evening
    On Short Distance: a handful of "Basic Mixture".
    On the Middle Distance and One-day races: the Blue Mixture. Again the widowhood cocks have to eat all they get and are satisfied.
Wednesday In the morning A handful of "Basic Mixture"
  In the evening
    On the Short-, Middle Distance as well as on the One-day races: the widowhood cocks get the Blue Mixture. Again as much as the widowhood cocks can eat and are satisfied.Wal feeds the normal amount in a small bin in the nest box. After that Wal will gives small amounts in a bin on the floor, trying to let the widowhood cocks eat as much as they can and are completely satisfied.
Thursday In the morning A handful of "Basic Mixture"
  In the evening
    On Short Distance: the Blue Mixture till the widowhood cocks are satisfied
    On Middle Distance and One-day races: This is the day the widowhood cocks will be basketing for the race. About 2 hours before the widowhood cocks will be basketing they get a small amount of the Blue Mixture. After that enough of the "Basic Mixture" and at last but not least some seeds. Wal prefers to basketing the widowhood cocks with a half to three quarter's full crop. When the widowhood cocks do not eat enough this afternoon and will be basketing with an empty- or almost empty crop, the feeding method during that week has not been correct. Then widowhood cocks are already on the top of their condition, which is to be avoided. The widowhood cocks should be on the top of their condition on the Saturday when they start the race. This is why the feeding to an almost filled crop on the basketing day is very important.
Friday In the morning
Enough of the "Basic Mixture". This is the day the widowhood cocks for the Short Distance will be basketing.These widowhood cocks will only be fed in the morning. In the afternoon they don't get anything to eat. The widowhood cocks for the Middle Distance or One-day races are in the basket.

Generally Wal and Hans Zoontjens are set against the frequently use of any medicine for pigeons. Too quick the fancier grabs to medicine when the results on the races are not going very well.
The pigeon fancier should consult a Veterinary first with several pigeons and take some dung for further examination and only act on the findings of the Veterinary.
When you think that something is going wrong he will consult a Veterinary as soon as possible.
The vaccination for paramyxo will be repeated every year.
The young birds are vaccinated for smallpox-difteritis. When the pigeons are hatching on eggs they will have a cure of 5 days against cancer.
This cure is repeated every 4 or 5 weeks in the racing season for several days.
But at last the best way to get a healthy population is to eliminate the sick ones and only go on with the healthiest ones.
Grit and mineral powder is always in the lofts and will be exchanged frequently.