The first week is nothing but getting the birds used to keep stalls, being handled and get them in peak condition for the second (work) week.
I start out by trimming spurs, delousing and worming. I give no morning feed the first morning and that evening I blow them out with a tablespoon of bread soaked in milk. After that I feed 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of 17-18% racing pigeon feed in the morning. In the evening I feed one rounded tablespoon of Purina Puppy chow, soaked in buttermilk until soft. This will keep them fresh and build up the breast. If possible, keep them on ropes on green grass this week. If not, soak rabbit pellets and mix with the Puppy Chow. Rabbit pellets are nearly all alfalfa and will benefit your birds greatly, particularly if they have been pen raised with no grass.
To increase the birds weight, feed more Puppy Chow in the evening, to decrease their weight, cut it down.
The second week I feed a different feed morning and evening. For the morning feed, boil 2 lbs. of racing pigeon feed for 20 minutes in a pot with a lid on it. In a seperate pot, boil 8 oz of raisins for 20 minutes. Let both stand for five minutes, drain and mix together and store in refrigerator in a sealed container. You'll feed 1 1/2 to 2 ounces in the scratch litter (preferably corn shucks) every morning. Before the evening feed make sure the birds are EMPTY, if not decrease the amount fed to that bird the next day.
For the evening feed, put 1 cup of rice (half white, half brown), 2 cups of popcorn and 4 cups of water in a pot, boil 20 minutes covered, and let stand five minutes. It should soak up all the water. In another pot, put 1 cup raisins, 1 1/2 cup oatmeal and 5 cups of water. Boil ten minutes, stirring it to keep from scorching. Let stand 5 minutes and add 2 cups Purina Puppy Chow, one 8 ounce can of Vanilla Ensure (high protein) and 35 rabbit pellets. Add three heaping tablespoons of parakeet grit. Mix all ingredients together and store in sealed container in the fridge. When you feed this, add a little Ensure to moisten. Feed all that the bird will throw every evening! It's usually between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 oz. every evening, it all depends on the bird. One word of caution-monitor the amount he throws and feed him CORRECTLY or he will lose weight on this QUICKLY!
As for work, I only work in the evening. I fly them to the bench by tailing them. I start out with ten flys and increase it by five a day. You'll find the occasional bird that refuses to be tailed, in that case I flip them the same number of times. I rotate the birds between flypens and eight foot ropes daily, always making sure they go to different pens, ropes, etc. with a different bird beside them. This keeps them active and working.
I maintain this feed and work routine until three days before fight time. Give them ALL the water they can drink!
My last three days feed is 1 cup of rice (again half and half)3 cups of cracked popcorn and 4 cups of water. Put in pot, bring to a full boil, take off heat immediately and drain. Boil 1 cup raisins for 10 minutes, drain and add to above ingredients.
I black my birds out in stalls for the last three days in stalls. I give NO water! Instead I feed 2 oz. of above feed in cups morning and evening with 2 tablespoons of Ensure over it. The Ensure will help the birds regulate their moisture irregardless of the weather conditions.
You'll have to experiment with the blackout time-some birds flat cannot stand being blacked out that long! Mine can but I discovered that by trial and error.
Last feed is 2 1/2 oz of the three day keep feed with 2 tablespoons with Ensure over it. Next morning (fight day) take them out and dump them. Check their crop, if empty, give them a peck of the three day feed mixed with salt free (dietic) tomato juice to keep their energy level up. If they have a few grains of feed in their crop, don't panic, dump them at the pit until you are satisfied with them.
I also give 1/4cc of 1000 mcg of B-12 36 hours before fight time. The next day they will act sleepy but look out come fight day-you'll have a hard time holding on to them!
At the pit, I dump them every thirty minutes until I'm satisfied they are empty, then black them out until the first fight is called. After that the light stays on and I dump them hourly to monitor moisture. If they appear to be drying out too quickly, I give them a peck of the keep feed-tomato juice mix.
After the first bird fights I give them a tiny peck of apple hourly to keep them from going over and ALERT. Once you start, do it religiously EVERY hour!
There is nothing easy or cheap about this keep, but if you have better than average birds but still can't seem to put the W's on the board