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Belgium and Belgians (20-10-23)

Belgium and Belgians

Many elderly people, including pigeon fanciers, like to talk about the past. When ‘everything was so much better’ and how much fanciers bet in the races then.
Fortunes could be made.
And 'the past' is 'now' in the little town of Berlaar Heikant as one could read in another article. To-day it happened again. No less than €32,000 (about 40.000 USD) was pooled in one little club on 526 pigeons.
Yes, I am talking about October 2023 (!), one month after the regular racing season. In the Berlaar area fanciers take unpaid leave because playing with pigeons can be more profitable than working.
In some National races less money can be won than in those races from 50 kms in autumn in Berlaar. Unbelievable.

R is a fancier from that region and he wanted to show me some pigeons. He is a good soul, enthusiastic fancier with ONE problem. He can't win a simple  prize. I remember his far too fat pigeons from a previous visit some years ago.
16 racing pigeons that can sporadically win a prize? Nobody has such bad pigeons.
This cannot be a lack of quality, something else must be wrong.
These pigeons were again just as fat as those he showed me before. “I do not let them out during the molting season,” was his defense. Pigeon fanciers always have an excuse for failing.

AGAIN“Next year will again be a year with very poor results’ I said. Pigeons that are too heavy are not good for anything, not for breeding, not for flying and not for a good moult. He was also one of those guys who claimed that his pigeons did not like grit.
Silly nonsense of course. They won't accept it and that's something completely different. And why don't they accept it? Because it is always in the loft.
The most important supplement for pigeons does not belong in the loft. Pigeons do not like dusty stuff. Just as those jars of mineral mixtures. Wrong ! You should give grit in very small amounts every few days.

Dusty minerals in a dusty corner: Wrong !!!

He said he would improve his life and become more proactive, but I am almost certain that nothing will change and that he will unfortunately continue to play poorly as long as he has pigeons. He loves his pigeons too much, he is too afraid they might feel hungry.

The best pigeons are supposed to be found in the province of Antwerp, more specifically in the regions of the towns of Berlaar, Hallaar and Itegem. Especially for sprint and shorter middle distance.
That is what they think here and also in other parts of the world. That is why many people who want Belgian pigeons want pigeons with a ring that start with a ‘6’. A ringnumber that starts with a ‘6’ means it is an Antwerp pigeon.
However, this is not reflected in the National Championships.
With a few exceptions, the entire province of Antwerp is failing. Many completely unknown 'exotic' names from exotic-sounding places dominate.
This has everything to do with the numbers of pigeons in the races and especially competition. Or should I say 'less competition?'
In the Berlaar area fanciers only race their best birds. 100 Fanciers who enter only 300 birds for a race? It is quite common there.In other areas it is quite normal that 20 fanciers enter 1,000 birds or more.And as for the coefficients there is a big difference between a 1st prize of 200 birds or a 1s prize of 1.500 pigeons. 

a. A comparison with Wim Kieft, a gifted footballer of the past who was once good for at least 20 goals a year in the Netherlands. He moved to Italy and… he stopped scoring from then on. You may guess why.Kieft did not change, his opponents were different.

b. On that note, I have to reveal something about myself. Did you know that I once won a tennis tournament when I was in my 50s? The main prize was a box of colored pencils, I remember.What I also remember? My opponents were five women in their late 70s.
Just saying.