Why, why, why (april 13th)
That is the title of an old romantic song for people in their 70-ies or older. Nothing for young people. Once, when my students were not eager to leave the play ground I put on this song very loudly. ithin seconds they were all gone. Nothing better than attract or distract young people than music. ‘Why, why, why.’ These words I have heard so often.
‘Why do you seldom write about feed and feeding?’ fanciers sometimes ask me. The answer is simple: I do not find it real important. Ask ten champions how they feed and what they feed and you may get 10 different answers. It is another proof that many make this sport too complicated. No one had such healthy pigeons than the late Klak (Jos van Limpt), the whole year round. Jos always kept things simple: No medicine, no vets, always the same feed for all his birds. So breeders, racers, youngsters, birds that are moulting and so on all get the same (cheap!) mixture the whole year round. And he is not the only one. Of course this does not mean that you cannot make mistakes. Young birds for example should not be given feed that is too ‘heavy’, especially peas should be avoided.
I remember a holiday long way back. I went away for a week during the racing season, a fancier who had quit the sport would take care of the birds. I would be back on basketing day. I said: ‘Just give them enough food. When you notice you gave too much, take away the food that is left.’ I had put 15% barley in the mixture, thus you may prevent mistakes. Birds that had eaten enough will ignore the barley, since no pigeon in the world likes barley. Mostly some feed (barley) is left for the greater eaters. The race that followed I won 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th against 1.100 pigeons. After that result people talked (gossiped) even more than they used to.
’Why do you seldom write about lofts?‘ people sometimes ask. I will be short: Lofts should be good of course, but they can be good in many different ways. In my youth I was familiar with van Loon, Janssen Bros, Hofkens. Their lofts were open. No ceiling, you could see the sky through the tiles. Also Leo Heremans had the lofts open, while the lofts of Verkerk and even more Dirk van Dijck are closed. In Dirk’s loft no inscet can get in or out. Three years ago Belgian Luc van Mechelen was sensational. ‘Can you explain this super condition? I asked him. ‘I removed the ceiling and thus made the lofts more open’, he said. Dutch John Rockx was fantastic in 2016. He said the condition of the birds improved dramatically after he closed off the lofts. No ventilation at all.
Auction of Klak birds after he passed away. Klak gave all his birds the same feed 365 days a year.
Of course you can make mistakes feeding the birds and there are lofts that are no good. Therefore my mantra is: A loft is good when the pigeons in it perform well.
Of course the opposite need not be true. All cows are animals, but all animals are not cows.
’Why do you not write more often about medication?’ people sometimes ask. Being well informed about medicine does not make you a champion. It is often the opposite. Fanciers that know everything about medicine are ‘nobodies’ in het races. They are often those fanciers that run from one vet to the other. Because they focus on things they should not focus on.
What should be the focus then? Again the answer is simple: Good birds !!! Birds that do not need medicine to stay in good health. What some also forget is that medicine are not developed to make pigeons fly faster but to cure them when they are sick. There was this man who just started racing pigeons. He asked me if I knew about a good book in which he could read what medicine he should give his pigeons. Another man asked me: ‘Who are the best racers? Those who have the best pigeons or those who have the best vets? I feel pity for such people.
’Why do you never write about pigeon eyes?’ People sometimes ask. The answer is simple again: Like other fanciers I know nothing about pigeons let alone pigeon eyes. I have handled many super birds in my life. I cannot remember two of them with the same eyes. I also handled numerous absolutely worthless birds, pigeons that just were junk, ‘city birds included’ with ‘fantastic eyes’; eyes that looked as they should, according to the theories; Colourful, shiny, with stripes.
Some fanciers say: Dark eyes are best for breeding, White (glass) eyes are ideal for bright weather and headwinds. Come on!
As for me, this is just as much B S as ‘eye sign’. In Holland and Belgium people never talk about ‘eye sign’, there is not even a Dutch word for it. I have seen ads in foreign pigeon papers in which ‘eye sign birds’ were offered for sale. If it were that simple I wonder why those ‘connoisseurs’ have so many breeders and why they breed so many babies. Can you believe that books have been written about the eyes of pigeons only? Recently I saw a video about Jan Grondelaers, as a fancier a genius. He burst out laughing when the reporter brought up ‘eye sign’. The subject was ridiculous for Klak and Janssen Bros as well.
What is he looking for?
Are you disappointed in this article? Had you expected ‘more in it?’ That is also what my late grandfather used to say when I again found the purse that he had lost. Believe me, pigeon sport is far less complicated than most fanciers think. They ask themselves questions about feeding, lofts, medicine, supplements and so on. A waste of time and energy. What you need is good birds in the loft of a good handler. Most of the rest you can forget.
If you have say 16 racers and three of them perform well while the rest are not able to win a decent prize, you need not change the lofts or the feed. You need not visit a vet but just get rid of those 13, regardless their pedigrees (off-spring). .
Good birds is what you need.