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Questions without answers (5 Nov)

In the last century Doctor Stam was the best known ‘pigeon vet’ in the Netherlands. We got along very well. He was also one of the very few vets who himself played well. And ... He was one of the first who recognized the importance of synergies, especially in the ornithose complex. With synergy is meant that multiple means (antibiotics) together have more effect than one individual. One plus one equals three.

His ‘S and A’ powder was pretty popular then. It was a mix of Suanovil and Aureomycin. The Antwerp veterinarian Karel Vannoppen, who was murdered by the hormone mafia, was against those weekly one-day treatments with antibiotics. But are veterinarians who think differently not of all times?


When I called the doctor I usually started with the words: 'I have a question Mr. Stam’. I always said ‘Mister’ because he was of an older generation and I am pretty old fashioned by nature. He then invariably interrupted me with ' I thought A S was a man of answers '. It was in the years that my results were unprecedented but I was not a man of answers, on the contrary. The older I grew the more questions raised about this sport. I even began to distrust people who have an answer to all questions.


I remember two peculiar results from Barcelona. Two fanciers had entered two birds only and got them home together. From such a huge distance (600 to 700 miles) and so many birds (up to 30,000) released together, could that be a coincidence? Were they in the same basket in the truck and did they remain together? Did they recognized each other after the release or did they find each other later on, on their way home? Food for thought.


I also remember that young bird race from the long distance race from Bourges long way back. Maybe American Mike Ganus will also remember. I clocked a very early bird, some even thought it might be the national winner. Till I heard that a fancier, Harrie Kennis, beat me, not with just one bird but three. Three birds? I could hardly believe it. When, later on, I heard he even beat me with 13 birds I was reassured. This was pigeon talk and absolutely impossible in a national race.

That was what I thought, but how wrong I was. Kennes indeed won 13 prizes in the first 14 Semi National from about 12,000 birds. Never happened before.

Harrie himself thinks that the basket with his pigeons opened after the others at the release station. That group of his pigeons only had the same final destination and therefore they flew slightly faster and right home. True or not? We will never know.


In fall the so-called ‘Round of Belgium’ is very popular in Antwerp. Every week the birds are released from another direction and unbelievable how much money is pouled in these races from 35 to 70 kms only. And what often strikes me when I see the results? Many fanciers clock some birds together, then there is a gap and then again some birds arrive together. Whether birds recognise each other in the basket or shortly after the release or later is again food for thought. Maybe American fanciers are better informed because there it is kind of normal that birds arrive together.    


In South West Netherlands and also in Antwerp a lot of babies died last spring. Much more than known because many do not talk about it. Suddenly, without any signs of sickness, they lay dead in the Loft. Up to 45%. It was clearly not the classic ‘young bird disease (Adeno/coli) that most of us know too well. Veterinarians prescribed a coli-cure but it did not work.

According to a German scientist the Reovirus was to blame. Another German talked about the Rota-virus. It seems that they mean the same but that is something that I totally have no understanding of. It is a big problem in Australia already and what is worrying? Chances are great that once it affected the lofts it will come back.


If you want to start racing pigeons you naturally need a ‘loft coordinate’. In the past we got it for free and in the Netherlands it is still free. It is indeed a matter minutes only to find the coordinate of a loft. In Belgium however it will cost a ‘beginner’ 325 euros. Is that promoting the sport?

Then there are those Mexicans that will send youngsters to Belgium in the spring of 2019. The Mexicans want to find out if their birds are good enough to compete in Europe. But guess what? KBDB charges the Mexicans 500 euro per year, only because of the name: Mexico loft. That is a commercial name according to KBDB. It is clear they need money now that the number of fanciers got down from 200,000 to 20,000. Aren’t they supposed to promote and support pigeon sport?


Furthermore people wonder why, against the will of the fanciers, KBDB does not reduce the number of long distance flights. Nobody is waiting for three long distance races on the same day. What a waste of time and money. The same story for two short distance races on the same day, with a ridiculously low entry in both races..

Two sprint races was okay when we were with 200,000. But those days will never come back. Sooner or later they have no other choice than to reduce it to one sprint race per day anyway. Why not start right now?


To-day there is not one rule that says that you cannot enter 400 or more birds for one and the same race. Some enter so many birds indeed. Can we talk about a ‘SPORT’ when 25 fanciers enter 300 birds together and the 26th fancier alone enters 350 birds?

You can ask yourself what is the fun of racing hundreds of birds. Think of all that work for basketing alone. The ‘fun’ is the money of course. Those mob flyers know too well that Chinese buyers focus on early birds while none of them asks himself how many birds fanciers enter. Thus it may happen that fanciers that won 60 prizes from 120 birds steal the show, while the man that won 8 prizes from 8 birds remains unnoticed.

Now in Holland they are working on a limit. Why do the Belgians not follow? Are too many professional mob flyers too close with KBDB? Hmm. Who knows?