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Some informative stuff (May 16th)

Some informative stuff?


When reading about champions we, fanciers, are interested in different things. One wants to ‘learn’ about feeding, the other about the loft, a third about medical care and so on. I myself am curious to learn how they managed to become a champion. Mostly you hear similar stories, but not always. I will give some examples. Stories that truly happened. Only the names are fake because some may not be happy when others read about the mistakes they made.


Bert and Andre, who lived in the East of the country were good friends. Back in the 90-ies they visited me more than once to buy pigeons. Andre was ok, Bert I did not like so much. He did nothing wrong, it was just a feeling. And what did I do unconsciously? Give the man that I liked (Andre) the best birds. Believe it or not, I only noticed I was a bit unfair when they were gone.

Some years passed by and then I was told by a reporter that one of the two had become a great champion with my birds. I was not real surprised I said. ‘I gave Andre from my very best’ The reporter looked at me questioningly. ‘Andre? It was Bert who became a big shot with your birds. I told him the story, asked him to keep his mouth shut and asked him also to find out how such a thing could happen.


And he found the answer. Andre was a good man indeed. But what was wrong with him? His breeding loft was packed with breeders. Far too many. He refused to eliminate any bird that he had gotten from me. Not even one. Throughout the years that must have been about 40 birds, the same as Bert, but Andre still had them all 40. How different this was with Bert, the champ. Of all the 40 birds that he had from me twelve were left. It is reminiscent of Leo Heremans, who always says: ‘If someone buys 8 pigeons from me and he still has all 8 after 3 years he will be a champion.’


The big mistake that Andre made an that others still make is that they think that if a bird is real good his brother/sister is real good as well. And what is also wrong with them? If birds do not get good achievements they always find a ‘good’ reason (read excuse) not to get rid of them.

-The weather was not good.

-The location was not good.

-The birds must shape up.  

-I cannot remove a bird with such a pedigree. Bert did not look for excuses. Birds that did not satisfy him were dead birds, regardless the origin or the man from whom he got the birds. His results proved how right he was. Three-year-old birds in the breeding loft that never produced any good birds? They belong somewhere else !!!


Jef has become a very good racer at great long distance and that was great. Here is his story. When he became a fancier Jef got birds from locals, who had for the greater part Middle Distance birds. Jef however wanted to become a long distance champion. He wanted to achieve from races such as Barcelona 1.200 kms. But he did not go to the long distance guys to buy their pigeons but imported birds from everywhere. Birds from unknown fanciers, birds without a pedigree.

He trained them well and then, 3 year later, came Barcelona, for him THE race. He entered about 20 birds, 4 of them made it home on time. They were not early birds, but just won a simple prize. The others were too late or got lost. Jef only kept those 4 birds and continued to import birds. Soon he had a whole bunch of birds again and he basketed them all for Barcelona again, now more than 40 birds total.


The result was bad again, again people laughed at him, but it was not THAT bad. This time he won 6 prizes. He kept those 6 birds and some of their parents, youngsters, brothers or sisters. The others got a one way ticket to the poultry. Two years later he entered again a whole army of about 40 birds for Barcelona. He won 15 prizes and only those 15 he kept. Since then he has been a good long distance racer, no one laughs any more. So this man never spent money on birds, he never paid attention to pedigrees. He just bred pigeons and raced pigeons. Nature did the rest, it was kind of survival of the fittest.


I told the attendance in a seminar in the Netherlands about Jef. And I said everybody could become a good long distance racer and that would cost little, provided the fancier has patience. You should race and kill, race and kill, race and kill. And after say 5 years you should have good long distance birds. Or no birds at all. But I myself am a man that prefers no birds to bad birds. Bad birds only spoil my mood.


This story is about two fanciers in the same club who had different ideas of importing birds. One said the best birds were hardly good enough for him and he would gladly pay a good price for babies of a great name. With ‘a Good price’ he meant up to 4,000 euros for one bird,  provided they were of very good origin. 4,000 euro’s for just a baby? No way, the clubmate said. ‘150 euro per bird is my maximum. Thus I will have a basket full of birds for the same money. You already smell who became the better racer.


Normally my team consists of 24 racers, about two third of them should be yearlings. Two years ago however I had a fantastic young bird team. At least 20 of them were worth to keep. What some others would do in such a situation is put extra boxes in the loft or even build an additional loft.

But as for me? No way to do such a thing. I kept only 15 yearlings. I had no other choice than to get rid of young birds that performed real well. I have never regretted it. Now, in 2018 I had 2 races with 19 prizes from 20 birds entered, a race with 21 prizes from 24 entered and even a race with 22 prizes from 24 birds entered. I owe these crazy results to a strong selection. Or, like I sometimes say: Eliminate the bad pigeons, sell the good ones and keep the supers.

Pigeons that the average fancier will keep since he finds them good, are not good enough for the champion. Thus the difference remains.