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Blackpool and other things

It was some years ago, but I still remember.

I was in Blackpool, together with 40,000 (?) others. At least, that"s what it said; 40,000 was probably exaggerated but even half of that is a lot.

And where many fanciers are gathered, others smell money.

These "others" had a "message" in Blackpool, and if you saw what they promised you"d be "overwhelmed" by so much charity.

Well, "charity"?

Their wonder products were wrapped in nice words but the intention was:

Filling their pockets.



I have raced too good for too long to take seriously "the secrets that champions have long concealed but are now finally bringing into the open".

And fanciers who have ever visited a pigeon day in Germany say that it is even worse there than in England.

Vets (Pill mongers)? are supposed to protect the pigeons, but who protects the pigeons from the Vets (Pill mongers).The inspiration for this article I got in my garden.

I had fled the television because it showed nothing but misery.

- Israel had attacked Hezbollah yet again with a salute to their wives, children and neighbours because their precision bombs weren"t that precise after all.

- Someone who had chased a thief out of his shop found himself going to prison.

- And more of the same.

It made me feel so depressed that I fled the house, into the garden.

And after I had squashed the first mosquito of the season, I made myself comfortable in a chair under some pine trees.



These pine trees were the chosen home of some wood pigeons, and the whole day they were busy bringing in twigs to build their nest.

I was amazed by their health.

My pigeons are usually healthy too, but not always so sleek and shiny as these wood pigeons; you could almost see your own reflection in their feathers. Their young are growing like the proverbial cabbage and you could ask yourself whether that is strange or not really.

They survive winters with almost nothing to eat or drink for days.

They had to do without vitamins, tea, electrolytes, brewer"s yeast, minerals, herbs or plant extracts from the unspoilt jungles of Brazil, and they had to survive only the things that were available.

And they don"t just survive these winters, they are not even weakened, rather the opposite it seems.

It makes me think of people who keep complaining about Coli, Respiratory and so on, while their pigeons get everything they "should" get.

Moult mixture in the moult period, winter mixture in the winter, breeding mixture when they are feeding their young, a regular vitamin shot and treatments and vaccination against anything and everything.

And yet it"s not the wood pigeon but the racing pigeon that seems to be susceptible to all the ailments in Egypt.

In that respect a story and ... it"s even a true story.



Someone who used to have fantastic results isn"t achieving anything at all anymore.

He has already resigned himself to the fact that he can forget to race as he used to do and ... he knows the reason why.

"Because of moss on the roof. The pigeons can"t keep away from it and then you can forget it."

I asked him for how long the moss had been there.

"Forever," he answered.

I asked him if the pigeons had always been pecking at it.

That was indeed the case.

"Also during the time of your "Blauwe" and your "Goede Witpen"? I asked.

'Also at that time' he replied.

"And didn"t the "Blauwe" and the "Goede Witpen" also peck at it?" I asked.

The man understood what I wanted to say. The "Blauwe" and the "Goede Witpen" were champion pigeons like he doesn"t have anymore.

The painful truth is that "not achieving good results" is mainly a question of bad pigeons.

On paper they may look promising, but if they are not good enough they are not good enough, despite an impressive pedigree.

With such pigeons you can try everything you can think of, it will not have any effect and then the doubting begins. Doubting the lofts, the feed, the moss on the roof and ultimately doubting yourself.



There are not many who are brave enough to admit it, but the pigeon sport is foremost a question of being able to or not.

Why do three pigeons achieve well and 20 do not?

Very simple.

Because these 20 lack quality and health, and usually both.

What should you do in these cases?

Keeping the good ones and removing the rest very quickly.

It doesn"t matter what their ancestry is.

Whatever you do, don"t mess around when some pigeons achieve well but most of them don"t.

Some fanciers believe that their successes are due to a secret.

Until the moment comes when they don"t have good pigeons anymore but they still have the secret.

That"s the moment of great misery, despair and total disillusionment.



Breeding good pigeons is said to be an art and for some it is a piece of cake.

But how can you speak of an "art" when even the greatest champion couples his pairs differently every year?

Orientals speak of "Golden couples".

Well, if only it was that easy.

I would give the world for such a couple, getting rid of all the others, breeding a lot with that one couple, and nobody would be able to beat me.

I"m the first to admit that you have more chance with some pigeons.

But a guarantee?

You never have a guarantee!

And (secret) products that would make bad pigeons good?

There are even less of those than elephants that can fly.