Keep things simple
I find people that will help fellow fanciers to mate their birds the charlatans of this sport. Sometimes they even ask money for that.
A mistake that many make is that they make things too complicated.
I know most champions in Europe.
They are all so different but there is one thing they all agree on:
They all admit that they, unlike many charlatans, know nothing about pigeons.
- They cannot see if a pigeon is good or not.
- They do not know how to breed good birds
- They know nothing about eyes/eye sign, or whatsoever either.
Also for the champions this sport is full of mysteries and doubts.
Take breeding. Long way back, before Easterners came to buy our birds, I met Charel Schellens. He was rich and bought the best birds that he could buy, regardless the price. In wintertime he spent long evenings planning how to mate his birds. And he enjoyed it.
After some years though he did not find it funny any more.
He let his birds mate freely. And believe it or not, since then he bred more good birds than before.
Take also Geerinckx. One of his basic birds is a hen that he got from Mr Keirsmakers. How he got it?
He was at an auction of Mr Keirsmakers. After the auction one pigeon was left.
Nobody wanted it. The late Luc Geerincxk did not want the pigeon to be killed and took it home with him. For free. The results of the descendants of that bird that no one wanted made Geerinckx famous.
The pigeons in this loft performed super. The fancier could make some money by selling birds, so fantastic new fancy lofts were buitl and suddenly the good birds from before became average.
DIRK VAN DIJCK
Dirk van Dijck is another big shot in Belgium. In 1994 he had a fantastic racer, a red one, that got lost. Every day Dirk hoped he would get it back but he never saw this super again. He was sick of it.
Then another cock (93-023) took the empty nest box of the bird that he lost and he confiscated the hen of the lost bird as well.
They became the parents of'. 95-005, his world famous "Kannibaal".
The best racer Jos van Limpt (Klak) ever had (his 613) is another interesting story.
He had a cock that he could not sell, since nobody wanted it, it was too ugly.
When he was about to eliminate him another cock died. It was poisoned.
Now he was short of a cock and he had the choice: Either kill (or sell) a hen or'
keep the ugly cock that no one wanted.
He kept the cock: It became father of his "613".
I have handled many super birds in my life. But never ever did I handle a super that had a handful good brothers or sisters. Some Easterners like to talk about "Golden Couples". But' Couples that only produce good pigeons only exist in auction catalogues and on auction sites on the internet.
You know what young Stefaan Lambrechts always says?
"In the whole country there is not even one pair that produces ONE super every year." It is a bit exaggerated, I agree, but he does have a point.
Some more food for thought:
If you finally have bred that super bird that you have been longing for so long there is NO guarantee the parents will ever produce another super.
Boeckx is a simple man with simple lofts and even more simple pedigrees. But... hard to beat.
Foreigners like pigeons that are inbreeds. The more the same famous bird is in a pedigree the more they like the bird. The truth however is that most Super birds are crossings. Take Dirk van Dijck again.
Early in the year he tries to breed good birds, in summer he is going to breed bad pigeons because bad pigeons is what fanciers want he says.
He means this:
Early in the year he has his best birds mated with imports. Imports are pigeons he bought (mostly cheaply) from un known local short distance racers.
Why short distance?
Short distance birds have the most important quality that pigeons should have:
Good orienteering. The races sometimes last less than five minutes. The slightest mistake at short distance is fatal, since every second counts.
Then, later in the year, Dirk mates his pigeons with related birds. He begins to inbreed. For example he mates a grandson of "Kannibaal" with a great grand daughter of "Kannibaal". Because such birds his clients from abroad want.
LIN YUN TA
Long way back my best friend ( the late Mr David Lin Yun Ta) asked me:
"Ad, you have bred so many good birds. Can you please write an article for the magazine how to breed good birds. The readers will like it."
My answer was "this will be a short article, David".
Some days later I mailed him and said: "The article is in the attached file"
This article was very short indeed and I want to share it with you.
Here it is:
How to breed good pigeons.
written by Ad Schaerlaeckens.
So these 3 questionmarks was all that I had to say.
The man in the striped shirt is my late friend Lin Yun Ta.
Then there is the best young bird of Belgium in 2014, raced by Dockx.
In 2013 he had bought pigeons from v d Wouwer and also from Cools.
His plan was to mate the v d Wouwer birds with the Cools birds.
All birds were mated pretty soon, apart from one pair that he had in mind.
They absolutely refused to form a couple. Let it go, Dockx thought, when he got tired of it. Now 2 Cools birds mated, very much against his will.
They became the parents of his National Ace 2015.
It is the story of my Home Alone. When some fanciers see the pedigree they think I am a smart breeder, since it is Inbred to Ace Four.
But I am anything but a smart breeder. The parents absolutely wanted to be a pair.
I tried and tried to prevent that since this was too much inbred, till I gave up.
For a moment I wanted to throw the eggs away. If I had done so I would never have had my "Home Alone".
The bird got that name after it won a 1st Interprovincial in very hot weather with headwinds with a lead of 6 minutes. No less then 13.500 birds were in the race.
12-720 won 1st with a lead of 5 minutes against 6.137 birds in a very hard race. 2nd, 3rd 4th and 5th prize were loft mates!!! This 720 was inbreed Home Alone and I was so stupid as to sell it.
Please do not take me wrong. Of course you need good birds to breed good birds.
Pigeons cannot reproduce what they do not have themselves.
But what you also need is GOOD LUCK !!!!
And let us praise the Lord for that.
If breeding good birds was a kind of science?
And if good birds only would give good birds?
That would be the end of pigeon sport, since the smart handlers and the rich guys would take control and take over power.
The Janssen Brothers were very simple people but great racers.
There are many more such people, completely unknown abroad, that are great racers.
But they all, as well as other champions who are sincere and honest, will shrug when you ask them "How to breed good pigeons".