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Not good enough



Since about a decade the results in young bird racing of a very small select group of fanciers in Holland and Belgium (the so called "specialists") have been so spectacular that eyebrows were raised.

"This is not normal" was the general reaction.

The "specialists" really destroyed the races. The pigeonmagazines also cried it out:

"What the hell is going on ?"

- Were the birds of those guys so much better?

- Were they so much smarter fanciers?

- Had they found out a secret system such as widowhood shortly before World War 2?

- Or... Did they have something? A secret which made their birds fly faster? Did indeed something like drugging exist?



The strange thing was that there was no such spectacular revolution in old bird racing.

With old birds the same fanciers were still good but not that good. They were still the best but not the very best.

With old birds they also won 1sts but not 1st from 1 to 10 as they did with youngsters.

And people started to gossip: The most fantastic stories were heard. Some claimed that all those birds that did so well as babies were finished.

"That's why they were sold to the East where they turned out to be not furtile."

But it was not only those "young bird specialists" who were accused.

Some vets were criticised as well.

And it was always the same old song: Needling, drugging, finishing the birds, ruining pigeon­sport etcetera.

And all the losers agreed on one thing:

Those sensational results had nothing to do with good birds but sooner or later they would find out they thought.

And then they found they did find out:

They found out that the birds of those few people (no more than about 10 out of 50,000 fanciers)
who cleaned up everything, all had one thing in common: THEY DID NOT MOULT!

None of them! Not even in August and September, the months in which the birds should moult and the months in which the National races were held. And the moult had since long been a serious problem for those races.

Moulting. Not a word has been on everybody's lips so often since so long.


I shall never forget my visit to Phoenix long way back.

The place was impressing, the people nice, the amount of money pooled on the birds breath-taking.

But the (young!) birds which were raced I will never forget either. It was not because those birds looked better or worse than ours. It was something else. Some had 6 flights out, others even more.

And those were the birds on which so much money was pooled.

I told an American "If I would race here I would be a miljonair in a very short time."

Tell me what we do wrong he said. 

Then I began my story. About youngsters which should not moult when raced. And about the way I had the moult under control.

Years went by and now this American is one of the best young bird racers in his country. If not the best !

And I still remember that visit of American fanciers to my country.

We were talking "young bird racing" and one of those guys was very optimistic. "His birds were in very good shape as they were moulting like they should." My reaction had an astonishing effect on the man. 

"I wish my competitors would race birds like yours. Even if they are as good as mine they just can forget it when they moult. You would have a problem if you would live here. Birds should not moult.'
After these words he did not speak for several minutes...


Just links.

"Aha" you me think now. "Stopping the moult, we have heard about it. That's the secret."

Wrong dear fanciers, it is not the moult. Not ONLY the moult.

That's also what they thought here some years ago.

Controlling the moult, flying birds with not a feather out, is just part of the road to succes with babies.

Cleaning up young bird races:

- Is NOT a matter of stopping the moult.

- Is NOT a matter of training.

- Is NOT a matter of health and motivation.

- Is not a matter of quality alone.

- It is NOT the system or the loft.

It is not this OR that. It this AND that !!

You need all!! The things mentioned are ALL important but no more than links you need to make the circle round.



- Take a real good bird, in good health and motivated, but... moulting.
Forget good results.

- Take a real good bird, not moulting, well trained, but in poor health.
You have no chance.

- Take a motivated bird, in good shape, not moulting but a bird without quality? You will not win.

Now you may understand the frustrations of many sportsmen in Holland and in Belgium in those days.
They also thougth that finally they had found out "the secret" and the news spread like wild fire: Stop the moult and you'll win !

But what happened? They had learned how to stop the moult but were still beaten as usual. Again and again.
The reason may be clear now. Stopping the moult is important but not enough!


In the past.

There have always been young bird specialists.

Their method in the old days was simple and efficient.

They mated the breeders end of November and in this way they would have youngsters that moult slower.

By the time the moultingproces was about to start was exactly the time when the National races were held.
Then they had those birds pumping babies and as one knows such birds do not moult.

If the birds were any good then part of the circle was round.

The quality was there, also the feathers and motivation because of the baby in the nest, but one thing was still missing:

Such birds do not train which is a must, it's part of the circle. This problem was solved by tossing the birds. Like Americans do.

With this system, that means basketing lots of well trained youngsters of good origin with a baby in the nest succeses were almost sure.

But today this system does not work any more.

Because the present day "young bird specialist' wants more !

He does not only want to win a race, he wants to crush his competitors WEEK AFTER WEEK.

And of course it is impossible to have lots of birds with a baby in the nest week after week.

Stopping the moult.

Stopping the moult (a must) can be done in several ways:

Manoevering light and dark, eye-drops, cortisone etcetera.

I will get back on it, about the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Because many mistakes were made and are still made. Mistakes which may ruin a whole season.

I realise quite well that after having read this some fanciers may have objections.

Because it's all so unnatural. But dear reader, what is still natural in pigeonsport ?

- Is giving vitamines natural?

- Is racing on widowhood natural?

- Is going to a vet natural

- Is entering young birds which are moulting for 400 mile races natural?

Let's just forget about the word "natural."

Nothing is natural in pigeonsport. Not even feeding your birds.

Moreover complaining about the new developments is useless as there is no way back. Young bird racing will never be as it used to be. Sticking to the old-fashioned way means that you will miss the train of the modern evolution.

It is mostly elderly people who have problems in switching over to new systems especially when they raced well in the past.

But times have changed and now they have no choice.

It is following the new trend or being beaten.

The circle should be round, that is my slogan. And the press should help out. 
Pigeonmagazines should advise and teach.

But most pigeon magazine only focus on making money;
They push additives and birds that are shit because they depend on ads.
Without ads they are finished.
I mentioned 'the circle'. 
To draw a cicle you need a pair of compasses.

The reader is the moving leg, the press is the standing leg.

And without the strength of the standing leg, the fancier is completely at the mercy of lies and false enlightenment of fellow-sportsmen.

Because unfortunately not all "specialists" speak the truth when they are asked why they are so succesful.

Birds you race should not moult!
Open your loft when birds are moulting and you'll see.
They do not train and do not even feel like flying at all. 
Compare this with birds which do not moult.

And as we all know spontaneous loft training is important. 
When a fancier has questions since his results are poor my first question is always: 
'Do your birds train well?'
In the result mentioned above you see I won 14 prizes in the first 15. 
This never happened before in my region and believe me, they trained like hell.   

1  Comb J Vermeulen & Z  1250  6-1064628    2  0597,094  12.33.40  1641,873

 2  W.A. de Bruijn        1714  7-1821679   42  0576,521  12.22.04  1637,457

 3  W.A. de Bruijn        1714  7-1821782   49      2     12.22.06  1637,302

 4  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  6-2162368    4  0585,945  12.27.56  1637,021

 5  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817850   48      2     12.27.57  1636,945

 6  W.A. de Bruijn        1714  6-1071725   33      3     12.22.14  1636,683

 7  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  6-2162275   11      3     12.28.03  1636,488

 8  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817869   18      4     12.28.14  1635,650

 9  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1818004   29      5     12.28.18  1635,346

10  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817923    1      6     12.28.20  1635,194

11  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817969   26      7     12.28.21  1635,118

12  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817907   19      8     12.28.21  1635,118

13  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817922   22      9     12.28.22  1635,042

14  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817855   15     10     12.28.22  1635,042

15  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817985    7     11     12.28.24  1634,890

16  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817846   14     12     12.28.27  1634,661

17  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817981   27     13     12.28.29  1634,509

18  N.W. de Wit           1714  7-1823199    3  0580,186  12.24.57  1634,483

19  G. & S. Verkerk       1710  7-1817891    2     14     12.28.30  1634,433

A race of almost 600 kms! Look at the clocking times. They beat mine from 300 kms!