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My twelve commandments (01-10-21)

My twelve commandments

 When some colleagues make a report on a champion, they sometimes have them list a dozen things that the champion considers vital to his success. Because of my experience, contacts and decades of excellent results, I’m not afraid to pass on some recommendations. As far as those top results are concerned, last year we were not happy with races in which ‘only’ 70% of the birds I entered won a prize. See my logbook. It is in Dutch but still readable, I hope.


Especially in a time of more and more so-called mega-lofts, you have to be careful not to be ‘dragged along’ since you can end up in a downward spiral.  Often when the professional fancier enters a team of 60 or more pigeons, one is tempted to keep more birds as well. “Because you want to keep up as much as possible.”

Whether a fancier keeps more pigeons to try to win a General Championship for which all flights count, or for financial reasons.

For example, fanciers get buyers knocking on the door because he has a National Ace pigeon and breeds more pigeons to meet the demand.

This has been the downfall for many. In a few years, their results go downhill. Initially, they think it’s just coincidence. ‘Bad location that year,’ ‘less condition, that can happen to the best.’ Until the moment comes when they wonder despairingly where the good pigeons of yesteryear have gone. Don’t keep any more birds than you can manage.


The above means that you had better specialize. Pigeons all of us are looking for pigeons that can win from 100 to 1,200 km. And can win a show? Such pigeons do not exist.  Have you ever heard of Leo Heremans pigeon or Dirk Donckers pigeon win from Barcelona? People who claim that there are only two types of pigeons, good and bad and that the good pigeons can handle all the distances are wrong. If you have a limited number of pigeons, limit yourself to sprint racers, or middle distance only.


Too many fanciers breed from birds that are not worth it. Only because of the name on the pedigree, or the price they paid. Three-year-old pigeons or older that haven’t produced good birds yet do not belong on the breeding loft, regardless of their lineage. Instead, breed a few more of your best racers than from the ‘name pigeons.’


When you see how totally different champions feed, you can conclude little other than that too much importance is attached to nutrition. Even Andre Roodhooft claims not to know anything about food. By the way, you see more and more people perform the same for a whole year. Like Klak in his heyday, healthier pigeons than his, you didn’t see anywhere else. Supplements (by-products) are still popular.

More and more famous fanciers claim to have tried everything but found it added nothing. If you fly well and believe in the usefulness of certain supplements? Just continue, if only for your own peace of mind.


To-day more young birds get lost from short training tosses than from races. Therefore thorough training would be recommended. How to proceed depends on the circumstances. Are the youngsters training well around the loft, then you can make bigger jumps, and you don’t have to go up the road as often.

On the other hand, if they hardly train at home, you have to be careful. Start at shorter distances and drive more often. And that doesn’t have to be as far as 25 km.


A lot of reading doesn’t make you dumber, but you have to realize that some fo the pigeon media is doing everything they can to hype some names. The hype lasted for decades in the past, now it’s over a shorter period.

Due to the internet, the rumour spreads quickly when hyped pigeons don’t race well. You should ask yourself, ‘why was this written and by whom’ when you read the reports. When interpreting results, pay particular attention to the number of pigeons entered. If they don’t mention the numbers anywhere, you are sure it was a lot.


My mantra is that selection is the main road to Rome. And it should be done over the entire year with two criteria main criteria in mind.  a. Natural health. b. Performance. These criteria have to be the norm, and how high you set the standard depends on where you stand. Not often can you rely on beauty and origin. 


Pedigrees are interesting, but oh so relative. Realize that in every race, there are countless pigeons with fairy-tale pedigrees that are beaten by ‘name-less’ and ‘strainless’ pigeons. The point is that even the best pigeons, both races and breeders, also produce junk. Pigeons that only leave good offspring exist in our imagination and in sales lists, only.


Do you think that races with headwinds are won by the good birds, and lucky birds perform only in contests with tailwinds? Forget that thought.

I have had several pigeons that could only win with wind on their nose. Those aren’t the outstanding ones. Currently, there are two particularly decent racers in my loft that have won 1st at a speed of 2,200 mpm.    


A good pigeon fancier keeps accurate records. I am not from the stone age when results were chiselled into a stone or a boulder, but unfortunately, I am not one of the youngest either. And the test of time sometimes gnaws at my memory. Therefore I write down everything, though I have only a few pigeons. So keep score, especially the results of your pigeons individually. Some champions always walk with a notebook in their pockets.    


Pigeons benefit from thorough training in the year of their birth. Summer breds that are not appropriately trained in their year of birth are almost always disappointments. ...


Where and what pigeons you buy depends on where you stand in pigeon racing. The champion differs from the beginner. Pay particular attention to the strength of the competition and search the fanciers who live in a region where they specialize in your specialty. Good fond pigeons you don’t aren’t found areas known for their keen short distance racers. And vice versa!

In the past, I used to say you should buy from fanciers in areas where people race for (a lot of) money. That’s where the best birds would be.  But playing for (a lot of) money almost everywhere is a thing of the past.


Fanciers tend to look for excuses when they fail.

-If you lost a lot of babies from a training toss and your club mate did not, something is wrong with your birds or with you.

-If your neighbour performs and you don’t, don’t blame it on the weather or your location.

-If performance fails, don’t blame it on a lousy loft if you’ve flown well from it in the past. Again: Find it with yourself or... the pigeons.

This 13th commandment is a bonus. 

Thanks for translating this article for me, Mr Nick Oud from Canada.