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Of everything (17-08-21)

Am I answering one of the emails of that day again or I am startled by noise in the street. When a car also stopped I wanted to know what was going on, I went forward, followed by my granddaughter of 14, and then we saw it too. In front of the driveway was a car that you can hardly call a car. It looked more like an airplane. Or a spaceship from a James Bond movie.Did they want to visit me? Indeed. I heard my wife leading people around the back. A man and a woman. "People for you," she called out.The couple was already in the porch. Well ‘couple?”. It was a couple, but I hardly saw him. 


She was a beautiful woman, much younger than him, blond hair, deep blue mischievous eyes, sultry lips, a seductive smile. The kind of girl your mother used to warn you about. Her beauty hurt the eyes. She took off her fur coat, and as she leaned deeply to greet me, my eyes involuntarily fell into the abyss of her dizzying cleavage. Unsteadily, I had to hold on to the corner of the table. Couldn't say a word for a while but luckily my granddaughter saved me. "I take it that fur coat is fake?""Yeah, sure it's fake," the beauty swore, smiling as she tried to mask the lie.


When he determined that I came back to my senses, he skipped the small talk and went straight to the door. A friend of a friend of mine had told him that a dozen or so 4 week old babies were walking around without a ring. If he could buy them. "Of course not," I said. "I don't even know where they come from." Then I explained that the pigeons, as usual, were doing unbelievable again in my Belgian loft, but since I had been in hospital for some weeks everything was mixed up in the loft at home. That I knew that there were babies but they had not been ringed because I did not know the origin. When he said that was still no problem for him I knew it would never work out with him. He made the mistake thousands make; grow too thoughtlessly. Out of anything and everything.


 You only breed from PROVEN pigeons. On the flights or as a breeder. Or at most from their brothers, sisters or babies. I have a nice example of what I mean. Two fanciers (then friends) once bought some youngsters here. Each 12 pieces. "Once" was a long time ago, in the last century, but the fact that I still remember it is significant. The two 'friends' were very different. One I didn't like. Big mouth and thick neck. He had barely been inside for a few minutes when the table was already full of result sheets. I could barely contain myself and just didn't say 'what are you doing here if you already have such good birds'. The consequence of his nauseous behavior was that I gave his mate, almost unconsciously, of the better pigeons. A few years later I heard from locals that one of the two had succeeded enormously with what he got here, the other not. But to my surprise, it wasn't that likeable guy who passed, but that thick neck. And I also heard why.


I didn't quite understand until I knew more. Because what turned out? The thick neck still had 5 of the 12 after a few years. His sympathetic buddy still had them all. And that's where things went wrong. Selecting on result and natural health MUST. Wherever the pigeons came from, no matter how much you paid for them, no matter how dazzling the pedigree is.

 If someone gets 10 pigeons here and he still has all 10 after three years, then I know that it is not a champion and never will be.

 I also know that in the past no one would, for example, eliminated a Janssen pigeon. Even if such a mess came out, such an expensive pigeon remained. But… in which lofts was that usually? That of the paper tigers. From people who didn't have pigeons to perform but to make money. The man and that beautiful woman left here without pigeons. Of course I sell pigeons. But the least you can expect from it is that you know from which parents they come.


When you used to meet a pigeon fancier after the flight, you asked what time he had clocked. To-day you ask how many (young) pigeons he got home. Certainly the first flights. No one knows what is the cause of the massive losses of young pigeons. And the phenomenon seems global.

It probably has several causes and one of them is not selective breeding and that has everything to do with pigeon food that is too cheap. At least if you compare with the past. At that time, much less and more conscious breeding was done because the price of feed was real high. For example, there are people who do not have one really good old pigeon, but breed 60 or more youngsters every year. I don't understand it well. How can you breed a loft full of youngsters if you don't even have one good old one. They are the antitype of those champions who don't breed from their yearlings because they don't know enough about them.


If you lost a series of youngsters from the same flight while a fellow townsman got everything at home, you don't have to think long. Then the cause lies with you or the pigeons. The pigeons also means 'yourself'. The pigeons are not well prepared, but more likely, not healthy. Training the babies almost daily from short distances like de Bruijn does is perhaps a method to lose few. But how demanding is that for most of us.