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In perspective (Nov 26)

In perspective

 Just bizarre how much money, especially easterners, pay for youngsters that have not proven anything yet. We saw that once more at the auction of Golden Ten this year. When the Dutch and the Belgians stopped bidding, the Chinese took over. ‘How embarrassing for us to be there’' said one of the attendees. Do we not pay prices from 10,000 to 40,000 euros for a young bird just because of the pedigree because we are smarter? Or less naive? ‘The answer is ‘yes’. Because a pigeon may have still such formidable parents, chances that it is as good as the father or mother are negligible. Also many super pigeons give junk. And no one who knows better than the owners themselves.

One of the best pigeons ever was ‘Olieman’ from by Jos van de Veken. Jos was a great champion half a century ago and still is. I got a son of sensational ‘Olieman’, but it did not produce even one good baby. Did I remove it too early? Not according to Jos when he heard about it: 'Olieman is not a good breeder’, he admitted.

An iconic pigeon in this century was the ' Kaasboer ' of Gaston v d Wouwer. In China, and not only there, the descendants perform super. I myself bought some grandchildren from Gaston in 2008, before he became famous. They cost me no more than €125 and one of them turned out to breed well: ' 08-037 ', I also bought a direct son from Kaasboer. It cost me the tenfold.

It was in my loft for two years. Then I removed it. None of the babies was any good. When Gaston heard about it he was not surprised either. Gaston: 'you have just had bad luck. From every 10 babies 6 are good. Unfortunately yours was one from the other four.’ Of course it is also possible that I gave him the wrong hens or that I should have had more patience.

When a middleman heard about this son Kaasboer he wanted to buy it. The bird is no good I said. He answered: ‘You talk too much.’ He paid me double the price than I paid. Later on I heard that he sold it for double the price that he had paid me. Nice money for him but you know what? He regretted to have sold it. He should have waited two more years to get even more money.

I have handled numerous super birds in my life. And you know what struck me?

 Real good pigeons at Middle and Little Long distance are mostly perfectly built. Among good breeders however are pretty many birds of which you think: ‘How can such a bird be a good breeder’.

 Eric Limbourg once handled W de Bruijn and me such a fantastic breeding hen. For a moment we both thought he was fooling us. Could such a pigeon be any good? We did not understand. Eric however: This is the best breeder of my loft. I daresay my 230 (brother of Ace Four and Supertje) was a super breeder as well.

Jespers v d Wegen got some eggs of these bloodlines. Within 3 years he destroyed the Nationals (little long distance) with the descendants. Very few people have handled 230. I dare not show them since I was ashamed. The pigeon was too small, only the feathers were good.

This 230 was a moderate racer, ‘Paulien’ from Derwa was a super and what a nice pigeon she was. Albert about Paulien: ‘Every year she gives a good bird.’ No bragging such as ‘it produces only gold’, but just ‘every year a good bird’. But I daresay ‘regularly a super’ and Koen Minderhoud will certainly agree. His ‘Geeloger’, by life a legend, descends from ‘Paulien’.  

Super sprint birds are often less beautiful. With them it is ‘between the ears’ they say. Birds for great long distance (two day races) the same story. I often wondered how such small birds could be so strong in hard weather.’ But good sprint birds that are pretty as well do exist. The National Ace Short Distance from Boeckmans, now in the loft of D v Dijck, is such a breath taking Dandy. When you handle this bird you feel like eliminating part of your own birds.

Fieneke’ from Flor Vervoort, a descendant of Olieman by the way, is another iconic bird. I remember how relieved Hermans was when he finally found a good pigeon off Fieneke when auctioned the Vervoort birds. One descendant is now in the loft of son Rik.

Rudy from Vandenabeele was another iconic bird. Though its children (and Vandenabeele bred scores) were very expensive still buyers did good business with them. They could sell them for far more money, even though they had proven to be junk. Many however did not buy them for commercial reasons but to improve their family. Did those fanciers that became owner of children Rudy destroy the races some years later? Not really and that is a euphemism. Children of Kaasboer and Rudy and others were to get a high commercial value. Good or junk was not relevant.

So those who pay crazy prices for just babies with only the pedigree as a reference are dummies? Hmm. Do not judge too fast. They may be good business men. Moreover, never say never. From vet Dr. Marien I heard about a cock of his that was a super racer, but unfortunately all his babies were junk. But he would not kill such a good bird and guess what? When sex years old it produced a super. And then another one and another one.    

Also super birds produce junk. Both the breeders and the buyers of their babies should know that. So paying crazy money for them looks a bit like gambling. And what a coincidence: Gambling is hobby number one for Chinese. As for me, let them buy those expensive birds. Nothing wrong with that and it will not hurt anybody. Does money kill the sport, as some claim? The answer should be ‘no’ after having read this article. Moreover: Too many fanciers became great champions without ever having paid one penny for pigeons.

And one more thing: I once wrote about Paula 5000 from De Mey. It was supposed to be the best bird ever on the planet. At an Olympiad where the pigeons were graded it got the least points of all. Imagine that: The best bird in history was 'crowned' as the ugliest pigeon of the hole lot.