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Interesting (January 28th)

Since internet more and more people feel like writing about pigeons and pigeon sport. That is fine, many fanciers would like to read and to learn. Unfortunately some of those self-proclaimed scribes envy each other and will never write positive words about colleagues. Too bad. Jealous people themselves are unhappy, not the people that they envy. Fortunately they are exceptions, most of these ‘writers’ are good people who want to share the ins and outs of a nice hobby. One of them is Co Verbree. The reason why I appreciate him is that we have similar thoughts on many subjects.

I sometimes write about lofts. Are they really so important for the condition of our birds? Hmm. I have some food for thought. Take John Rockx for arguments’ sake. Back in 2016 he suddenly started to race real well. And when someone suddenly starts to race real well it may be clear why: That is a matter of a better condition. Now the interesting question is: Why this spectacular boost in condition? John: The answer is simple, I closed off the lofts; ceiling closed, the front closed, everything closed. Like the lofts of Marcelis, Dirk van Dijck, Bas Verkerk. So that is it? Hmm. Not really. In 2015 Belgian Luc van Mechelen was a sensation. As for me the best of the country at Middle Distance. ‘The birds never had such a good condition’, Luc said. When I asked him ‘how come?’ he said: ‘Because I opened the lofts’. Just like the lofts of Leo Heremans and W de Bruijn. It reminded me of what struck me in my younger years. Somers and Zoontjens were great champions in those days. Their lofts were closed. Not a fly could escape.

Janssen Bros, van Loon and Hofkens were great champions as well. Their lofts were open, you could feel every little gust of wind, in winter they had to scrape snow. Co Verbree is one of the few that is doubtful about lofts.

For 25 years or a bit longer fanciers in Holland and Belgium have been darkening the lofts of their youngsters, but to-day many ‘darken’ the old birds as well. Hens seem to benefit very much from being darkened. But for cocks the opposite seems true, for them ‘darkening’ does not work, on the contrary. I could never understand why. Co Verbree has no explanation either.

Fanciers who regularly read my articles will certainly know how I think about most additives (supplements). As for me the greater part is junk; legal robbery. Most supplements are promoted by manufacturers who are after the money of unsuccessful fanciers and they are by far the majority. Co also advises to stay away from them. It is a waste. Manufacturers of those supplements will not appreciate what I write here but it is just a fact that very many champions tried out everything but they did not find themselves better racers.

As for systems with old birds, for many years about 90% of the fanciers have been racing widowhood. Hens were rarely basketed and id so those were raced natural. In the beginning of this century many fanciers switched over to a new system: Double (or total) widowhood. With this system both cocks and hens are raced. It seems an ideal system for fanciers with little space. With widowhood you can only race half of your birds. 30 Widowhood cocks? Then you need an additional 30 hens, so 60 birds total. It also implies that you cannot race your best hens. With ‘double widowhood’ you need 30 birds if you want to race 30 birds, or 15 pairs.

For many this new system (double widowhood) worked, apart from one thing: The cocks often let you down. That’s why fanciers like v d Wouwer and Willy Daniels asked themselves ‘why race cocks when hens are so much better?’ And they stopped racing cocks and raced hens only. Co Verbree practised all possible systems in 2017. The hens that were raced on pure widowhood achieved best. He got the idea that cocks should find their partner waiting for them when coming home. This seems less relevant for hens and he wonders why. That is exactly what puzzles me. There is another thing that both Co and me have in common. We both do not understand why many foreign fanciers ask us the same question. What this question is? That is for next time.

 Note: As for ‘total or double widowhood’ one should notice that it only works for Middle Distance and little long distance (one day races). Not one ‘short distance racer’ or ‘long distance racer’ practises double widowhood.