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About forums (June 14th 2017)

There were those days in which I regularly participated in forums or in a quiz like they say in England. On such occasions fanciers can ask a champion questions. I have nothing against forums. Fanciers come together and may have a good time. But when I think back about those events I feel kind of ashamed. In forums the man behind the micro is supposed to know ‘everything’ about pigeons, but…. Was I a man who knew ‘everything about pigeons?’ Hmmm. The longer I am in this sport the more questions I get instead of answers. Believe me, nobody possesses the ultimate ‘pigeon knowledge’. Pigeon sport is too complicated and there are too many contradictions.

A hot item both in Holland and Belgium are the lofts. The loft climate is responsible for good results but also for poor results many say. Especially the ventilation is often a point of discussion. Over the heads of the birds the loft should be closed, fresh air should come in from the front some say. In such a loft temperatures are about the same day and night and that is what they like. Others however claim the reverse, they are against a ceiling in the loft. They find it better that there is much air above the heads of the birds. Who may claim to have the answer? Those who race well of course.


Well, let’s have a look at the lofts of some fanciers ‘who race well’.

-The lofts of Verkerk have a ceiling, the front is open, but the birds cannot get in the aviary before the loft.

-The lofts of Leo Heremans and others are closed off in the front, but open above the heads of the birds. There is no ceiling, through the tiles you can see the sky.

-The lofts of Dirk van Dijck, Roger Engelen and others are completely closed off. No ventilation at all. The roof consists of corrugated board. Insects have a hard time to get in or out.

-The lofts of Verbree and Daniels are different again. In front there is a small aviary and during the daytime the pigeons are forced to be in it, they cannot enter the loft.

-Luc van Mechelen has a big aviary against his loft. The hens are in it all day long.

His hens achieve far better results than his cocks that are in a fancy loft ‘as it should be’.

-Stickers Donkers is something else. For his young birds he has no traditional loft, they are housed in an open aviary day and night.

Temperatures that should be about the same day and night? That is a big joke for him. So am I the man that should advise fanciers about their lofts? Come on. Those examples sometimes remind me of all those fanciers that grab a hammer or apply to a carpenter when their results are poor and at the same time forget they were doing real well in the past in the SAME lofts. Maybe they better spend their money on better pigeons.

Jellema is one of the best long distance racers in Western Europe, And with long distance I mean REAL long distance. He races well from races up to Barcelona, 1,200 kms. The man gives his birds pure water 360 days in a year. In the remaining 5 days there is something in the water to deal with canker. And you should know he is a vet! While some of his colleagues advise to medicate their birds almost weekly vet Jellema shrugs his shoulders. And repeatedly amazes a whole nation at great long distance.

Fanciers who also demand a lot from their birds are Verkerk and van Wanrooy. Some consider them as the best of the country as for long distance (one day races). What Verkerk says about stuff that is meant to recuperate the birds? About food additives or so-called supplements? Like Jellema he does not believe in them. Electrolytes is the only stuff about which they have their doubts. And van Wanrooy, that other super champion at long distance and almost unbeatable? He does not only reject supplements but also medicine. Never ever does he give his birds antibiotics.

When those people see the ads in foreign magazines, especially in Chinese, they shake their heads. If you follow the advice of those brokers of castles in the air a week is too short to give pigeons all that stuff that they say is indispensable to keep birds in good shape. B.S. both Jellema, Verkerk and so many others claim, me included.

Once I told the attendance in a forum good birds need good food and that is it. I said I did not believe in all that ‘indispensable’ stuff. One fancier reacted: ‘I believe you but you do not race long distance. Long distance is a different story.’ Then I referred to Jellema, Verkerk and others. The man had not opened his mouth the rest of the evening. Later on I heard he was a seller of all kinds of stuff to support the health of pigeons.

So we can forget about all those pills, powders and lotions for a better health? Is it all a waste of money? Wait, this is not the end of this article. Another fancier who is real good at long distance is Belgian de Smeyter. He gives his birds all kinds of supplements, if possible daily. Now you may understand my feelings when I think about those forums in the past. If you race well you are inclined to think that you know ‘it’ all.

But believe me, even the greatest champion sometimes doubtfully watches his training birds. He realises they lack condition but does not know what to do.

To-day you can read more and more about fanciers who started racing better since they stayed away from medicine as much as possible. Of course there are others still. Fanciers who have medicine in the water one day per week or even more. Those ‘champions’ do nothing wrong, this is a free world, but I would not want their birds.