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Expensive lesson (May 8th).

Expensive lesson

And there it was again, a mail from Eva. Eva is the wife of a foreign fancier who has been asking me in the last 3 years for ‘good addresses’ to buy pigeons. Like he did a long time ago. I gave her some addresses with the remark that 2 of them did not make pedigrees. ‘I do not care’ was her reaction. ‘We want good pigeons.’ I was shocked. Was this the same Eva from a long time ago?

I had seen her only once, at least 15 years ago, but it feels as if it were yesterday. What a woman she was. One that paralyses your vocal cords, that makes the blood clot in your veins and brings the traffic to a standstill. Dizzying I had to hold myself onto a table when by chance I glanced in the immeasurable depth of her décolleté. V was also here that day. Never ever did I see somebody bow so deeply when he introduced himself.

For one full hour he ignored me, he was too much obsessed by the contents of her blouse. I found her husband or lover or whatever a simple. ‘How could he get such a wife?’ I wondered. That question was answered when I saw his car. Anyway, they bought some babies, I could keep the change, 175 euro, thus they made my day.  

Why I did so I still do not know (my wife said it was because of her) but I donated 2 birds for free. Just from yearlings but one never knows. Moreover, are not many fanciers lucky with birds that they got as a gift? Or with birds that they traded? With gifts there is some emotion. Buying and selling is different, pure business. Three years later I got a letter saying that they were very happy with the free birds and now they wanted an address where to buy pigeons that they could mate with mine. I gave them some names, probably NOT the names that they had expected but they followed my advice. And then it became silent. I did not hear from them anymore.  

Till I understood why. One should know that I very rarely look at online auctions. They make me feel bad and life is too short to feel bad about stupid pigeon. On the internet I found their name as buyers of very expensive pigeons and I understood. Now they also had good birds, they had become ‘a name’ and when you are ‘a name’ you buy from a name and not from unkown fanciers. Unless you are smart but unfortunately many fanciers are not smart. Years went by and then in 2014 Eva contacted me again.

Those expensive birds with breath taking pedigrees turned out be junk and junk only. The cheap birds from unknown fanciers like Gust Janssen, that I had advised long way back, were much better. You could not even compare. Were they cheated?

I answered that I was not surprised and did not believe they were cheated alI the time and advised them to check pedigrees of some super racers. They would see for sure that most of them descend from birds from unknown fanciers.

Why I thought they were NOT cheated? The mistake that many make is to think that the children or brothers or sisters of good birds will be good birds as well. Everybody who was so lucky as to once have a super bird (and who is honest) will confirm. If it were that simple fanciers would not breed that many babies.

-Legendary Klak always said that he had only one real good breeding pair all his life: ‘Vechter’ x ‘Witpenneke’, the parents of ‘46’ from Verbarth, one of the best racers ever that won no less than 16 firsts. Imagine that. Klak! Of all people. -Albert Derwa owned a hen called Paulien, that is considered one of the best breeding hens of this century. ‘Paulien’ gave me at least ONE good bird every year’, Albert said. So ONE.

-Verkerk changes his matings every year. He has experienced that it seldom happens that a pair will give more than one real good bird.

-Bart Geerinckx is also a serious man. Once I stood with him before his young bird loft. It contained at least 200 babies.

‘Will ten percent of them any good?’ I asked him.

I wish this were true’, he sighed.

‘That would mean 60 good birds in 3 years’ time. Who has 60 good birds?’ In some auctions all pigeons for sale are described as ‘pure gold’. The reality is different though. I often write that even 10% good birds of all the babies that are bred is a mission impossible for even the greatest champions.

The late Emiel Daems used to say: If your favourite breeding pair will produce your best babies, the future does not look good. What he meant to say is that you should not depend on one or two pairs.  

The good birds you mostly breed from good birds, that is true. But the problem is that the good birds also give so much shit. In 2013 I had my 941, a sensational racer. I doubt if there were better birds in Holland or Belgium. It only flew for one year. Then I had no other choice than to put it in the stockloft as it was wounded. And guess what? It only produced shit birds. (So far).

Boeckx has his ‘Bas’, National Ace KBDB. I have a full brother. Same story: Junk.

There are numerous examples like these in the lofts of other fanciers but I prefer not to mention them. I do not want another bomb under my bed or a smashed window.

Prizes were won in one year time. No good babies so far

Of course there are pairs that regularly give good birds but ‘Golden Couples’ as the Chinese say that only give supers only exist in our imagination and on auction sites. Eva and her partner keep on searching for good birds. Pay 5,000 € or more for a baby, just because of its pedigree, as they did before they will never do again.

This money would not be a problem if success would be guaranteed but they have learnt their lesson. And that was an expensive lesson. To-day they even accept birds without a pedigree.