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Again and again I am surprised about that craze about names and strains abroad, especially in the Far East and the USA. It would be humour if it was not so sad. There was this Japanese fancier long way back. Unlike to-day Japan was the biggest market for our pigeons in those days. And pretty often I was visited by Japanese fanciers and importers then. They wanted my advice where to buy pigeons and I had to drive them there. ‘Let's go to Fonske Jacobs, he has fantastic pigeons and is still fairly cheap too', I proposed the Japanese fancier. He shook his head. Fonske Jacobs? He had never heard about him. ‘Does he make pedigrees?’ he asked. When I said I doubted that he again shook his head.

2008? Cannot believe how time flies.

‘To whom would you like to go then? I asked him. He mentioned several names and one of them was William Geerts, a great champion in those days. ‘William Geerts?’ I could not help smiling and I could not wait to see him. That would be fun!

One hour later we were at William’s place. The Japanese wanted to know the price of the babies. William mentioned his price, but… those were the prices of ‘normal’ babies. The children of original Fonske Jacobs birds were more expensive ‘of course’. I will never forget the face of the Japanese when he heard this. What I knew but what was new for him was that William’s top racers were children of birds that he had bought from short distance Ace Fonske Jacobs.

Dutch people are known as shrewd businessmen. Mister X, a pigeon fancier is sure such a man. He must know clearly how naive many foreigners are. In his ads it says he has birds for sale that are 50% ‘strain Dirk van Dijck’. He himself has never bought pigeons from Dirk, the descendants of his ‘van Dijck pigeons’ he got via via. Do you know what he found? The more often the name Dirk van Dijck was in the pedigrees of his birds the easier he could sell them.

Of course a man like Dirk van Dijck himself also imports pigeons but he is not so naive. Take his 3rd National ACE pigeon KBDB middle distance for arguments’ sake. In the pedigree of the 3rd best pigeon of Belgium you will in vain search for the names of Kannibaal’ ‘Di Caprio’ or ‘Rambo’. The father of this bird, probably his best racer, he got from a man called Emiel Dillen. The mother was bred by Leon Jacobs, bloodline Rosmans and Vrome Melisse.

What I wrote above was pretty much my story to a foreigner. The man wanted to buy four pigeons. I e-mailed him six pedigrees, so that he could choose. He wanted three, the other two were bred from imported pigeons and he wanted ' as much as possible pure bloodline’, strain A.S. But of course strain A S does not exist. The same man had earlier inquired about the price of youngsters out of 'Harry '. Somewhat sarcastically I asked him if did not have another bird in mind. If he really meant a pigeon called ‘Harry’, because….iconic ‘Harry’ was also bred from two imports. Both the father and mother were birds that were purchased by Hooymans. To-day internet is the theatre of the pedigree craziness. Take also young Rik Hermans. His 'Friendship' and 'Minerva' are two fantastic racers. Of both birds both parents were imports!  

'Friendship' an iconic pigeon from R Hermans

If you want to sell birds in order to recuperate some of the money that you invested never say your best pigeons descend from stray birds and birds of your deceased grandfather. If you do not come up with popular names and strains you will starve if pigeons are your livelihood. Even if you have the best pigeons of the world. ***

I know quite well that I repeatedly bring up this subject. I would not do that if this stuff was not that serious and important. In fact, what is going on now in the pigeon business is killing the sport.*** Too many fanciers were already the victim of their own naivety. And believe me, the media are partly responsible.    

 *** A bit exaggerated but food for thought.