"On top of the article about you I will write: "At Middle Distance the best loft in Belgium in 2019’, reporter Luc said when he was writing the report that was recently published in pigeon magazine De Duif.Knowing pigeon fanciers, at least some of them, I said "Then better put a question mark behind it.’ Luc: ‘Come on! No question mark, on the contrary, an exclamation mark! Fanciers who think they did better may contact me.’After the article was published, no one reacted, no one protested, no one contacted him. "In fact, not a single negative comment has been heard, on the contrary.
A report may be so extensive, completeness does not exist. In addition, readers have different interests. One is interested in feeding, the other in the medical picture, a third one in the loft construction or in the family. I was asked several questions after the publication,some of them may interest you.
Patrick and Frank, who are champions themselves, work for the breeding station of de Scheemaecker. Every year they buy pigeons from a champion for the breeding station and then they are very critical.They only want the best, and it must be said, my birds made a stunning impression upon them. "Go keep more pigeons, you will even become more famous than you already are’, they unanimously said more than once.Such question, (why not keep and race more birds) I was often asked. This is mainly due to age. In addition, both my assistant Roger and I hate mediocrity and that will be more the case the more pigeons you have.In short: I was never tempted to keep more birds to stand out and continue to perform. And I found even a small team is enough to stand out, or even more, destroy the competition as long as the quality is there. Furthermore you must make choices to get there where there is so little space: At the top. For me that is Middle Distance, races from 300 to 500 kms. WHY NO LONG DISTANCE?Another question that fellow fanciers often ask is: "Why don't you race long distance, so the nationals?” Roger, the chairman of the club: “I'm not saying your birds are better than those of the world famous names, but they are certainly no worse. You hurt yourself by not playing long distance ".The answer resembles the previous one: Too few birds. Also consider the extensive work if you choose more disciplines and the associated stress. I know there are fanciers who would like to play every day if possible. I am not that kind of man. Take that famous Antwerp fancier for arguments’ sake. He would like to excel at the Nationals. I think he would succeed but on one condition: Give up the short and middle distance and only race the nationals with all birds.
Medically, there is little interesting to report about my loft, although that may seem implausible. I have healthy birds and as soon as one is not fresh, it can leave.The vet does not earn anything from us. If so, that vet would have shouted out loud already that we are his customers. Do not take me wrong. Of course you cannot totally ignore him. But the less you need a vet the better. We only see him once a year. Only 2011 was different. Then we were not spared from disaster.Birds that did not perform, good birds got lost, youngsters died in the nests, unfertilized eggs, birds that were never tight, we all experienced it.Paratyphoid was the problem and you don't want to experience that a second time. Baytril, so detested by many, brought salvation quickly, otherwise we would not have become 1st Champion youngsters in both the famous Federations Union Antwerp and ZAV in 2012; so against all the big shots.
What about supplements? Do you give many?"To be honest, there is little I have not tried, but I never saw any improvement in form," famous Verkerk always says.Here's another one. I also tried everything, but never ever did I find anything that brought any improvement in the condition. Now I restrict myself to electrolytes in warm weather and the yellow drops that are the fashion to-day. Do you play well and do you believe in supplements? Ignore my opinion and go on!!!
Despite I have been real successful for half a century I still cannot tell from a pigeon whether it is a good one. "Bad" is easier. Some birds have such major flaws that they just cannot be good.The same applies to breeders, me, nor anybody else can see whether a pigeon has the potential to produce good.What you can make as a requirement for both breeders and racers? Soft plumes. A pigeon with hard feathers and stiff fragile pens is a bad one for sure! Of course you should not turn things around.All cows are animals, but all animals are not cows.So when birds with bad plumes are not good, that does not automatically mean that birds with soft plumes are good. I like them somewhat smaller, compact, well-ventilated last flights and a small pupil facing forward. I have never seen a good racer with hard plumage, the same applies to ‘rear viewers’. Get rid of such.
The quality in the breeding loft must be so good that it does not really matter who pairs with whom. You can even do free mating.You can steer a bit by placing the breeders in two or three sections. My mistake is not being able to get rid of real old basic birds, you better shouldn't imitate me in that. On the other hand, I do have real good experiences with pairing yearlings that both flew very well as a youngster.And which I am also convinced, something that I wrote earlier, is that you have a lot of chance to have good breeders if you have two nest mates that both performed very well. 145 (Ace Four) and its nestsister 144 are good examples. When you have two birds of the same nest and one performed while the other was a failure some say ‘the poor racer will be the good breeder’. Everyone his own truth, but I prefer the babies of the good racer.
In conclusion a piece of advice to novices. Use the internet only to read results and ignore all those sales. Pigeons are made into such a hype by auctioneers that it is very difficult to resist the enticements of "delicious" pedigrees. Hooymans was successful with ‘name birds’ indeed, but he is the exception to the rule.