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Paper tiger (04-02-2020)

Paper Tiger

When, how and who started it? Hmm. Don’t know. I’m talking about making pedigrees, “the sacred pedigree,” that seems to go with every pigeon to-day, as the Eifel Tower goes with Paris. Was it an ancient Egyptian invention? Wegge? Klak or Jan Zoontjens, perhaps? As early as the ’60s, the last two began to put the origins of their pigeons on paper, not suspecting that they were not the first, but they were forerunners. Forerunners, because at the time the word “pedigree,” didn’t belong in the vocabulary of the average fancier. Now some are more interested in the pedigree than they are in the pigeon itself.

You Have To

Especially for many foreigners, the pedigree is sacred. It determines his interest in the pigeon, and it also determines the price. But, does it also determine the value? I’ve had quite a few good ones, but not a single one that had a series of brothers or sisters who equally as good. And yet they all had the same family tree.

But unfortunately, a pigeon isn’t a good one because his brother is, you can’t get rammed into many of these brainwashed heads. Our 18-732 is an excellent pigeon, he won three 1st prizes and two 3rd prizes in the ZAV in 2019, these are unique performances. Therefore someone asked about his lineage. I didn’t have my bookkeeping up to date yet and instead sent the full brother’s. “You didn’t put the prizes won on the pedigree,” he responded. “Because it couldn’t win a single prize,” was my answer.

Pedigrees? Like some say: “I’m not interested, you can write down whatever you want. If something isn’t quite right, you also have its colour and possibly the DNA, one thing after the other tacked on. Without a pedigree, you can no longer sell a single feather no matter how good the pigeon is. Worthless pigeons with a superb pedigree, they sell like hotcakes.

But Stil Cool

Of course, my pigeons also have pedigrees. Cool, especially now that the tooth of time has begun to gnaw at my memory. And also, let’s not pretend the problem doesn’t exist, we are trying to help buyers. I do want to put it in perspective and realize that a super with five brothers does not mean six supers. As for Jan Zoontjens and Klak, “commerce” was the last thing on their minds. They did it for themselves. Klak had one price for all his pigeons. Why not make youngsters from specific pairs more expensive? “You don’t know where the good ones or useless ones will come from, you can breed worthless grain-eaters from your best,” he reasoned.

A Better Chance

You can’t tell by the pedigree whether the pigeon is or will be. The fact that foreigners, in particular, think differently, became clear here. To sell pigeons, you don’t need good pigeons, but you do need respectable pedigrees they found out. The lineage became the flag that covered the worthless cargo, a means of masking a lack of quality.

Admittedly, when I see a report on a good fancier, I also look at the pedigrees of his best pigeons. But… They never make my head spin. At least, not anymore. I have already purchased too much rubbish out of pigeons with pedigrees from here to Tokyo.


Money entering our sport was inevitable and normal. Pigeons a hobby, a cool way to spend your leisure? That’s also true of darts, billiards, snooker, golf and so on. Now those hobbies can make you a millionaire if you’re good. Do you know how much Tiger Woods earns? And did you know that according to tradition, golf started with a shepherd trying to tap some stones into rabbit holes out of boredom?

Some people are against anything to do with money. They are against pouling, and against sales. But many of these “hobbyists” who “keep pigeons for fun,” change their colours like a chameleon when they get that super pigeon on their own loft. They begin to poule and are busy negotiating with the buyers. People who are against money in the sport are fighting a losing battle, they can never win.


We now have internet sales. There’s nothing wrong with them, as long as everything around the periphery is kept in check, that the truth is not harmed and that the ignorance of the fanciers is not abused. When reading a report, you have to keep asking yourself, “Why was this written and by whom?” The media must be clear about the subject, a matter of self-interest, as their credibility is at stake.


By the way, making a pedigree that adds commercial value, is an ability not everyone is endowed with. Smart Leo H soon understood it. Compare the first pedigrees he mad at the beginning of this century with those of the last few years and you can see what I mean. Pedigrees must be full with as little white as possible.

The smart ones know that. So you often see the performance of the same good racers four times on the same pedigree. Naturally for the champion himself, but also for his children (“father won…”) and even both parents (“the son won..”) and all are given appealing names.

In a previous lifetime, I had “Sissi,” a hen that produced outstanding progeny and also very bad ones. A lot was written about the few good ones at the time, but not a word about the rejects. Later, I had a good breeding hen, the “067,” and that’s what I called it. “Not smart,” said my late friend David. “You have to call it New Sissi,” a truth that lay close to the matter.

Smart Belgian

Thinking back to the “067” doesn’t mean that only the Nederlanders have the mercantile spirit. It was a hen from Gust Janssen that was paired with the 230 (Brother Ace Four) that produced tremendous descendants. Henk Simonz wrote half a book about them. When a Belgian real estate agent was here and saw the pedigrees, he asked, “Are you Dutch or Belgian?” I never understood why. “Dutchman,” I said. He shook his head. “I thought the Dutch were smarter.” I looked at him questionably. “On the “067” or “New Sissi,” you should leave “Gust” of the pedigree so that only the name Janssen appears.” I didn’t hold him in high esteem and since then even less so. I would be ashamed of myself if I did that to Gust.


If eggs leave here, I won’t include the bands and pedigrees anymore. I’ve learned my lesson. For example, there was that man who sometimes acted as an intermediary, but didn’t come forth with information on where the birds were to be shipped. He was looking to strengthen his loft, and I had to help him. He’d pay me well. Primarily because of the “good pay,” I didn’t trust him. He wanted pigeons with the pedigrees of the father and the mother, not of the pigeons themselves. He never came to get them…