Attention: you are now visiting the former Blue Heaven Loft website. This website is not active anymore.
Please click here to visit the NEW BLUE HEAVEN LOFT WEBSITE.
Opgelet: u bezoekt nu de voormalige Blue Heaven Loft-website. Deze website is niet meer actief.
Klik hier voor de vernieuwde BLUE HEAVEN LOFT WEBSITE.
Avertissement: Vous visitez maintenant l'ancien site de Blue Heaven Loft. Ce site n'est plus actif.
Cliquez ici pour ouvrir le nouveau SITE WEB BLUE HEAVEN LOFT.




Webmaster: Ruben America






The Wizard of Zoutleeuw Shocks the Belgian Sport - Again!! Part 2


By Tom Smith Spring Hill, Florida, USA
It was a short week between LaSouterraine and the next National, a mere four days until Thurday shipping night for Geuret. The thrill of winning the LaSouterraine National had barely subsided yet Michel VanLint's attention had shifted, by necessity, to the final National of the year, only days away. His team was in tip top condition; his birds vibrating with form. Yet he knew they had flown a long, hard schedule, most of them having flown 14 or more heavy middle distance races. The weather was cooler, much to his bird's liking, but the wind forecast was far from ideal.
Always an optimist, Michel knew in his 'heart of hearts' that his team was ready for anything...ready to put up another fantastic performance! His plan for the last National was put into effect with the yearlings and old birds as well as the young birds.

Michel set up his racers with eggs from other pairs, so the racing hens wouldn't lay themselves; in due course he removed the eggs and slipped a single squeaker under them. At La Souterraine he had put an eight day old youngster under each of his young hens that was sitting. The added stimulation had worked wonderfully. He was setting up not only the young birds, but the yearlings and old birds the same way. But there was a problem, which of course Michel had foreseen long before it would happen: Now the squeakers were too old and the cocks were beginning to chase their hens. Not good. Michel knew that the youngsters would be much too big by the next National, Gueret 537 km (333 miles). He had to separate them, so he removed the hens and left the cocks with their youngsters all day and night.

The hens were only allowed to visit their babies when the cocks were out exercising. Michel kept up this rotation until the day of basketing for Gueret, Thursday. That Thursday afternoon Michel says he decided to, as he told me, "play with fire:" He decided to let the females join their cocks and babies. He says "The motivation of the youngsters, especially the hens; the rejoining at home with their husband, gave them a special feeling of happiness. When I later took them for basketing, I felt in my hands birds that were ready to perform, healthy, exuding condition, tingling with super form; I knew that mentally they possessed a desire to return home that would produce a great performance..." Michel returned home with confidence.
Now it was out of his hands...It was up to the birds and the weather�?.The long wait began, Thursday evening, all day Friday; he mulled over the preparations of his team in his mind, then Saturday; finally Saturday, liberation day... He checked the weather forecast: Strong east/north-east winds...Good winds for the pigeons racing to the west of Belgium, in East Flanders and West Flanders, but not favorable for the pigeons racing to Brabant. The word had already spread: "Don't worry about Van Lint...He won last week, but he can't win this week, the wind is against him. It will be a hard race and his speed pigeons have flown a long, hard season..." But Michel still had confidence, even if it was not as much confidence as the week before. He says "one must be a realist too!"

The race point of Gueret, located only a few miles from La Souterraine in France, is around 330 miles to Belgium. The Gueret National, organized by the CUREGHEM CENTRE, was liberated on Saturday September 9th 2006 at 8 am in sunny skies, 22 degrees C, strong east/northeast winds, with 2633 obs and 11,670 ybs competing . It was the last National race on the Belgian schedule for 2006.

As predicted, the birds rained down in the west of Belgium: 1st National Youngbirds was a dark blue, young widowhood hen, with yellow eyes, flown by the tandem of Marc Laevens & Roger Vervaeke in Deerlijk. They entered four youngsters and their first clocked was their first nominated! She was over seven hours on the wing, clocked at 15:17 for 530 km (329 miles) with a speed of 1210 mpm. 2nd National YBs was DeClerck - Blanche of Tielt, who entered 21 ybs, and clocked at 15:29, 541 km (335 miles) for 1205 mpm.

3rd National YBS was Gilbert DeCraene of Evergem, who entered six, clocked at 15;48 for 562 km (349 miles) 1200 mpm. There were only three birds out of the eleven thousand six hundred seventy that made a speed over 1200 mpm! In the Old Bird National, liberated simultaneously with the YB National, the 1st National winner was the young master, 24 year old Eric Berckmoes of Brecht, Antwerp with his 1st marked of 13 entries! Clocked after over eight hours on the wing, at 16:20 for 603 km (374 miles), it attained the winning speed of 1204 mpm, the only bird over 1200 mpm! Eric, the protege of Robert Marcelis, has now won four 1st Nationals in his young career! He was a neighbor of Robert Marcelis, who was "taken under the wing" by the old master and taught the ropes. He learned well, very well!
2nd National OBS was Deschepper - Detemmerma of Merelebeke clocking at 15:51 for 548 km (340 miles) with a 1163.7 mpm speed. Almost in a "dead heat," Freddy Vandenheede of Zinggem clocked at 15:44 for 539 km (335 miles) with a 1163.1 mpm speed! taking 3rd National. It was his first marked of eight entries. Freddy's brother Jacques was 4th National with 1161 mpm! The brothers put five birds in the first twenty National positions! Six of the first ten National prizes were won by flier's first marked pigeon!
Two more were won by third marked pigeons! These guys know their birds. The Van Lint pigeons had flown the whole season, race after race, and now had to contend with a strong east headwind at 567 km (352 miles). Few expected them to fair well...except, of course, Michel. With all the odds against them, Michel began clocking at 16:22, his first marked old bird! Eight hours twenty-two minutes on the wing. It attained a speed of 1130.5 mpm, garnering 24th National OBs! Then the Van Lint "express" arrived: 42nd National 1114 mpm, his 3rd nominated bird; 44th National 1113 mpm; 51st National 1110 mpm; 77th National 1097 mpm; 80th National 1096 mpm; 93rd National 1090 mpm; etc.! And in the National Zone C against 1310 obs they garnered 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 15th, 16th, 31st, 32nd, 39th, 47th , 52nd, 54th, 57th, 70th, 72nd, 77th, 80th, 81st, 105th, 11th, 119th, 120th, 128th...!!

Some of the other well known prizes winners were: 2nd , 4th, 14th, 21st, 22nd, 36th, 44th, 48th National Zone C by the outstanding Jeff VanWinkel 1120 mpm; 10th Paul Huls 1109 mpm; 11th Guido Loockx with 1105 mpm speed; 17th (first marked), 23rd, & 41st the well known Herbots Bros. 1093 mpm; 37th the "world champion" Jos Thone 1076 mpm; 45th Lambrechts - Lismont 1069 mpm. All of those mentioned have previously won at least one 1st National! In Michel's club it was total domination: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20...A stunning performance.

With the ybs he also had a respectable performance, placing 12 birds in the prizes out of 18 entered, taking 65th, 67th...National Zone C 2735 ybs. So once again Van Lint was the talk of Belgium! As I conversed with Michel I asked him what gave him the greatest satisfaction, having a great performance or showing the "know it alls" that they don't quite know it all. Michel smiled and said: "The biggest satisfaction for me is that these performances at the end of the season prove that my pigeons were not at the end of their power. They were not burned out, otherwise it would be impossible to have such performances. They can fly from the end of April thru the middle of September, every week 450 to 600 km, without interruption, males and females, winning good prizes even at the very end of the season..." So Michel, how do you do it? "The key point ...sometimes supplementary... sometimes less... The fancier should see and feel how the condition of his birds is going and then deal with it accordingly." But Michel, birds on the nest, the way you fly them, don't like to train around the loft. "Right! Birds on the nest are not willing to train hard. The only thing they like to do is rejoin their nest. So the fancier must take them off their nests, put them outside and keep them in the sky until the required training period is over. If you don't do it, the race results will not be successful."

So how do you do it? "I always train them morning and late afternoon for one hour, two or three times a week. After their morning training I catch them all and take them in my training trailer about 40 km for a toss. I release males and females separately. The hens are released about 8 or 10 seconds before the cocks, so the cocks can chase the hens home. When they arrive, my wife uses a pole to separate them into their respective sections. The hens go right to their boxes and are locked in, while the cocks sit on perches outside their closed nest boxes."

" Michel with so much training and racing the birds must be well fueled. What do you feed?" "Tom, I trust and rely on the well known Versele-Laga feed mixtures. Good, sound food is needed when birds are training and racing hard. Feed given with nutrition products or medicines will not be eaten properly. The birds will never eat their fill, so you need to assist them by giving them, at the end, a pure mixture to let them fill up their stomachs. The next morning their stomachs should be empty. Any bird with a full or half full stomach in the morning should be given your attention as it is not well.."
"You mentioned medicines; can you give me a little insight into you system of medicating?" "Basically, every week I give my birds a cure against trichomoniase (canker). They receive it for a day and a half, renewing the water three times. This is done because my birds are always flying in two-night basketing races. When the race is hard and it rained, I always treat them with Doxicicline and vinegar. This keeps their head clear. During these one or two days of treatment I take away all grit, stones, calcium products. If not, you have to increase the dosage of the medicine, but this I do not like to do. I use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. The birds will tell you when they don't feel well. You must watch them carefully." "Michel I know you are in your loft more than you are in your house!

Why is that?" "Tom, if you give your birds your full attention and will detect things other fanciers never will see...and that leads to greater success." As I continued questioning Michel he finally said "Tom that's enough, here's a copy of my DVD for you to see all my methods..."

You know I couldn't stop there so I asked him who his top racer was in 2006 besides "Christina." Michel replied "BORIS" 04Belg2200650 Pencil Cock. He is a super pigeon having flown 18 heavy middle distance races in 2006 and 14 more in 2006! He won 1st As - Duif Oude / 1st As - Pigeon Vieux Brabantse Unie (1st Ace Old Bird) heavy middle distance 2006 with 7 prizes and he also won the Grand Prix Fernand Doumont Club Fond Wallonie - au Meilleur Vieux (Ace Old Bird) 2006! When I studied BORIS' record I was amazed: In 2005 he flew every weekend, not short distance races, but all heavy middle distance races. From May 8th to Sept. 10th he flew 232 miles, 232 miles, 285 miles; 285 m., 310 m., 317 m., 294 m., 330 m., 357 m., 335 m., 281 m., 232 m., 285 m., 294 m., 335 m., 273 m., 357 m., and 333 miles!! He scored 17 prizes out of the 18 races, including 2 x 1st, a 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, etc. In 2006 BORIS flew 232 m., 285 m., 281 m., 317 m., 284 m., 330 m., 335 m ., 232 m., 317 m., 285 m., 234 m., 335 m., 357 m., and 352 miles! He won 2 x 1st, in fact winning 1st National Geuret Zone C 352 miles 1310 birds in his 14th and last race of the season! BORIS also had a 3rd, 2 x 5th, 14th, 16th, 18th, etc. What a pigeon! Michel says this proves what he knew all along, a superior pigeon, if handled properly can race every week the whole season successfully without being burned out.

Michel also had another pigeon 05Belg2105467 place 4th As - Duif Oude (Ace Old Bird) Brabant Union 2006 with 5 prizes. Michel also mentioned his great hen "CARLA" 05NL1398656 BCh, a Van Brijn hen winner of 1st As - Duif Jaarse / 1st As - Pigeon Yearling "Brabantse Unie" (1st Ace Yearling) and the Grand Prix Fernand Doumont Club Fond Wallonie - au Meilleur Yearling 2006 (Ace Yearling)! She flew thirteen "heavy races" in 2006. What a hen. And there were several other outstanding pigeons on the team in 2006. Let me mention that the "Brabantse Unie"/ "Union Brabbanconne"/ Brabant Union is a highly competitive organization taking in lofts in Brabant (Flamand and Wallon), Oost Vlaanderen, Antwerpen, Limburg, Liege, Namur and Hainaut. In 2006 the Brabant Union shipped 9470 birds to 16 long distance races and 38,717 birds to 16 middle distance races. The Brabant Union baskets birds for all the National races and several Internationals. They also sponsor the Bourges National I (240 miles) each year; a race that draws tens of thousands of birds from Belgium's elite middle and long distance fliers.

The Fond Club Wallonie is one of the most prestigious and competitive clubs in all Belgium having well over a thousand members. It was formed in 1951 with the respected champion Albert Stoclet its first president. Although located in the Wallon, the French speaking area of Belgium, it is a national club sponsoring several National races, the Marseille International and the Carcasonne International each year. Many of the greatest names in the Belgian sport compete in the CFW.

Michel Van Lint placed 8th in the FCW Championnat General de Wallonie 2006. Some of the most well known champions, all of which have won at least one 1st National and most have won several, who placed in this championship were: A & L Vandenberghe 1st; Yvon Deneufbourg 7th; Leon Marit 11th; Van Hove-Utterhoeven 21st; Fauches Freres 24th; Erik Limbourg 25th; Henry Van Neste 31st; Jo & Raf Herbots 36th; Louis Van Der Wielen 53rd; Deno-Herbots 54th; Jos & Jules Engels 55th; Germain Imbrechts 65th; Guy Vinios 72nd; Willy Clerebaut 85th; Maurice Vandevelde 108th; etc. There were 152 positions classed in the championship. Michel also placed equal 2nd in the Classment au Meilleur Pigeon Vieux CFW 2006 (Ace Old Bird) and won the Grand Prix Alex Babusiaux CFW - au plus de prix, winner of the greatest number of prizes in 2006.

In Michel's local club, the "OBRAFO TIENEN," which is also very competitive, he won: 1st Best Hok Oude Lichte Fond; 2nd Best Hok Jaarse Lichte Fond; 1st Asduif Oude Lichte Fond; 2nd Asduif Jaarse; 3rd Asduif Jonge; 1st Best Hok Oude Lichte Fond Zone Oost; 1st Best Hok Jaarse Lichte Fond Zone Oost; 4th Best Hok Jonge Lichte Fond Zone Oost; 1+2 Oude 2nd; 1+2 Jaarse 4th; 1st & 2nd Asduif Oude Lichte Fond Zone Oost; 2nd Asduif Jaarse Lichte Fond Zone Oost; 1st Asduif Jongen Lichte Fond Zone Oost; 1st ALGEMEEN KAMPIOEN BESTE HOK Zone Oost. As the season ended Michel had great satisfaction in once again proving the quality of his pigeons and the superiority of his methods. But he is not one to rest on his laurels. During the winter months he and his wife are nearly as busy with the birds as during the racing season, because the "off season" is so important to the next year's success. It is the time of the year the racers must renew themselves both physically and mentally, and the fancier must renew himself also! Everything is done methodically. Michel often sits with his records and contemplates the past, the present and the future...

The first thing Michel did when we entered the garage below his racing loft, was to grab my hands! He felt them and said "Good! You have good pigeon hands!" "What?!" "Your hand are not damp, not wet…You have good pigeon hands - now you can handle CHRISTINA..." He handed me the 1st National LaSouterraine winner and I just stood there marveling her - and what Michel had just said to me! I said nothing. Michel asked what I thought of her. I said "Michel I have handled hundreds of National winners...and she is wonderful in the hand, as they all have been...but you know I cannot see inside her, because that's what's most important... Her brain, her heart, her desire..." Michel smiled and nodded his head knowingly. I might say now that CHRISTINA is a little larger than medium, not small by any means, with plenty of spongy musculature, silky feather, strong bones and strong back, tight vented, with a wonderful serrated gravel eye. What a nice pigeon. Michel brought out several more birds including CHRISTINA's parents BILLY and CONNIE, two beauties. CONNIE was ready to lay so I was very careful with her.

Before we headed up to the racing lofts Michel had us step in a tray on the floor which had a sponge with chemicals to disinfect our shoes. Then Michel had us step onto his "lift" which took us up to the roof with no effort on our part! I went thru all the racing sections, handling birds and asking Michel questions. We talked some about the de Brijn bloodline which is the backbone of the loft. He said he became friends with William de Brijn at the 1995 San Francisco Convention and from then on they were in constant contact. During the following race seasons William would call Michel weekly in Taiwan with his results, and Michel would make suggestion as to what he should do next. When Michel moved back to Belgium he incorporated de Brijn's system at his new lofts. His friend William showed up at his house one day with 50 youngsters without even being asked! Now that's a real friend... Michel said he was both surprised and disappointed at some of his other so called friends, who he knew for years; they neither offered help nor birds to their "friend"... Michel says he can count his true friends on one hand...and now that he has won eight Nationals...there are many acquaintances but few friends. It is sad to say success breeds envy and malice in many people...which is pre cious time wasted, time that could be better spent on managing their birds successfully!

We descended to ground level, and while Michel and I continued to converse in the garage, Tristan and Linda were playing in the yard while Gigi and Yu-Chin watched. Michel had to cage his spunky little Jack Russell terriers because they were jumping up on Tristan. Michel says no animal or human can get into his backyard with them around! And I believe it! The garage is 18 meters by 12 meters (50 feet by 36 feet). It houses the breeders, feed and supplies, an elevator, and a very modern training trailer. The twelve crates in the trailer have clear fiberglass release doors so you can observe the birds in the baskets from outside the trailer. The crates are made of aluminum. Ventilation is excellent and there is a running water system for the birds. Everything is first class!

Eventually we adjourned to the Van Lint house and enjoyed some delicious Belgian cookies and cake. Linda played the piano and flute for us... What a talented child. I looked over all the beautiful trophies awarded for his many 1st National, championship and ace pigeon wins. As night fell, Michel invited us to go out to dinner at a local restaurant where we enjoyed a typical delicious Belgian meal of veal chops in beer with chervil, served with spinach in cheese sauce and parsley potatoes! Followed by a delicious dessert - Belgian chocolate ganache tarts! Mouth watering! I can't wait to visit Michel again...and return to that restaurant! All too soon the evening was over and we headed back to our friend's house in Flanders.

Michel Van Lint is a lucky man in many ways: He has a lovely, dedicated wife, Yu-Chin, who works literally "hand in hand" with him and the birds; he has a charming young daughter Linda who brings a song to his heart; and he has a profound talent in his chosen sport, pigeon racing, so profound he is often referred to as "the wizard of Zoutleeuw!"

And the wizard has again begun to cast his spell on the 2007 races, starting the old bird season off with several 1st prizes including 1st Provincial Blois I, the fastest pigeon of 5197 in the liberation of 2363 old birds and 2834 young birds! May the wizard continue spinning his spells... Good Flying,
Tom Smith from sunny Florida (USA)
Weblog Michel Vanlint
update 22-08-2013
in het Nederlands
en français
in English
in Deutsch
in Chinese


© 2004 Michel Vanlint
Michel Vanlint
Bogaerdenstraat 33 / 3440 Zoutleeuw
Tel: +32(0)475 75 79 58 / Fax : +32(0)11 69 66 78
Email :
Nedstat Basic - Gratis web site statistieken
Eigen homepage website teller