1st National La Souterraine for Michel
Zoutleeuw - They got to know each other in San Fransico....
we're talking about Michel Vanlint and Willem De Bruijn.
Two of a kind that found each other... they got along immediately....and
it ended up in one of the most important "rushes to the
top" of the last years. Who else but Michel Vanlint deserves
to have the best loft of Belgium of the year of 2004!
They're not only two fanciers that think the same about the
sport and the pigeons. It are also the birds of Willem
De Bruijn (called the flying dentist in Holland) that
are at the base of the spectacular career of the "Lost
Son", who came back to Belgium in 2002 after he spend
over 20 years in Taiwan. He looked for a house in Zoutleeuw
but before he bought the place he looked where to build his
loft and then he bought the house without even taken a look
inside. In 2004 Michel started with 36 yearling couples on
widowhood, 8 breeding pairs and about 100 youngsters. His
accommodation build in the L-form by the hands of Van
Ostaeyen from Boechout stands for 4 sections for his
yearling birds and 5 compartments for the youngsters.
The words of the master...
I started to build the loft by the example of the late Huyskens-Van
Riel, an L-form and in a South East direction. The direction
is very important but most fanciers don't think about this
aspect. My loft is also very compact; 16 m x 12 m. This year
my young birds scored very well too but I think we will talk
mostly about the yearlings.
I play the total widowhood and the 36 couples are devided
over 4 sections... loft one contains all checquered cocks,
loft two all blue cocks, loft three all chequered hens and
on the fourth section we have the blue hens. These sections
are two by two identical and all pigeons have to change sections
every two days, this to keep them from pairing among each
other. Also herby the cocks will eager even more to end up
on the breeding section.
At the end of November the racing team is paired for the first
time and they got to raise a couple of youngsters. After the
weaning the cocks and the hens are separated and at the end
of March the same thing was repeated one more time and then
they got to breed for 10 days and next they left on widowhood.
The learning of the racing team, as well as the short private
flights in between, are very important. Once the birds learned
all they need to know, they are privately trained, according
to the weather, on 25 till 40 km for about three times a week.
The hens get out of the basket as first and when they left
for about 100 meters, the cocks are released too. And believe
it or not but at that point the cocks want to get out so much
that they race till they are together with the hens. At their
arrival back home, both sexes only see each other on the roof
and afterwards they are called inside with the magical stick
to their own section. The whole operation looks more difficult
then it is because after a while they all jump into their
own compartment. The third private training flight is on the
day of basketing and mostly the males and females don’t
come together again on the moment of basketing.
Cocks and hens are played every week again of the 18th April
till the 28th August and it's a fact that not all pigeons
stand up against my rhythm. This season about 6 pigeons didn't
get where I wanted them too of my team of 36. But I started
with pigeons of Willem De Bruijn, which are selected like
this for years now and this means a lot.
Another important aspect is of course the food. I tried
all kinds of mixtures but I came to the conclusion that it's
best to make my own mixture. I feed my birds on a shelve on
the floor and I observe what they eat first. The grains they
prefer is the one that is used the most. Of course it's always
possible that the mixture changes every day because of their
behaviour. Also the by-products are important and I follow
the schedule from A to Z of the Herbots Animal Products
with among others Zell Oxygen, Bronchovit, Vita
+ Bio, Aminovit....All these products are mixed with the
food. Of course also the medical aspect is important. Before
the early breeding and before the racing season starts, the
birds are cured against trichomoniase for 5 days. During the
season the pigeons get a cure of two days against trichomoniase
too with all kinds of products sometimes used with the food
and sometimes in the drinking water. The three most important
aspects to me are: a good loft, pigeons that can hold on to
my system and the fancier who has to take care of the medical
aspect, a good training- and racing schedule and the proper
food that provides them of the right condition. And this is
a full time job!
Winner of the day was the "Adonis", NL03/1141085...
a cock directly of Willem De Bruijn. And whatever
they say, the cock had thrown 3 pinions before he ended up
in the basket for La Souterraine and when they took a picture,
he threw his 4th. That "Adonis" took care of the
cherry on the cake of the season of 2004.....