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translation from Dutch by LCB
 The horses that earn the oat, don’t get it...
message posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2013

National Argenton (540Km.). Blue Heaven Loft succeeded with 36 prizes on national level of 55 we put in; about 66%. For the first time this season, our birds spend three nights in the baskets.  To many pigeons this was the very first time. The majority of the participating pigeons (38.788, more than in 2012) had to get used to it. The organisers must have given the task to the drivers, to feed the pigeons. In the mean time, I found out that some sections chose not to feed the birds on the national races with two nights basket. The discussion about this, isn’t new.

The problem, weather they feed or not feed the pigeons, isn’t very simple to solve.  Most fanciers feed their pigeons much richer a few days before basketing on Thursday evening. Normally, the pigeons should be fed on Friday during the day when they make their first stop, in the area of Paris.  The amount of food they give is also very important. Some pigeons will eat a lot and others don’t get the opportunity to pick some grains. And if they feed too much, will stay there till Saturday morning. Those pigeons that eat these grains, which are already a bit tarnished (by the manure and the wood curls), are already lost before they even are released. So what’s best?  Food or no food?  We’re talking of races with two nights basket.  May be the organisers of these sections that don’t feed the pigeons, do have a point.

It’s completely different when we’re talking about the drinking water. Here they have no choice.  The rules of the K.B.D.B. are very clear and strict: all pigeons should get the opportunity to drink during the transport and when they arrive at the place of release. But because they almost always arrive late in the evening or at night, this has to be done early in the morning. Providing our birds with drinking water is a very controversial matter. If they can drink a bit just before the baskets open, it’s easier for them to race back home. But the point is: do our birds always have water at their disposal? A very important question? And is there enough control? Devotion is not always present among the drivers. Nevertheless, we think that most of them always try to carry out their instructions as good as possible. But these discussions will continue till  all shipping will be done with the Cabine-Express, which are provided with an automatic water supplying system.

The large number of pigeons on the national race from Argenton, is the prove that our leaders of the K.B.D.B. were right by organising 7 national middle distance races in as many weeks.  Most fanciers reacted positive by participating massive, proved by the large number of pigeons.
Last weekend, there was the national race from La Souterraine (576 Km) and the last one in a row of 7 nationals. We were curious how many pigeons would participate? Not everybody is ready to put in their birds, which only had 4 nights on the loft before the next basketing.  It’s not always easy to get them in good condition in such a short time. Nevertheless, we tried. With variable success on a race of 576 Km and with a ENE wind, it wasn’t an easy race for the 20773 participators.  Our yearlings won a bit more than 50% prize. Our old birds disappointed us a bit because they didn’t reach our target of 60% prize. Of course, the race from La Souterraine was hard work with more than 8-9 hours in the sky along with a rather strong ENE wind and a temperature of 25°C. Above this, we mustn’t forget that our feathered friends raced 4 nationals in +- 3 weeks: Montluçon(531Km), Gueret(571km), Argenton(540km.) and La Souterraine (576km.). If I calculate well, it’s a total of 2.218 km.  Who would like to do this?

The yellow drops are back. More than 40 years ago, these drops were produced by the Late Prof. Van Grembergen (University Gent.  He was the moral father and the inventor of this product and Georges Smedts from Walem , a good friend of the professor was the promoter. Professor Van Grembergen visited us a few times to find out how we succeeded to get classified among the national champions on the heavy middle distance in the seventies with only 9 widowers. It was on one of his visits that the professor advised us to use these yellow drops, based on Trypaflavine, every week. These drops were effective against cancer and they also protect the upper bronchial tubes. It’s still a riddle to me why they took these drops out of the circuit. But now they’re back and I can get them with my vet Raf Herbots from Velm. I just want to warn you.   Be careful with this product because it ruins all your clothes.  The smallest bit that drops on your clothes colours it and you can’t get it out. I can’t count the shirts and trousers that I ruined with it and of course this gives arguing in the household. My 9 widowers, in those days, knew the bottle so well that when I arrived on the loft with it, some already started to vomit before I even touched them.  They already were allergic by seeing the bottle.  So be careful and don’t use it demonstrative…


Unexpected visit: we weren’t only surprised but mostly honoured by the visit of our friend Tony Melucci from the States, (who’s already 83 now);  He visited us with some friends from over the Ocean.  There were 5 of them and together they rented a car at their arrival at the airport and now they visited some old friends and fanciers. Tony Melucci has become a living legend. One of the best pigeon presenters we know in history. He has a memory like a horse, he didn’t forget anything, not even the smallest details. Tony, thanks for your visit. It was short but we enjoyed it.

Last training flight youngsters

What about the youngsters?  They left for the first time last weekend to
Momignies (110km.), accompanied by a North Eastern wind. So it certainly wasn’t a training flight…
They only were released a bit before 11 o’clock by a temperature of 25°C. These aren’t the ideal conditions to release young birds. Surely when you know, they could have been released earlier. Last week, the responsible one for the release received many complaints because he released TOO EARLY.  So now, the man was afraid to let the birds free till they finally asked him why didn’t release them.  The pigeons arrived the whole day long and of course many lost. And yes, the region of Antwerp were released later. Probably the lost there are even worse? We don’t know for sure. But low mist, can surely not be the reason of this omission.
The sun was shining everywhere and the pigeons were released.  With local low mist when the weather is good elsewhere, the pigeons can get released. Pigeons always chose to fly higher, where the sun shines brightly. Again so much grief that could have been avoided. But who am I to judge this? At my age, I learned to let sleep what sleeps.  Not to wake sleeping dogs. Even if I know that barking dogs don’t bite…and we’re never too old to learn.

If all goes well, we’ll be back on July 25th,  the day on which we have to put in our pigeons for the national ace from Bourges for old, yearlings and young birds. We’ll meet again. And if it doesn’t go as it should, don’t despair.  Times can change because our luck flies…

Your servant


In BLUE HEAVEN LOFT the crows ensure that the hawk stays away. Look for yourself...

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© 2004 Michel Vanlint
Michel Vanlint
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