Francois Van Den Troost: 1st National Champion ELD and Long Distance KBDB year birds.

Don’t get me wrong, but it is so beautiful when a pure hobby fancier can win such a prestigious championship as this of the extreme long distance and long distance year birds. This is the proof that a fancier with a small colony can reach the highest level within pigeon sport on a national stage. Marvellous, no?

This article is about Francois Van Den Troost from the Flemish-Brabant province, more specific the city of Ramsdonk. Francois is 68 years young and full of energy. It was very nice to see how proud he was on his championship pigeons but also on his perfectly maintained grass, his hundreds of leek plants, strawberry bushes and tomato plants. This pigeon fancier clearly has pigeon sport in his ‘green’ fingertips.

How it all started

As many amongst us he got pigeon sport inherited at a young age both by his father as his grandfather. His two tutors were true short distance racers. The first real experience that Francois got was by entering the local short distance races together with his father. He got married at 25 and moved to Kapelle-op-den-Bos. Off-course it didn’t take long before his own first pigeon loft was a fact…with as result that the competitors immediately new what they had to fight against. After 8 years he moved again, this time to his current house in Ramsdonk. The first years Francois was loyal to his short distance game, with a lot of success (what else did you think?). Also when he made the move onto the middle distance races he competed very nice. And this with his ‘so called’ short distance pigeons.

The promise of Leon

But there had to be a bit of long distance blood in the short distance racer Francois. Actually the long distance story started by watching the pigeon at Leon Van den Berg from Londerzeel. By the efforts made by these long distance races on such long distance in sometimes very difficult circumstances was the trigger that made Francois getting a lot of admiring for this discipline. Leon noticed that his loyal ‘watcher’ was getting interested in this long distance game and promised to give him some pigeons when he was making the step towards the long distance. No sooner said than done…the long distance fancier Francois Van der Troost was born. By exchanging pigeons he built out his breeding loft (25 couples). He has pigeons from the tandems Swinnen-Van Hoof (Zichem) and Van de Putte-Van den Hende (Beerzel). Also from the other top racers Stijn and Jeroen Rans (Wijgmaal) and Alex Rans (Herent) you can find descendants from their best blood lines.

Stefan Beeckmans

There is a reason that I spent a ‘special’ chapter for this sympathetic guy out of Wolvertem. Stefan is ‘possessed’ by pigeon sport and always looking for the best you can find on the market. He has some unique blood lines on his breeding loft. But due to his very busy professional occupations he doesn’t have enough time to give the attention needed to his winged athletes…..which of course isn’t beneficiary for beautiful results. But Stefan wanted to know what his pigeons were worth. So he moved a few years ago 12 couples to the breeding loft in Ramsdonk. These are pigeons with the superior blood of the legendary ‘Joost’ (1st International Perpignan 2003 at Joost De Smeyter-Restiaen) running through their veins. The famous year birds team that won the national championship are especially out of these Beeckmans-pigeons, pure or crossed in with the above mentioned strains.

Locked in widow cocks

You don’t come across many new things anymore as pigeon reporter; fanciers that lock in their widow cocks the entire day (and night. Francois starts by locking them in a few weeks before the start of the middle distance. It is not that simple getting used to for most year birds but that passes quickly. The reason that Francois does this is rather simple. As the cocks eat and drink individually brings down the contamination rate and you can feed them easier.  The widow cocks are usually raced every three weeks and they don’t get to see their hen before basketing. They train twice a day for one hour with closed windows. They also have a winter breeding, coupled at the end of December and can raise a couple of youngsters. There isn’t a second coupling afterwards. The pigeons that make the hard selection of their boss at the end of the season can have another breeding after the season. Last season Francois started with a widowers team of 8 old and 16 year birds. But as the year birds performed that great last season the balance has changed to 21 old and 8 year birds.

The widowers loft

Young pigeons…a necessary detail

The title is in short what the youngsters game of Francois is concerned. He doesn’t expect results of non-darkened (nor separated) youngsters (about 50 of them). They are being trained well until the middle distance which is an asset as year bird.


During the racing season the mixture of Beyers are being used. For the shorter distances the are being fed light but once they go onto the middle distance races and long distance races they start to eat according a fixed schedule. At home coming they get a portion “Sport Galaxy Light” and this stays this way until the last 5 days before a new basketing. Then they get ‘Sport Galaxy Energy” with a sniff of “Super Energy” (rich in fat). For the extreme long distance it becomes the “Long Distance”- mixture with Bordeaux corn. The youngsters and breeders get the Van Camp-mixtures, just as the widow cocks outside the racing season.

Francois keeps it very simple medically. Before the season his good friend Swa Fierens passes by with his microscope and they look for an eventually contamination with trichomoniases, but this is most of time negative. Francois does treat against this condition preventively, this a day after the race and this during one day with B.S from Belgica-de Weerd via the drinking water. He doesn’t cure against head- or respiratory diseases. The pigeons get a sniff of ‘Schliepzand’ in their nose before the racing season starts and then Francois gets the yellow props / slime out of their beak with an ear stick. This can be done a second time just before an extreme long distance race. After the debilitating season they get a cure during 8 days against paratyphus, no vaccination follows.

A man out of the nature as Francois is, is off course an advocate of pure natural products. That’s how he adds daily garlic into the drinking pot, together with apple vinegar and Naturaline. Sometimes he makes his own tea made of his own cultured thyme (good for the airways) and some chive added.

The story of the 1st provincial Bergerac

Francois has 6 provincial victories onto his account but there is one I want to write something about. The pigeon that won this one has to have an extra ordinary endurance. This cock got home a few days before from a long distance race but got into a wrong box after training (it was the lower row, so hard to notice). At basketing for Bergerac the cock that resides normally in that box had to go along, so Francois took this cock and basketed him for Bergerac. It was only the day after that Francois noticed his mistake. He didn’t expect much of that particular cock on Bergerac…he only got home a few days before, wasn’t fed for Bergerac. But who won the 1st Provincial Bergerac…right, you guessed it already. The other 5 provincial victories are : 1st  prov. Agen (2013),  1st  prov. Brive (2013), 1st  prov. Libourne (2013), 1st  prov. Blois (2014) and 1st  prov. Cahors 2015.

The winning championship prizes

Agen Nat.

5,335 b.

231st  (1st  s.)

640th  (2nd  s.)

Jarnac B1

1,136 b.

36th  (1st s.)

52nd  (2nd  s.)

Narbonne Nat.

3,424 b.

598th  (1st  s.)

480th  (2nd  s.)

Tulle B1

2,627 b.

155th  (1st s.)

128th  (2nd  s.)


Results 2017

  • Agen
    • International: 13,189 year birds : 442 - 1,884 (2/3)
    • National: 5,335 year birds: 231 - 640 (2 /3)
    • Brabant Union: 775 year birds: 18 -  25 (2 /3)
  • Montélimar
    • Brabant Union: 319 year birds: 11 - 52 (2 /3)
  • Limoges
    • National: 10,554 year birds: 627 – 1,059 -  1,159 – 2,632 (4 /5)
    • Brabant Union: 1,562 year birds: 72 – 113 – 120 – 298 - 444 (5 /5)
  • Jarnac
    • National: 5,134 old birds: 122 (1 / 2) en 5,117 year birds 137 – 234 – 322 – 428 - 1,013 (5 / 8)
    • Zone B1: 1,318 old birds: 15 (1 / 2) en 1,136 year birds: 22 – 36 – 52 – 74 - 225 (5/ 8)
    • Brabant Union: 410 old birds: 6 (1 / 2) en 634 year birds: 11 – 18 – 31 – 43 – 113 - 175 (6/ 8)
  • Narbonne
    • International: 10,421 old birds: 2.383 (1/ 2) en 8,480 year birds: 1,364 – 1,409 - 1.585 (3/ 3)
    • National: 4,272 old birds: 906 – 1,011 (2 / 2) en 3,424 year birds: 455 – 480 - 598 (3 / 3)
    • Brabant Union: 490 old birds : 123 - 130 (2 / 2) en 489 year birds: 86 – 92 - 110 (3 / 3)
  • Tulle
    • National: 9,578 year birds: 651 – 802 – 1,164 – 1,368 (4 / 5)
    • Zone B1: 2,627 year birds: 128 – 155 - 233 - 285 (4 / 5)
    • Brabant Union: 1,191 year birds: 77 – 85 – 110 -131 (4 / 5)
  • Aurillac
    • Brabant Union: 410 year birds: 12 – 31 - 119 (3 / 8)
  • Bergerac
    • Brabant Union: 316 year birds: 1 - 44 (2 / 8)


The breeding loft

4th Ace "Brabantse Unie"

The floor of the widowersloft

A big congratulations from the entire HERBOTS-team with this national title !

Kris Steeman, Zele