Without any shadow of doubt the German long distance specialists Kipp and Son must rate amangst the very best international Marathon enthusiasts not only in their home country or Europe but on worldwide stage also. This father and son team have won not only 11 National races and 1st international from Barcelona but in 2011 the “icing was added in their rich cake” of success with the title of 1st international ace with their fantastic racing cock “Golden Glory”.The team Kipp and son is the combination of father Wulfram and son Hugo Kipp.

I asked Hugo for his thoughts on breeding stock?

His answers were as I have grown to expect and based on good old common sense. “First of all you must get your birds from a good fancier who is winning from the distances that you want to succeed from. Then you must race the children because that is the way to improve that you have chosen your sources wisely. Wulfram and Hugo have introduced birds in from many sources over the years. From fanciers such as W. Bölting (Pol Bostyn lines) their “Lady Percy” , the mother of the partners  fantastic “La Petite Marseille” which won 1st international Hens from Marseille and 1st National Marseille 6,466 birds. Also this superb hen won 1st from the ultimate race point Barcelona against 1,014 birds and 3rd international from Marseille against 16,784 birds was bred by Bölting. When looking a little closer at “Lady Percy” which was a Bölting crossing of Bostyn x Kuypers Brothers bloodlines, you will see that she is a marvelous producer being mother to a host great racer breeders including “Christina” and “Lisa” but it must be remembered that she was always coupled to great pigeons such as “Oberon” and the fabulous “Rainmaker”

The 2011 International Ace “Golden Glory” is a product of birds from Emile Matterne. Other stock sources include Piet De Weerd and Van Wanroy. So it is clear that the partners went in search of and got the superior bloodlines. Which reminds me of saying that you won’t make a silk purse out of an old sows ear.


Another of Hugo’s principles is the fact that he only puts a couple together for one year. They are then parted and paired to a new partner the following year. I found this rather odd, after all if you have found a pair that breeds “the goods” would it not be wise to keep them together, I enquired? Once again Hugo explained his thinking, “I have found in my experience that the best offspring come from first time couplings. In the past when we left the pairs together that in the second year the resulting children are not so good and in the third season they produce nearly all faillures ! Then Hugo revealed this biggest benefit of his actions. “If I bred good ones off a couple then separate them and the next year thecock breeds well but the hen breeds rubbish and the following year it is the same with the third fresh coupling then I know which are my most potent breeding birds.The cock must stay but the hen must be disposed of”. “Lady Percy” is a classic example of what Hugo is saying she bred brilliantly with a selection of mates proving that she laid “the golden eggs”.

I amsp asked Hugo about inbreeding and his answer was very candid. “Yes we do inbreed but only to the best producers it would be pointless using anything less that the very best but the offspring are put into a basket and tested as I have already explained we don’t believe in putting these inbred straight into the breeding loft. They must prove their own racing ability first.”

So if you follow Hugo’s sound advice you will in a short period of time have good, proven breeders in your stock loft and a good selection of half-brothers and half-sisters to maintain the family. I believe that if the above is all that you the readers learns from this article then you will have gleaned invaluable information. Before anyone tries to shoot Hugo’s principle down with examples of “Super Pairs” then remember it is only when the couple is parted that you reveal the true “Golden Producer”. They say that it takes two to tango, yes but one is usually the better dancer.

Another subject which Hugo has discussed is how they feed their race team and here once again the Kipps differ from many of their peers. They tend to feed their birds a lighter mixture than many other veteran long distance enthusiasts. Their base “light feed” is made up of 30% maize, 10% peas and 5% Soya beans. The remainder of the mixture is made up of 35%cereales such as wheat, barley, oats, safflower, dari and rice. With 13% the higher fat level seeds such as sunflower hearts, millet and linseed. The remainder being made up of paddy rice and a small amount of sweet lupine. The partners like the lupine because of its high protein levels. It is only for the last four or five days that the birds get a heavier mixture which is not rationed and extra oil feed by way of seeds and a handful of peanuts offered as a treat. Over the last couple of days the birds consume nearly 50% extra food in the build up to a long race. For the final feed the birds get a mix of equal parts, light feed, paddy rice and seeds. If the birds just pick at this final meal, know that they have been prepared correctly and that their “thank is full of fuel”.

With regards to young birds which are incidentally never put on the “darkening system”. They are raced but never judged on their results. As the flights are purely flown on an educational basis. All they must do is be consistent to remain for the following year. The birds that are inconsistent or regulary spend nights out are removed. The yearlings though are worked hard and expected to perform or they are “culled” regardless of pedigree.

As a general “rule of thumb” the old birds are retired after they have successfully achieved three good results in the international races. The thinking here is that the sooner they are moved to the breeding loft the better because they want to breed from them while they are still relatively young because it’s nice to find out the superior producers while they are still in their prime. So you will see from this that it is very evident that Wulfram and Hugo buy into the “Racing is silver, breeding is gold” ethos.

I have asked Hugo how he motivates his birds for the big international races? And once again a big grin appeared on his face. ”We believe that motivation is of a very little importance in the long distance races. In fact it can actually have a detrimental effect. It is very simple, when the bird is entered in a long distance race the stay in the basket can last for several days. Barcelona in particular often requires a confinement of more than a week. So motivation is of little use. To excite a bird too much before basketing can mean the bird using up much of its energy whilst in transit.”

I was interested to know how the partners achieve this air of calmness. The reply was “ we allow the birds which as you know are raced on total widowhood method to have access to each other and their nestbox but we leave them together for two of three hours when it is for a long flight. In this way the excitement is “spent” and the birds are basketed in a calm and happy frame of mind. They have had the opportunity to re-bond with their mate and go away with the minimum of stress. “