Sjaak Van De Velde & Son (Breskens – Nl) are absolute top fanciers on the extreme long distance races !

Nicely hidden behind the branding of Breskens, but close to the Westerschelde live Sjaak Senior and his wife. Just cross the dike and the sea is literally at their backdoor. Sjaak is also grown with the sea, he gave his entire life to the life at sea. He went along on the fishing boats from as he was a young kid and learned everything there is to learn on a fishermen’s boat. He specialized himself in the technique of a ship a made himself irreplaceable for the maintenance of these boats. Still now he is busy when the fishermen’s boats come ashore, to check them and make them ready to go off fishing again. No effort or nightly hour was too much and he speaks of it with much proud.

Son Sjaak, or Sjaak Junior lives at a few hundred metres from his parents, also in Breskens. He is active in the sale of the construction sector but has to do it a bit slower at the moment due to a back operation.

Both are chatterboxes when it comes to their common hobby, pigeon sport. Both went through ‘the university of experience’ Sjaak Senior has been a pigeon fancier since he was 12, Sjaak Junior was encouraged by his father to race at his own as from his 7th birthyear. The vision of Sjaak sr was that you can only learn by doing, with a lot of failure and rising again. 

Through the years they grew to each other very strongly and form a well-oiled tandem by now, where the racing pigeons house on the lofts of Sjaak Sr. and the breeders at the loft of Sjaak Jr.

Limited colony, strong base, strong selection…and amazing results

It all seems so simple when you hear them talking. They off course do have the necessary experience how to win in the ‘extreme long distance arena’, but still…between dream and confirmation are a lot of obstacles.

These obstruction are known very well over here and take them on with verve. You don’t see a mega loft where dozens of pigeons are being basketed week after week and where some losses are taken into account. Not at all, this colony is limited and strongly manageable. The racing lofts behind the house of Sjaak Sr are very practical but relatively limited in space. Underneath on the ground floor, the youngsters house (yearly about 40 to 50) and at the top floor the old ones reside. Both cocks and hens are being raced if possible. This way the racing team exists out of 15 to 16 couples that are ‘racing-ready’ or a maximum of 35 pigeons.


The widow cocks lofts



Being flexible in organisation, 2011 brought a thorough change

When many pigeon fanciers swear to, when the results are good, not to change anything out of fear to suppress the results, the Sjaaks think it differently. They observe their pigeons very well and aren’t afraid of changing something.

Until 2011 they only raced nest pigeons. It was important then to basket the pigeons on an ideal nesting position. Until the season of 2011…the old pigeons where together until the 15th of January, without nest dish on the loft and spent quietly winter on the loft. Now and then, an egg is being fetched, but that is sporadic and doesn’t form a problem. Middle of January the hens are being removed and are the couples not being re-coupled until the start of the season. During the preparation races they all were basketed and at home coming they could stay together. The international race on Pau was coming near and they weren’t together yet. Sjaak sr left the cocks together with their hen the entire day and only the cocks went into the basket. In a matter of 25 minutes all 4 pigeons at the head of the race were clocked. After this race they were coupled and left on the nest with the race from Tarbes in sight. From the 4 cocks were, in this foresight, the hens being taken away and being left on widowhood again. The day before basketing they were brought together with their hen again and it was bingo again, 4 pigeons within 30 minutes head of the race. These 4 cocks were on widowhood in between the nest pigeons. After this race they were raced further on the nest for the rest of the season. To speak about flexibility and modification. This way the ‘holy houses’ of the nesting game and widow hood were broken down.

On widow hood both hens as cocks are being raced, especially when they know that certain hens are also doing great on the extreme long distance. When hens having worse results, they are being left at home in favour of the cock. This is how the Barcelona-pigeons in 2016 were being raced on the nest and were kept on widowhood from then on to be basketed on for example Perpignan.

The Sjaak’s are convinced that the territory is a very important motivation for pigeons to get home and that the partnership, both on the nest as on widowhood a mean of giving this motivation an extra boost. Making modifications in this doesn’t disrupted the pigeons, at the contrary, and this is being showed by their strong results.

A very strong base.

The foundation of their base are few very strong, known long distance strains that are being accomplished with strong performing lofts. The oldest strain are the pigeons of Jan Theelen (top breeding mother ‘het Laat Rood’) and Lei Curvers. At these long distance champions direct pigeons out of the old strong long distance strain are being bought. Beside this they succeeded very well with blood strains from Cor de Heijde (’t Mooi Rood).  The input of one pigeon of  A.P. Overwater (mother ‘de Kleine Dure’ who won 1st nat Bordeaux) and the Vanderwegen’s worked out also very well. This old strong base is being anchored (also by crossing in close to each other). These last year’s pigeons are bought at Jos and Jan Loobuyck (Aalter, Belgium) who perform very strong the last few years with national victories and ace pigeons and at top tandem Verwey-De Haan (Mijldrecht) who are top with a very small colony. The pigeons of the bases are of average size but very strong build, soft feathers and they like an expressive eye. They like in Breskens pigeons that will do everything to get home the same day before dark. Overnight is nice as well, but they like to focus on the go-getters who like to sleep in their box the same day.

Feeding, side products, training…

The racing pigeons get Beyers Premium widowhood. Towards basketing this is being accomplished with Cribs corn from Vanrobayes and Turbo Energy from Matador. These last accomplishments are being given in smaller portions the last 4 to 5 days before basketing. The day of basketing Sjaak dares to feed them 4 to 5 times in small portions to get them as full as possible into the basket.

During the winter period the drinking water is being acidified, not during the racing season. Before the season they get a cure of 5 days against tricho and at homecoming BS from De Weerdt. They go preventively on consult with the veterinary, rather than curing blind. In the season the pigeons train twice a day (when the temperatures are warm enough in the morning)  and one of these trainings is obliged during one hour with a flag. A lot of importance is being given onto observing during the training. This is, according to Sjaak, the barometer of good results. Pigeons in form show that: they like to train, or are being playful and like to perform. The breeders never get any medication, with the exception of a yearly cure with Parastop or Baytrill.

Youngsters and year birds

The youngsters aren’t being seperated during the season. They are being taught well in a small basket and go afterwards to 6 to 7 races on distances from 250 to 280 km. They get enough experience like this but aren’t brought to the end.

The youngsters

The year birds are mostly raced on the nest (as from the season of 2017 this will change into widowhood) and race every week up to 500km. They get a lot of racing rhythm and are being raced once more on Agen-Bordeaux (750km)

Super Luc (12- 3207535) was the best long distance pigeons of the Netherlands in 2016

What a magnificent pigeon, this Super Luc (pigeon from Luc Van der Gucht from Hulst). 2016 was the coronation season with as result 1st Best Extreme Long Distance bird all ZLU races 2016

  • 1st Ace bird FBZ 2016
  • 1st Ace bird Toppigeons ZLU 2016
  • 2nd national Ace bird ZLU Pau      2014-2016
  • 5th Best European ELD pigeon International      races 2016

His results in 2016 were top of the top with underneath results

  • 19 June  Pau               945 km   65th – 37,88      b.   (release      08.20 /arrival 22.10 uur)
  • 8  July  St.-Vincent  933      km   38th – 3,387 b.  (release 07.15 /arrival 20.32 uur)
  • 29 July Perpignan    978      km  157th – 4,027 b.  (release 07.15 /arrival 22.16 uur)

Also the race out of Pau was the last 3 years in a row bulls’eye:

  • 2014:   27th National      Pau         3,020 b.

                                256th International Pau    8,295 b.

  • 2015:   91st National      Pau         3,433 b.

                               199th International Pau    9,052 b.

  • 2016:   64th National      Pau         3,788 b.

                               154th International Pau    9,908 b.

And he is for the Van De Velde family the kind of pigeon they prefer namely extreme long distance with a morning release and getting home the same day. A real champ !

A beautiful result on Perpignan 2016

Perpignan 2016 was a nice, honest and hard long distance race. As last race of the long distance season in full summer, it is mostly a race for the real good ones.

The wheat has been separated from the chaff by far by then and only the true good ones who have left a bit of form are present.

15 pigeons were basketed for a distance of 978km and next national result was set: 12th–33rd–45th–90th–101st–157th and 579th (28th international).

These are only a few results of the top results that were being set in Breskens on the extreme long distance. At the end of this article you can read the list of head prizes extreme long distance the last few years.

National victory Bordeaux 2009 with ‘Kleine Dure’ (08-3807923)

It was this marvellous year bird with the AP Overwater- blood in his genes that draw all eyes onto Breskens with a national victory on a severe Bordeaux race. This one brought the colony from Sjaak Sr and Sjaak Jr in the real spotlights. Winning a national victory is a dream for many ,but only few can accomplish this. Meanwhile, he became a superb breeder with several off spring that race head results on the long distance races.

The breeding loft…build at Sjaak Junior

Quotations top 50 national

Topquality in a small basket and yet getting such star results…this is the hallmark of the Van De Velde family. Underneath you can find the top 50-quotations on the national long distance races. You want to copy this? Worth trying, but the challenge isn’t an evidence !

1st  Nat. Oude en Jaarlingen                10,418 b               Bordeaux         2009

1st  International Jaarlingen                   9,318 b              Bordeaux         2009

1st National Jaarlingen                         5,230 b             Bordeaux         2009

2nd International Oude en Jaarlingen   17,642 b              Bordeaux         2009

2nd  National                                         6,414 b              Perpignan        2014

3rd  National                                            974 b             Narbonne         2010

3rd  National                                            885 b              Narbonne         2011

5th  National                                         2,563 b              Narbonne         2006

7th  National                                         2,607 b              Pau                  2011

7th  National                                         5,589 b               Perpignan        2015

8th  National                                         3,835 b              Bordeaux         2010

8th  National                                         1,324 b              Perpignan        2013

9th  National                                         3,552 b              Bordeaux         2006

9th  National                                         2,607 b              Pau                  2011

10th National                                        4,220 b            Bordeaux         2005

10th National                                           745 b              Pau                  2009

11th National                                         1,137 b              Dax                  2004

11th National                                         5,616 b              Perpignan        2012

11th National                                         6,909 b              Barcelona         2013

12th National                                         4,027 b             Perpignan        2016

12th National                                         3,850 b              Narbonne         2010

12th National                                           153 b              Mont Ventoux   2003

14th National                                         2,607 b              Pau                  2011

15th National                                            654 b             Pau                  2006

15th National                                         3,816 b             Narbonne         2008

15th National                                         1,190 b             Narbonne         2013

18th National                                            800 b              Pau                  2005

18th National                                        3,571 b             Pau                  2004

18th National                                         1,137 b              Dax                  2004

20th National                                         4,978 b             Perpignan        2013

21st National                                        6,414 b             Perpignan        2014

22nd National                                         1,383 b             Irun                   2007

22nd National                                            974 b            Narbonne         2010

23rd National                                          2,607 b             Pau                  2011

23rd National                                                                  Bordeaux         2001

25th National                                          3,260 b             Dax                  2006

26th National                                          3,968 b             Narbonne         2011

25th National                                          4,220 b             Bordeaux         2005

26th National                                          3,968 b             Narbonne         2011

26th National                                          1,728 b             Perpignan        2009

27th National                                          3,020 b            Pau                  2014

29th National                                          3,773 b             Narbonne         2009

29th National                                          5,782 b             Dax                  2004

29th National                                          1,649 b            Perpignan        2011

32nd National                                         5,589 b              Perpignan        2015

33rd National                                          4,024 b            Perpignan        2016

33rd National                                          2,751 b             Pau                  2009

33rd National                                          2,413 b           Pau                  2006

33rd National                                          3,968 b            Narbonne         2011

38th National                                          3,387 b            St-Vincent        2016

41st National                                          5,589b             Perpignan        2015

41st National                                          1,728 b            Perpignan        2009

37th National                                          3,077b             Pau                  2005

39th National                                            691 b              Dax                  2005

40th National                                          3,824 b             St-vincent        2014

41st National                                         1,728 b             Perpignan        2009

43rd National                                             791 b             Pau                  2010

43rd National                                             673 b             Pau                  2007

45th National                                        4,027 b               Perpignan        2016

46th National                                           4,000 b            Bordeaux         2007

46th National                                           840 b               St-Vincent        2016

44th National                                           866 b              Marseille          2011

44th National                                       2,298 b               Barcelona         2007

49th National                                       1,516 b             Perpignan        2008

Great no ! Especially the ‘eager’ in racing the pigeons in Breskens is great to see. They are everything but burnt out, at the contrary, they still are looking for reinforcement, they still are polishing their base, take on any challenge…but especially, keep it pleasant and cosy.