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Chris Debacker - Beveren-Leie Impressive start to the new season

13 May 2023

Chris Debacker has been a fixture in pigeon racing for many seasons. His winner's mentality has been the guiding principle throughout his professional as a pigeon fancier career. The Debacker colony is good for some 30 first prizes every year and if we analyse the full record we currently come to 35 provincial wins and one national win. 
And "winning" has not yet been forgotten, because despite the 2023 season being only a few weeks old, the tally already stands at several wins: 
01/04/23 Flight cancelled
08/04/23 Arras 
Old 232 1-2-3-4-7-8-9-10-12-13-14-19-20-24-25- 27-28-29-30-31-32-37-39-42-43-44-51- 52-59-61-63-63-69-73 (34/64) 
Combine 2630 1-10-12-39-63-68-72-74-78-83-100-193- 206-256-264-269-289-294-322-327-330- 351-360-383-388-394-449-465-543-564- 610-610-672-693-801-808-814-845 (38/64)
Yearbirds 153 1-2-4-5-6-8-9-10-12-13-14-15-18-19-21- 22-27-28-35-36-36-42-45-46-50 (25/46) 
Verbond 1467 3-9-27-30-32-34-36-46-147-149-170- 173-182-185-196-202-235-244-300-324- 324-356-424-428-445-489 (26/46)
15/04/23 Arras 
Old 445 4-7-11-11-18-20-21-22-23-24-25-27-33- 35-38-39-40-41-47-47-52-55-63-64-65- 69-70-71-78-82-83-84-86-92-101-103- 103-105-107-109-115-121-122-136-137- 138-148 (47/86) 
Combine 1036 4-8-14-21-23-24-25-27-34-35-37-45- 50-53-54-57-58-73-73-83-87-120-122- 123-128-129-130-139-147-148-151-154- 172-198-202-204-211-221-245-253- 256-303-305-307-333 (49/86) 
Yearbirds 306 4-7-10-10-16-17-18-19-21-28-29-30-31- 33-37-44-45-46-50-51-52-56-59-60-61- 63-66-74-76-76-78-80-82-90-91-102 (36/65) 
Combine 692 4-8-13-13-19-20-21-25-27-37-38-41-42- 52-60-83-85-86-91-92-93-98-103-104- 106-109-118-131-135-137-144-150- 172-174-217-218-220-231 (39/65)
22/04/23 Clermont Pigeons reduced to Arras: flight cancelled
30/04/23 Clermont 
Old 723 1-2-3-7-17-20-22-24-26-27-27-28-31-35-36- 37-41-42-43-44-45-47-49-56-57-60-67- 78-79-100-101-105-106-107-109-113-142-145-145-152-156-157-184-190-190- 192-197-204-228-230 (49/83) Pair 1613 2- 4-6-10-30-33-36-38-42-44-45-48-55- 59-61-66-67-69-72-73-75-78-90-91-94- 113-130-131-171-175-175-181-182-183- 186-195-247-251-251-265-269-272-333- 342-342-345-357-374-428-430-485-525- 533 (52/83)
Yearling 412 1-2-9-11-12-14-15-16-18-21-22-24-25- 32-39-44-45-56-57-59-60-61-63-67-85- 86-86-92-96-113-116-118-119-121- 135-137 (37/63) 
Combine 882 2-3-14-16-17-20-22-23-27-35-36-38-39- 51-63-70-71-93-95-98-99-100-103-110- 143-144-144-151-156-186-190-190-193- 196-204-236-238-267-291-294 (40/63)
6/05/2023 Clermont Old 
482 1-6-7-8-9-2324-26-27-33-54-60-86-88- 95-103-107-109-110-111-148-151-152 (23/27) 
Combine 1269 1-10-11-12-1336-37-40-42-52-102-113- 165-168-190-202-228-233-237-240-338- 341-343 (23/27) 
Yearbirds 296 1-4-5-6-7-18-19-20-21-25-41-46-63-64- 71-75-76-77-97-99 (20/24) 
Combine 709 1-7-8-9-10-28-29-30-32-38-66-73-97-98- 116132-134-137-191-193-194 (21/24)
6/05/2023 Clermont 
Old 402 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-13-14-19-20-22-23-25-26- 27-28-29-35-36-41-45-61-62-66-67-69- 70-71-72-73-78-80-91-105-113 (36/55) 
Combine 3206 3-14-15-16-17-20-21-73-81-99-113-124- 127-131-145-151-155-161-186-200-239- 281-374-383-391-392-419-422-438-441- 445-483-486-554-672-724-919-940-942 (39/55) 
Year 242 1-2-3-4-5-6-10-11-14-15-17-18-20-21- 26-33-44-45-46-47-48-53-60 (23/38) 
Combine 1824 7-8-9-10-12-13-43-48-56-64-71-72-74 -82-109-152-202-203-213-224-227-249- 279-451-464 (25/38)
That all looks more than promising.


Season 2022

The 2022 season was another one to savour. Despite bird flu putting the first few weeks of the season on "hold", a very strong season was shaken out of the proverbial sleeve. As many as 30 wins with 3 provincial wins were nailed to the ceiling.

We like to put the provincial winners in the spotlight

"Gido Nick" B21-3062529 1st Provincial Fontenay 1,176d.

As a young pigeon "Gido Nick" was one of the absolute eye-catchers of the Debacker loft, because he became 5th National ace KBDB pigeon with a series of top prizes in the middle-distance such as : Montoire 7/3,334 b., Fontenay 2/226 b., Chateaudun 9/3,635 b., Chateaudun 25/2,333 b., ... As befits true champions, the confirmation came in 2022 as a yearling : Fontenay 1° Provincial at 1,176 d., Chateaudun 2° Provincial against 4,422 d., Fontenay 79/4,508 d., Chateaudun 45/2,650 d., Fontenay 99/8,716 d., ... all absolute top entries and this without doubles against the strongest competition !


"Baldwin Jr" B19-3029556: 1° Provincial Souillac 945d.

The Chris Debacker pigeons can also handle the further work, as proved by the provincial victory of "Baldwin JR". "Baldwin JR" already made his mark with a long line of top prizes in the long distance and also in 2022 he was superior all along the line. Even more, "Baldwin JR" also knows how to score on the short distance because a 1st prize Clermont against 496 pigeons is on his list of honour. Further top notes on Fontenay, Bourges per 100, Limoges again rats at the top of the result and then main bird from Souillac (680 km) : 1° local against 242 pigeons, 1° Provincial against 945 pigeons, 7° Zonal 1,594 d. and 11° National from 4,476 pigeons.

"Hector" B22-3026412 1st Provincial Montoire 3,730 youngsters

With "Hector" a new topper offers itself. "Hector" performed scorching especially at the end of the season. After having previously peaked from Orleans and Fontenay, there was no stopping him from mid-August onwards: on the 2 races from Fontenay he classified provincially as 40° on 5,073 pigeons and as 27° against 2,232 pigeons. Immediately after that he shone from Montoire: 1° locally in the strong club at Rekkem and so also 1° Provincial against no less than 3,730 competitors! 


Chris is a school director by profession and if you know that, we probably shouldn't draw the conclusion that he alone cannot take care of an extensive racing team of widowers, racing hens and youngsters. Fortunately, he can count on the daily support of Wim Dewitte, Roger Simoens and Piet Vanwonterghem. 

Chris himself chalks the lines in which football is played. He determines the strategy. Chris daily prepares the feed for all pigeons and he trains the old and yearling cocks before and after his day's work. During the WE he takes on all the tasks and in between he also keeps all the administration. 
Wim Dewitte visits the pigeons every afternoon after his day's work around 15h30. He takes care of the pigeons in the aviaries in the afternoon. He also trains the hens at 16h30. He cleans the lofts of the hens and breeders. On Saturday mornings he is the early bird who helps to give everything an extra polish. The weekly bath for the pigeons is also on his account.
Roger Simoens is on post daily (if Chris has to work) at 7.30am. He takes care of the aviaries in the morning. Roger also trains the youngsters. He helps train the youngsters, calls them in. He cleans the cages of the youngsters. Every week, he makes the list of how to enter the pigeons. He usually enters the pigeons together with Piet and is of course a loyal letter.
Piet Vanwonterghem is the man in charge of all transport. He takes the young and the old away to teach them. Piet also retrieves lost pigeons. He is also the recruiter on duty. If pigeons have to be delivered, that is also Piet's job. For small or large repairs or building work on the lofts, Piet is the technical service.


Base birds
Like many of us, Chris learned the craft at speed. Chris says: "My first and real teacher was Georges Busschaert. The older readers will remember this name and for those who have contact with English fanciers, the name Busschaert will certainly not sound unfamiliar to their ears, because Georges acquired a "world name" across the pond. I was a caretaker with Georges for 3 years. 
In 1991 I got married and started here at the current location. My first really good pigeons came from Stevens-Luyten from Nijlen. An "inside runner" brought me into contact with them. As thanks I got 6 youngsters and honestly, they were all super!
When I switched to middle-distance, I contacted Rik Cools. It clicked immediately and a "Daughter Bieke", "Daughter Bontje" and "Daughter Kim" gave me a lot of pleasure. 
In 2004, the Cools-Blancke tandem broke up and then I bought a full round from their racers including "Emma" and Dorien.
Out of daughter "Bieke" x speedsters, "Lambiek" was born and she became the 1st pigeon with a provincial win in 2002. Sister "Lambiek" ("Natascha") x son "Emma" ("Nick") became the foundation pair of the colony. They became the parents of many good pigeons including "Panamarenko" with 7 x 1st prize, "Staf" was 3rd prov. and grandfather of "Serosero" of Anthony Maes and the "Bonte Crack" with 1st nat. Ace long distance. Also "Stuart", "Randi" and "Salomez".
In the course of the years, the above breeds were reinforced with pigeons from Gaby Vandenabeele (Dentergem), Willy Vanhoutte (Wevelgem), Georges Soenens (Beveren-Leie), Verschoot Joël (Ingelmunster), Deprez and with the latest contribution from Willem De Bruijn (Reeuwijk).

 The golden breeding pairs
Many fanciers praise the Lord if they have 1 unique breeding pair in their loft at some point in their lives. By a unique breeding pair we mean a breeding pair that makes its mark over several generations. A breeding pair where the input of new breeding lines usually catches on like the best butter on a freshly baked slice of bread. 
Chris is lucky to have not 1 but 2 such unique breeding couples at his disposal, and we are talking about "Salomé" x "Janine" and "Georges" x "Mieke". 


"Salomé" x "Janine" have given birth to several toppers. "Salomé" no longer fertilises and "Janine" has already passed away. But the 4 still existing sons (of which 1 with Rik Cools and 1 with Cindy Benoot) give excellent offspring. 
Especially crossed with the children from the pairing "Georges" (stolen in 2021) x "Mieke" (a superb daughter of top hen "Christa") this pairing gives "fireworks".
Some examples of toppers from this cross are:
1st National ace KBDB ½ Fond young 2021. Born out of "Desire" x "daughter Georges x Mieke"
"Elody Ace".
2nd National ace KBDB ½ Fond 2019. Born of "Diego" x "Sister Bobby"
"Gido Nick"
5th National ace KBDB ½ Fond 2021 - 1st prov. Fontenay '22. Born out of "Camillo" x "Dunja"
1st Prov. Montoire '22 - born out of "Don Piedro" x "Denise"
"Hatim" B22-3026415
Also born of "Don Piedro" x "Denise", won e.g: 11th Fontenay 5,073b. - 16th Montoire 6,382b. - 37th Fontenay 2,232b. - 40th Fontenay 9,055b.
"Guy" B21-3062515
Back from "Don Piedro" x "Denise", won a/o: 1st Argenton 680d. (9th Nat. 18,763d.) - 27th La Souterraine 4,023d. - 32nd Gueret 2,226d. - 45th Chateauroux 1,007d. etc..
"Gilles" B21-3062790
Again pure class out of "Don Piedro" x "Denise", won a.o: 1st Clermont, 22nd Chateaudun 3,635d. - 54th Bourges 3,696d. - 54th Fontenay 3,411d. - 65th Fontenay 2,331d. - 75th Argenton 4,091d. - etc..

 Nutrition and medical
Chris does not lay all his eggs in the same basket. No, at Beveren-Leie the old, yearling and youngsters are played on different methods and we are talking about pure widowhood as well as total widowhood. Each group is prepared for the season in a different way. Some breed, others don't. For example, a group of 34 widowers played on classic widowhood bred early, while the cocks played on total widowhood only bred. 
In contrast, the racing hens were paired in early April and were allowed to finish their first flights on brood. 
In terms of feed, the "Revolution Mixtures" of the firm Van Robaeys are on the menu and medically, both vet Pascal Lanneau and vet Vincent Schroeder are consulted. Chris is convinced that vaccinations of the youngsters are very important. The old pigeons are vaccinated with a combination preparation paramyxo - smallpox. In October, the old pigeons are vaccinated against paratyphoid without prior drug treatment. The youngsters are vaccinated with paramyxo-rota at weaning. Three weeks later, another vaccination with paramyxo-rota is carried out. Another three weeks later, vaccination with circo vaccine. Another three weeks later, vaccination against smallpox and another three weeks later vaccination against herpes virus. "This way, the pigeons gain a lot of natural resistance and few medications come into play during the season," Chris Debacker said.
Five weeks after weaning, they are treated for 5 days against trichomonas. The old pigeons are treated for 5 days before the start of the racing season. After that, it will be the "yellow drops" in the beak of young and old at basketing. Against respiratory infections, treatment was given for 8 days before the start of the racing season.

Young pigeons
Important to know is that every year all hens of the first round go to friend Rik Cools (Ruiselede) and the cocks from Rik come to Chris. As long as the pigeons concerned are played, the cocks remain with Chris and the hens with Rik. Only when the racing career is over will they return to their own loft. 
Weather permitting, the Easter holidays are the ideal period to train the youngsters. Via a 15-step move to 35km, Chris likes to see his youngsters home before him. 
Since the deal with Rik, it is logical that the cocks from the 1st round are already on their own from weaning. They are raised without a partner. When they come home from the 1st speed flight from Clermont, there is an old hen half-baked ready for them and they stay together until the next day. The next week we have the same scenario and after 2 weeks three-quarters of the young cocks are paired. The ideal motivation for when the important middle distance flights are on the programme.
The 2nd and 3rd rounds are played with the sliding door introduced the first week of July. At basketing, the partners meet for half an hour. After arriving from a race, they stay together until evening and after a difficult flight until the following morning. These are given extra motivation with the creation of "dark corners" and nest dishes.

Overview of provincial victories
1st provincial Blois youngsters 21 July 2002 3055 pigeons
1st provincial Tours youngsters 13 July 2007 1970 pigeons
1st provincial Orleans old 28 June 2008 471 pigeons
1st provincial Brionne 25 July 2009 11193 youngsters
1st provincial Blois 17 July 2010 3683 youngsters
1st provincial Clermont 06 June 2010 10425 youngsters 
1st provincial Bourges 30 July 3338 youngsters
1st inter-provincial Bourges 26 May 2012 666 old
1st provincial Chateauroux 02 June 2012 2572 old
1st inter-provincial Chateauroux 02 June 2012 451 old
1st provincial Chateauroux 02 July 2012 452 old pigeons
1st provincial Chateauroux 03 August 2013 2473 youngsters
1st provincial Tulle 03 August 2013 809 yearlings
1st provincial Bourges 24 May 2014 3039 yearlings
1st provincial Chateaudun 26 July 2014 376 olds
1st provincial Tours 18 July 2015 5313 youngsters
1st provincial Tours 25 July 2015 6083 youngsters
1st provincial Fontenay sur Eure 24 June 2017 5581 youngsters
1st provincial Orleans 8 July 2017 1422 old
1st provincial Fontenay sur Eure 8 July 2017 9803 youngsters
1st + 2nd provincial Fontenay sur Eure 15 July 2017 10081 youngsters
1st provincial Tulle 29 July 2017 1966 yearling
1st provincial Chateaudun 13 August 2017 3277 youngsters
1st provincial Gueret 30 June 2018 1814 yearling
1st provincial Poitiers 25 August 2018 1688 youngsters
1-2-3-4° provincial Chateaudun 25 August 2019 1923 youngsters
1-2-3° provincial 1 August 2020 6907 youngsters
1° prov Fontenay 1 August 2020 895 old birds
1° Prov Chateauroux 15 August 2020 4785 youngsters
1° Prov Chateauroux 15 August 2020 777 yearlings
1-2-3 Prov Fontenay 22 August 2020 89 old birds
1° provincial Chateauroux 2021 1278 old
1° Prov Soulliac 23 July 2022 945 old
1° Prov Fontenay 23 juli 2022 1176 old
1° Prov Montoire 4 september 2022 3730 youngbirds


Stefan Mertens