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Daniël Aerens (Drongen) : Barcelona Maestro !

07 Jan 2022

- Silver Wing 2021
- Silver Wing 2002
- 1st international Barcelona hens 2013
- 1st national Orange 2005
- 1st international St Vincent hens 2007
- 1st national Montélimar 2004

Anyone in the pigeon world who does not know Daniel Aerens has probably been living under a rock for the last 50 years ....
We can't call Daniel a frolicking colt anymore, but during a conversation you can't tell that he has the blessed age of 82. Daniel has something of a heavy long-distance pigeon, namely always moving forward well and not giving up.

Eminence grise with great commitment to pigeon racing
Daniel has always been a man of much initiative and commitment and this will always remain so. In his personal life a very active and successful businessman, but above all a very great commitment to pigeon sport. 
Union & Liberté :his first steps in the club life of pigeon racing Daniël took place in the well known (long distance) club Union et Liberté in Ghent. In this association his commitment has always been very high and it is not without reason that he has been president for 50 years. Despite a number of forced geographical moves of the club, this is still the club of his heart and his permanent place of purchase. 
Since a few years Union & Liberté has a rather stable location in Merelbeke and under the leadership of a dynamic board, supported by a strong team of co-workers, more and more pigeons are being basketed over the entire racing line and the entire racing programme.
Within all this, it is still very obvious that Daniël 'guards' the reputation of a strong local long-distance and very long distance team and does everything to keep this reputation high.
OVV-FVOV : a second association where Daniël put his heart and soul in is the OVV-FVOV. This association that still has a very strong reputation within the Belgian pigeon sport was founded in 1974 by Daniël. Every year they are the organisers of a number of national and provincial races and their solid reputation in this is still beyond dispute.
Daniël has been chairman here for 47 years and it would be a wonderful realisation to be able to achieve a 50-year presidency.  He emphasises that he is "the and only" chairman. For years, he has been surrounded by a solid board team that works with him to set out the lines and complete the tasks. He is therefore grateful that his board members support him so strongly in this.
Within OVV-FVOV he is also the final release responsible for the races they organise. Every pigeon fancier knows that this is a task that should not be underestimated and that it always has to be done with the utmost seriousness. 
Helped by his wife Hélène, they are both up early in the morning before the release to map out the entire weather situation on the flight line.  Based on this preparatory work, the final decision is taken whether or not to release and always with the best for pigeon and player in mind.
Royal Belgian Flying Club : this association (founded in 1885) unites a number of national long-distance and very long distance players who also organise their own championship every year. Besides that they try, where possible, to give their cooperation to the radiation and the preservation and development of the Belgian long-distance, nationally and across the borders.  Here too, Daniël has been a valued vice-president and co-captain of the ship for many years.
Taking responsibility is ingrained in Daniël and it has to be said that his advice and opinion is still listened to attentively. With Daniël, commitment is a verb!

Barcelona Maestro

Something for everybody...fortunately that is pigeon sport in Belgium. There is a lot of complaining and complaining but those who practise pigeon sport in Belgium will certainly find something to their liking in the races (and this as well in number as in discipline). Speed, middle-distance, long-distance, very long distance..... and in every discipline enough flights to practise your hobby with enough intensity. Some neighbouring countries rightly envy us this. The perfect world does not exist, but on this level the KBDB is an example.
... and this is how the love for the long-distance and very long distance races came into Daniël quite early. With the ageing of Daniël he only focusses on the very long distance and especially and with a great predilection on Barcelona.
Barcelona my dream, Barcelona Maestro, the flight of all flights, the queen's flight par excellence.... Many descriptions have been sent into the world to mention and praise the gravity and importance of this flight. Reviled by many, adored by others....but one thing is clear, it is by far the toughest race in pigeon racing.

Also internationally this race has a great impact.
Daniël moved to their quiet green spot in Drongen in 1982. In 1985 they started with pigeon sport with pigeons for long-distance and very shortly after that for very long distance.
The first pigeons, which are still part of the basis of the breeding loft, came from Cyriel Martens from Deinze, Joseph Van den Broucke, and Norbert Norman. Later on pigeons were added from Noël Peiren (co-breeding), Emiel Denys and Herman Calonne.

The golden "van der Wegen" blood

In everything Daniël did and does, there was a healthy ambition to do it very well. He wanted to strengthen his base with the best of what was available on the market at the time and knocked on the door of the van der Wegen family in Holland. This inbred very strong strain of pigeons that gave top results worldwide also gave Daniël a strong boost to the strength and results of his strain.
Anecdotally Daniël tells about his visit in Holland where two baskets with youngsters were available.  When Daniël asked which one he should choose or which one had the best chance of success, he received the answer "it doesn't matter, they are all the same" ..... This is to indicate the degree of inbreeding and relationship of these pigeons.
His existing strain supplemented with the van der Wegens made his pigeons strong (certainly in basic health) and provided a lot of stamina on the heaviest races. Pigeons that keep on going for hours and rarely or never stay behind became a typical characteristic for the racing team. Also their strong inheritance power is very typical.

How do I prepare pigeons for Barcelona?
The Aerens system exists and is a textbook example of structure and simplicity. The team that realises this consists of Daniël who draws the lines and takes the final decisions, his faithful helper-caretaker from the very beginning Dirk and the subtle touch and fine-tuning of his wife Hélène who takes care of all the administration, registrations and much more. 
The system has been unchanged for 20 years, has been tested before and found to be good because of the strong results, and has been stripped of all frills you can think of in care.
The breeding loft consists of 20 breeding couples that breed from March to October. About 200 youngsters a year are bred of which 120 for our own use. The youngsters are hardly or not at all taught in their year of birth. Depending on circumstances and time, this may be 3 training flights with our own transport (up to the border) or, if the feathers and weather conditions permit, two speed flights. As a yearling, the rhythm is increased and they fly either 2 national daytime flights or some from Narbonne. Then they are ready for the real long distance work where cocks only fly Barcelona when they are 3 years old and hens possibly already from 2 years old. The yearlings are played as "pater".
The racing team consists of about 50 cocks and 30 hens (2 years and older). Where many people in Belgium only raced long distance with cocks, Daniël has been racing these races with hens for 20 years now.
The medical follow-up is (to great satisfaction) completely in the hands of Wim Boddaert. Every time a round of youngsters needs to be vaccinated against paramyxo, Wim comes to see them and examines all the other pigeons for the various known ailments.  There are no special examinations or checks because of one or another race, except when the performance of the preparatory races on Barcelona is this or that. In this case, about two weeks before Barcelona, the racing team is subjected to an examination.   To exclude all risks, all breeding pigeons are also vaccinated against paramyxo. Also, all pigeons are vaccinated (with the brush) against smallpox. When at an examination one or other ailment to be corrected is determined, Wim's advice will be followed integrally and a treatment will follow if necessary. 
Outside the racing season, the hens always stay in a spacious aviary. The racing team is coupled on 15 March. During the breeding season the pigeons are trained about 5 times with their own transport and then they are trained in the club. Usually follows Arras, Clermont, Sermaises, Vierzon, Bourges. After this pairing, the cocks go on classical widowhood and the hens (when their young are 12 days old) back to the aviary. 
After Bourges, the Barcelona team normally doesn't race anymore except for one middle distance race the week before Barcelona. The hens of the Barcelona team are coupled again to be basketed for the Spain flight on a nest position with a youngster of a few days old in the nest. The cocks that fly Barcelona on widowhood do not receive a nest dish, nor a hen. The reward follows on their return home.  All pigeons train once a day.

Hens coming home from Barcelona find an empty nest box. 
Also the feeding is simplicity itself. At the Aerens loft, two mixtures are supplied: Mariman breeding mixture and Mariman purification mixture. The racers are fed relatively lightly between the races, whereby the breeding mixture is supplemented with purification.  The last two days before basketing they eat pure breeding mixture. Candy, peanuts, extra fats are out of the question. Daniël is convinced that the pigeons know better than anyone which grains they need at which moment. When they come home, electrolytes are in the drinker and occasionally, throughout the year, Naturaline or a vitamin is added to the drinker. The pigeons are preferably kept as close to nature as possible.

When Daniël is asked what a long-distance pigeon looks like to him, his answer is "a good back, closed tailbones and above all a quiet pigeon of the right origin...and then the basket will do the selection".


The good ones come out of the good ones...and they deliver national winners and Silver Wings.

To make it clear right away, the Silver Wing I (won in 2002) is father of "I have a Dream", winner of 1st Internat Barcelona hens 2013, and "I have a dream" is mother of 1st National Z Montélimar 2021.  The mother of the Silverwing II (winner Silver Wing 2021) won on her turn 5 times Barcelona and 3 times Perpignan.
A clear proof that in many cases the good ones come out of the good ones. Many breeding lofts are populated with paper pigeons while it happens more than once that top pigeons are bred from top pigeons. With Daniël Aerens it is no different.
Start with a solid base, put the children to the test (in long distance the selection is quite automatic) and keep the best racers as a basis for the breeding...and the chance on good inheritance is largely guaranteed.

We would like to highlight two pigeons, namely I have a dream BE08-4334409.

- I have a dream BE08-4334409
This beautiful blue hen in the breeding lines Van der wegen x Zwarte Pau won Barcelona in 2010-2011 and in 2013 she stole the 1st prize internationally from the hens on Barcelona. She also won Perpignan in 2011 and 2012.
She is also an excellent breeding hen and is a.o. mother of 1st National Zone Montélimar 2021.

- Silver Wing II BE15-4235053
This soft well-built blue cock is a real winner. Just imagine being called Silverwing II (2) ! When you live on a top loft and you have already won a Silver Wing, then you are doomed to go through life with the number 2....
His father is a cock that raced early on Orange and on Perpignan and comes from the best of Van der wegen x the famous Didi-line of Jozef Vandenbroucke.
As mother a super hen who won 2011 Narbonne, to win afterwards (2012 till 2016) continuously Barcelona (Barcelona Master won 2016) and on top of that Perpignan in 2013-2014-2015. A very strong hen.

The Silverwing II has flown a top palmares together 

2016 Narbonne (yearlings) local 5th out of 149 pigeons
2017 Agen local 3rd out of 119 pigeon 
National 80th out of 4,405 pigeons
International 119th out of 12,070 pigeons

Perpignan local 9th out of 99 pigeons
National 239th from 4,620 pigeons
International 705th from 14,851 pigeons

2019 Barcelona national 323rd from 7,301 pigeons
Internat. 773rd out of 15,981 pigeons
Perpignan national 35th from 3,915 pigeons
Internat. 773rd from 15,981 pigeons

2020 Barcelona local 3rd from 149 pigeons
Provincial 8th out of 1,239 pigeons
National 33rd from 6,178 pigeons
Internat 110th out of 12,315 pigeons

2021 Barcelona local 1st of 199 pigeons
Provincial 1st from 1,546 pigeons
National 6th out of 6,932 pigeons
International 56th from 16,485 pigeons

Truly a topper of format who in two years flew 33rd national and 6th national on Barcelona !

The Barcelona Festival 

But beside these two toppers there is a whole team of pigeons of size. You don't play 13 pigeons per ten on Barcelona national if you don't have class pigeons...and this not one year but years in a row. Let us focus on the last two seasons: 

- Barcelona 2020
Regional 149 pigeons : 3-6-7-9-11-13-15-17-23-24-29-36-39-41-42-43-44-46-55 (20/39)
Provincial 1,239 pigeons : 8-11-12-13-14-18-25-30-39-55-57-70-83-85-111-122-124-128-133-136-149-179-230-242-246-297-340-372-400-407-408 (29/39), 16 prizes per 10
National 6,178 pigeons : 33-46-50-90-115-132-156-249-256-331-381-385-522-584-603-616-636-655-702-854-1,068-1,122-1,131-1,352-1,520 (25/39), 16 prizes per 10-strong team
International 12,315 pigeons : 110-137-142-236-284-336-461-838-859-1,014-1,123-1,132-1,417-1,570-1,624-1,649-1,699-1,752-1,847-2,256-2,731 (21/36), 12 prizes per 10
International hens 4,331 birds : 72-73-118-145-166-196-396-406-505-510-622-683-700-710-788 (15/27), 8 prizes per 10

- Barcelona 2021
Regional 199 pigeons : 1-2-3-12-16-20-23-29-31-32-33-39-40-48-54-56-58-61-62-67 (20/35), 6 prizes per 10-strong team
Provincial 1,546 pigeons : 1-5-9-63-90-97-111-125-134-147-160-188-189-225-256-264-266-284-289-329-333-500 (22/35), 10 prizes per 10 birds
National 6,913 pigeons : 6-15-30-160-249-277-323-398-438-486-593-595-728-900-927-940-1,034-1,062 (21/35), 13 prizes per 10-strong team
International 16,485 pigeons : 56-82-118-463-674-746-853-1.003-1.051-1.157-1.276-1.518-1.521-1.869-2.355-2.436-2.456-2.693-2.756-3.175-3.213 (21/35), 13 prizes per 10 birds
International hens 5,840 birds : 38-58-193-289-316-344-402-425-459-497-582-870-912-932-1,028-1,054-1,197 (17/25), 11 prizes per 10-strong team

Really phenomenal results on the "flight of all flights".  For dessert, here is a list of the best results of the past:

1st Internat Barcelona Hens 2013
1st Nat Orange 6,751 b. in 2005
1st Internat St.Vincent 1,666 bhens in 2007
1st Nat Montélimar 616 bw in 2004
2nd Nat Pau 2,180 b. in 2004
4th Nat Barcelona 10,542 b. in 2013
5th Internat Barcelona 25,382 b. in 2013
4th Nat St.Vincent 6,521 yearlings in 2007
4th Intnat St.Vincent 7,515 b.v. in 2007
5th Internat Pau 8,116 b. in 2004
5th Internat Perpignan 3,131 bw in 2007
5th Nat Pau 1,984 b. in 2009
6th Nat Béziers 6,522 b. in 2001
6th Nat Barcelona 13,021 b. in 2002
6th Nat Barcelona 11,484 b. 2008
6th Nat Barcelona 6,520 bw in 2008
8th Nat Mont Ventoux 2004
9th Internat St.Vincent 1,666 bw 2007
9th Nat Barcelona 11,484 b. 2008

With such achievements, you can wear the title Barcelona Maestro with honour. It is an art in itself and requires strategy, dedication and patience to build such a thing. And Daniël can build, both in his commitment to pigeon racing and in the practice of pigeon racing itself.  This requires a strong character, a strong perseverance, a certain stubbornness. With pigeons we call this mordant..... Congratulations to Hélène and Daniël and Dirk for this beautiful life's work!

Ad multos annos !

Geert Dhaenens