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Grégory Demaret (Herquegies-Frasnes), we didn’t see the end of this extreme long distance loft yet !

18 Mar 2020

40 years old, good-looking, sportive…no this isn’t a job interview for one or the other dating site, but a short description of Grégory Demaret who lives in Herquegies , a partial commune of  Frasnes in Pays des Collines.

The cradle of Grégory was in Ormeignies close to Ath. By nature Grégory is a sportive guy who set strong results in his childhood as runner. He was a real go-getter that took on long distance runs and these always with big success. That sportive, combative is in his genes. 

Grégory lives together with his wife Allissonne and their 3 daughters (8 years, 5 years and 4 months) in the beautiful and quiet Herquegies. They found their home and renovated with a lot of sweat and effort their cosy house. The young family is crazy about animals. At arrival we are greeted by a big dog reaching up to my waist. Allissonne is crazy about horses and runs a horse stable together with her parents in Silly. 

A man with a plan

Grégory is one made by hand. As profession a train driver at the NMBS but isn’t shy to put in an effort to get something done. He is a go-getter and no effort is too big to reach his goal. He was a winner in his sport and continues on this trend within pigeon sport

In the past he raced together with his father at his home base in Ormeignies, but in 2012 he started off with pigeons on his own with one goal only; shining on the extreme long distance. And this succeeded from day one ! Luck, coincidence or what? It was surely the result of a strong base formed with pigeons from Lekeuche, Eric Vanacker, Marcel Vandenabeele, Houfflijn Patrick, Aelbrecht, Etienne Devos and Michel Dhalluin.  A very severe selection is being kept in mind. The youngsters get their chance to grow out and get experience. 

The yearling pigeons are being raced as fathers. They don’t get to see a hen and only race for their territory. Once above the 600km they just can’t miss out on a race. They get only one more chance as a year bird after a misstep to save theirselves on a second 600-km race. A few of them will be tested on Narbonne as well and this with success. 

From the age of 2 they have to race full house and need to do at least 2 extreme long distance races. The races of Gregory’s preference are Pau, Agen, Sint-Vincent, Narbonne, Perpignan.  He doesn’t like the Rhone Valley races that much. 

And that he didn’t miss out his start in 2012 is being proven by the fact that he was being celebrated in 2015 as 13th Best Colony of Belgium on the extreme long distance, speaking of an entrance. 

Vaincre ou mourir

“Winning or dying’, it could be the slogan of a gladiator. This sign is above the entrance of his racing lofts and says enough about the strong selection he keeps in mind.

Out of the 25 breeding couples a racing team was founded of 40 old pigeons and 40 year birds. At the beginning Grégory preferred the widowhood with the cocks…but due to the strong results on the extreme long distance he also has 30 hens ready to try out the extreme long distance game. It is a try-out but it would be extremely remarkable if the ladies with the same origin of the cocks wouldn’t be able to race top of the race on the extreme long distance. And knowing Gregory’s eager he will do everything about it do get to know the hens game as well. 

The care is top, but surely not complicated 

Don’t expect too many tricks on these lofts. It is especially the  quality of the pigeons that need to do it. Nevertheless that Grégory doesn’t leave anything to the coincidence. As a train driver he works more hours outside the racing season to get more time within the racing season. And then all is ready. The pigeons get the necessary vaccinations before the season inclusive a vaccine against parathapoid. The experience taught him that the pigeons get their form quickly afterwards and that’s why he repeats this on a yearly base.
In the season they need to train twice a day for a full hour, but making the pigeons train is a myth. When they really don’t want to train they will find a spot to get some rest, so the training engine needs to be put on in a natural way. This can be done by feeding them very light at the beginning of the season to get the schwung in. Along the more heavy races approach 50% light food and 50% energy mixture of Beyers is being fed. And as the basketing day approaches the energy level is being filled up even more and this until the very last minute before basketing. Grégory is convinced that the longer you can keep your pigeons eating on the extreme long distance, the bigger the chance in winning. As he tries to race loft by loft he can take on the feeding equally..

The lofts are simple garden lofts without any luxury, but healthy and spacious. The pigeons are on roasters one meter above the ground. The front of the lofts are protected so these are wind free but underneath the lofts there is loads of air present. 

Before the race out of Limoges the cocks don’t see anything before basketing and the motivation is being kept consciously low. From the further races they can see their hen before basketing and get to see their hen all on Mondays during a long time (this instead off just after a race). A pigeon that gets home from an extreme long distance race needs to recover first. 

He makes use on a regular bas of yellow drops that are being giving every week. In a medical way he listens to the vet and he doesn’t cure blindly. 

Grégrory is released of the care of the breeders now and he can focus fully on the racing team. The breeders reside since this breeding season at his neighbour Thierry Marichal. Thierry is a fervent sports fancier but as his profession as sportive director of a cycling team he isn’t able of taking care on a regular base of a racing team. Nevertheless he has a strong breeding loft at his disposal with a lot of De Smeyter-Restiaenblood on it. These pigeons will be crossed in to the top pigeons from Grégory. A fruitful cooperation is being set here 

Top results in 2019

It already started off the past few years by setting top results/ He won with ‘Didi’ the 11th place Ace birds KBDB Extreme long distance 2015 and was the 26th Best European Extreme long distance pigeon in 2015. He also won a few regional and provincial titles before the season of 2019. 

But in 2019 is was bulls’ eye ! 

  • 4th Ace bird ELD National KBDB
  • 8th Ace bird ELD National KBDB
  • Derby Hainaut
  • 3rd place 1 & 2 signed year birds ELD
  • 6th place 1 & 2 signed old ELD
  • 4th place 1 & 2 signed LD

And underneath a few top races of the past season :


  • 3,873b old national  : 10, 113, 231, 278, 296, 316, 374 (7/11)
  • provincial : 1, 12, 29, 36, 39, 42, 50…(7/11)


  • 3,580 year birds national : 173,277 (2/2)
  • Provincial 7 and 19


  • 2,949d old national : 18, 85, 106, 242 (7/8)
  • provincial :  4, 6, 7, 15, 21, 28, 34…


  • 2797 old national : 21, 41  (5/13)
  • provincial: 1, 2, 14, 23, 43, 53, 55, ...


  • 3935 old national : 78, 243, 305, 326, 335 (8/11)
  • provincial: 4, 12, 14, 16, 17, 35, 43, 49, ...


  • 3915 old national : 233 (4/5)
  • provincial: 19, 46, 71, 72, ...

We introduce to you 3 top pigeons that made the above happen and are to be found on a regular base within the national top results : 

‘Le 4.30 h’ BE17-1010658

Father is a top breeder ‘Le Rouge’, he is father of no less than 6 top 100 national results and also grandchildren are doing well. He is a crossing of Marcel Vandenabeele x Patrick Houfflijn

Mother is a super hen as well who is together with ‘Le Rouge’, a top breeding couple. She is a crossing of the line of ‘Didi’ Etienne Devos x Marcel Aelbrecht.

‘Le Super 67’ BE15-1005967

This amazing pigeon who is iron strong built but also sets iron strong results. He never failed in his entire career and as you can see on the picture always on the extreme long distance races. He will be still in the racing team of 2020, and if he doesn’t fail he will be moved to the breeding loft. 

He is a pigeon out of the strain of the Northern France champion Eric Vanackere

‘Le  602’ BE17-1010602

Is also one of the upcoming talents that has put with his 2 years of age already some very sharp results on his palmaris. A pigeon of the real long distance type, not too big, well-built and very soft feathers. You will hear more from this pale cock !! He is out of the old strain of the top couple ‘Le Rouge’. 

It was a very pleasant time at Grégory and his family. They are motivated and nice guys who like to handle animals. You don’t race just like that 2 pigeons within the Top 10 of the national ace birds long distance with a few provincial and national top results on top. It isn’t a real surprise, it had been clear since a few years that this loft is becoming a strong upcoming loft. Believe my words, we didn’t see the end of it yet. 

All the success from the Herbotsteam !

Geert Dhaenens