Hok Bommerez from Heverlee opens his treasure room
09 Jan 2023
For the first time in the winter period, we visit the top colony of Hok Bommerez in Heverlee in Flemish Brabant. We have already heard a lot about this father and son combination and when the conversation starts it is not only pigeon sport that is discussed. For father Michel, pigeon sport is a hobby and will always remain so, family and his job used to stand for this. Now he is enjoying his retirement and son Maarten is more passionate than father Michel. It is not easy for son Maarten because he lives and works in London, but fortunately the online world of today is an advantage to be able to follow a lot. As a result, they communicate very often and the cameras film the arrivals online so that Maarten can still experience his piece of pigeon sport every week.
Both Michel and Maarten each have their own opinion and they sometimes dare to differ, but that is perfectly possible. No one is flawless and there is always consultation. A pigeon fancier who makes as few mistakes as possible
during the season will have a super season.
They themselves were present at the appointment they wanted, their middle distance and national races went well and further on in this article we introduce you to some of these toppers.
But what they are especially happy about is that their pigeons are also doing so well elsewhere. If you can get 3 National winners and a 1st National Ace Pigeon you are doing fantastic and you can live on a very strong breeding loft. They certainly want to continue on that path in the coming years.
During our visit, it was noticed that Michel does not have a fixed schedule, his health left something to be desired in the winter of 2021-2022 together with the spring that followed, so that the preparation was not optimal. The reins were tightened a bit but the results were there. Honesty and openness to the table, less bathing was given, less yellow drops, less fresh garlic, … The pigeons must be healthy and in good condition, it's that simple.
The story behind this colony
In the early 1980s I had a few pigeons, but due to the busy job I stopped in 1986. In 1992 Maarten made his solemn communion and thanks to the good relationship with the late Filip and Jos Herbots, the pigeon sport started again, they learned a lot from both gentlemen and they are still very grateful to them for that. Over the years they wanted to go more and more towards the long distance and extreme long distance. Michel wrote articles and auctions for the Reisduif and LCB through which he came into contact with several fanciers. That love did not last because between the period 2000 and 2010 we could not be busy with the pigeons as we wanted, Maarten went to university in 2000 and in 2002 to Japan for his studies, so that everything went back to zero. Michel retired in 2010 and the extreme long distance pigeons were still present, but since Maarten's return to Europe in 2013, they had changed hands. They wanted to play with the pigeons and not wait for hours before all pigeons were home.
They focused on the Gaby Vandenabeele pigeons. They bought a few and got several on loan from the Herbots family, the Gaby blood also came to Heverlee through Theo Weytjens. Afterwards it was mainly the line of Patrick Vervloesem and Rik & Jan Hermans that did fantastic here.
In the current breeding loft they now have 2 main lines: “Gloria” and “Pelican” (Vandenabeele) and “Jaarling Dondersteen” and “Bazooka” (Rik Hermans). These were then supplemented with pigeons from, among others, Patrick Vervloesem, DVV, Annick Goeteyn, Jules and Yves Engels Theo Weytjens, Johny Jonckers, Jespers-Vanderwegen, Leekens-Bosmans, Wouters-Wouters, Gaston Van de Wouwer, exchanged with Willy Daniels etc. They currently have 40 pairs of breeders where they do a lot of re-pairing.
Only with hens
Like several fanciers, the game with hens has also been chosen here. Little work, a nice group and just fly. The racing team annually consists of 35-40 old pigeons supplemented with yearlings. Especially 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds do very well here because they are not tested as youngsters. They get a natural hard selection and that's where it ends. They can show themselves as yearlings, but if you go through the best pigeons of this colony, it is usually the 2nd and 3rd year that they can really be at their best. This is due to their system, because I am sure if you race these pigeons in national races as a youngster they will also be there.
Because last season it was a bit more difficult in the beginning to have all hens have a permanent partner, they started a bit earlier for the 2023 season, they coupled 20 hens from 2021 to old partners in the breeding loft in the autumn to let them brood. After that it is the turn of the best 2 and 3 year old hens who sometimes breed in the winter for the first time. We will discuss and see whether it is a good decision after the season.
But normally nothing is done with the racing hens in the winter and they just sit in the resting loft. The intention here is always that the hens fly in the autumn, as long as there is no snow they come out almost every day. After the winter they come back outside around mid-February and all training sessions are resumed. They fly here a maximum of 2x 40 minutes a day throughout the season. We prefer that they fly for less time but that they come out, quickly out of sight and fly very high in the air. A pigeon fancier always personally has his ideal training in front of him. How they train or do, well with us it is high and fast training.
Isn't it difficult to motivate everything with a large racing team?
That's right, we have 20 cocks for all our hens. We therefore leave them in series with the cocks just before basketing. This length of time is very short but they are smart enough to know what is going on. On the day of basketing they train in the morning anyway and at 4 pm they get their last feed. This is in the loft next to the resting loft where there are regular grids on the floor and a food bowl is provided. This is a spacious aviary in which they can eat and drink and then return to the resting pen.
When they return home in the beginning it is a bit of chaos because they come home so close to each other, but the time span that they see their cocks is very short. Afterwards, when the middle distance and national races are underway, they can stay with the cocks for a maximum of 1 hour. The pigeons from the middle distance are usually already recuperating in the resting loft when they come home from the national races.
Back to the youngsters, so they are not darkened and the 1st round is in the loft next to the racing hens. The 2nd and 3rd rounds are on the right in the garden and follow the same regime. Our system means we get fresh yearlings with little experience, in 2021 they raced 1x Soissons, in 2022 1x Momignies. This costs us feathers in the spring with the yearlings, but that's it.
We have noticed that our pigeons are certainly not exhausted at 2 and 3 years old and can also fly to the top. A real topper who is super in 2 years can also earn her place in the breeding loft, we are not afraid of that. In recent years we have mainly focused on our own proven pigeons, which hopefully will become the top breeders of our colony within a few seasons.
Best pigeons of the past seasons
BE 19-2027653 “Tiny Rebel” Hen
This hen has not stolen her name, as a youngster she was not trained and she was away from the loft for a few weeks. As a yearling she occasionally classified her well, but from 2021 she started flying top, she continued that in 2022 where she flew very strong but unfortunately was injured in June. She was then allowed to retire and go to the breeding loft, she classified her as 19th World Best Pigeon Middle Distance 2022.
1 Prov Argenton 1.559p
18 NAT 20.467p
1 Club Salbris 761p
3 Br.Unie 1.655p
2 Club Bourges 1.169p
8 Nat (z) 4.514p
5 Soissons 574p
7 Sermaises 1.370p
20 Melun 1.204p
67 Prov Vierzon 1.296p
68 Prov Bourges 3.095p
Sire BE 16-2289575 “Kalypso”
1/2 brother “Missing Wing” mother from “Patrick” 1st National Tulle 7.267p by Olivier Poussart
½ brother “Route 66” 10 Nat Bourges 8.340p and 16 Nat Bourges 10.173p
Son from “Pelican Cluster” 100% Gaby Vandenabeele x “Fijn Bont” Vanoppen Luyten
Dam BE 14-3150591 “Skyfall” Orig.Gaby Vandenabeele
Daughter from “399/10” Son Neptunus x “764/09” Inbred Champion Chris Hebberecht
BE 19-2027702 “Davina” Hen
This hen almost always flew middle distance in her career, she flew 1x a national race. This was in 2022 where she won 36 Nat (z) Bourges against 1,231 pigeons. She became 2nd Ace Pigeon Middle Distance Sans Peur Herent in 2022 with 16 prizes in 17 races in the middle distance, a very strong lady.
1 Sermaises 521p
2 Sermaises 264p
3 Sermaises 924p
3 Sermaises 145p
7 Sermaises 521p
8 Orléans 196p
14 Sermaises 1.490p
16 Sermaises 367p
17 Melun 1.204p
18 Melun 976p
21 Soissons 702p
23 Soissons 2.146p
24 Soissons 648p
36 Nat (z) Bourges 1.231p
42 Sermaises 984p
85 Prov Orléans 1.605p
Sire BE 13-2140636 “Davidoff” Deno – Herbots
Superbreeder and also father from 12 Nat Ace M.D. KBDB 2018 and from 11 x 1st prices
Son from “275/11” Son superstar Beckham x “991/10” Sister Hassan and 100% Gaby Vandenabeele
Dam BE 12-6059347 Mammy Blue – Johny Jonckers
Topbreeding hen and also mother from 14th Nat Ace Long Distance KBDB 2020
Daughter from “709/11” Brother Magda x “632/05” Granddaughter Schone Vooruit
BE 19-2027732 “Ivy Blue” Hen
This hen was the best of the colony in 2021, but also became 1st Prov Ace Pigeon All Round olds KBDB 2021. Top class from the very best of this colony
2 Soissons 596p
4 Melun 6.951p
4 Prov Salbris 1.832p
10 Melun 1.204p
53 NAT La Souterraine 8.383p
Sister of “Calliope” 4 Nat Ace pigeon middle distance KBDB 2019 by Olivier Poussart, she won a.o. 1 Fay Aux Loges 5,832p – 1 Fay Aux Loges 1,144p – 1 St.Soupplets 1,062p – 3 Gien 1,514p – 3 St.Soupplets 1,580 d – 5 S.Nat Bourges 3,885p
Sister of “Le 023” 51 Nat Ace pigeon longer middle distance KBDB 2020, she won a.o. 1 Gien 1,514p – 3 Prov Argenton 3,018p – 4 St.Soupplets 1,062p – 6 Prov Bourges 3,716p – 7 S.Nat Bourges 3,885p – 12 Prov Vierzon 1,795p – 21 Prov Bourges 1,841p
Sire BE 16-6128801 “Bazooka” Orig.Rik HermansSuper breederAlso father of “Loredana” 11 Br.Unie Salbris 1,655p – 14 Nat (z) Bourges 1,231p – 19 Nat Gueret 8,375pSon of “643/09” Son Kanon Danny Van Dijck x “NL 539/09” Granddaughter Yearling Dondersteen
Mother BE 14-4033220 “The Nanny” Orig.Annick GoeteynDaughter of “198/13” Son Rudy Gaby Vandenabeele x “711/12” Granddaughter Bliksem Gaby Vandenabeele
BE 19-2027708 “Octomove” Hen
This top hen was outstanding in the national races in 2021 and was then referred to the breeding loft. She was present every time in heavy weather.
4 Prov Chateauroux 941p
37 NAT 9.847p
5 Prov Argenton 1.434p
35 NAT 7.099p
11 Prov La Souterraine 333p
84 NAT 3.118p
½ sister of “Twice is Nice” mother of 1st National Bourges 24.496p in 2022 by Olivier Poussart
Sire BE 15-2000974 “Cheops”Son of “343/13” Pharao Rik Hermans is grandson Proper Amore x “039/12” Blue Orchid R & P Vervloesem
Dam BE 16-2049220 Tina Turner – Jespers Vanderwegen
½ sister of 1st Prov Bourges 3,126p – 1st Prov Blois 571p
Daughter of “251/15” Pedro Paul Huls x “549/09” Tina is a double granddaughter stock father “Kleine Dirk”
BE 20-2020399 “Loredana” Hen
This hen was the stronghold of the colony in the national races in 2022, she won 2x 1st in the club and always shined in the moments of truth.
11 Br.Un. Salbris 1.655p
14 Nat(z) Bourges 1.231p ( 1 club 252p )
19 Nat. Guéret 8.375p ( 1 club 309p )
19 Sermaises 542p
50 Sermaises 1.490p
69 Soissons 1.897p
733 Nat. Bourges 33.410p
Sire BE 16-6128801 “Bazooka” Orig.Rik Hermans
lso father of “Ivy Blue” 2 Soissons 596p - 4 Melun 6,951p – 4 Prov Salbris 1,832p – 10 Melun 1,204p – 53 Nat La Souterrraine 8,383p
Father of “Calliope” 4 Nat Ace pigeon middle distance KBDB 2019 for Olivier Poussart, she won a.o. 1 Fay Aux Loges 5,832p – 1 Fay Aux Loges 1,144p – 1 St.Soupplets 1,062p – 3 Gien 1,514p – 3 St.Soupplets 1,580 d – 5 S.Nat Bourges 3,885p
Father of “Le 023” 51st Nat. Ace pigeon longer middle distance KBDB 2020, she won a.o. 1st Gien 1.514p – 3rd Prov Argenton 3.018p – 4th St.Soupplets 1.062p – 6th Prov Bourges 3.716p – 7th S.Nat Bourges 3.885p – 12 Prov Vierzon 1,795p – 21 Prov Bourges 1,841pSon of “643/09”
Son Kanon Danny Van Dijck x “NL 539/09” Granddaughter Yearling Dondersteen
Dam BE 19-6245648 “Magic Touch” Orig. Patrick Vervloesem
Daughter of “Kaasboer Gold”
Sister of several super hens from the Vervloesem family, including 1st Nat (z) Gueret 2,115p – 18th Nat Gueret 12,208p – 19th Nat Gueret 8,375p - 19th Nat Chateauroux 5,720p – 25th Nat Chateauroux 4,203p – 46th Nat Chateauroux 20,516p - 50th Nat Gueret 12,208p – 52 Nat Argenton 18,763p – 64 Nat La Souterraine 6,761p – 81 Nat Bourges 33,410p
Daughter of "Magic 121" Son of Super breeder 564 x "339/14" Kaasboer Gold is inbred Kaasboer and 100% Gaston Vandewouwer
Pearls in the breeding loft
Thanks to the multiple references at the Olivier Poussart house, we would like to introduce a few top couples to you. It is not easy to pick a few because of the wealth that is present here in the breeding loft, but we will try anyway
BE 16-6128801 “Bazooka” x “BE 14-4033220” The Nanny”
"Bazooka" is the best breeder of the breeding loft and 5 children from him already proved it during the races. He is an original Jan & Rik Hermans cock and was bred from “Son Kanon” Danny Van Dijck x “Valkje” ( Granddaughter Jaarling Dondersteen x Koopman ). His regular partner is “The Nanny”, original hen of Annick Goeteyn and bred from “Broer New Bliksem” ( Son Rudy ) x “Granddaughter Bliksem”
They are the parents of together
“Calliope” 4 Nat Ace Pigeon M.D. KBDB 2019 – 3 x 1st + 1,000 pigeons
“Ivy Blue” 1st Prov Ace Pigeon All Round KBDB 2021
“Le 023” 51 Nat Ace Pigeon Zw.M.D. KBDB 2020 – 5 x Top 10 +1,000 pigeons
“Bazooka” alone is still father of “Loredana” 2 x 1st on Bourges and Gueret and a.o. 19 Nat Gueret 8.375p. He is also the father of "Godiva" 2 Prov Chateauroux 1,304p
BE 18-2009125 “Tobacco” x BE 17-2148550 “Fifty Fifty”
They are the parents of “Carina” 1st National Bourges 33,615p and fastest of 57,621 pigeons in 2022, this top hen also won 4 Nat (z) Issoudun 2,145p – 18 I.Prov Bourges 1,120p – 30 Nat (z) La Basement 809p
This top hen is bred from "Tobacco" who is himself a ½ brother of "A-Team" who in turn is father of 1st National Tulle 12,334 pigeons. “Tobacco” itself was bred from “Tarantino” and is a son of the top couple “Den 30 x Marina” from Jespers – Vanderwegen. He was coupled to "Smokey Blue" from De Vroe - Van Gaver, who is therefore grandmother of 2 x 1st National.
“Tobacco” was coupled to “Fifty Fifty” who herself was a proven racing hen in the middle distance and sprint. She is a daughter of "Hugo Boss", he is a full brother of "Super Gaby" who father of "Devil Prince" of Gino Clique who won 1st National Montlucon 19.298p. He himself is a grandson of Bliksem from Gaby Vandenabeele. “Orphelia” was coupled to “Hugo Boss”, which comes directly from Annick Goeteyn and is a daughter of super couple “Orlando” x “Nicophelia”
BE 17-2024097 “Stars N Stripes” x BE 16-2050543 “Twice is Nice”
They are the parents of "Aston Martin" 1st National Bourges 24,221 pigeons in 2022 and 2nd fastest of 57,631 pigeons after loft mate at Olivier Poussart
“Stars N Stripes” is a son of “Tusky” Orig. Gaby Vandenabeele x “Wifi”, she is nest sister of “Tusky”. “Wifi” herself won 15th National Argenton 13,525 pigeons and is also the grandmother of “Real Dream” 1st National Ace pigeon longer middle distance yearlings KBDB 2021 by Olivier Poussart. They both own Gaby's best lines (Royal Blue, Mona, Lion King)
“Stars N Stripes” was paired with “Twice is Nice”. She is a daughter of "Cheops", one of the ancestors of this colony coupled with "Guilty Pleasure" Orig. Gaby Vandenabeele and ½ sister of “Princess Gloria” 1st National Gueret 9.754p.
BE 15-2000922 “A-Team” x BE 18-2009150 “Missing Wing”
They are the parents of “Patrick”, who won 1st National Tulle 7,267 yearlings and was the fastest of 12,334 pigeons by Olivier Poussart.
This couple therefore consists of “A-Team”, a cock who is also the father of “Vaper”. This pigeon won 7 x TOP 20 Provincial in the heavy middle distance and “A-Team” was bred from “Ferrero Rocher” which comes directly from Annick Goeteyn and is a son of “Memphis” x “Beauty Betsy”. “Ferrero Rocher” was coupled to “Smokey Blue” from De Vroe – Van Gaver, who is therefore grandmother of 2 x 1st National. She is a full sister of 1st National Bourges 41,783 pigeons.
“A-Team” was coupled to “Missing Wing”, this hen is inbred to the top hen “Route 66” ( father x daughter ), who won 2x TOP 16 National from Bourges. She is a daughter of “Pelican Cluster” 100% Gaby Vandenabeele via Theo Weytjens x “Route 66” ( daughter “Pelican Cluster” x “1/2 sister Super breeder 564” Patrick Vervloesem )
BE 14-2171258 “Wifi”
We only introduce this hen, but only because she is so good in the breeding loft. She herself won a 15th National Argenton against 13,525 pigeons and was 2nd Ace Pigeon Middle Distance in Sans Peur Herent. She is mother of 3 S.Nat Bourges 3,885p – 4 Nat (z) Brive 747p – 17 Nat (z) Souillac 1,305p and grandmother of “Real Dream” 1st National Ace pigeon longer middle distance yearlings KBDB 2021 by Olivier Poussart and also grandmother from “Aston Martin” 1st National Bourges 24,221 pigeons in 2022 and 2nd fastest of 57,631 pigeons after loft mate at Olivier Poussart
“Wifi” is a 100% Gaby Vandenabeele hen and was bred from “Big Deal” ( ½ brother Lion King ) x “Bluetooth” ( Brother Gloria x Daughter Lion King ).
In terms of nutrition, we do have a fixed schedule that we use, the pigeons are given a light mixture from their arrival until Tuesday morning (1/3 depurative, 1/3 sport and 1/3 super diet). On Tuesday evening we will switch to Dynamic Sport from Vanrobaeys, which we will keep until Thursday morning. They then get Energy Vanrobaeys for the last feeding. In the last days they also get candy seed and all kinds of grit mix.
Throughout the week, it is mainly oil and brewer's yeast that are added to the feed, or sometimes Probac 1000. When they return home, they always get Belgasol from Belgica De Weerd in the drinking water.
The racing pigeons receive a cure with parastop from Belgica De Weerd before the season, as well as a tricho cure. After the season, another cure against paratyphus is done without grafting. The hens are usually treated against respiratory tract once a year before the season starts. They are only vaccinated against paramyxo before the racing season starts.
Best results 2022
Sermaises 1.370 old birds : 7,9,14,23,35,59,83,101,123,… 24/42
Sermaises 521 old birds : 1,2,21,23,… 11/21
Sermaises 924 old birds : 3,12,14,17,19,22,47,53,59,73,85,… 18/24
Sermaises 264 old birds : 2,11,12,14,… 5/11
Sermaises 521 old birds : 7,7,10,… 6/9
Salbris 761 old birds : 1,6,12,18,39,40,46,51,57,58,68,… 17/26
Argenton Br.Unie oude : 1,15,31,163,… 13/22 ( 18 and 85 National against 20.467 old birds )
Issoudun Prov 1.790 year birds : 27,33,102 3/3
Vierzon Prov 749 old birds : 5,6,22,24,62,… 8/11
Vierzon Br.Unie 565 old birds : 21,31,… 3/3
Bourges Br.Unie 831 old birds : 8,28,33,50,… 7/17
Gueret 309 old birds : 1,… 4/13 ( 19th National 9.375 old birds )
Michel and Maarten, many thanks for this pleasant conversation and congratulations on the current achievements here and elsewhere from the entire HERBOTS TEAM.