Marcel Wouters, Westmalle, might be racing his last year in 2021...
21 Apr 2021
Results say more than words. Marcel had a lot to tell but I do like to give first of all the best won championship titles of the past 5 years (from 2015 until 2020) from top fancier Marcel Wouters from Westmalle:
3 National Ace birds KBD Shorter Middle Distance:
7° National ace bird KBDB Shorter Middle Distance with ‘Wit Adje’ (6090890/15
11° National ace bird KBDB Shorter Middle Distance with ‘Tijger (6090742/15)
12° National ace bird KBDB Shorter Middle Distance with ‘Charlotte (6090835/15)
15°Best of Belgium over 7 National races with ‘Blauw Adje’ (6090759/15)
16°best of Belgium over 7 National races (6090876/15)
‘Blauw Adje’ (6090759/15) became:
7° National Ace bird KBDB Greater Middle Distance 2017
14° Best of Belgium over 7 National Races 2017
‘Romeo’ (6076729/16) and ‘Julia’ (6090848/15) won together
3° National Championship KBDB Greater Middle Distance old 2018
General Champion Greater Middle Distance year birds Fond 2001 St.Job
2°Acebird (6085612/2018) Greater Middle Distance year birds Fond 2001 St.Job
4°Asduif (6085766/2018) Greater Middle Distance year birds Fond 2001 St.Job
2° General Champion Greater Middle Distance youngsters Fond 2001 St.Job
5° General Champion Year birds Fondclub Antwerpen
2° Champion Old Smaller Middle Distance De Snelle Vlucht Zoersel
3° Champion Year birds Smaller Middle Distance De Snelle Vlucht Zoersel
6085715/2018 won 2 °Ace bird Union Antwerpen
20° National Ace bird Year birds Smaller Middle Distance KBDB
6085752/2018 won 7° Ace bird Union Antwerpen
6237329/2018 won 10°Ace bird Union Antwerpen
6085705/2018 is on 3 National Races 11° Best of Belgium with a coefficient of 0,9471
6085747/2018 is 21° Best of Belgium over 7 National Races
6085766/2018 is 23° Best of Belgium over 7 National Races
6085612/2018 is 30° Best of Belgium over 7 National Races
6085731/2018 won 6° National Chateauroux against 6,377 pigeons
6085657/2018 won 7° National Bourges against 17,944 pigeons
26°National Champion Youngsters Greater Middle Distance KBDB
28°National Champion Old and Year birds Greater Middle Distance KBDB
1°(6101161/20) and 3°(6101106/20) and 5e (6101263/20) Ace bird Youngsters SMD Union De Padvinders St-Job
2° Ace bird (6085612/20) Old pigeons Shorter Middle Distance Union De Padvinders St-Job
5°(6075671/19) Ace bird Year birds SMD Union De Padvinders St-Job.
2° Champion Year birds 1st + 2nd + 3rd signed SMD Union De Padvinders St-job
3° Champion Old pigeons 1st + 2nd signed Short Long Distance Union De Padvinders St-Job
3° Champion Year birds 1st + 2nd signed Short Long Distance Union De Padvinders St-job
4° Champion Year birds 1st + 2nd + 3rd signed Short Long Distance Union De Padvinders St-job 2° General Champion Greater Middle Distance Union De Padvinders St-Job
And top of the top in 2020:
6101197/20 ‘Evita’ wins
2° NATIONAL ACE BIRD KBDB Greater Middle Distance 2020
1° PROVINCIAL ACE BIRD ANTWERP
Marcel becomes 67 this year and is a retired postman. His wife is holding herself busy with the administrative part and also with the clocking of the pigeons.
‘To keep the church in the middle we go out for about 10 days each year while my good friend Philip Segers watches the pigeons. Our son can’t do this unfortunately as when he remains on the loft for about 10 minutes he starts getting a feaver of 40°C…pigeon allergy. Also my wife has lung problems and takes cortisones since a year.’, explains Marcel. ‘So 350 days a year, I do everything myself for the pigeons which is a bit too much sometimes. Especially as I now have to get changed totally before I enter the house so no pigeon dust would come in. Sometimes I have to change myself 20x a day. No fanciers can visit when they’ve been on the loft or have visited other fanciers. Most fanciers appreciate this but there are a few that don’t. Corona also takes care that we can’t meet each other in the club so I’m on the phone a lot with my friends to catch up. Corona is a dirty germ, I compare it to Adeno. From all the pigeons that get into contact with it will some die, some will be very sick and some don’t suffer any symptoms at all. After a month it’s all over but with humans everybody will have to be vaccinated otherwise a lot more people will get sick an die. Hopefully it’ll all turn better in a few months. We pay a lot of attention to it. The small advantage of having pigeons is that during this corona period, another person that retired is getting bored , but we can keep busy the entire day with our pigeons. I live in Westmalle. Sometimes when I have to get a pigeon, people don’t know it but when I say the ‘Trappisten’ then they all know.’, is what we get to hear when I ask to introduce himself shortly for the ‘pigeonworldstrange’ people that don’t know Marcel yet.
Marcel continues a bit: ’We have about 15 fanciers over here. I race especially the greater middle distance in Sint Job 2000 and the Middle Distance at Padvinders Sint job ZAV and otherwise in the Union in Zoersel. It depends what the Antwerp board decides how they will release. If it is without East-Flanders the fanciers on the western side of the union don’t make a change at all with normal Belgian pigeon weather southwest-western wind.
My father in law (Gust Boeckx) had pigeons and as my wife had to work on Sundays I went watching the pigeons at his place and together we brought the clock to the club. I love to hear him talk in the club about how he was going to race really well the coming week. When I got married when I was 21 I started immediately with my own pigeons. Nevertheless I knew nothing about it. Is started off in a cow stable with a sputnik attached to it. The first time I went to toss my pigeons there were two other fanciers waiting. I opened my basket and my pigeons walked out and I had to chase them up. One fancier told me that race pigeons and not chickens. Off course I turned as red as a tomato in an instant. Three weeks later I won the first prize out of Quièvrain, the laughing stopped immediately. I raced really well with the pigeons from the beginning on. The fourth year as a member I already became general champion short distance youth in Sint Antonius. I thinks I became yearly a champion on a local level. I race them already 10 years on total widowhood on advice of the late Luc Geerinckx. 24 cocks and 24 hens, ‘you have to keep them anyway, so you’ld better race them’ and this served me well. The first real pigeons I got were youngsters out of the widowcocks from Dirk Van Dyck, but this wasn’t a success. I told him this and at the end of the season I got two hens which served me really well. In 2002 I could go to Cop-Gijsbrecht to choose a youngster at the end of the season. Son Koen told me: ‘You have to take that one’ and that’s the one where my ‘De Leeuw’ comes out of. He became 8th National Ace bird in 2004 and became base breeder of the loft.
He gave a lot of good offspring. His blood is to be found in many good pigeons.
My other good racer and breeder is ‘Den extreem’, a crossing between pigeons I got and my best breeding hen. As his name tells you he raced really well with ‘Extreme’ weather, very hold or very cold. Such temperatures and he was at his best. He also took care of good off spring like for example ‘Elektro’ at Hok Jos Vercammen and at Maegh-Scherlaeckens the 3° National Ace Bird Middle Distance. Also my 2nd National Ace bird is a granddaughter to the ‘Den extreem’.
A co-breeding with my ‘Leeuw’ and a hen from Ad Schaerlaeckens gave me a beautiful cock named “Den Ad” , who became 1° National Ace bird and 1° Olympiad bird. With ‘De Leeuw’ I did some co-breeding but at a certain moment I got a hen that had paratyphoid and that’s why I chose to do only K.I. with ‘Den Ad’. Also with Ad Schaerlaeckens. We were together at vet Ferdinand Van Der Sande and within half a minute his best 4 hens were at their back on the table of the narcosis. Ad became as pale as a body and got colour again when his hens were up at their paws within a few minutes. I still have to laugh about it.
Start of the season
I start off with 24 widow cocks and 24 hens who are being coupled end of November. They all have to race and can bring up a youngster. As soon as the youngsters are weened, I close the boxes and the widow cocks have to sit on their shelves again. The old and year birds are being trained rather quick. 2 to 3 times and then of to Quièvrain and they can go on. They all do the Shorter middle Distance, except for the pigeons who race really hard on the first middle distance race, they have to stay on the middle distance. Others that don’t do well on the nationals have to go back to the Middle distance of stay home when their partner do well. Every year I suffer from pairing up of the hens amongst each other. That’s why I leave them in April for 3 days together with their partner so they are partnered up really well again. They are loose on the loft until a week before Bourges, then they go in to a closet. There they are 20 hours a day in the dark. They get out in the morning to eat and drink and after one hour they have to go back in again. I still do have a problem that my hens and cocks are 6 meters from each other, after a few races they know where the cocks are and are at their sputnik with 20 of them during the week and so I have to get them in their own loft with peanuts. I feed the old pigeons very light and give more towards Thursdays.
On Thursdays I feed them three times, one hour before basketing they get as much as peanuts as they can have. Those who stay at home for the middle distance and have to be basketed on Friday don’t get any food anymore, only the left overs in the trunks. As I race middle distance and shorter middle distance on the same loft, they don’t come together at basketing. At arrival those from the Middle Distance are together for a few hours with their hen when those from the shorter middle distance still have to arrive. How long they have to be together is something that you have to see for yourself. It is different each week and one hour more or less doesn’t make a difference, as also the very last once have to see their hen.
Loft and training
I breed about 150 youngsters in two rounds for myself, this includes the youngsters of the widow cocks. As soon as the youngsters are coming out of their nest they are being weened, usually about 22 days old. They are being darkened from the 20th of March until the 15th of June from 18h until 8h30 in the morning. Training of the youngsters variates each year, the youngsters show themselves how slow or how quick you have to train them. Already in April I can tell whether it is going to be a good season or not. They are being tossed about 10 times before they go to Quièvrain. When its construction leave I dare to drive to Vilvoorde a few time per week.
In 1,5 hour I’m back home then, I do take all the pigeons, the old, year birds and youngsters, I leave at 7h and am back home at 8h30. Every single pigeon had their training so I don’t have to train them at home anymore. This is how I can do other things during the summer months. They normally train at home in the afternoon until they’re trained, then I can release them any hour I want. I always raced the youngsters on nest position but when you do the nationals it isn’t easy. You have a lot of broken nests when one stays behind from a race. Last year we had to start later due to the corona situation so I could train my 1st and 2nd round together and could race them on the sliding door system. This was really easy, so I’m going to do this again this year. I also put some boxes and stuff on the loft for motivation
The youngsters have to do at least 2 nationals. But those who are good on the middle distance races can stay there. I race the youngsters from 320km to 600km.
Food and care
The feeding of the youngsters is simple, light food at arrival and feed more towards basketing, but they can’t have any hunger. I always think what you would do as a human. When you do a marathon, you don’t have to eat a pack of chips right away either, but recover first for a couple of hours. They are being fed twice a day and I always hold peanuts in my hand. My ‘Den Ad’ always wanted a peanut first. This is how wasn’t at my loft yet at a race and had to hurry as he sat before the antenna, I quickly took a peanut and pushed him over the antenna with my hand, but he was second… All my food comes from Ronny van Tilburg cheap and good.
As side products I give those from R.Herbots, F.Marïen and Belgasol Van de Weerdt. I think I visit the vet about 10 times a year. Most of the time to B.Cottenie and sometimes for some extra advice to Raf Herbots from Velm. I don’t like to cure or they are sick and I give what they prescribe or I leave them be. The famous yellow drops over the food isn’t something I really like, I do like a drop in each nostril, but this is so much work and that’s why I don’t do it.
When they suffer from Adeno I put electrolytes in the drinking pot, feed them very light and pray that it’s over after 10 days. I don’t think there is a real cure against it yet. They are being vaccinated each year against paratyphoid without any treatment up front. And they are being vaccinated twice against paramyxo, once when they’re 40 days old with colli or herpes, and once again one month later with the small pocks vaccine in it.
I’ve got a racing loft that is 12 meters long with a wooden floor, I had until 2 years ago rosters at the widowers loft, but they suffered a lot from broken pins, so now I only have a full wooden floor. I’ve got 3 different racing lofts and all 3 of them with a different system of aeration. The youngsters still have rosters on the floor, but I still change each year. In front of the loft of the youngsters there are aviaries, one year a blessing and the other year I think of taking it down. I open and close the windows on feeling so they can go in. They get fresh water each morning and every 14 days the drinking pot is being changed. I only clean the places I can reach, I don’t move any boxes or ceiling so I won’t make too much dust. And from the end of August until the beginning of November there is no cleaning, then it is resting time. The breeders and racers are being coupled together end of November. The breeders get about 4 years to proof themselves. When youngsters out of certain couples don’t grow good they are being removed really quickly. I re-couple each year except the couples that give good results, those can stay together.
‘De Leeuw’, ‘Den Extreem’ and ‘Den Ad’
De Leeuw, Den Extreem and Den Ad were the base breeders from the loft. ‘De Leeuw’ and ‘Den Extreem’ are different blood lines, so I can continue breeding for a while. There is some inbred. ‘De Leeuw’ and ‘Den Extreem’ were from 2003, I took them out after 17 years. They couldn’t defend themselves anymore against the other pigeons, too old. Their off spring will present for a long time within pigeon sport. Like for example ‘Son Extreem’ at loft Vercammen (‘Elektro’). This was a base breeder on their loft. I went looking on a regular base for other pigeons. I won’t name any names as it always were only 1 or 2 pigeons and there are too many to mention and I would certainly forget some. But 90% of them are from my friends. I don’t spend a lot of money on it. I’ve got a really fine breeding couple who give me good ones on a regular base.
6327442/12 (Son Extreem, brother to ‘Elektro’ Hok Vercammen) x 6082235/14 (Willy Daniels)
==> ‘EVITA’ 6101197/20
2° National Ace bird
21° best pigeon of Belgium over 7 national races
==> ‘Julia’ 6090848/15 (Father is 6327442/12)
won together with ‘Romeo’ 60676729/16 (mother is 6082235/14) :
3° National championship old pigeons in 2019.
They weren’t together in 2019 as I’ve got 2 cocks who have ‘42’ as last two numbers on their ring and I put the wrong one against the ‘235’…I’m probably getting old
I select the old and year birds on head results on a local level, not on a national level (but it might be as well). I stopped doing this for the youngsters about 5 years ago, when they win some prizes, have a good bloodstrain, a good health and how they arrive after a race, this all makes me know quickly which ones I keep and which I won’t. They do have to race 2 nationals. Sometimes I had really good youngsters and left them at home after a few races for the coming year, but then no results anymore. When a youngsters races well, I let them race the entire season. I don’t look at the model of the pigeon, I’ve had them in all shapes and sizes, I also like a good looking pigeon but racing well is still better. A good quality of a top pigeon is a pigeon that always shines, looks fresh all the time and hardly ever suffer from something. I don’t bother too much looking at the pedigree but it is always a nice catch .
Who can take out the best pigeons? I did my biggest acquisition in 2014. I bought a round of 25 youngsters via via from Willy Daniels (Willy won’t blame me of telling this) for almost nothing in a matter of speaking. But they were too fast, the first time I released them I already lost 5. So I went for a chat with Willy to see which ones I would place directly on the breeding loft and which ones I would continue racing. Result: 8 on the breeding loft and 12 to race. There were 6 left as year birds and now 6 years later I don’t have any of the 8 breeders anymore and from the remaining racers there are still 3 on the breeding loft. 2 good ones (one of them is mother to the 2nd National Ace bird) and 1 descend one, I think I bought well, no. But as I told before, no one knows for sure
Finally: I don’t look forward anymore. The health of my wife and of my own are priority now. Last year I promised the lung specialist I would stop racing after the season but the lungs of my wife are a bit better again. So I really pay a lot of attention now so we can add another year together. What you’ve build together in 46 years isn’t something you throw away just like that. It won’t be easy, but difficult works as well.
When I can come amongst people again this year I’ll already be happy and all the rest is nice to catch along.
Thank you Marcel for this open conversation and we like to wish you a lot of success and hopefully you can add more than one year in pigeon sport !