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Noël De Clercq (Mater-Oudenaarde) a small colony with a golden edge on the extreme long distance !

27 Dec 2019

Oudenaarde has been proclaimed to Golden City within the  Entente Florale Europa, an European price for cities with special attention for nature and fauna & flora at time we knock on the door of Noël. From out of his house you have a beautiful view over Mater and can confirm why they won that price. We look over the woods of the forest of 't Ename to the lower situated city centre and the Schelde winding through it. An amazing piece of nature on and around the Schelde valley within the first rolling hills of the Flemish Ardennes. 

Withing this cloud of oxygen Chantal and Noël reside since they were married. Noël is 71 and very vivid and healthy. Always busy, either for his family with his children and grandchildren, either in his beautiful garden and vegetable garden, either at his most favourite spot...his pigeon loft. 

One day

Noël wasn't a pigeon fancier from home, but the father from Chantal was. And on a Sunday morning Noël went to wait for the pigeons at the his father in laws loft who raced on the short distance and middle distance races. And that's where the cause of his pigeon infection lies. He started to help out when basketing and so on...and so a new tandem namely  De Clercq – Bruyneel was founded.

In 1991 they built new lofts in their own garden and choose resolute for the extreme long distance races. Mater has as a commune that bit of long distance blood in the water. Names such as Jef Van de Vijver, Gebroeders Vandenhaesevelde, Sardeur, Bruyneel, Haesaert….were the redoubtable warriors in the arena of the long distance. 

The base of his colony isn't very wide but does exist out of well-known long distance fanciers being the late brothers Vandenhaesevelde, Willequet Gebroeders, Max De Groote and a bit more in the past Wilfried Bruyneel. Noël has been working year after year on his own strain by keeping the best pigeons which he also liked himself to be able to race the extreme long distance races. 

Not quantity but quality and no frills in care

Choosing the extreme long distance is a choice where you have to be very patient and where you have to believe in the long term approach. When you want to race the long distance races you have to be able to deal with loosing and you also need a bit of feathers on your loft being able to handle this wide spectrum. 

Well, you won't find a big team at Noël’s, but a modest quality full colony. 

15 breeding couples, 35 to 40 racing pigeons (year- and old birds) and yearly about 50 youngsters...that's it. 

The youngsters are being trained at the end of the season really careful. They never race Quièvrain but go from the toss flights directly onto Noyon. In normal circumstances they will have 3 to 4 Noyon races as youngsters. Being a year bird they get more opportunity to get some experience and end with races like a  Tulle, Limoges (races from 600km). From the age of 2 they have to perform and will have to do at least 2 extreme long distance races. The racing pigeons don't breed before the beginning of the season but can raise a couple of youngsters after the racing season. 

The pigeons are being raced on the classic widowhood system and get at the beginning of the season a hen before basketing (especially to get the year birds used to the 'system'). Normally they only get their nest dish before basketing of a long distance race and are being basketed as quiet as possible. The nest boxes are being cleaned on a daily base. At the floor of the lofts you can find wheatgrass that is being refreshed about 3x a year. It is a cosy place for the pigeons. 

The feeding is very classic with a mixture of 3 types of sport and 3 types of Diet. These global mixtures are being adjusted according the basketing approaches. Noël tries to basket his pigeons very quietly, so they get their food on an individual base. Training is free with at the beginning of the season 1 training a day and when the temperature gets higher twice a day.  

The vet is being consulted before the start of the season for a general check-up and the necessary vaccinations. Aside this it is they eye of Noël that is being used as observatory of the health. The pigeons are being purified in a classic way before the season with a tricho cure and a head cure. At home coming electrolytes and now and then some vitamins...where Noël asks himself whether this isn't more to salve the conscience of the fanciers himself then the other way around. 

2nd national Narbonne, 10th national Sint-Vincent, best pigeon Narbonne 2018-19….

It is soon as these pigeons can go to races of 800km, you can find them at the head of the race. It is in their genes, they have been selected on it since years, they are trained on it and also have the necessary experience being able to handle these kind of distances in a good way. 

They are go-getters, can be in the air the entire day and if necessary, long flyers and early risers. In short, the real extreme long distance pigeons. 

It is a discipline on itself, and this works out wonderful at Noël's. The past few years this even went crescendo with more than on a regular base pigeons within the national top results. Noël doesn't basket a lot. He scores with a small basket (4 to 5 pigeons is about the average he competes with). 

2nd national Narbonne 2019

It was almost a hit in the rose this year with a top pigeon on Narbonne. A nice, honest race where Noël won the 1st in the club, 1st on a Provincial level and the 2nd on a National level.

It was bulls' eye :

Local           : 1,2,6,25,50 (5/6)      151 b
Provincial : 1,8,22,126 (4/6)        834 b
National     : 2,39,81,436 (4/6) 3,873 b

This result was set by a dark chequered cock with ring number BE17-4224168.

His father is a direct cock from neighbour Wilfried Bruyneel (out of a coupling son Rivale Etienne Devos x sister 1st international Perpignan at Wilfried out of a crossing from Brockamp-Carteus).

The mother is a 50 % Bruyneel hen who comes out of a coupling from these pigeons from Wilfried with the old strain of Noël. This cock is only 2 years old which is promising for the future. 

10th national Sint-Vincent, 21st national Pau

On Sint-Vincent he aimed again for a bulls' eye with a 1st at the club, 2nd Provincial and 10th National. This nice 5-year old cock won last year already Pau 4th at the club, 5th Provincial and 21st National. The BE14-4221852 has as father a cock from Wilfried Bruyneel (strain Marcel Vandenabeele x Carteus) coupled to a hen of his own old strain (Vandenhaezevelde brothers x Labiau).

This crack is also best Narbonne-pigeon over the seasons  2018-2019.

39thnational Narbonne

No two without three, next to these early birds there also was a 4-year old cock with ring number  BE15-4257083 that won this season on Narbonne 2nd at the club, 8th Provincial and 39th National. Last season he already won 71st National Narbonne (4th at the club) and showed that he could handle the real hard work. 

Noël remains very modest with these kind of results. It is especially a big satisfaction to be able to get pigeons late in the evening or early in the morning at home...or at midnight as last year from Sint-Vincent was the case, that they can do this is without a doubt. 

As illustration a few more (local) results of the past seasons: 

Marseille       1-3 (2/2)
Perpignan     24-31-39-41 (4/6)
Pau              4-37 (2/2)
Barcelona     19-21-40 (3/3)
Sint Vincent  5-15 (2/3)
Narbonne     4-21 (2/4)
Perpignan     14-26-30 (3/5)
Sint Vincent  1-8-10-22 (4/5)
Marseille       1 (1/2)
Narbonne     1-2-6-25-50 (5/6)

Pigeon sport at a high level, pure as hobby, but motivated and passionate,  a small basket but classful above all. 

Congratulations from the Herbotsteam !

Geert Dhaenens