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Herbots Gebr. ... ready to face the future!

11 Oct 2019

Halle-Booienhoven: maybe it did not occur to you straight away, but when we opened the Herbots Gebroeders’ sensational breeding book, our attention was immediately drawn to the list of Olympic participations of this colony. From the Olympiad in Utrecht (1995) to the last Olympiad in Brussels, the Herbots family delegated no fewer than 12 pigeons (only top-3 spots)! Let’s be clear … these Olympic cracks have all flown in Halle-Booienhoven! Not to mention the Olympiad pigeons they have purchased.

Below, you will find the impressive list of Olympiad participations:

Utrecht 1995 Allround cat. “Olympus” 2053422-93
Bazel 1997 Allround cat. “Boemerang” 1051557-92
Bazel 1997 ½ Long Distance cat. “Den 155” 6371155-91
Blackpool 1999 Allround cat. “Lucky Number” 2087113-97
South-Africa 2001 Allround cat. “Number 1” 5090216-98
Porto 2005 ½ Long Distance cat. “Filip” 2101107-03
Ostend 2007 Allround cat. “Champion B.P.” 2107204-00
Ostende2007 Allround cat. “Olympia” 2267115-05
Nitra 2013 Cat. H. “Els” 2192630-10
Budapest 2015 Cat. B. + C + H. “Yva” 2177058-12
Budapest 2015 Cat. Allround “Yvonne” 2186136-11
Brussels 2017 Cat. Allround “Olympic Boss” 2313054-14



Filip … the first question for you. Where does your love for Olympiad pigeons come from?

This is really easy to explain … a national ace bird is a superb pigeon … delivering top results one year long is pure class … but an Olympiad pigeon has to achieve superior results for 2 seasons and not every pigeon manages to do this two seasons in a row.
In my modest opinion, the Olympiad pigeons are the national ace birds that have been selected even more rigorously. The real super pigeons amongst the super pigeons … Some luck is involved, though, as the results have to be achieved in the right years. Take our current base breeder ‘Yvan’ for example … he became 4th national ace bird KBDB Long Middle Distance 2008 and 1st national ace bird KBDB Middle Distance 2009 … However, these seasons were not taken into account for the Olympiad results, so ‘Yvan’ never became an Olympic bird!

Having coached so many Olympiad pigeons during their entire racing career as a fancier, you must have discovered some typical features to recognize a future Olympiad pigeon?

Yes … let me think … a common feature … this may be disappointing but I can only answer that each and every Olympic bird has its own story and that they never look ugly in the hand. As pigeon brokers, we have held many Olympiad pigeons in our hands and found them in different shapes and sizes. If there was a mutual feature, pigeon sport would immediately be a thing of the past as only the well-off fanciers could afford these top pigeons.

You say each Olympiad pigeon has its own story … what do you mean exactly?

Well … take our Brussels Olympic bird in the all-round category ‘Olympic Boss’ (B14-2313054) for example. As a young bird, he performed well, but not remarkably. He was particularly talked about when he stayed behind in the very bad Gueret in 2014. The pigeons were only released at 10.30 AM and with severe head wind and dark weather to make things worse. None of the clubs was able to close the race the same day … that says enough! “Olympic Boss” was called in a few days later only at 3 km from his own loft. He was caught by a pig farmer … completely exhausted and skinny as hell. Nevertheless we gave him another chance and he recovered extremely fast, which is always a good sign. ‘Olympic Boss’ pulled through the moulting period perfectly and got his second chance as a yearling. He did not disappoint and two years later we can add the Olympic nomination to his impressive list of victories.

As in top achievements, the ‘Olympic Boss’ was always extremely motivated when he was basketed before a race. You know we use the chaos system of total widowhood. Well, the ‘Olympic Boss’ had two hens … one in his box and a second one he could cuddle with in an overturned cardboard box in the corridor. He did not know where to go first … and when he was with his hen in his box and he saw another cock sitting on his cardboard box in the corridor, he felt compelled to chase it away immediately of course. A super motivation with a super performance as a result. We did however also make the mistake of always basketing both hens for the race and when one of the hens stayed behind from a race, this seriously harmed his motivation. Luckily he had already pocketed the necessary results for his Olympic nomination.


So there you are … with an Olympic crack in a breeding box … how do you manage to breed good pigeons out of him?

We have to be honest and confess that for us too, it is a matter of playing with mother nature’s heredity laws … breeding a lot and selecting very rigorously is still the shortest route to success. However, we are 100% convinced that you have more luck breeding good pigeons when you start with super pigeons at the base …’you can never breed a racing horse out of a donkey’ says the farmer … and he is right. That is why the selection of hens – against which the Olympic winner is coupled – is very important. We cannot rush this … no … a fancier needs to take his time to decide. The hens are selected from a strain we believe in. Take the breeding line of our ‘Yvan’ for example (traces back to Vandenabeele’s ‘Bliksem’ Vandenabeele) – the strain of ‘Nationaal I’ (Schellens) and the old base of our 2nd Olympic bird “155” (Grondelaers x Soontjens). The last few years the Heremans-Ceusters pigeons are becoming more and more important in our breeding loft as well. So, when selecting the hens we make sure that their pedigree is spiced with one of these breeding lines.

So the Olympic cock has the mark of ‘bull’ tattooed onto his chest for the rest of his life?

No … that is not exactly true … look … we always have two cocks ready to follow the ‘bull-method’ with. This can be ‘Big Boss’ and ‘Yvan’ and can change to ‘Olympic Boss’ and ‘New Belgian Pride’ a few weeks later. When the cocks are not being used as a bull, they just stay in their breeding boxes with a hen, follow the normal cycle and bring up a pair of youngsters.

What do we need for a successful ‘bull method’? First of all two superior (breeding) cocks … secondly 24 lesbian hens (the ideal is to choose 2-year old and 3-year old hens) from the abovementioned breeding lines and thirdly many feeding couples.

The hens are well prepared before being coupled and as we work with 2-year old and 3-year old hens, they pair up rather easily. Once they are well paired, they are handled daily and when they start opening up, they can go to one of the ‘bulls’ one by one so he can do his job. All 24 hens are being put with the cocks every day. Once the hens have laid their eggs, one couple of eggs stays with them and the other pair will go to a feeding couple. This way we can have many youngsters from a few cocks with different hens in a short time. To be entirely sure, we have a DNA analyses performed for every youngster.


Breeding from Olympiad pigeons… I can imagine that it is not all gold that glitters?

Let’s be honest … not every youngster of an Olympiad can be superb, but we are all convinced that the chances for success are much bigger. We have actually bred top pigeons from all our Olympiad pigeons. If not with the first generation, we definitely had successes with the 2nd and 3rd generations. A few examples to support our statement:

‘Den 155’ (B91-6371155 – Olympiad pigeon Bazel ’97) became father of a.o. “Number 1” (B98-5090216 – Olympiad pigeon South-Africa 2001 and 1st National ace bird KBDB Middle Distance 1999)

‘Number 1’ (B98-5090216 – Olympiad pigeon South-Africa 2001) became grandfather of “Champion B.P.’ (B04-2107204 – Olympiad pigeon Ostend 2007). “Number 1” is also grandfather of a.o. ‘Royal Prins’ (B10-2192064 – won 4 x Top-100 National)

‘Multi 155’ (B08-2169207 – 4th Olympiad pigeon 2011) is a double great-grandson of ‘Den 155’ and a great-grandson “Number 1”.

‘Filip’ (B03-2101107 – Olympiad pigeon Porto) became father of several 1st prize racers but also at the German champion Karsten-Ploog a daughter “Filip” raced amazingly well with 1st against 7,456b. – 1st against 2,318b. – 1st against 914b., this all without doubles.

‘Lucky Number’ (B97-2087113 – Olympiad pigeon Blackpool) became father of a.o. 4th provincial ace bird KBDB .

‘Els’ (B10-2192630 – Olympiad pigeon Nitra) is also mother of 1st prize winners

‘Big Boss’ (DV01274-10-272 – Olympiad pigeon Nitra) is father of ‘Olympic Boss’ (B14-2313054 – Olympiad pigeon Brussels) …

I know that ‘Yvan’ (B07-2103401) does not have an Olympiad nomination … but if he had flown his results in the ‘right years’, he would have had an excellent chance of becoming an Olympiad pigeon… Well, ‘Yvan’ has already produced many superb pigeons both in our own loft and in many other lofts. He is father of ‘Yvonne’ (B11-2186136)… Olympiad pigeon All-round Budapest 2015 amongst others, but also father of the other Olympiad pigeon ‘Yva’ (B12-2177058 – Olympiad pigeon Cat. C Long Distance Budapest 2015). In the meantime, ‘Yvan’ is also grandfather of ‘Christianne’ (B13-2172001 – 1st National Argenton and 7th National Chateauroux) and at our sports friend Faber, ‘Yvan’ is grandfather of the 2nd National ace bird yearling hens of Germany. Anton Ruitenberg (NL) has also bred top pigeons out of a child of ‘Yvan’ with amongst others 1st NPO Argenton and 10th NPO Chateauroux . Oh yes … the 4th national ace bird KBDB youngsters 2014 at Luc Van Mechelen has “Yvan” as its grandfather and the great-grandfather of the 1st Olympiad pigeon Brussels for Czech Republic is also “Yvan”… and so on and so forth.

This cannot all be coincidence, can it? And who knows what the future will bring?


Jo ... what convinced you to buy the Olympiad pigeon ‘Big Boss’, father of ‘Olympic Boss’?

I saw ‘Big Boss’ for the first time when he was showing off in an exposition cage at the Olympiad in Nitra. His sublime results drew my attention … 1st National ace bird Germany 2012 – 1st Olympiad pigeon middle distance with a coefficient of 9,36% over 8 races between 300km and 600km and 1st Olympiad pigeon all-round (over 11 races). Even without holding him in my hand and without seeing any pedigree, I took my chance and transferred this crack from Wolfgang Roeper to Halle-Booienhoven. When I saw his pedigree, I saw that he had a lot of short-distance blood running through his veins. His father is the ‘Blauwe Wouters’ (B08-6293402 – a full brother of ‘Blue Dream’, 1st national ace bird KBDB short distance) and his mother is DV7107-336-09 (a daughter of ‘De Gus’ – B03-6032858 – which is a full brother of Heremans-Ceusters’ famous ‘Olympiade 003’).

‘Big Boss’ is a cock of the smaller type, well feathered and with a unique character head on a strong carcass. Coupled to “B13-2188001” (a granddaughter of “Olympiade 003”) he produced “Olympic Boss”. “Olympic Boss” is a bit larger than his father and has a wider carcass under his impressive wings. I assume that nothing can go wrong with this kind of pigeons.

Family Herbots from Halle-Booienhoven … we are convinced that we have not seen their last top result yet … the entire Herbots team is much too motivated! We are looking forward to our next meeting … good luck!