Freddy & Jacques Vandenheede (Zingem) : General Champion KBDB 2018 and superior at all levels (part 2)
07 Nov 2019
In part 1 we talked about the global approach, vision, breeding strategy from these champions, which made very clear that their goal is to set top results with top material. With an extended selection, an iron strong faith in their own breeding loft, the not selling of top pigeons and a tight organization, this works out extremely well. You don’t crown yourself two years after each other to General Champion Belgium KBDB, have 2 Olympiad pigeons, a long list of ace pigeons, 18 national and international victories and so much more if this is only based on quicksand. This is the result of consequent directing, adjusting and working very hard to be able to bring this team in top condition at the start.
In part 2 we will discuss further the game with the widow hens and the young pigeons and bring out some more top pigeons and top results.
Your results with the hens are also very good, how are they being prepared for the racing season?
F & J : our hens team exist out of 80 hens with a fixed partner. We have 70 yearling hens and 10 old ones. The oldest are mostly 2 years old or with some exceptions that are 3 years old. We experienced that the hens (but also the cocks), when they have 10,000km in their wings, the top results stay behind, with exception of the exceptions off course. This means 15 to 16 races of 500km or about 2 seasons.
The lofts of the hens are at the back end of the loft of the young pigeons. This was different in the past, but the front-end of these lofts is entirely directed to the West and it wasn’t that easy to get the real top condition on these lofts in the months of April-May-June.
We changed this and the hens have now the luxury to reside on lofts that are entirely directed to the East and have the sun from early in the morning which improves remarkably their condition.
The hens don’t breed before the season. They are being coupled in this way that have big youngsters on the first national race from Bourges. They are being trained on a nest position and race the training flights while breeding and on a youngster. After the national race from Bourges they go on widowhood.
The goal for the hens team is that they have a national race weekly. Most of them have the greater middle distance races and a few of them the long distance races. Seen this hard regime the amount of old hens has been limited and is the team being renewed severely every year as mentioned above.
Also this is a part of the modern pigeon sport. Pigeons aren’t being spared until they are 3,4 or 5 years old. It has been proven for years now that top results on the greater middle distance and long distance is being delivered by year birds or two-year old pigeons. Pigeons have more than in the past many kilometres in their wings and are as a consequence burned out faster, also with the exception of the exceptions.
Are the hens being taken care of the same way as the widow cocks?
F & J : there are some differences, like for example the weekly basket but they get the same feeding schedule as the cocks. What does strike me is that the hens train differently from the cocks. The hens, once they have their rhythm at the beginning of the season, keep on training rather hard until the end of the season.
Also the hens are being locked up for 95% of the time in an individual nest box. The boxes in the hens loft are built in such a way that the hens lock themselves up from the moment they go in to their nest box. They are much quieter this way and the pairing up amongst each other is being avoided as well, but this has as a consequence that this takes a lot of effort. All hens are being fed separately and have their separate drinking pot.
On the contrary of the widow cocks that are being basketed without seeing their hen, the widow hens do see their partner before basketing. Also here we changed our way of working. In the past this was exactly half an hour before basketing, but this depends now of the available time and circumstances. The conclusion is also that this isn’t of any importance, the motivation isn’t less because of this.
Is there a difference for you between the cocks and hens in racing results?
F & J : The life of a hen in the racing team is more intense than this of a cock. They go into the basket more often, the efforts are more close to each other than for the cocks, and for the bigger part their results are better on the greater middle distance until the one day long distance.
The longer distances aren’t that successful for the hens in comparison with the cocks. Let’s say that a hen that already raced 10,000km has had the best. But they can peak extremely high when motivated right, and how this motivation comes up is also for us a guess.
The proof that both sexes can do it is the fact that the championship long distance KBDB 2018 was for the bigger part the result of a cock and a hen namely ‘Scooter 1’ and ‘Goldfoxie’…and we mustn’t forget that ‘Olympic Tygo’ classified himself as 2nd Ace bird Long distance and Olympiad bird…after super pigeon ‘Armando’ from Joël Verschoot.
The hens weren’t darkened just as the cocks aren’t, but the hens weren’t illuminated either, there the cocks are being illuminated.
Do you have, with such a big yearling and old racing team, time for the young pigeons?
F & J : Off course, they are the base for the successes of the yearling and old pigeons. We are passionate fanciers what the young pigeons is concerned but along the years we’ve built out our colony to an all-round team.
It takes extra organization to, when everybody is ready, get it all done, but also this works with a bit of organization. And with the coming help next season this should work out even better. We have sold now two years after each other our first round of youngsters and hold about 200 to 250 pigeons for our own use.
Do you keep the youngsters separate and are they being trained separate?
F & J : we divide our youngster over 3 teams (3 rounds) and these are divided over 4 lofts. We ween our youngsters rather early (at about 21 days) and then they still get 100% breeding mixture for a whole month after weening. The goal is that we race our first round (in fact the 2nd round) as much as possible and use them in function of the classifications.
We try to get our 2nd and 3rd round as much as possible in the basket and let them have as much as possible experience, also some national races if possible. The 4th round is being brought in the game as soon as possible. In fact we want the 2nd, 3rd and 4th round, if possible, to be able to race the last national race from Chateauroux. As we see that the more experience they get in their first year, the sooner they get into the game as a year bird.
After a period of time and after getting some experience the lofts are being brought together along the season continues.
Our selection at the end of the season is based for the 1st round on results and for the others on heritage, feel, and so on…We keep about 40% from our 1st round that can go to our year bird team.
Feeding, darkening, illuminate….?
F & J : after weening they get breeding mixture to change this after the first moth to a more classic feeding, a racing mixture. We darken from the end of March until the end of June and illuminate them afterwards. Once they have a flying rhythm they are being fed the same way as our widow cocks and racing hens, we use the same mixtures and the same dosage. Also in a matter of supplements they get the same as the old ones.
Our youngsters stay on wheat straw the entire year and aren’t being raced on widowhood. We get good results with our young pigeons on nests and then choose, if necessary for championship classifications, the pigeons that manifest themselves the best and the ones who are on the best nest position.
Young birds have to go through a lot of childhood diseases, how do you handle this?
F & J : …probably a bit like everybody, by trial and error. We vaccinate our young pigeons once against paramyxo and against the small pocks with a brush.
We also suffer yearly from adeno but luckily still the soft variant. We use the common manners like souring and then the known means to temper an outbreak. But we do experience that the pigeons just have to go through it and have to sicken it out. We keep an eye on it closely so we can act quickly when the first symptoms show and this always in consultation with the vet.
One eye cold is something our young pigeons suffer from every year also, however, since we have aviaries in front of our young pigeons’ loft, so they can always choose between staying inside or outside, this has diminished a bit. We are convinced that they have to sicken this out also, all eye drops and ointments do help a bit but it is a process that takes time.
We experienced that the ones with the biggest contamination don’t stay behind from a race but surely don’t set top results. We doubt strongly whether a treatment helps here…
Venilation in the YB section
Do you toss your young pigeons a lot before the racing season?
F & J : as much as possible ! But with such a huge team this isn’t that easy. Once the summer holiday starts I (Freddy) have more time and then we drive them more as well. We try to bring in as much rhythm as possible as this benefits the result. Young pigeons have a lot of benefit in having as much as experience as possible.
Also, once they’re trained they go into the basket weekly….and as mentioned before, we like to race a lot of pigeons. Also when you have a look at our selection percentage then we have to have a big youngsters’ team to be able to have enough yearlings and we don’t want to bring down our level of selection.
They train at home once a day and then the pigeons who are on a nest are being chased up with them.
Last question : how do you see pigeon sport evolving coming years?
This is a question where we can fill easily 5 articles with answers. Immediately we think of a saying when we hear this question namely :’Look in your street and you see the entire world’. Meaning, in Zingem there are about 15 pigeon fanciers left. We should be happy when in 5 years of time (2024) still 5 will be left, on one hand due to the aging pyramid and on the other hand due to other influences like the limiting of the game due a changed environment (not easy to race pigeons in a densely populated neighbourhood), a change in the social behaviour (pigeon sport asks for a different filling in of family time in comparison to the current society) and so on…
Or in other words there will only be 33% pigeon fanciers left in comparison of today. Also in many clubs the organization is in the hands of 1 person, supported by some noble volunteers, who supports pigeon sport for the fact that they have a big hart for our sport, but also these are declining in numbers.
When this one ‘carrier’ of a club stops, it is mostly over and out with the club (also a fact in our neighbourhood but happening over the entire country now).
These are cases which the politics will have to take into account, take on action in a pro-active manner, guide fusions, support organizations, and so on…This asks for a vision on short, middle long and long term with a decisive action.
This all will result in a competition that exists out of some true hobby fanciers, a few (almost) professionals and a big midfield. Luckily for pigeon sport is that quiet some hobby fanciers are able to set top results and that it isn’t an exact science yet. And these are only a few thoughts and figures. So a lot of challenges for the top that need to take on these issues.
Freddy and Jacques, thank you so much for your honesty and explanation about your handling and motivation. We don’t doubt that we will see you at the head of the platoon in 2019 as well and on several podia after the season.
Congratulations from the Herbots team and lots of success !
As closer we like to show some results from the past season and set a few top pigeons in the highlight.
1° General National Champion KBDB
1° National Champion Long Distance old birds KBDB
1° National Champion Greater Middle Distance old birds KBDB
1° Provincial ace bird Long Distance old and yearlings KBDB
1° Provincial champion Long Distance old and yearlings KBDB
1° General Champion FVOV
1° General Champion Interprovincial OVV
1° Champion Greater Middle Distance old Union et Liberté
1° Champion Greater Middle Distance yearlings Union et Liberté
1° Champion Greater Middle Distance youngsters Union et Liberté
1° Champion Long Distance old Union et Liberté
1° Champion Long Distance old FVOV
1° Champion old and yearlings OVV
1° Champion Greater middle distance and long distance yearlings Bruge championships
1° Champion old and yearlings FVOV
1° Champion old long distance and extreme long distance klokke Roeland Union et Liberté
1° Champion most prizes FVOV
1° Champion Shorter long distance old and yearlings AJD
1° Champion Greater Middle Distance and long distance old Bruge championships
1° Champion Long distance old and yearlings AJD
1° Champion sponsorship East-Flemish youth club long distance old
2° National ace bird long distance old KBDB
2° General Provincial Champion KBDB
2° Olympiad Poznan category B
2° Olympiad Poznan category C
2° Provincial Champion middle distance old and yearlings KBDB
2° Champion Long Distance yearlings Union et Liberté
2° Champion long distance youngsters Zwalmvallei
2° Champion champions league yearlings
2° Champion long distance old Zwalmvallei
2° Champion shorter long distance old Zwalmvallei
2° Champion sponsorship East-Flemish youth club middle distance
2° Champion Pieter De Koninck yearlings
3° Champion long distance youngsters FVOV
3° Champion extreme long distance yearlings Union et Liberté
3° Champion old steeple cup
3° Provincial ace bird long distance youngsters KBDB
6° National ace bird greater middle distance youngsters KBDB
6° Champion Belgian National long distance
6° National ace bird long distance old KBDB
7° National ace bird long and extreme long distance yearlings KBDB
7° Champion youngsters OVV
8° Provincial ace bird middle distance old and yearlings KBDB
8° Provincial Champion long distance youngsters KBDB
10° Champion long distance youngsters AJD
13° National ace bird long distance old KBDB
14° National champion greater middle distance yearlings KBDB
A few results season 2018
Pure 1st prizes : 61
Provincial victories : 8
1° provincial Chateauroux – 3115 old – 15-4130035
1° provincial Argenton – 2400 old – 15-4130035
1° provincial Gueret – 2228 yearlings – 17-4200024
1° provincial Chateauroux – 1388 old – 15-4130287
1° provincial Limoges – 2138 yearlings – 17-4200208
1° provincial Jarnac – 637 yearlings – 17-4200070
1° provincial Jarnac – 773 old – 16-4065209
1° provincial Tulle – 972 yearlings – 17-4200392
Zonal victories : 2
1° zonal Chateauroux – 5335 old – 15-4130035
1° zonal Bourges – 5684 young– 18-4097401
A few results ( prizes 1 on 4 )
Vierzon – 7369 old – 2 – 5 – 30 – 41 – 43 – 44 – 77 – 92 – 113 – 114 – 115 – 148 – 152 – 252 – 331 – 345 – 408 – 412 – 423 – 444 – 587 – 597 – 657 ( 29/40 )
Limoges – 3111 old – 5 – 9 – 23 – 25 – 29 – 37 – 38 – 56 – 67 – 71 – 102 – 104 – 172 – 179 – 187 – 298 ( 20/33 )
Gueret – 8517 yearlings – 2 – 13 – 33 – 45 – 77 – 139 – 151 – 164 – 213 – 270 – 291 – 387 – 489 – 501 – 621 ( 23/38 )
Limoges – 2138 yearlings – 1 – 6 – 7 – 10 – 20 – 21 – 25 – 49 – 58 – 61 – 65 – 97 – 98 – 117 – 131 – 146 – 148 – 151 – 185 – 195 – 213 ( 32/70 )
Limoges – 1807 old – 4 – 8 – 14 – 16 – 28 – 29 – 90 – 96 – 112 – 124 – 178 – 184 ( 16/25 )
Jarnac – 637 yearlings – 1 – 3 – 6 – 10 – 12 – 17 – 18 – 19 – 33 – 34 – 43 – 49 – 52 – 63 64 ( 25/43 )
Tulle – 5326 yearlings – 3 – 5 – 13 – 49 – 59 – 67 – 68 – 94 – 95 – 113 – 136 – 158 – 168 – 188 – 211 – 264 – 320 – 347 – 423 – 453 – 489 – 524 ( 28/46 )
Tulle – 4169 old – 6 – 7 – 9 – 52 – 66 – 81 – 115 ( 10/13 )
Angouleme – 1148 old – 2 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 26 – 38 – 39 – 62 – 95 ( 14/20 )
Angouleme – 1374 yearlings – 2 – 3 – 7 – 13 – 16 – 17 – 19 – 22 – 25 – 26 – 27 – 28 – 29 – 35 – 44 – 47 – 61 – 74 – 79 – 80 – 106 – 129 – 131 – 134 ( 37 / 62 )
A few top pigeon highlighted