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a must or a waste?

Van Beers says he owes his successes to the following things: -Good pigeons (of course).

-A good loft (nothing spectacular either).

-His retirement (more time for the birds) and

-The fact that he gave his birds less and less medicine and additives throughout the years. He found that less medication and fewer additives resulted in better results.



It stands to reason that manufacturers of those additives are far from happy when they read such things.And some pigeon magazines and websites will not be happy either. They depend on ads, without ads they cannot survive and in most ads those additives or what we call 'by products' are promoted. You cannot take away from those brokers of castles in the air that they are very resourceful. They come up with something new every year with the result that the shelves in the pigeon store bulk with stuff that 'birds absolutely need in order to win'. If you follow the advice that is given a week does not have enough days to put all that crap on the food or in the drinker. And in 'upcoming' countries like Poland and China it is even worse.


Pigeons must have a strong stomach, how else could they handle and survive all that absolutely superfluous shit, I sometimes think. And I ask myself how our birds could survive in the old days when those pills, powders and potions that 'are absolutely necessary today' did not exist. Believe me, pigeons in general were much healthier then. Today there is stuff for and against everything. In the Netherlands powder is advertised that will reduce the losses of young birds. Other stuff will give the birds more self-confidence and there are pills that are supposed to reduce stress. And I am not kidding. I am not in the mood for it because of a painful knee. And what to think about all those products for a better natural resistance? And every year or every 2 years it is the same story: When fanciers find that it was all crap that they bought there is something new on the market. Five or ten years later you do not hear about those 'secrets of the champions' any more. But then again there is something new. And the dupable fanciers, who are so eager to win, fall for it. Again and again. Year after year. In my childhood Janssen Bros were already accused of having stuff that others did not have.

  The winners in our sport can do without IN CONVERSATION WITH

Every month or so I interrogate a great champ for 'De Duif', the biggest pigeon magazine in Europe. One of the questions I inevitably ask is what additives they give; what their pigeons have to eat and drink other than normal food. I vainly tried to find a common thread, simply because there is not such a thing. A few believe in stuff that helps birds to recuperate, nobody believes in stuff that gives the condition a boost.

So it is clear they are not the champions that buy all that stuff on the shelves in pigeon stores but the 'wannebees'; the fanciers who want to become champions!

There are some things though that may make sense: Sedochol and electrolytes. About one third of the champions believe in Sedochol, about half of them give Electrolytes, especially in hot weather, and ALL of them find GRIT of the utmost importance. Grit is in fact no additive but part of the normal food. 'Vitamins' on the other hand is a word you seldom hear.


Why then, you may wonder, is grit not advertised if it is so important? The answer is simple. There is no money in it. It is heavy, not handy and not profitable. Only a head ache for the dealers.


It is not the first time that I write about all that superfluous and far too expensive stuff that is advertised so aggressively. Some time ago a Belgian reacted. 'Ad S is right' he says, 'but' only as far as middle distance is concerned.When pigeons are raced intensively they need more than good food'. And guess what? The man' partner is a seller of those additives.

When you read an article it is sometimes useful to ask yourself: Why was this written and by whom?

V d Merwe, Verkerk, Koopman, van Olmen, Joosen, Daniels and others are not 'just Middle distance racers' like me. They fly long distance, but none of them gives his birds those 'by products that pigeons absolutely need' either.


If there is one fancier who demands a lot from his birds it is Dutch Bas Verkerk. Verkerk: 'What should I give? What the birds need they should get out of the food. If you give them all that extra stuff I am afraid you make the body 'lazy'. Another man who races his birds weekly from 500 to 600 kms is Daniels. According to many he is the best in Belgium at 'little long distance', even though he never spent money on pigeons. The only thing that this superman gives his birds other than feed is electrolytes.

  Willy Daniels

If there is something at all that may help the birds it is electrolytes indeed. Especially in hot weather. But is it a must? Hmm. As for me there is only ONE 'must' in pigeon sport: Strong selection. I mean: Breed many babies, race many and eliminate many. I referred to Daniels. When you ask him 'how come you are so good?' his answer will also be: Selection. In 2013 he started the season with 55 young birds. In the fall only eleven of them were left. How many of them will be left after another three years?

Food for thought!