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Do you understand (part 1 of 2)

What is the best thing to do: Wean at a very young age, 23 days old only (Leo Heremans) or when they are about 30 days old (Boeckx and Janssen Bros)? I do not know. Because my problem is that I have also more questions than answers. But there are things that I do understand indeed. 


Take Jan, Dick and Harry. Those names are not real, but the people are and so are their stories. Dutch Jan and Dick are brothers, Harry is a good friend. They are obsessed by pigeons and the brothers are so lucky (?) as to have a friend in Antwerp who is a celebrity. And he is a good friend. For 3 years in a row they all three got 10 babies from their famous Belgian friend. For free and… they were allowed to pick out.  Initially they were thrilled, but their excitement did not last long. They all three raced the birds of their famous friend and what did they find? None of them was any good. It is even kind of weird to see that the brothers or sisters of their imports, so the birds that they not take since they did not like them, were winning for their friend. Understandably they do not understand. Maybe I do.


You should know I am familiar with the Antwerp champ. But it is not fun talking to him. He cannot stop complaining about that one vet. The cheapest visit cost him 450 euros. It is true, there was one year that he did not visit him. That was the year in which he did not medicate his birds at all, it was his worst year ever. So it is clear medicine were (also) responsible for his good results. The “story” is reminiscent of that German. He bought a round of youngsters (48 total) from a Belgian who is regarded by many as the best of the country at long distance. He raced them, but what a disappointment. When his birds were home the “famous” Belgians arrived. He gave them another chance as a yearling. But again from all distances and in all kinds of weather the imports failed hopelessly. Did the champ not treat him fairly? Impossible. He could not have fooled him, because he bought a whole round. Thanks God he had raced them. If he had put the birds in the stockloft, like many would do with expensive birds, he would soon have 200 shit birds instead of 48.  A true champ and a kind of onion peeler


People often think too soon they were treated badly by the man from whom they bought birds that appeared to be no good. The mistake they make is that they do not realize that even the greatest champion is real happy with every good pigeons that he grows. And there is the medical side. So: How is it possible that some champions that race so well are unable to sell one decent bird? Quite simple. Their birds are kept healthy UNnaturally, while the fanciers that buy their birds are not such medicine men.


The names of those so-called “medicine men” are known. I have nothing against them, but what SOME should not do is: LIE. People like H de Weerd, and other vets as well, often shake their heads when reading a loft report. (Some) champions that claim to keep pigeons “pure natural” are their best clients. There is nothing wrong with treating birds that are sick, on the contrary. But there are fanciers, even champions, that cannot keep their birds healthy without antibiotics. It may work for one or two years max but no problem for them. Then they have other birds.


Once I visited such a man who was known as a notorious liar. He “never medicated” but everybody knew his best friend was a vet. When we were having a cup of coffee his wife came in with an open box containing many small boxes and little bottles. I recognized some words on the labels. They were the names of medicine. "Where shall I put this?" His wife asked. The man blushed like a star apple. I knew enough. Now you should know I am not a fighter by nature. I fight abuses, not people. The only fights you really win when fighting people are the fights you do not start. But still I wanted to test him. He had stressed several times that the only thing that matters in pigeon racing was quality. "Do you really never medicate? Not even against respiratory problems?” I asked. The man blinked his eyes. As if he had not heard me. But I think he wondered what I had seen in that box.


He glanced from his wife to me. And vice versa. As the audience in a tennis match. “Maybe once a year maximum” he said, and then looked at his wife. But she suddenly was immensely interested in the laces of her shoes. The “champion” looked so devastated that I felt sorry for him and I decided to release him from his suffering. I knocked him on the shoulder and said, "Thank you for your honest answer. I knew you wanted to help. I always see immediately whether someone is a good guy or not. " The way he looked at me then I will never forget.


If someone is playing excessively well I want to know more. Are the pigeons so exceptional? Is the loft so much better? Intensive training? Or does the man mess a lot with medication? I want to know and do not give up. I look like an onion peeler. I get off peel after peel. Until I get to the core. The truth. And my “to-day truth” is to stay away from those “champions” that keep their pigeons “artificially” healthy. No matter how famous those champs are.