This 80-year old has reservations about current Internet sales. He does not blame the sellers, but he criticises the naivety of foreign buyers. And he has a low opinion about sale sites that mislead fanciers. They give the impression that all birds that are offered for sale are good, while every fancier with common sense should know that there are no fanciers with 10 super birds in their loft, Nouwen says. He finds it all so misleading. He himself would never buy a pigeon that he has not handled. But which champion would?
SO CALLED “TOTAL”
On those sites you find well-known names indeed who are bidding but they have a reason. What people should realise is that the men in charge of those auction sites need to make money, so it is normal they try to do make people hungry. Like all advertisers try to do in modern society. So the sellers are not to blame in the first place, apart from those that lie to justify a so-called total sale, which does not appear to be “total” later on. Health is a serious thing. Quit the sport “because of a pigeon lung” and have more birds than ever before shortly after a “total sale? Disgusting!
HE WAS RIGHT
Of course Nouwen is right when he says that no one has 10 supers. Breeding 10 real good birds out of every 100 is an illusion for everybody, regardless their fame. Therefore prices of 10,000 euros or more for just a baby are ridiculous. A sensible fancier, however rich he may be, will never pay such prices if he has made his money by working hard all his life. Or he must have commercial reasons. Because in this sport even a worthless junk may be lucrative in the hands of shrewd sellers, who know too well that what you need to make good money is not good birds but sounding names and fairy tale pedigrees.
In 2008 I got some v d Wouwer birds. When people wanted to buy babies later on they had one demand: “Not from those v d Wouwer birds please, he is an unknown name.” To-day the same fanciers BEG me for “v d Wouwer strain”. Geerinckx, whose birds are hot now, is the same story.
I wrote about this “pedigree craze” recently. I pointed out that good pigeons are not the monopoly of the well-known names and I mentioned Mark Janssens, a man with real good birds, but one thing “is wrong” with them. He got the ancestors from unknown fanciers. I myself did not know Janssens, nor the names of the fanciers where he got the parents and grandparents of his national Aces. I just mentioned his name to open eyes. Shortly thereafter I received a mail from ... Mark Janssens himself. He had his national Ace paired with the mother. The babies were offered for sale to the best known auction site but the administrator was not interested. “Super pigeons indeed, but pedigrees disappointing” he was told.
For experienced fanciers all this is nothing new, but not everybody is experienced. Right now I am trying to help some of such inexperienced fanciers. They are pretty young and one of them is a rich guy with ambition. And it is this man that will not make it I am afraid. Money is handy but it also has a disadvantage. With money you are less critical. This man for example bought old birds, since he could not wait breeding from his imports. I told him no serious fancier will sell proven good old birds. “Why are such birds for sale on the internet then?” He asked. “Sooner or later you will find out yourself” I said.
Beginners should keep their money in their pockets. First, so before buying, they should learn how to handle birds, how to keep them in good shape, and how to provide a good loft for them as well.
ME AND MYSELF
I myself also keep on making mistakes. In 2013 and 2014 a friend of mine and me bought a basket full of babies from some world famous long distance icons. Because long distance birds was what we wanted and understandably the best. We got birds with fantastic pedigrees, the names of the (gr)parents are known all over the world but nevertheless we got rid of all of them. Later on full brothers and sisters of those crap were sold for fortunes on the internet. In 2015 I traded a bird with dr. Marien, the vet. When I came home with that hen of his, my wife, after a quick look at the pedigree, said: "Nothing special, huh?" The pedigree was very simple indeed. Of the parents only ring numbers were mentioned, and those were not bred by Marien himself I found. Googled learnt me more about the ancestors. The father was nestbrother to an incredible racer, the mother a daughter of a fantastic breeding pair. The vet left it unmentioned because he obviously knows how relative things are. He will never get rich by selling birds.
This incident is reminiscent of the late Stan Raeymaekers earlier. Once a fancier asked him to auction his birds with 3 pairs “in bis”. “In bis” means that the buyer is allowed to pick one of the two, the seller keeps the other one. Of course the latter hopes that the buyer will not take the best. Stan advised the man to put minimal comment on the bird that he did not want to be picked out, but keep for himself. And thus happened. The buyers left him his favourites, the birds with little comment.