Are the Dutch ahead?
I will glimpse through most of the pigeon magazines delivered here but that is all.
It used to be totally different. I used to sift through them thoroughly with every piece being read eagerly whether they be articles written by a vet or about medicines in use at the time.
But this I do no more.
I discovered that I paid too much attention to the medicines, like so many Germans still do.
I also paid too much importance to systems in use in the sport at the time.
My system and I am talking about the care I take starting with the rearing of youngsters, is and has always been very well balanced and I owe most of my success to it.
As I became more and more involved in the pigeon sport, I became more and more convinced that to be successful you have to have good performing pigeons in a perfect loft and in the hands of a caring pigeon fancier.
I started to believe less and less in motivating systems and medication.
Its all about having GOOD PIGEONS.
If you dont have them, then even with the best system in the world, the best vet or motivation, you will not achieve anything. I now know what I believe in!
I do not believe anymore in those by-products that are for sale in the stores.
As a matter of fact, I only believe in one thing and that is grit.
Why dont they write about that, and even advertise its worth?
Well its all about money.
You cannot make money out of selling and advertising grit.
On the contrary, you can earn a lot more from selling vitamins and other things that are not necessary for pigeons.
Another reason why I am hardly interested in products recommended or given by vets is because of the rubbish some are publishing in these magazines and papers.
For example, in one publication, one of these vets explained what the best way is for a preventive cure against canker. Even a child knows that there is no protection against canker in the long run.
You can clear the pigeons from canker but its possible that they get re infected straight away.
One of these publishing Dutch vets even has his own products. He pushes these self designed products as the only way to reach the top in this sport.
The products include an Omega spray which will aid the pure air in the loft, and elixirs against stress and other useless things that are supposed to build up resistance against diseases in pigeons.
These salesmen wont get a penny from me.
I say 'Open up those lofts, stay away from those medicines and the pigeons will develop a resistance on their own.'
There is a rule in Belgium that states that vets are not allowed to publish in newspapers.
Nothing wrong with that in my mind.
Without this rule, you only would read articles which would be written with one purpose in mind and that is to try to recruit more customers.
You wouldnt read anything by professionals who have other remedies and methods for success.
The reason is clear.
They have lots of clients and there is no need for them to recruit new ones.
Of course youc cannot exclude the role of the vet in this sport, but I dont take seriously anymore these men in white coats who cant resist publishing this and that off their own backs.
In my mind more respect should go to the pigeons themselves and not these self deluded and pushy vets.
Still I admire vets who have the guts to race birds themselves, since most people judge them on the performance of their own pigeons. If they are performing well, then vets are wonderful, but if they are performing badly, vets are mere tinkers in the sport.
The Netherlands are ahead in a lot of things, but when it comes to veterinary medicine, Belgians are streets ahead and they must keep up their reputation on the world stage.
Dutchmen are more subtle and inventive.
They started to darken their youngsters 20 years before the Belgians. More recently, it has become even trendy to darken the old ones.
Belgium has also followed in this trend.
In Belgium, they started to question the 'impossible' results of some Dutchmen. This was not from the shorter distances, in which external factors like those damned group releases and the loft position often do influence the race result, but races between 500 and 700 km. Perhaps, its to do with far more rigorous training and in consequence a lot more feeding to gain more energy that could be an element in their success and dominance from the longer distances.
A lot of Dutch fanciers that gained incredible results from the longer distances have never made any secret of their success.
They say: 'Pigeons have to fly! Every fortnight they must undertake a flight of at least 600 km. The week in between they have to train from about 300 to 350 km.'
Some of them even drive their pigeons all the way to France by car. For them resting is wrong.
Are they right?
Does all that training add something to their success?
Fanciers ask: 'Resting or not, the week before an important long distance race is it the key to success?'
This question started to intrigue me.
I discovered that there was a huge difference between cocks and hens and between youngsters and old ones when it came down to their successes in these races.
The yearling hens were the leading ones, especially in the Netherlands and in Belgium.
I think of fanciers like Geerinckx and Vanlint. They race their pigeons mostly on a weekly base. The same is true where the youngsters are concerned as well.
The way it used to be... is it out of date?
In earlier days, successful fanciers like Hofkens and, even stars in Flanders nowadays like Vandenabeele, argue for a weeks rest before a fond race.
Are their opinions out of date?
With all of the differing views we have a quandary.
In short, we can summarize it like this:
- Young pigeons which are in good form can achieve a lot without intensive forced training.
I used to race myself babies on the longer races and the day after their race they could exercise as if they had never raced 8 hours the day before.
- The same is true story of the hens as well.
In earlier days they used to think they didnt have any chance in a race of between 500 and 700 km. Now we know better.
Youngsters as well as hens can be raced between 2 long distance races.
However, is that also true of cocks, especially widower cocks ?
The answer seems to be a totally different story.
Cocks and long distance racing
Several Belgians started copying the Dutch in long distance racing.
They also started to race their birds at long distance every weekend.
Surprisingly, mostly all of them were disappointed by the results.
From further research we learn that nearly every big winner, at least where cocks are concerned, had a weeks rest before the race.
So I think that those that feel that long distance pigeons have to be basketed every week (especially the Dutch) are on the wrong track if we base our conclusions on the analysis of all of the facts. Well that is when it comes down to the cocks.
Yet, some things in any sport cannot be explained away that easily. For example, take the football match for the World Championsip between Holland and Brasil in the semi final in South Africa.
In the first half Brasil humiliated the Dutch, after half time it was the other way round.