The most important thing to succeed in this sport is quality birds, though some think differently.
But the question for many is "How and where do I get those good birds?"
The answer is simple:
In all possible ways.
You can buy them, get them for free, trade them or they may even fly into your loft.
As for me: In most cases the more money I paid the poorer the quality was.
The most expensive birds from the most famous fanciers from their most famous birds were the most disappointing.
In fact most of my basic birds I got for free or I traded.
EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT
The late Albert Marcelis often told me that he had never paid for pigeons and that he was successful with most of the birds that he imported.
But Albert was a special one.
G v d Wouwer is a similar story. The only money he spent on birds was for vouchers to support the club.
Champions such as Boeckx, Stickers Donkers, Diels, Wouters, Jos van der Veken, all champions in the province of Antwerp, are the same.
In the past also M Voets became famous with birds that he got for free.
Claessens, Verkerk and Vandenabeele only started to invest money when they were already famous.
Of course there are also lots of fanciers that made their way to the top by buying.
But even for men with money it is not that easy. Those people that "bought themselves champions" are smart as well.
Who had heard about Lowet some years ago?
He bought 2 rounds of eggs for very little money and among them was a pair whose off spring paved him the way to the top.
A nice example of what I want to say is that of father and son van Oeckel.
Father Jan never spent money on pigeons and became a champion.
Son Bart on the other hand spent much money and also became a champion.
Of course the son knew where to go.
ME AND MYSELF
The first pigeons that I bought were from Smits from Zandhoven when I was still young. He had won 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the "Atomb Race" in Lier that was a very prestigues race at the time.
Winning the first 3 prizes was sensational but what was even more sensational:
Those were brothers!
In those days very few bought pigeons but I was different. I went there, bought 2 brothers of those 3 winners and: Bingo.
Later on I went to Maurice Voets.
In those days all clubs in the province of Antwerp tried a new competition":
All birds were entered in a Provincial "double".
So everybody raced against everybody and the first 3 races were all 3 won by Voets.
That was because of his good location people said.
I knew better. Voets was winning with headwinds and with tailwinds. Was he located better than others in all races? Come on!
From Voets I purchased 2 baskets full of squeakers.
And never ever will I forget what this nice and modest gentleman from the town of Kessel said then:
"Among this bunch there should be some good ones."
And indeed, there was one very good pair among them.
I still blame myself that I eliminated the others too soon.
Who has not heard about the "de Kannibaal" from van Dijck?
You can grab its pedigree from the internet every where.
And this pedigree shows "De Kannibaal" was bred from birds from unknown local fanciers that he got for free.
No famous names in it.
People say to get good breeders you first must build up an own family. And an own family you get through inbreeding.
But indeed, that is what they say !!
But wasn"t this "Kannibaal", one of the best breeders ever, a crossing?
We see the same with the famous "Kweekkoppel" from Meulemans, that is often described as one of the best breeding pairs ever.
This pair as well was a crossing.
You need to inbreed your birds if you want to sell.
You need to cross if you want to race well.
Though it must be said that in many families of many champions just one pigeon keeps on coming back in the pedigrees of their best birds.
Think about the "Artiest" from Houben, the "Kleinen" from Vandenabeele, the Kleine Dirk from Koopman, the Chantilly from Luc van Mechelen, the "Lowet Pair" from Verreckt Arien.
Lowet was completely unknown. But that is the fate of people who do not race many birds or do not race long distance. They get little publicity and will seldom become famous. The good news is that there are many of such fanciers with no name who have super birds.
I myself bought good pigeons and got good pigeons for free.
I bought many bad pigeons as well. In fact far more than good ones which is normal since there are not many good birds.
One time I made a big mistake.
From a famous Belgian I had bought a round of babies.
After I had paid he proposed to have dinner. Why I agreed I still do not know but that evening I found myself in a fancy restaurant with the champ.
- When we had soup he said he trained his birds 3 times a week.
- When we had steak he said he treated his birds against canker every week.
- When we had cheese he said that he treated against respiratory problems every 2 weeks.
- When we got the ice he said that he injected the birds with Lincospectin before every national.
- And at the end when we had our coffee he said that a vet visited him every 2 weeks. When we said goodbye knew I had wasted my money!
Never buy birds from so-called "medicine men".
Do not buy from men who are among their birds almost day and night.
But try to get them from fanciers who do not medicate much and are not working all day with their birds but who, inspite of that, race well in a strong competition.
Do you not know what to do with your money?
Buy the super birds themselves and not their babies.
Is money a problem?
Buy MORE babies and/or eggs at reasonable price from one or two fanciers.
Preferably local guys who beat you again and again.
Do you want to get birds from Holland or Belgium?
Let yourself be advised and do not fall for pedigrees from here to Tokyo on the internet.
Good birds are so rare, also in the lofts of even the greatest champions. Only on auction sites on the Internet only champions are sold!
At least, that is what they claim.