The pigeon columnist
Writing columns has changed my life.
Earlier I noticed what an impact it has on people when you race well, but it could not compare in the slightest to being "a pigeons analyst". .
Since my articles are published in several media many began to consider me as an omniscient oracle. So much that I can barely walk down the street.
- When I am at the butcher"s other clients will stand in line behind me.
- In the pub people ask me whether the pigeons in Belgium are such junk today.
How else then can Vermeerbergen win 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th National young birds with an enormous lead? A modal champion can hardly do the same in his club with some 100 birds.
- When my wife asks me if she has mopped the room well, I would point her subtly that she should do so with firmer hand. Clockwise and focus primarily on the corners. And she has to trust more on her own "mop strength".
All nonsense of course, but my point is serious.
And that point is that people ask questions to champions and even more so to columnist. And in a kind of pure scoring drift, they think they have an answer to all.
Part of an article in a daily magazine in my younger years.
It says: "Ad S initimable."
Sometimes I get letters. Not so many as my fellow columnist and friend GJ course, but only a fool tries to compare himself with this phenomenon.
- If you handle me a pigeon and ask me if it may be a good breeder I remain silent. In that regard I am as Roodhooft, Verkerk, Derwa, v Dijck, de Bruijn, Verbree etcetera. They also claim to know nothing of it. GJ is different. He knows exactly which cock to mate with which hen to breed champions.
- If you ask me whether a pigeon can handle 500 kilometers I begin to stutter. The same as every real champion will do. GJ however can help you out again. He can even tell you if a bird is better with tailwind or headwind.
- If you ask me about eye sign then I then turn my eyes to heaven. GJ however, knows all about it.
If GJ writes; "I now evverything abaut pigoens, so fell free to aks" I feel myself a bungler first class. Because I have more questions than answers.
GJ is the reverse.
Take those losses with young birds for arguments" sake.
Why do so many people lose so many birds from a 5 mile toss, while they hardly lose any from 300 miles?
Lack of health as some have suggested? This has SOMETHING to do with it but it is certainly not THE explanation. There are too many champions who lose lots of babies every year and those are guys that really will not toss birds that are not in good shape.
And what about feeding?
One champion (D v Dyck for example) says that barley is gold. The other equally great champion does not want to hear of it. He finds it poison.
Koopman allows his birds to eat what they like and how much they like.
He trusts on the instinct of the birds. Others worry about the right amount of fats, carbohydrates, protein, sugars, omega and so on. I am the same as champion Andre Roodhooft, Leo Heremans and many others. That means I know nothing of all that. Can you believe that even enzymes do not interest me?
And yet I know how to dominate races. At least my birds do.
Lofts intrigued and frustrated me already when my hair was still raven black and I was constantly on the run for all those blondes that were after me.
In those days Jan Zoontjens and Albert Marcelis were great champions. Their lofts were completely closed off. No ventilation at all. Even a fly could not get in or out.
Great icons in those days were also Janssen brothers and Hofkens.
There lofts were open. Over the heads of the birds you could see the sky between the tiles.
Today the lofts of a champion like Dirk van Dijck are closed off while the lofts of champions Leo Heremans are open. So I am also ignorant about the ideal loft structure.
The more than simple lofts from Dirk van Dijck
The "perfect" loft of Roodhooft.
"Artificial insemination is the future" some claim. And it makes sense indeed.
Because having a super cock in your loft is something but getting a basketful of babies of that cock in some months time only is something else. This must be the dream of many because it would inevitably lead to a loft full of supers one would think. But still I do not know them: The fanciers that became better racers some years after they practised Artificial Insemination with their super cock.
Once I had those two nest brothers, that I could not tell apart. I had to look at the rings to see who was who.
Same eyes, same body, same parents, so the same genes.
However, there was a huge difference in the races. One was a super racer, his brother"s ring was never to be found on the result sheet.
I got rid of this poor racer you may think? Ha. The opposite is true. The pigeon that could not win a prize was a fantastic breeder, his brother, the good racer, only produced junk. One other thing that I cannot understand.
LIGHT AND DARK
Today it is fashionable to also darken old birds. It seems to be very effective and boost the form. At least for the hens. But they are the hens only that perform better is what others and I experienced. With cocks the opposite seems to be the case. Why?
A friend had bought a bunch of babies from a great champion. In a moment of boredom he had them tested on DNA and to his surprise no less than one third of the birds had a wrong match. Since he did not doubt the integrity of the supplier of his birds he was shocked. How could this be?
For this I may have an explanation.
It is fashionable nowadays to have so called "foster pigeons". Thus you can take away the eggs of your best birds directly after they were laid and let foster parents raise the babies. And you can give the cock another partner to enhance your chances. Now some pigeon crazy scientist found that the sperm of a cock may "survive" up to 3 weeks in the body of the hen. Were the babies of the second round from a previous cock? There is a possibility!
Why I write columns when I know so little about pigeons?
Because my results prove I know at least SOMETHING.
And ... I want to warn you for those who claim they have the monopoly on "pigeon wisdom".