Willem de Bruijn 3
Many books have been written about pigeon sport.
And many fanciers are eager to tell you what you should do to win.
But unfortunately most of these that advise others are less than average racers themselves. Should they be the teachers?
The people that you can rely on are the champions. And especially those that have been champions all their lives. Such a man is Dutch Willem de Bruijn, the man with the fairy tale results who also made others champion. I asked him some questions that may reveal things you normally would not think about.
What should I do to become such a champion as you have been all your life?
You should WANT to be a champion in the first place. Everybody can do what I can provided they have the will to win.
Of course people should also have the feeling, and even more important, not believe all the sh*t that is told such as secrets that others claim to have but that do not exist.
What do you understand by "the feeling"?
Hard to tell. You should be a pigeon between the pigeons. Have the capacity to observe very well. See what pigeons need, how they feel, what they like and what they do not like and so on.
What is the most important thing in this sport?
Simple. Good birds. 90 Percent of all the rest is BS. Ask 10 champions how they feed and you will get 10 different answers. Ask how they train and the same story. The lofts are supposed to be very important. But look how different the lofts of the champions are.
Leo Heremans claims lofts should be well ventilated. "Pigeons need fresh air."
Champions such as v d Wouwer, Dirk van Dijck, v d Bulck and Jos Joosen say lofts should NOT be ventilated. "Ventilation only causes draught."
Some champions visit a vet every month, others hardly ever.
And what is YOUR idea about ventilation?
Unlike the lofts of v d Wouwer and Dirk van Dijck my lofts are very open. Above the heads of the birds are the tiles of the roof. Just like Janssen Bros.
The last few years W de Bruijn often went Belgium and built up many
good contacts there. One of them is Maurice Haesendonckx.
"Good birds" is all that matters you say. If a fancier does not have good birds, how can he get them?
Go to the right places. Preferably to fanciers that have little place and therefore few birds. Such people are obliged to eliminate birds that would be good birds for others.
Ha, then people should not go to you.
I get your point, this may sound funny indeed, since I myself have many birds.
But I daresay I am of a different kind.
When people talk about Verkerk, me and others they often talk about the many birds we race and "forget" how many of these birds win prizes.
It happened to me that I entered 110 birds and won 100 prizes.
In my opinion that is far more difficult than winning 10 prizes from 11 birds even though that is very good as well.
"Go tot the right places, you said. Can you be more specific?
There are many fanciers with good results but that is not good enough for me.
I also want to know the strength of the competition.
In some parts of both Holland and Belgium it is not that difficult to get outstanding results, since the competitors do not mean much.
In other regions it is the opposite. I will try to explain with an example.
Where I live is much water. If in winter I would skate with aged people I would be the best of all. If I would skate with 20 year old fanatic skaters I would be a big joke. See what I mean?
"I do. But you in Holland know where the good birds are. And you have the money. Many people abroad are not so fortunate. Can they forget to play a role in this sport?
Due to the internet also the pigeon world has become small. Foreigners should study loft results and certainly not fall for ads that promise to build a bridge even if there is no river. But I must admit, interpreting results in the right way is a kind of art. Furthermore you should not go to fanciers that medicate a lot.
Amidst big shots.
Your birds seem to be fast and strong. How do you get such birds? By grading them maybe? See if they have the muscles to turn into strong birds?
Certainly not by grading the birds, and about muscles I know as much as about eyes.
That means nothing. I do not know much about pigeons anyway.
Are serious now?
Deadly serious. Sometimes foreigners that want to buy babies ask for the colour if the eyes of the parents. Believe it or not, I do not even know what colour the eyes of my best breeders are.
And eye sign then?
Eye sign, come on. We are serious people, are not we? When people buy birds I can never understand what they are looking for when they look in the birds eyes. They should rather look in the eyes of the fancier!
You say you bought many birds, but that is also what many others did. But unlike you they never make it. What is the difference?
Quite simple. I breed many babies and race as many birds as I can every week from any distance! Even the pure sprint birds that I bought in Belgium must be able to handle long distance. My old birds are raced 20 times a year.
Birds that cannot handle this can go. By doing so you finally will end up having good birds.
Or NO birds.
Ha, good birds or no birds, right. But I prefer no birds to bad birds. Moreover, an empty loft has been a good base for a fresh start for many.
You are often successful when importing birds. You say you nothing about birds, nor
about eyes or muscles. What do you look at?
What you say is wrong. I bought many birds indeed but I was seldom successful. And what do I look at?
Hhm. Nothing at all. When I think a fancier is honest and I suspect him of having good birds I just buy a basketful of babies.
Right, or two basketsful. In this way I buy the rubbish but the good birds as well. Much money for just one bird is no guarantee for quality. I always compare with a raffle. The more lots the more chances. The advantage of racing those birds is that you need not wait for years to find out if they are any good.
De Bruijn loft by winterday
Do basic birds such as Kleine Blauwe only give good birds?
Of course not. Birds that only give good birds only exist on the internet. Therefore it seldom happens that I put birds directly in the breeding loft for their good pedigree alone. They first have to prove in the races that they are worth it.
Do you believe in inbreeding or should people cross?
I believe in good luck! That is what you need when breeding.
What would you say is your secret?
Selection based on results and natural health. With the record sheet in my hands I make the selection. Thus you will get good birds, there is no other way.
If you select with the pedigrees in your hands you get birds with a nice pedigree.
If it is beauty that matters you will get beautiful birds. But what is the use of birds with a breath taking pedigree or beauty that are unable to leave the others behind when flying home?
And feeding then?
That is the easiest thing in pigeon sport. I give my birds the same mixture the whole year round and they can eat as much as they want. I fully trust on their instinct.
Birds will eat what they need and not eat what they do not need. In case some feed is left I make the chickens happy. In fact every fancier should have chickens.
And what about medicating?
Nothing special. When the birds get sick I will be the first to medicate.
When they are in good health I stay away from all medicine. A big mistake that many make is to think that medicine can make birds fly faster.
For one thing I do not take any chances: Paratyphoid. I blindly medicate once a year.
Willem de Bruijn: Frequent medication inevitably results in pigeons that get weaker and bacteria that get stronger.
Are you sure this is the best method?
Hmm. "Convinced" is a better word. I have always tried to get the best out of my birds. And I must admit I had my doubts in the past. There is nothing that I did not try.
I injected the birds before the races with different antibiotics, in fact there are no medicine that I do not know and hardly any that I did not try.
Whenever I heard something I tried it out.
I concluded that, if there were such a thing like boosting, this cannot be done with medicine. I know few people will believe me but that is not my problem but theirs.
Everybody is free what to think but while others wasted their money on useless products I invested in good birds. And I never regretted it.
Special things about training or tossing?
Nothing special. Daily loft training like others do and the youngsters I toss up to 20 times before the races, but only from a distance of 15 kilometres max.
In between the races I do not go on the road any more. I did it in the past but, if there is a difference, it is only in the first few sprint races. For the rest I consider all those tosses a waste of time and gas, but others may think different of course.
Thanks Mr de Bruijn. A final question. Advice for novices?
It is not medication, training, feeding and so on that will make you a champion but good pigeons ! And for the rest all I have to say can be summarised in three words:
Keep things simple.