Good luck and much luck (part 2 of 2. Nov 28)
To-day mainly Chinese give much money for especially record birds. That is why you sometimes hear fancier say: "I sold my good cock because I still have a full brother. '
They say the same when they lose a good cock or when a good cock stops filling its eggs. Thus they can mate the brother with the hen of the bird that is no longer there. However, that is not the same. It is not as simple as that.
Roodhooft is a top racer at little long distance. He always claims he only tolerates pigeons in the breeding loft that are perfectly built. Nothing wrong with that of course, quite the contrary.
But… with all respect for Andre, is a perfect body ‘an absolute must’ for breeding good pigeons? A perfect body is a pre of course, but not ‘a must’. Some examples that are food for thought.
LEO HEREMANS AND HIS OLYMPIAD
At Leo Heremans' I once handled an old cock that had won no less than 18 firsts. This white flight was one of his basic breeders. But how disappointing it was, just nothing good about it. And still it was a superb racer and even a better breeder. Famous ‘Olympiad 003’, bred by Gust Janssen, was not an athlete either. Just an ugly bird, we would call it ‘a farmer's pigeon’, something Leo also admitted.
I myself had my 230, brother of Ace Four and his full sister ‘144’. The nestmates were 1st and 2nd provincial ' ACE in their year of birth against average over 11,000 pigeons. Two years ago Henk Simonsz intended to write some articles about the miraculous results of their descendants, but his research resulted in so many absolute SUPER BIRDS that he ended up writing a series of 13 articles. And with ‘super birds’ I mean REAL super birds on national level. As for the 230, I do not believe that anyone ever handled it. It was an unsightly small cock and so ugly that I felt too embarrassed to show it to anyone.
When W de Bruijn and me were at Limbourg’s he showed us one of his best breeding hens. Handling this hen we looked at each other questioningly. Was this really one of his very best? Or was Eric fooling us? He was not, he was dead serious. Apparently he has a different taste or he is not interested in the looks as long as a bird races well or breeds well.
Long way back Baelemans was one of the best short distance racers of Belgium. At the time I was subscribed to five pigeon magazines (where have they been?) and again and again I read about his ‘Donkere’ that became 1st National Ace. In those days that meant it was the best from about 100,000 fanciers. ‘How lucky you were to breed such an amazing bird’, I once said to Baelemans: Stan: Hmm. Lucky? Both parents are real ugly birds indeed, but they were my two best young birds. I just mated them and do not see what is lucky about mating the two best racers you have.
An iconic pigeons was also ' Paula 5000 ' from the late Remi de Mey. I handled ‘Paula’ several times as well. Again what an unbelievable dud ! Nothing good about it. Even the colour was ugly. And yet Paula is often described as the best pigeon ever. Four years in a row she was classified among the five best National ACE pigeons. Never happened before and never happened later on either. Of course such a miracle bird would represent Belgium at the Olympiad. When the judges had inspected the birds and given the points great consternation in the pigeon world. The possibly best pigeon of the world was classified as the very last. It scored on all points worse than the ‘worst’ pigeon in the ‘worst’ pigeon country in the world.
Supers are rare. Two birds of the same nest that are both supers are even rarer. But if you have such a pair chances are optimal that both of them are good breeders as well. Take my Ace Four and his nest sister, mentioned before. In Belgium alone Luc van Mechelen, Jespers v d Wegen, Jochems van Hasselt, Michel Vanlint, Marcel Wouters, Charel Boeckx, Bart van Oeckel had NATIONAL Aces with their off-spring.
The opposite is also true: If you have a super racer but none of his brothers or sisters are any good, your good racer will almost sure be a poor breeder.
Sometimes you hear fanciers say: ‘If, from that breeding pair, I breed a white flight, or a checker (or whatever) I know I will have a good bird. Some call it Linkage: Outer observable characteristics that go along with what we call quality. Does such a thing exist? Hmm. Take humans: Are in a family only children with black hair, or blue eyes (or whatever) good at math, or at languages, or in sport?
If the majority of the birds in your breeding loft are pretty old watch out. At least 50% of them should be younger birds. Furthermore you should not be afraid to breed from sprint birds.
The late Jan Grondelaars did not import others than short distance birds. A bird called ‘Eenoog’ from Hofkens was one of them. At Hofkens it won numerous firsts from Quievrain 135 kms only. Its descendants would win long distance races for Grondelaars.
In the last few years Willy Daniels is hot and he deserves it. One of his Aces was sold for no less than 400,000 euros. His top racers descend from birds that Daniels got from Gert Heylen, M Royberghs, and other short distance racers. Especially the Meyer is interesting. This man had a fantastic bird that had won 14 firsts from Quievrain, barely 100 km. Willy bought a voucher from De Meyer. For his voucher he did not want a brother or sister of that super but a youngster! And guess what. The sensational long distance birds that Daniels bred in recent years descend from this sprint bird. Fanciers like Grondelaars and De Meyer should know what they are doing. They prefer babies from racers to birds with a fancy pedigree. And short distance birds is also what they want. Names and strains do not count.
Willy Daniels and his wife