Some things (2 aug)
It was some decades ago that John and Peter (not their real names) frequently visited me to buy birds. They were kind of friends who lived in the north. I did my best not to show it but honestly speaking I liked John better than Peter. He was one of those people that I do not like from the very first time I see them. Do not tell me that is wrong, I know. It is one of my many defects.
Then came that day that I realised that I had unconsciously given John the better birds. Therefore I was not surprised when I heard some years later that one of those guys had become a spectacular racer with my pigeons.
John of course. Had not I given him the best birds? But much to my surprise it was not him but Peter who did so well and even bred 2 NATIONAL Aces. I cannot understand I told the man who informed me about the results of those two men. Then he said: ‘Maybe I can explain.’ And he told me that John kept all the birds that he had gotten from me, since he thought a man like me did not breed birds of poor quality. And that was his mistake!
Peter however was smarter. Without looking at the pedigrees he eliminated the birds that did not satisfy him. He only kept the very best and thus he became one of the best racers in the whole country. And poor John, the man who had been a loser all his life, was a loser still. Also now that he had my birds. It was obvious why. In his stockloft were too many bad pigeons and the ‘racing lofts’ were over populated. Therefore the good birds he should undoubtedly have did not get a fair chance.
I have the impression that American Stanley is not as naïve as John and many other foreigners. The man, ambitious and competitive as he is, has recently imported pretty many birds. He also got my birds and only from my best. Of course this is no guarantee since the best birds also give junk. But the good thing about Stanley is that he realises that. He bought from very good fanciers but is a realistic man who knows quite well that ‘very good fanciers’ also breed more junk than super birds.
In other words, he is not so naïve as to believe that all the birds he imported are good. If he will do what he promised, get rid of all the birds that are no good, regardless the origin or the price that he paid I am convinced that he will make it.
With Leo Heremans I talked about a Dutchman who got birds from him. I was in the loft of the Dutchman before and handled those birds from Leo. ‘How many birds of mine did you see?’ Leo asked. I remembered because it was a nice number: ‘ten’, I said. When Leo heard this he first shrugged and then shook his head. ‘I am sorry for him but he will never make it’, he said. I questioningly looked at him. ‘Look’, he said, ‘Fanciers who buy 10 birds from me and still have them all 10 after 3 years will never be good racers. Such men lack the main quality of a pigeon fancier: I mean the courage to get rid of birds that they should get rid of.’
I nodded and thought of my mantra: The only secret in this sport is selection: Eliminate poor birds, sell the good ones and keep the supers and the supers only.
Roodhooft is a great Belgian champion. He is a very good bookkeeper who writes down everything that is worth writing down. Of course he too imports birds and of course from great champions only and from their best birds only. You know what he found out? Of every 12 birds that he imported one was good enough. And as I said, Andre is not a man who imports just birds! Only the best is good enough for him.
Andre Roodhooft and his wife