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Vanoppen-Luyten (Herk-de-Stad, BE) win first national Argenton II against 6,801 yearlings

The Vanoppen-Luyten partnership has had a splendid season, with, for instance, a third national from Bourges I. Last weekend’s national winner Lady Argentina BE12-5157432 was the fastest yearling as she completed 553km with a velocity of 1307 m/min.

The Vanoppen-Luyten partnership has been doing very well in the shorter middle distance and the shorter long distance since they started back in 2009. This team consists of the two friends Patrick Vanoppen (47), who takes care of the day-to-day running loft the loft, and Carlo Juyten (48), who visits the lofts in Herk-de-Stad after work. Carlo is also responsible for basketing and he brings the clocks to the club. In other words they both have their own tasks and that appears to work out well. They are focusing on the hens’ game and they achieve several top 10 prizes in the national races every season. The icing on the cake was last week’s Argenton II, where Patrick and Carlo won their very first national victory.

The hens' competition

Vanoppen-Luyten are known for racing with the old and one year old hens only; their cocks are not raced. The hens are raced with the sliding door, in contrast to two years ago, when they were raced on total widowhood. They were not fully satisfied with this system so they looked for a more convenient approach. Now the old hens are raced with the sliding door, just like their youngsters. Their team of 80 racing hens and 80 cocks are divided over four lofts. The cocks are housed in the two inner lofts and they never go outside. The hens are housed in the lofts on the outside. There is also a corridor in front of the lofts so that pigeons can easily move from one loft to the other. In front of this corridor there is an aviary that is equipped with sheets to keep out the draught. The pigeons are housed in the aviary during the day while spending the night in their lofts, where tubes are attached to the floor to prevent the pigeons from pairing. The hens do not breed in winter; they are trained after the winter and they can stay with the cocks for one night after their first training race, which is usually Fleurus. The day of basketing looks as follows: they train for an hour in the morning, after which they are fed. Then the sliding door is opened for one hour. Patrick picks up the hens that have joined a cock in one of the corners of the loft or in a nest bowl and he places them back in the hens’ loft. It sometimes happens that a single cock has been in contact with five different hens on the day of basketing. As soon as the hens are back in their own loft they are given two additional meals (one in the afternoon and one in the evening) before being basketed. When the pigeons arrive home the cocks and hens can sit together until Carlo has returned from the club. This means they cannot stay with their cocks for more than three to four hours. Keeping them together during the night is out of the question. The fanciers from Herk-de-Stad experienced that this was not a good approach, as some hens would start laying eggs afterwards.

Lady Argentina, 1st national Argenton II

Lady Argentina is a very late youngster of 2012, which means she was trained with great care at the beginning of the season. In fact she was injured a few weeks ago but she was basketed again as soon as she had recovered. Her first top prize this season came three weeks ago, with a 23rd prize from Marne against 2,157 pigeons. It proved that she was getting in shape. Her pedigree shows that she originates from the very best lines of the Vanoppen-Luyten pigeon loft. A full sister of Lady Argentina had won a 7th prov. Orléans against 3,516 yearlings. The sire is a half brother of Belgium Number One, the best yearling of Belgium in 2009 in the following races: Bourges I, Argenton I, Limoges and Bourges II. She is inbred to the Golden Pair of Ivan Vanvuchelen from Grazen from her father's side. The dam is a full sister of Mispa, their current stock dam. Mispa is the dam of no less than four different first prize winners. Another sister of Mispa has won a third nat. Bourges I yearlings earlier this season. Click here for the pedigree of Lady Argentina.

A fixed routine

Patrick and Carlo like to stick to a routine, both in the day-to-day maintenance and the guidance of their racing pigeons. At the beginning of January the pigeons are vaccinated against paramyxo and pox, followed by a treatment against paratyphus four weeks before Bourges I, which is repeated in the middle of the season. In early March there is a treatment against tricho and in the middle of March there is a treatment with DAC Doxycycline to prevent respiratory problems. The idea is to have a number of treatments at the beginning of the season to make sure no medication is needed during the season itself. It appears a successful approach: their pigeons have not had any medical treatments during the racing seasons of 2012 and 2013. They rely on the Matador mixtures for the feed, using a combination of Start, Race and Turbo mixtures depending on the difficulty of the race ahead and the weather conditions. Sometimes chopped peanuts and walnuts are served as well. Every night animal protein is mixed into the feed using lecithin. Magnesin of Backs, which is a mixture of magnesium and calcium, is given as well to protect the muscles. Electrolytes are added to the drinking water before basketing and when the pigeons arrive home but they never use vitamin supplements..

Vanoppen-Luyten are having an exceptional season and we think the best is yet to come for their flying ladies. Congratulations!