Roger and his bookkeeper Mariet
1st National Bourges
It was only in 2010, when he took the national victory from Bourges and fanciers started to ask him about the origins of his winning pigeon, that Roger decided to digitally store his results and the pedigrees of his pigeons. He is not really familiar with computers and it was his wife Mariet who decided to take computer classes. Roger used to write down the different pairs and their descendants on a piece of cardboard. Luckily enough he had stored them in the basement, along with all of his results. His wife Mariet and their daughter Tanja had a difficult time trying to get an overview. Today Roger has his own website, which was created by his wife and daughter. Roger is still not good with computers. His wife sometimes watches the arrivals of other pigeons on her computer but Roger is not interested in how well the other pigeons perform. He says it just makes him nervous.
Roger has never been good at submitting his results for the championships. Sometimes his colleagues had to urge him to send in his results: “Roger, you should really send in your results for the championships, especially after such an impressive season!” Sometimes Roger was nowhere to be found in the national championship results.
First time lucky
It was about 20 years ago when Roger found one unknown young bird among his other youngsters with a telephone number stamped on its wing. Roger called the number:
RB: "Good afternoon, this is Roger Buvens from Loksberge. I have just found one of your young birds."
BP: "That’s impossible. They have only been outside for three days.”
RB: "Well, I’m holding it in my hand right now.”
BP: "You can keep her. Good luck!”
That was the first time Roger Buvens and Berre Peeters (from Nijlen in Belgium) met. Roger gave Berre’s young bird a chance to show her potential and she did really well, winning a third prize from Orléans with a velocity of 900 m/min. At the end of the season he contacted Berre Peeters again.
RB: ""That hen of yours has been doing really well.”
BP: "I’m glad to hear.”
That was the second time Roger and Berre talked to each other and Berre contacted Roger a week later. The sire of Roger’s successful hens had arrived home from a race covered in oil. Roger could come and pick him up if he wanted. One of the sire’s first sons was Winnitou (BE98-5054665) and this Winnitou won a lot of top prizes, including two provincial victories: a 1st prov. Bourges 1662 p. (fastest of 9,000 p.) and a 1st prov. St.-Witz 5000 p. The introduction of pigeons of Van Leest-Peeters had really improved the level of performance of the Buvens pigeon family.
Winnetou, half brother of Berre's hen
A few years later Berre paid an unexpected visit to Roger. He had brought along two cocks and he advised Roger to place them in his breeding loft. Roger did not know about the value of these pigeons at the time. One of these cocks was called Donkere (BE99-6547480). Today, almost every successful pigeon in Roger’s loft is related to Donkere, who fertilized an egg for the last time in 2012. The cock Superkoppel (BE08-5015256), a grandson of Donkere, is the male partner of what Roger considers to be his super class pair Superkoppel.
Second time lucky
Romain Schots (Halen, BE) contacted Roger for a joint breed. Roger told him he had been thinking about it as well so the deal was closed. Pigeons were being exchanged and eggs and young birds moved from Loksbergen to Halen and vice versa. One day Romain called Roger: “Roger, I have bred a hen, Nationaaltje (BE04-2110595), a granddaughter of Antwerpenaar (BE92-6451510).” This Antwerpenaar was eventually sold to Pros Roosen, who later renamed it Châteauroux. “I borrowed this pigeon from a fancier and I will return it tomorrow. She has just laid another egg and you can come and pick it up if you want.” The pigeon Zwartje (BE06-5194570) was born from this egg and she is now the female partner of his Superkoppel.
This cock Superkoppel x Zwartje is Roger’s super class breeding pair. Two of their daughters, Ester (BE10-5092002) and Yasmine (BE115006852), won the title of 2nd Nat. (and 2nd prov.) and 11th Nat. (and 3rd prov.) Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme Middle Distance Old Birds respectively. Marie (BE11-5006811), a granddaughter, managed to win a sixth place in that same ace pigeon championship, as well as a first provincial. She also won a third prize from Vierzon against 3,088 pigeons, a result that did not count for the national championships. Witoogje (BE12-5002121) is another descendant and winner of a 10th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Shorter Middle Distance Yearlings. Another descendant was not taken into consideration for the championship, because his results had not been submitted correctly. Several fanciers have been winning top prizes with descendants of this super class pair.
A great champion
Roger managed to add the following titles to his list of achievements this season:
1st Nat. Champion KBDB Extreme Middle Distance Old Birds 2nd Nat. Champion KBDB Shorter Middle Distance Yearlings 6th Nat. Champion KBDB Shorter Middle Distance Old Birds 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme Middle Distance Old Birds 6th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme Middle Distance Old Birds 10th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Shorter Middle Distance Yearlings 11th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme Middle Distance Old Birds 1st Prov. Champion Extreme Middle Distance Old Birds 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prov. Ace Pigeon Extreme Middle Distance Old Birds
This impressive list of titles is even more remarkable considering that Roger competed in only six of the ten races that counted for the championships. He missed Bourges I because of the bad weather conditions. He basketed pigeons for Marne instead, winning a 4th, 13th and 14th against 1,559 pigeons. The sixth flight was also a close call: Roger’s closest neighbour had started renovating his house and a contractor had installed a crane and a bulk bag for construction debris. The pigeons continued to fly around for four hours that day but they were kept inside the loft for the remainder of the week. “I think the season is over,” Roger said to his wife. Strangely enough the contractor pulled down his crane on Thursday and work was suspended. His wife urged Roger to ask the contractor when the crane would be back in use. “Not before Monday”, he said. Roger decided to release his pigeons for a last time before basketing them for Argenton in the evening. Esther won a 5th national against 5,941 pigeons, Marie won a 77th and Yasmine won a 78th prize. This was the final race of the season, because his neighbour’s renovation works would go on for another four weeks.
Esther is the first of three super class hens in Roger’s pigeon loft that deserves special attention. She is a daughter of his Superkoppel and she is one of the best pigeons of Belgium in 2013. Click here for the pedigree of Esther. 2013 was not her first impressive season; she won, for instance, the title of 1st Ace Pigeon Obrafo in 2012. We made an overview of the most important prizes on her list of achievements. We have only included the prizes won per 100 in major races:
Orleans: 13th against 1,312 p. Bourges nat: 128th against 20,544 p. Toury: 2nd against 671 p. Argenton nat: 65th against 4,126 p. Orleans: 4th against 2,143 p. Toury: 1st against 668 p. Bourges nat: 266th against 10,035 p. Toury: 7th against 614 p. Toury: 1st against 516 p. Vierzon prov: 22nd against 3,088 p. Marne: 7th van 1,161 p. Chateauroux nat: 25th against 22,254 p. Montluçon nat: 11th against 18,568 p. Argenton nat: 126th against 16,325 p. Argenton nat: 5th against 5,941 p.
Yasmine is the second daughter of Superkoppel that we wanted to take a closer look at. She played an important role in the championship title as well, while also winning an 11th place in the individual ranking. Her best results include:
Pithiviers: 35th against 962 p. Orleans: 85th against 1,600 p. Gueret nat: 198th against 12,892 p. Melun: 26th against 1,633 p. Orleans prov: 93rd against 2,718 p. Bourges nat. 33rd against 9,639 p. Chateauroux nat: 22nd against 4,757 p. Argenton nat: 78th against 5,941 p.
The descendants of Superkoppel have been breeding excellent pigeons as well, including, for instance, Marie, winner of a 1st Prov. Ace Pigeon and 6th Nat. Ace Pigeon Longer Middle Distance Old Birds 2013. She was second provincial Ace Pigeon Middle Distance 2012 and she won five top national 100 prizes and two top 20 prizes this season. Click here for her list of achievements. These are her best results of 2013:
Laon: 27th against 1,237 p. Vierzon prov: 3rd against 3,088 p. Marne: 31st against 1,161 p. Chateauroux nat: 67th against 22,254 p. Montluçon nat: 19th against 18,568 p. Argenton nat: 4th against 16,325 p. Chateauroux nat: 65th against 4,757 p. Argenton nat: 77th against 5,941 p.
Methods and guidance
Roger focuses entirely on the hens competition; the widowers are basketed not more than six times per season. The young birds are raced in their year of birth but they are not all that important to him. Roger pays a lot more attention to the 18 hens with which he starts the season. In winter they are housed in an open aviary without any shelter throughout the day. They are placed together with the young birds sometime in March or April so they are being darkened as well. When the young cocks are in heat the hens are moved to their own loft to be locked into their breeding boxes. By that time the number of hens has been brought down to 12. Several of them have mated by then. The hens are released every day along with the young birds and they sometimes enter the young bird loft as well. If this happens, they are immediately locked in the breeding box in their own loft. The hens are fed together with the youngsters (the later a pigeon enters the loft the more it tends to eat) but they get additional feed in their own boxes. This procedure is repeated in the evening. “I can now race with the hens for an entire season but that was not the case until a few seasons ago”, says Roger. “I used to be one of the only fanciers to race with the hens so they used to be basketed together with the cocks. After three to four weeks of racing they would start to lay eggs. The situation improved as the young bird racing began.”
There is not a lot to be said with regard to the feed. Roger explains: “I purchase a bag of feed every time I pass along a pet shop and whenever I am in short supply. I do not mind the brand and I do not purchase the most expensive products. I once purchased a bag that I was not really confident about but I fed it to my pigeons anyway.” On the other hand, Roger provides more than enough food. In fact his chickens eat his pigeon mixture regularly as well. He does not believe in the use of supplements but he does provide peanuts and sweet seeds when the pigeons arrive home from their daily training flight. He cleans the drinking bowls every six weeks, on the advice of his wife Mariet.
He keeps his pigeons in good health by housing them in an open aviary outside the racing and breeding season. “This means there is less cleaning to do as well”, says Roger. “Pigeons that get ill from the rain or the snow are gotten rid of.” There is a 10 day Baytrill cure before the start of the season, as well as a regular tricho cure during the season.
Both the cocks and the hens are housed in an open aviary during the day
Roger pays great attention to his training methods and the time of release. His pigeons are usually released early in the morning. “I like doing this and my pigeons do not seem to bother either. In addition, the air is pure in the early morning and my pigeons have never suffered from respiratory diseases.” Most widowers have not started training at that time of the day, which is an additional advantage. You can learn a lot from their training flights for the upcoming races. There is an old saying that goes: if pigeons fly higher than the trees during the week they are up for a great result over the weekend.
What have we learned from Roger?
- You need luck in pigeon racing
- You can sometimes push your luck
- Feed and supplements are not as important as we are led to believe
- It is a good idea to pay some attention to your administration
- Behind every successful man is a woman
- Your own health is what matters the most
Roger has been successful for years and he was a strong fancier right from the start, claiming, for instance, a national victory from Bourges and eight provincial wins. He added several regional, provincial and interprovincial championship titles to his list of achievements in recent years. Prizes won in the past are not a guarantee for a successful next season but we think Roger should not worry about the future. He did not have a total auction so he can continue to work with his proven team of pigeons that has won many prizes already. He is mainly successful with his old birds but his yearlings and young birds showed their potential quite often as well, often with high prize percentages:
Orleans: 765 yearlings: 1-2-16-18-22-26-40-43-55-59-70-80-83-85 (17/18) Marne: 732 yearlings: 1-6-7-44-45-53-64-68-71 (13/14) Montluçon: 21,827 yearlings: 25-139 (2/3) Pithiviers: 192 young birds: 1-2 (2/4) Pithiviers: 366 young birds: 1-32 (2/4)
Fernanda, a pigeon for the future