Chris Hebberecht (Evergem, BE) is the new general champion of Belgium Entente 2014

The grandmaster of the national long distance and extreme long distance has just added another prestigious title to his impressive list of achievements.

The title of Belgian Champion Belgian Entente is one of the most prestigious and most wanted titles in our sport at national level. The reason is that it takes a highly versatile national long distance and extreme long distance pigeon loft with a strong team of olds and one year olds to win this title. It is no surprise that only the greatest champions have managed to claim this title.

Chris Hebberecht is without doubt one of these champions. He has always played a prominent role in all championships at national level, and he will soon be celebrating the title of General Champion of Belgium Entente for the third time, which is nothing short of impressive!

2014: a fresh start

The 2014 season was a new start for Chris, who moved to a different environment. Chris retired one year ago and his wife decided to close the doors of her pet store in 2013. Behind their residence in the Kapellestraat they had a new house built, which they moved to in 2014. Their previous home and the pet store will soon be given a new destination. The warehouse, which used to house the breeding lofts, was broken down as well, along with the young birds’ loft. Chris was able to keep his old birds’ racing lofts but he built a stone wall to improve the loft’s appearance. At the same time they renovated the roof of the racing and breeding lofts, while installing a new young birds’ loft with a spacious aviary that provides plenty of room, light and fresh air.

Chris had quite a busy start to the year with renovations, the construction of a new garden and a move. It appears Chris and Kathy have finally settled themselves, and they are ready to prepare for the future.

A strong 2014 resulting in the title of General Champion Entente

Chris Hebberecht can look back on another solid long distance season. You can find an overview of his best results in the long distance at the bottom of this page. The only thing he is not completely satisfied about is the number of top prizes at national level. His pigeons performed very consistently but he did not have enough truly outstanding national stars that were able to finish in the national top 100 compared to previous seasons. This illustrates that Chris likes to set a high bar. He does not know what makes him such an ambitious player.

The difference between a pigeon in good shape and a pigeon in top form is often in the small details. Sometimes your pigeons are in great form throughout the season just like that, and sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get your birds in shape. It is not easy to find an explanation for this, but it is a fact that a good quality breed in good health and in great shape will get you a long way in our sport.

Daily training is very important, and Chris thinks these flights can tell you a lot about your pigeons’ fitness. He trains his old birds twice a day, because these training flights are the foundation for a strong racing team. You want your pigeons to be motivated, which indicates that they are in great form. Obviously a lot depends on the weather conditions and the temperature during these flights. Caretaking plays a role as well, along with a quiet environment. This is mainly the responsibility of the loft manager, and not so much the fancier himself. Many tend to underestimate the importance of a quiet environment. In fact Chris thinks there are too many races on the national calendar these days, which means the pigeons do not have enough time off.

Pigeons are under a lot of stress particularly in late June, with the start of the international races. The pigeons are basketed on Monday, there is a long distance race on Wednesday, a longer middle distance flight on Thursday and a young birds’ race on Friday (middle distance) and Saturday (sprint for later youngsters). Meanwhile the pigeons for the international races are usually arriving on Friday. The young birds return home on Sunday, along with some pigeons that happen to arrive home late. In other words, fanciers sometimes spend six or seven days a week basketing and clocking pigeons. You need quite a large collection of pigeons to be able to manage this, which makes keeping pigeons increasingly difficult for older fanciers. Moreover, this regime makes it particularly difficult to create a quiet surrounding for your pigeons with such a busy schedule.
Still, that did not keep Chris from claiming the title of General Champion of Belgium Entente.

Focus on the long distance and the old birds

Chris started the 2014 season with 92 widower cocks (52 olds and 40 yearlings) in classic widowhood, 48 of which have made it through this season and will be basketed as old birds in 2015, along with a team of young birds of 2014.

Pigeons were paired in the beginning of January. The eggs of the breeders were placed in the bowls of the yearlings, to make sure the second round came only two weeks after the first round. All racing birds raise one youngster, and they were paired again in late March to brood for an additional five days. This is when the first training flights took place, which brings them to the city of Moeskroen (50km) after five flights, followed by Arras, Clermont and Fontenay before going to Vierzon. We are then two weeks before the actual start of the long distance season from Limoges. This is when the pigeons are being separated, to really get them motivated.

In the first few races only a few hens were brought into the loft, to make sure the pigeons can be picked up easily for basketing. They can all see their individual partners only when the long distance races take place. Any fancier aiming to excel in the long distance should remember to have a team of pigeons that is well rested. Your pigeons should be fully recovered from their previous race and they should have trained well for their next effort. This is why they should have at least two or even three weeks off between two long distance races. Chris Hebberecht, a highly experienced long distance fancier, knows what he is talking about. Chris races throughout the national calendar, and so he has to basket pigeons every week, which are divided over different races. That explains why all pigeons are fed individually to prepare them for the upcoming flights.

When they arrive home, he tries to enhance recovery using Belgasol and Probac. He provides a 50% diet and 50% sports mixture until five days before basketing. He then uses an 80% sports mixture and some corn and Energy Plus in the last 10 days before a long distance race and 8 days before a longer middle distance flight. Some sweet seeds are added to the diet as well. His diet includes mixtures of Versele Plus and Mariman. During the week he adds Engelendrank and an airway mix of Blubke, and sometimes some Sedochol is added to the diet as well. This is how Chris manages to keep his pigeons in great form until the age of five or six in the long distance and extreme long distance. The goal is to let them train well as young birds, to introduce them to the national competition as one year olds and then to let them compete in 3 to 4 one day long distance races of 600 to 700km as two year olds. They will then be in great form at the age of three.

Stock sire Champion

When Chris Hebberecht took over the loft in 1999 after the passing of his father Octaaf, it was the outstanding breeder and stock sire Bjorn that played a key role in the breeding lofts. Bjorn originated from the old lines of Zwarte Vereecke, Korporaal, Super, Krommen, Wringer and others.
At this moment the number one breeder is Champion, which proved particularly successful in combination with the bloodline of Pancho, which has now been sold to the Far East. Chris had bred a number of descendants from this combination, and they have proven to be great breeding pigeons. Both Champion and Paco were amazing long distance pigeons, both winning a first provincial and second national ace pigeon title long distance KBDB. Pancho won the title in 2004, Champion won it in 2005. In fact Chris continues to pair these two bloodlines at a regular basis.

Champion is the sire of:
- Edou: 7th Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2013
- Jamar: 5th Prov. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2009
- Klein Donker: 1st prize hot spot One Loft Race Thailand
- Mother Home Alone: the dam of 1st Price Final Thailand Grans Pigeon Race 2008
- Such top class racing birds as Aiko, Ibis, and Enzo
He is the grandfather of:
- Daughter Champion (G.Vandenabeele): dam of the 1st Prov. Tours 2,045 p.
      Grandmother of Fyther: 1st Nat. Agen 5,5007 p.  in 2013 (for Bert Vd Berghe)
      Grandmother of daughter Gloria: 1st Nat. Gueret 9,815 p. in 2014 (for Bert Vd Berghe)
- Champ Falco (Bert Vd Berghe): 2nd Nat. Libourne 6,658 p., 54th Nat. Bourges 16,859 p., 86th Nat. Tulle 10,251 p.
These are just a few examples taken from a long list of references.

Pancho is in turn the grandfather of Jempy (sire of Ike, 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2010), Evert (1st Nat. St.Vincent 3,738 p. in 2013). Chris Hebberecht knows that ace pigeons are bred from ace pigeons, which is why is really fond of breeding youngsters from ace pigeons with a proven record.

Edison and Deserteur, the stars of 2014

The racing and breeding lofts of Chris Hebberecht are home to an impressive collection of top class pigeons capable of exceling in the long distance and the extreme long distance, completing three or even more marathon races per season. In 2014 Deserteur (extreme long distance) and Edison (long distance) proved the two most successful racing birds, winning an impressive palmares:

-Edison BE10-4302413

’14 Brive     Prov  1,228 p. 9
              Nat   5,286 p. 39
’14 Tulle     Prov  1,310 p. 50
              Nat   5,976 p. 176
’14 Cahors    Prov  1,363 p. 60
              Nat   7,140 p. 219
’14 Limoges 2 Nat   7,221 p. 667
’14 Limoges I Prov  4,276 p. 225
              Nat  18,390 p. 778
’13 Cahors    Zone  2,801 p. 87
’13 Libourne  Nat   6,658 p. 135
’13 Souillac  Nat   5,282 p. 456
’13 Limoges   Nat  14,271 p. 810
’12 Cahors    Nat   8,348 p. 19
’12 Limoges   Nat  13,781 p. 77
’12 Brive     Nat  11,130 p. 889

Edison was basketed for five national long distance races in 2014 and he won a prize per 10 in every race.
Sire: Sparky BE05-4391946
He is a true long distance crack and winner of the following prizes:

8th Prov0 Ace Pigeon Long Distance KBDB 2009
Narbonne     Nat   6,330 p. 3
           I.Nat  15,883 p. 4
Brive        Nat  17,456 p. 17
Narbonne     Nat   7,156 p. 22
           I.Nat  14,505 p. 28
Vierzon      Prov  7,030 p. 32

Sparky comes from Klein Vechterke BE98-4212670 (a son of Vechter x Zus Flamingo of a daughter of Bjorn) x Moeder Cisero BE99-4525040; Cisero won a 1st Prov. Cahors 747 p. (she is a full sister of Talis, 1st Prov. La Souterraine 5,520 p… and a daughter of Super x Donna of daughter Bjorn).
Dam: Moeder Edison BE09-4215695
Originates from the loft of Michael Rodts (Watervliet) from his supercrack and stock sire Bordeaux 00-2063196 – winner of a 1st + 2nd Prov. Bordeaux – x Daughter Coby BE03-4135730, a direct hen of Chris Hebberecht.
Click here for his full pedigree

-Deserteur BE09-4170454

’14 Pau        Nat  1,910 p. 5
             I.Nat  8,295 p. 12
’14 St.Vincent Nat  3,240 p. 220
             I.Nat 11,368 p. 825
’14 Perpignan  Nat  6,248 p. 526
             I.Nat 17,971 p. 1391
’13 St.Vincent Nat  3,738 p. 34
             I.Nat 10,907 p. 100
’13 Perpignan  Nat  5,613 p. 323
             I.Nat 15,106 p. 646
’12 Marseille  Nat  3,245 p. 125
             I.Nat 11,244 p. 366 etc.

Sire: Euro Diamond Junior DV06720-07-967
A direct H. & Dr. H.P. Brockamp from the amazing breeder Euro Diamond DV06720-02-537, (1st Olympiad Pigeon Marathon, 1st Nat. Carcassonne 2,719 p. & 2nd Intnat. 10,323 p., 3rd Nat. Perpignan 1,452 p., 4th Nat. Bergerac 1,320 p.) x Sister Mistral DV06720-05-169 (a full sister of Mistral, 2nd Olympiad Pigeon marathon).
Dam: Mother Ian BE04-4437279
A super class breeding hen for Chris Hebberecht, and a dam of Ian BE08-4130458 (21st Nat. Souillac 7,760 p. ’12, 49th Nat. Montauban 6,822 p. ’12, 82nd Nat. Brive 8,331 p. ’13, 97th Nat. Tulle 5,976 p. ’14 etc.) and Diamond (1st Tulle 196 p. and 13th Nat. 8,323 p.). She is a daughter of Pancho BE99-4262210 (1st Prov and 2nd Nat. Ace Pigeon and a grandson of Bjorn) x Moeder Ambiorix BE95-4611489 (Ambiorix won a 19th Nat. Barcelona 12,998 p. and 307th Nat. Barcelona 11,802 p.).

A national top class fancier for years

Chris Hebberecht has always focused on top quality. He knows this is the best way to become a successful fancier and to be one of the country’s best long distance lofts season after season. It was his father Octaaf who showed him the way by providing a solid pigeon breed which Chris could continue to expand. Chris enabled the Hebberecht breed to become an international player in the long and the extreme long distance, and he is not intending on losing his status. In fact he is still trying to expand and to further strengthen his pigeon family, which is his main goal for the future.

Click here for the best results of 2014