Jellema Jelle: "Winner of 'Nationale fondspiegel' Netherlands 2006 category 8"

Jellema Jelle has a splendid season 2007 and peaks with 1st National Poitiers

13.01, 13.11, 13.20, 13.22, 13.24, 13.29, 13.30, 13.33, 13.34, 13.41,....
These are not the arrivals of an ordinary middle distance race but the arrivals of Bergerac, about 1000 kilometers away of the loft of Jelle Jellema from Steggerda ! National sector 4 from 3432 pigeons, Jelle got the following result:
7, 16, 24, 26, 28, 36, 41, 44, 46, 63, 92 and so on (23 prices out of 34).  These were not the only superb results in 2006:
Ruffec (870 km) 14/07/06 sector 4: 14, 15, 30, 31, 33, 45, 45, 51, 55, 56, 60, 65, 68, 69, 70, 71, ... against 3570 pigeons (34/44).
Perigueux (940 km) 01/07/2006 sector 4: 14, 40, 81, 117, 125, ... against 2569 pigeons (16/25)
St Vincent (1160 km) 24/06/06 sector 4: 7, 9, 14, 27, 158, 169, 170 and 210 against 1373 pigeons (8/8)
München (646 km) 05/08/06 sector 4: 12, 17, 26, 41, 62, 72, 80, ... against 1824 pigeons (18/23)
Jelle obtains the following championships in 2006:
5th champion “Internationaal Fondspel Noord” (on 5 long distance races)
In sector 4: 4th not designated, 7th  designated and 4th ace pigeon (Nirvana)
Friese fondclub: 2de not designated, 3de designated and 2nd ace pigeon (Nirvana)

In 2007 on the first long distance race from Limoges, Jelle immediately scores big time: in sector 4 against 5239 pigeons: 3, 12, 14, 18, 21, 22, 42, 43, 64, 85, 94,  ...  (45/78)
And he continues in this way:
St Vincent 16/06/07 sector 4: 24, 48, 59, 61, 120, 127, 142, 234, 272, 313 against 1313 pigeons (10/13)
Pau 23/06/07 national ZLU 20, 121, 277 and 511 against 2344 pigeons (4/7)
Perigueux 29/06/07 Friese fondclub 1290 pigeons: 17,25,48,62,82, 126 (11/17)
Poitiers 07/07/07 sector 4 against 4780 pigeons: 1, 49, 103, 252, 290, 293, 299, 301, 341 ,...(19/33), a national victory you could see coming and is truly deserved.

Showing these impressive results, it is time to introduce Jelle.  I got the pleasure to visit the loft “Jellema” on a Friday morning beginning of May.  I don’t speak about the loft “Jelle Jellema” since Jelle’s father, Ultsje, handles the birds.  The lofts are still his parents’ place. Jelle himself lives one hour driving away
Each Friday Jelle spends a full day in Steggerda to take care of his pigeons while the mother of Jelle baby-sits Jelle’s children.  As you see the whole Jellema family contributes to the successes!

Arriving in Steggerda and after the first introduction and a hot cup of coffee Jelle proposes to go to the lofts and see some pigeons.  We first go to the youngsters loft. They are just weaned and have their first bath. They live in an aviary that is closed at the windy site.  I start to ask a lot of questions now.

Jelle, how many youngsters do you wean and what do you do with them?”

“We have around 80 youngsters for our own use.  However racing them is not our first priority, we have to make choices.  They are weaned beginning of May and have their first training flight about two months later (100 km).  They learn most if they have to find their way in a big crowd.  They get the obligatory vaccination against Paramyxo and are vaccinated against Paratyphus.  We also try them on a race of around 420 km. ”

Aren’t they already moulting at that time?”

“Certainly, some are almost completely bald.  But we have the firm idea they must have this experience to race them on long distance races as yearling.”
Let’s leave it to this for the loft of the youngsters.  Racing them is not a priority, so no further questions. 
Now we go to the breeding loft, the working area of Jelle.  About 12 breeding couples and some feeding couples live here.  The loft has wooden grids and an aviary. So the breeders can go outside at any time.  Jelle shows me his main breeders. This gives me a good impression on the “Jellema pigeon”.  I would describe them as small, strongly built, very tight, and soft in hand.  Jelle also shows me some recently purchased Brugemann pigeons through Derksen from Almelo.  I can pick them out easily.

Jelle could you tell us a bit more about the history and the building up of the current Jellema strain?

“Of course we started with pigeons from Piter Beerda from Ter Idzard.  Later we added pigeons from Akkermans (Nieuw-Vossemeer) and two breeding cocks (brothers 584 and 585) of K.J. Dijkstra (Wapserveen).  The offspring of these pigeons coupled with our own strain are the basis of the current Jellema loft.  Currently we have two main lines: on the one hand the “Fondkoppel”, that’s the  Bergerac cock NL97-2229689 (Beerda ) x “De Blauwe Dame NL99-5974843” (Beerda x Akkermans) and on the other hand the breeding cock “Zwart Goud” (Akkermans originating Ko Van Dommelen).  When coupling these two we often breed super birds.  Orion and Saffier, son and daughter of “Zwart Goud”, are both on the breeding loft and give superb offspring with children from the “Fondkoppel”.  For example Orion, a son of “Zwart Goud”, flies amongst others 6th Nat. Bergerac '04 out of 4588 p, 7th Nat. St. Vincent '06 out of 1373 p, 48th Nat. Ruffec '02 out of 5132 p, 51st Nat. Ruffec '06 out of 3570 p.  Coupled to a daughter of the “Fondkoppel” he is already father of 12th Nat. Munchen 1824 p, 14th Nat. Ruffec '06 3570 p, 14th sector 4 Perigueux 2569 p, 24th Nat. Bergerac '06 3432 p.  Orion’s most famous son is Nirvana, our best flyer in 2006 with 14th Perigueux '06 2569 p, 24th Nat. Bergerac '06 3432 p and 2nd ace pigeon in the sector.  As you can see the coupling of those two lines has fantastic results”.
“So you apply in-breeding at the Jellema loft?” 
“Yes indeed, but only with the best flyers.  Currently I do it mainly with the “Saffier”.  This daughter of “Zwart Goud” flew e.g. 1st Ruffec '03 Sector 4 out of 3285 p, 6th NPO Brive '04 1502 p, 24th Nat. Bergerac '04 4588 p, 29th NPO Brive '03 1484 p, and so on.  She is also the mother of Barabas and Fira, 8th and 1st ace pigeon Sector 11 NPO.  Saffier is coupled with sons of her. These youngsters are used to couple against other strains, being offspring of the Fondkoppel or other strains as the Brugemann pigeons.  In this way I know immediately the value of foreign pigeons.  As a consequence we don’t have a lot of patience. If youngsters do not cope with the expectations the whole strain is eliminated.  You know long distance racers speak about patience and so on. I can tell you, I do not agree.”

After the breeding loft, we finally go to the loft housing the flyers.  The loft is about 10 meters long and is oriented to the southeast.  There are 4 compartments connected to each other so they can go easily from the one to another.  In the corridor there are tobacco stems to nest with. About 50 couples live on this loft.

Jelle, what a pleasant atmosphere here. Can you briefly explain what a good loft is about?
“Of course but first of all this: a good loft is very important. Almost as important as good pigeons.  A lot of medication is used on a bad loft and medication means no condition.  Everybody knows a loft must be dry and must have good ventilation.  The main question, however, is to get such a one?  We use the open box principle: everything is closed with an opening in the front that can be enlarged in times of extreme heat.  Another important factor is to keep the differences in temperature as small as possible.  That’s why the walls here are very thick and we have double glass windows.  Because the pigeons live here on wooden grids, the loft is very dry.”

Ok clear.  How do you race them?”
“They fly on nest. On long distance races the whole couple is raced.  After the season they stay together till 1st of March.  Only then they are separated to be coupled again after two weeks.”

In winter they stay together?”
“Yes indeed.  They are separated in March and trained at short and middle distance races beginning of May.  The yearlings have to perform on two or three long distance races.  If they do well, they can stay.  Mainly flying a top result is important in the evaluation.”

Don’t you have a problem with training pigeons flying on nest?”
“Not at all. First of all they are trained in winter as well.  A bird of prey kills one from time to time.  From May on all pigeons train together.  My father takes them one by one from the nest. An intensive work I can tell you.”

And how are they fed?”
“Very simple, we give them everything they want.  The last 5 to 6 days before basketing they are fed 3 times a day.  We give them a mixture of 3 kinds together with the more fat containing GARVO High Energy.  They can eat as much they want. What’s left goes to the breeders or the youngsters.“

And additives?”
“Not at all.  However, different kinds of grit and minerals are important in my opinion. It’s important to pay attention to the smallest detail when feeding. For example we always give the hen a separate pot with food before basketing. Why? Because by the time the hen leaves her nest, the cocks already ate the best things. ”

Jelle, how does the medical picture looks like?”
“We give them the obligatory vaccination against Paramyxo and a vaccination against Paratyphus because I believe it is good for the general immunity.  We give something against worms in April and they are treated against louses two weeks later.  Three weeks before the first long distance race they get a 4-day cure against Trichomonas.  And that’s all.” 

So only once for Trichomonas? And Ornithosis not at all?
“Yes indeed.  I’m sure using medication during the racing season is very bad for the condition. I investigated some pigeons upon arrival. Some of them had Trichomonas but flew a good result anyway.   Ornithosis is a matter of having good lofts or not”. 

I read on your website the story of Barabas.  It is a special pigeon right?”
“Yes, indeed.  He has very intensive eyes like his mother Saffier.  He was born in October 2003.  The purpose was to keep him for breeding.  He was coupled to his mother in 2004 and in April 2005 he went straight away to a race of 200 km.  Three months later he scored 4 on 4 on long distance races and had become 8th ace pigeon with 14th National St Vincent and 28th national Brive.  His hen is Fira, also a daughter of Saffier.  She flew 18th Nat. Bergerac '05, 3680 p, 134th NPO Ruffec '05, 1981 p and is with Barabas already parent of the 56th Nat. Ruffec '06, 3570 p.
Another very special hen is Dide from 2001.  She was on the breeding loft in 2005 but she raced again in 2006 and 2007.  Some of her results: 5th Nat Bergerac '03 2898 p, 7e NPO Brive '03 2903 p, 12th NPO Ruffec '04 2234 p, 17th NPO Ruffec '03 1936 p, 92nd Nat. Bergerac '06 3432 p.  Dide is also mother of Jesse who won the 1st NPO Poitiers 4780 p.”
“Another thing I read on your website was the 2006 Limoges story.  Could you explain to us?”
“Of course, we had a very bad race in 2006 from Limoges.  As a consequence we held a crisis meeting.  What had happened and what was going wrong?  We made a list with the 10 most important items and talked them over one by one.  First of all, do the pigeons have enough class?  Yes, they have proven it the previous years.  However, we eliminated some because there were more pigeons on the loft compared to the years before.  The training was increased from 1 hour to 1.5 hour.  The lofts? A tree had grown 5 meters higher in the meantime, so it was cut.  The windows were cleaned because the layer of dust had become too thick.  The feeding? We started to feed more fat again before basketing.  I don’t know which of these changes was the determining factor. I only know we scored 8 on 8 on St Vincent and started with the 7th and 9th national sector 4.”

No better way to conclude this story than with this last paragraph – a typical story of the Jellema loft.  No ordinary pigeons but high quality birds, no ordinary fanciers but highly ambitious people who turn results into extraordinary results.  Jelle and Últsje, thanks a lot for the interesting day and the interview!