Theo Medze - Elden (NL)
Theo (60) started as a small child keeping a few pigeons in a case on the balcony of his parental house. Today he has kept homing pigeons for over fifty years and is a member of the strongest pigeon club of Arnhem: the P.V. Elden. This club numbers about 20 flying lofts. Theo takes care of the pigeons and his wife Marjo does the entire pigeon administration and puts the news on the web site.
Theo is really pleased she does, as he hasn't completely mastered the computer yet!
The lofts are situated in the attic of the garage and of the ajoining shed. He chose for this option, because he didn't want to have garden lofts any longer. In the attic every square inch is put to full use for the pigeons. The entrances of the adult pigeons face South and those of the young ones face West.
These lofts consist of three modest parts. One part is used for a maximum of 40 youngsters, one part is reserved for twenty widowers and one part is set aside for eight breeding couples. The compartments are equipped with extraction fans, for much needed ventilation. The entire loft is small but cosey. This is a place where the pigeons feel at home and are at ease, which is very important. The pigeons are housed on grids. Theo cleans the lofts twice a day.
Theo has built his present stock with direct descendants from the pigeons of Ad Schaerlaeckens from Baarle Nassau, Jos Leurissen from Ulicoten, Louis van Loon from Poppel, and via Cor van Gestel, the care taker of Jos de Klak, the "Klaks" came to Arnhem.
Whenever Theo takes in new stock he usually buys late youngsters. They have to at least surpass the quality of his own pigeons, and also for the new comers the rule goes: "Miss out on the best 20% three times and you're out". Theo only races the speed flights: short distance, middle distance, young pigeons and after season-flights.
Theo doesn't have "breeding pigeons", as they don't exist he says. Theo rather speaks of pigeons from which is being bred. Theo breeds from the bought pigeons and from his own bred proven race pigeons. Theo cross mates the above mentioned strains. The pigeons are put together in couples around February. He doesn't think it will pay to start breeding earlier. He has more success with offspring from the later nests. He considers winter offspring of lesser quality. Theo breeds about thirty youngsters for his own use every year.
Flying system After season-flights
After finishing the middle distance flights in July Theo has left his racing pigeons together for nesting. In the after season-flights, consisting of 7 flights, Theo only races the cocks. The cocks race from different states of nesting as the breeding couples don't lay their eggs all at the same time. The first chicks stay with the nesting pigeons until after the last flight. If at some point certain cocks are less successful during the after season-flights, Theo will rest them and put in a few late cocks in their place. Theo will some times try to extra motivate the cocks by taking their hens away the day before putting them in their baskets.
The widowers are not dimmed nor illuminated. Theo doesn't find it easy to appoint nominated pigeons, but this season he had a very consistent pigeon in "de Bles 730", which helped him to win the first Championship After season-flights appointed from his department. He bathes his pigeons once a week (usually on Sundays) in water with some kitchen salt.
Feeding system pigeons after season-flights
The pigeons are being fed with a mixture, which Theo puts together himself from 50% flight mixture and 50% purification. Theo doesn't feed one specific brand, but lately has been using Mariman mixtures. The pigeons are never fed upward from highly digestible food on Sunday to heavy duty seed on Thursday, but do get candy seed regularly. Fresh grit and vitamineral are always at the pigeons' disposal. After a very heavy flight they get some thing extra. This consists of a little dextrose in the water. In the past multiple by-products have been tried out, but never gave the results Theo was looking for. Nesting pigeons are fed twice a day with seed in the food containers in their nesting compartments.
Training of the pigeons
The cocks fly twice a day for about an hour, that is from 07.30 to 08.30 hours and from 16.00 to 17.00 hours. During the after season-flights the pigeons are not taken out for training flights. Theo will however do so if the pigeons' performance is going down, in that case he will release them a short distance from home (about 15 kilometers).
The youngsters are being prepared for the flights by taking them out for about five times and after that they are sent along with the training flights of the region. To select a pigeon Theo doesn't consider build or descendance but goes by results only. Young pigeons can only stay if they have ended a race within the best 100. Theo would rather give a chance to a late chick than to a youngster that hasn't ended any race within 10% of the listed top.
For the breeding season Theo will give his pigeons medication against pigeon cancer (Ronidazole 10%) by Dr. Hans van der Sluis. During the flight season the pigeons are treated against pigeon cancer every Sunday and no fussing about! At Winter time the pigeons don't get medicated.
Theo took 10 pigeons to the last flight of the after season-flights. It was the 05-NL-1007744, his fourth designated pigeon, that returned to the loft at 15:08.19 hours as first of all.
The "744" made a speed of 1312 meter per minute and won the region victory against 1757 adult pigeons.
The "744" is a cock that was raced on a large chick.
The father of the "744" was bought from Jos Leuris (Ulicoten) and the mother came from the strain of Ad Schaerlaeckens.
The "744" won the second victory of his career. Theo really had things coming his way with his pigeons: 1,41,59,80,83,95,100 and he won with 9 out of 10 designated pigeons. First class results!
In region 4 the 05-NL-1007730 became 1rst ace pigeon speed with 16 prizes and 1rst ace pigeon after season-flights with 7 prizes. In the after season-flights in region 4 the next pigeon championships were won:
" 1rst with the 05-NL-1007730 (7 prizes)
" 2nd with the 03-NL-2010604 (6 prizes)
" 3rd with the 05-NL-1007744 (7 prizes)
" 9th with the 06-NL-1852543 (7 prizes)
With speed flights in region 4 the next pigeon championships were won:
" 1rst with the 05-NL-1007730 (16 prizes)
" 2nd with the 03-NL-2010604 (15 prizes)
" 13th with the 05-NL-1007744 (15 prizes)
Other people having good results with pigeons from Theo
Theo Hendriks, Groesbeek; Joop Beumer, Wehl; Korf-Wakker, Urk; Theo te Marvelde, Haaksbergen; Mannes Pol, Ede; Bruis, Ede; de Vries, Heiligerlee; Dick Smorenburg, Velp; Lamers, Heteren .
Many other pigeon fanciers found their way to Theo Medze.
Yearling and adult pigeons are being assessed by their results only. They can stay if they have missed less than 3 times in a row and are amongst the championship pigeons.
Goals for the future
Try to stay healthy himself and remain amongst the champions. Furthermore Theo will continue to strive for keeping the base small and above all breed with vision for the future.
I was a guest of a family, where both husband and wife take pleasure in the pigeon sport and whose opinion is that in a club the team spirit always has to come first. Theo thinks that the members of the board have to be valuated much more for all the work they do for the club members, and if not, at some point there will be no one left to do the job. Theo and Marjo, I wish you great success for the future. Joep Bodelier Translated with explicit permission of the author by Marijke Sliphorst.