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Gyselbrecht-Leliaert, Knesselare (BE): the new duo which will soon experience their baptism of fire

Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht and Frederik Leliaert, 2 men with honours lists to look up to, decided last winter to join forces. We went to take a look behind the scenes, and gauge the cherished ambitions!

Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht stems from a real pigeon family, a family with a rich tradition and even richer filled honours list, as you all know! The name ‘Gyselbrecht’ is a name with international resonance and international references with pigeons which have ensured exceptional top performances worldwide.

Frederik Leliaert discovered the pigeon sport when his father found a wounded pigeon and gave it to Frederik, who took care of it as best he could. He was then bitten by the pigeon bug… although Frederik’s grandfather also used to keep pigeons. In his ‘youthful teenage years’ the pigeon sport took second place… the definitive start is seen by Frederik as 2004, when he could buy a loft from sport friend and fellow countryman Dees van Kerkhoven… who had to stop with the pigeon sport for personal reasons, and had to find somebody to take his pigeons. Frederik took over… and in addition to the loft he also took 25 pigeons back to Aardenburg. From then on he did his best and Frederik became more (deadly) serious about the pigeons!  He received a fantastic legacy from Dees without having to do anything himself, so he now had to go for the full 100% . Successes were soon coming … even more… it became a ‘success story’ that the majority of fanciers can only dream about !

3 x 1° Nationa within 4 years
The majority of fellow sportsmen under us have dreamt of being able to stand on the highest podium by a national race… to see all their effort rewarded with a ‘national victory’. Unfortunately this is usually not the case. That’s why it is even more remarkable that Frederik Leliaert, with his minimal loft consistency… has booked no less than 3 x 1° National victories with 4 years, wherefrom a 1° International victory! We have listed them for you 

1° International Bordeaux 7.213 p.  2007 with ‘Dees’, and 1° National  against 3.992 p.
1° National Narbonne 3.816 p. 2008 with ‘Dees’
1° National Bordeaux  3.835 p. 2010 with ‘Horus’ (a full brother of ‘Dees’ )

If we add ‘Aton’ to this list, another ‘full brother’ of ‘Dees’… with last year a 7° Nat Narbonne 3.849 p., and a 104° Nat Bordeaux 3.835 p. to his name… then we can safely say that Frederik has a wondrous breeding couple in the parents of his ‘Dees’… in commercial circles they call less a ‘golden breeding couple’! Is it surprising that Frederik was in his element with the pigeons he received from Dees van Kerkhoven?  But that is not everything…

Joint breeding with his sport friend Eduard Ulijn from Waterlandkerkje… with whom Frederik always basketted his pigeons in Terneuzen for the  ZLU races…  produced a real ‘wonder talent’. Without doubt one of the best and strongest yearlings for the ‘grand distance’ which every flew the skies, namely  ‘wonderboy’

-‘Eduardo’ NL09-3909177

 1° Best ZLU-pigeon WHZB 2010
11° Nat. Narbonne ZLU  3.850 p. (904 Km)
17° Nat. Tarbes ZLU    2.950 p. (931 Km)
94° Nat. Bordeaux ZLU  3.835 p. (769 Km)

He stems from a cock from Eduard Ulijn (hence the name)… the ‘Son James Bond’, stemming out the sort Charles Becue from the West-Flemish Eernegem in Belgium. This ‘Son James Bond’ was ‘Extreme Middle Distance Champion’ as a yearling, after which he directly moved to the Ulijn breeding stables… where he was coupled with a hen from Frederik Leliaert, indeed… a ‘Daughter Dees’… with super crack ‘Eduardo’ as the result, which was crowned  in 2010 as ‘1° Best ZLU-pigeon WHZB’, in other words the best ‘extreme long distance pigeon’ of the Netherlands! The euphoria concerning his ‘national title’ was short lived! A few weeks ago ‘Eduardo’(which had now been moved to Knesselare) died from injuries sustained during the daily training from the loft. A ‘clap’ which was completely unexpected! Frederik is still emotional when he thinks about the ‘apple of his eye’… and that tragic moment when he found him dead in his box, succumbed to his injuries. In the meantime that couple… the parents of ‘Eduardo’… were paired again and once again new descendants reside in the loft, hopefully including a new ‘Eduardo’.

A man sometimes has to experience very bad things before he can reach the top… Frederik has gathered all his courage and is ready to fight again in the ‘grand distance’. It won’t be from Aardenburg on Dutch soil, but from Knesselare under the banner  Gyselbrecht-Leliaert!


The 3 national victories (wherefrom 1 international) did not escape the notice of the ‘sales-team’ at PiPa. There were not only reports about the national victories of Frederik on PiPa, they naturally inquired as to whether or not the ‘national victors’ were for sale, or possibly children from them or their parents!  As a result of this Frederik brought a pigeon to Knesselare now and then… and the first contact and discussions with Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht took place! It turned out that Dr. Carlo didn’t have enough time to concentrate fully on his pigeons, due to his busy work schedule, and certainly not for the ‘racing team’ which had to complete their training on time, and be fed and cared for. Pity… especially seeing the quality present in the lofts, which through this couldn’t give full ‘return’. On the other side Dr. Carlo also learned that Frederik Leliaert was a man with plenty of ambition… and with 3 national victories within 4 years to his name, he could be the perfect man to take care of the Gyselbrecht pigeons. Eventually Frederik was asked to become ‘loft manager’ of the Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht breeding and racing lofts… an offer that  Frederik didn’t have to think about twice, but saw rather as a dream come true… to make his hobby his work! The new duo Gyselbrecht-Leliaert was immediately christened, their aim is and remains… shining in the national long distance and international ‘grand distance’!

With this in mind Frederik brought his ‘elite forces’ to Knesselare, led by ‘Eduardo’, ‘Horus’, ‘Aton’… and a few beautiful youngsters from 2010… which were all over tested in Knesselare.  This is Frederik Leliaert down to a tee… who is primarily a ‘racer’, and puts aside commercial interests. Perform first… than the rest will follow, and so it should be! The ‘Dees’ was a perfect example of this, as after his international victory from Bordeaux he simply remained in the Leliaert-racing lofts… to once again bring another national victory to Aardenburg the following year, and add a 1° National Narbonne to his honours list! Frederik wasn’t tempted by the enormous amounts of money offered for his aforementioned ‘class pigeons’, but wants to carry on racing whatever the cost… and with this storm the national competitions in Belgium from Knesselare! That is why it is such a shame what happened to ‘Eduardo’.

As a pure ‘racer’, Frederik is someone who likes his pigeons to pay accordingly… and therefore tests his pigeons to the full… something which has given him the nickname ‘Executioner from Zeeland’. We let him speak for himself :

If possible, my pigeons are basketted every week up to say races of 500 Km. The benchmark for this is good training during the week. By the basketting for Barcelona I often heard said that the pigeons are ready for this top classic once they have 1.000 training kilometres in the wings… well, mine often have 2.500 Km in the wings before leaving for Spain !

To which we fired the question: Extra training, extra kilometres… does that also mean extra feed ?

The pigeons are always given a ‘full dish’ here… and after 45 minutes I go back to the loft and remove anything left. The basis feed I use is ‘Superwinner’ from Mariman to which I add ‘P40-granules’ and a certain ‘racing mixture’…a percentage which increases as the day of basketting approaches… and some extra ‘nibbling seeds’ as ‘dessert’! For the rest nothing ‘fancy’… just performing! Pigeons which are healthy and train well… can take on a lot, much more than people think! What I do know is… that the more time you spend with your pigeons, the better the return… that’s my experience. And pedigrees… I don’t look at them, they don’t even interest me! Here the ‘basket’ is the selector… basket them a lot, race them a lot… and then pick the best. You can sometimes be nicely surprised! It is only when the ‘basket’ has done its work, when the performances are there… that I take a look at the pedigree of the pigeon in question !

As Frederik himself says… when they are healthy! Is there a certain scheme followed or are health and condition supporting products used ?

I have used the products from Belgica De Weerd for years, that means ‘B.S.’ the evening of the homecoming, if necessary a day with vitamins in the drinking water, followed by ‘apple vinegar’ and Belgasol alternatively, depending on the racing programme being followed. The day before basketting there is always WN-rood on the programme… followed by Belgasol on the day of basketting, and that’s about it. I think some fanciers make it too complicated for themselves .

And the youngsters ?

The Belgian programme is entirely different from in the Netherlands. I’ll have to find my way in it. The intention is to train the youngsters well, give them enough experience for the future. How far they will come, or where we end up… I have no idea! If you ask me again next year, then I could formulate a clearer answer. What is important to me… is the ‘natural health’ of the youngsters. A pigeon which is ‘huddled up, or has poor droppings is followed closely, without being removed from the loft. After all, that stimulates the immunity of the pigeons in the same loft. But after a few days (2 to no more than 3) I have to see improvement… or the pigeon concerned is removed immediately. If there are one or more health problems threatening the entire loft… than I consult the vet… but I don’t have to go far, as Dr. Carlo is a real ‘veteran’, someone with a wealth of veterinary experience! So I don’t have to worry on that front, we can now follow things closely together every day .

To the ‘extreme long distance’

 The preference of both Dr. Carlo Gyselbrecht and Frederik Leliaert lies in the races of the ‘grand distance’, in other words the ‘international’ classics! The breeder and old winner of the 1° International Barcelona 1995 and 2° National Barcelona 1999… coupled with a man which won 3 x 1° National (including 1 x 1° Internat.) over the last four seasons… you can then certainly expect the ‘spark’ will fly and result in ‘fireworks’ in the ‘international’ competitions… in the ‘marathons’ of the skies. The ‘class’ present, coupled with the experience of the ‘pigeon ingenuity’ of both men guarantees this, and definitely opens perspectives. The first results can be expected during the coming summer months, although of course they will carefully build on a racing team which can compete with the best of our land at all levels over the next few seasons! Or as Frederik so nicely puts it… basket plenty, race and select… with the ‘basket’ as the only selector!  Success men !