The start of the combination
When Dirk Leekens decided to sell his pigeon collection in 2011, everyone agreed that the sport would lose a great champion. Dirk found he was not competitive enough at national level, due to the location of his loft, not due to the quality of his pigeon breed. He was discussing this with other fanciers during a championship celebration, and his good friend and long distance fancier Mark Bosmans, who had joined the conversation, told him he would achieve much better results at national level if he would be racing from the province of Limburg. When Mark was told that Dirk Leekens was thinking of leaving the sport, he moved heaven and earth to form a combination. Dirk accepted the invitation, and he decided to breed a round of eggs from some of his best pigeons from Beverlo. Mark got rid of his long distance pigeons, and this was the start of the Bosmans-Leekens combination.
They started in 2012 with the bloodlines of “Kanibalen” Dirk Van Dyck, Pros Roosen, the famous top breeder “Lucky Luke” (which had not been sold because he was already 15 years old), “Triple Olympiade” of Etienne Stassen and “De Speedo” of Mark’s father Willy Bosmans, 1st Europe Cup 2011. The combination bred a lot of pigeons to prepare for 2013, in which they already won five prizes in the young birds’ competition.
Dirk and Mark showing their Miss Limburg
The two fancier started the season with 30 cocks and 46 hens raced in total widowhood. The 16 additional hens really managed to motivate the others, because some cocks could have two different partners. One of the lofts, which also housed Miss Limburg, was paired on 25 November and they brooded for a week, in preparation for the season. The hens are usually raced every weekend, to avoid them from pairing with each other. The combination had high expectations for 2014, and they managed to achieve their goals. They have already won 16 first prizes, including three victories in the Groot Gewestelijk region and a first provincial prize from Gien against 4271 yearlings, as the fastest of 6574 pigeons. The highlight of the season was of course their national victory from Châteauroux against 5901 yearlings, which was won in a remarkable way. The cocks and hens were kept together after the race from La Souterraine on 12 July, to race the remainder of the season from the nest. When the pigeons were basketed for Châteauroux, the best three hens had been brooding for ten days, and that is how Miss Limburg took the national first prize. She now has a bright future ahead as a breeding pigeon. She will be paired to Triple Olympiade of Etienne Stassen, which will be a spectacular combination. One thing is for sure: there will be a lot more to come from the combination of Bosmans-Leekens.
Vleugel van Miss Limburg
Caretaking, nutrition and medication
The pigeons are taken care of by Marc most of the time. The hens have two one hour training flights with the flag every day. The cocks have only one flight per day, while the young birds are trained at 9:30 in the morning. Dirk takes care of the administrative side of this loft. Dirk selects only the very best pigeons based on their results in the races. He thinks this is much more important than their pedigrees or the pigeons’ appearance.
Marc and Dirk have a fixed system when it comes to feeding the pigeons: they provide a Recup mixture on Saturday and Sunday after a race, and the pigeons get a Briljant mixture from Monday to Thursday. Some peanuts and sweet seeds are added to the diet every Wednesday. Linseed oil is added to the feeding bowl regularly as well.
The vet Ferdy Vandersanden is consulted in case of serious health problems, and the fanciers follow the schedule of Belgia De Weerd. The pigeons are dosed a Belgamagix tablet every three weeks, while respiratory problems are treated with Belga White. In addition, some Entrocur Recupforte is added to the feed; Belgasol is added to the pigeons’ drinking bowl. Eye drops are administered after every race, and the fanciers have their own microscope, to check the pigeons for trichomoniasis. It seems the fanciers from Beverlo leave nothing to chance!
The head of Miss Limburg