Add to this a few crackers so as the 2° International Dax 11.808 p. in 2000, 2° National Carcassonne 3.932 p. ’06, winner ‘Euro Diamond Pigeon in 2000 and 2006… and you will immediately see that this is not just any old ‘extreme long distance topper’… but a real ‘crack’ in his profession! The colony of sport friend Andre Colbrandt is known in the catacombs of our pigeon sport as the ‘branch’ Roger Florizoone. Roger and Andre were very close friends for years, real bosom buddies… they had come to know each other professionally. Andre used to be a foreman by the firm Pieters, which had a fast contract by the Belgian Railways for all the ground work. André hired the cranes, trucks and other materials from a certain Roger Florizoone from Nieuwpoort. This way, he didn’t only come in contact with Roger Florizoone, but also with his pigeons. It will be no surprise to anyone then that descendants out the very best that were housed in Nieuwpoort… also moved to the Poelstraat in Bottelare. Even more, Andre had as it were the privilege of being able to lavishly draw on the ‘rich breeding well’ in Nieuwpoort, with the logical result that his colony is built up for about 90% with Florizoone blood. The ‘Vlaamse Leeuw’ (self 2° Intnat Dax ’00), the absolute stock father of the Andre Colbrandt, colony is the best example of this! Amongst others there were also 4 direct children of the legendary 'Witneus', 3 children from "Primus 1", 1 brother of "Dax 2" (also father of the super cracks "Beoni 1" + "Beoni 2" ), 2 daughters out the 'Barcelona' (1° Nat Barcelona '99), even the de 3° internat. Dax dwelt in the breeding lofts in Bottelare… all ‘icons’ at the time, which gave the name Roger Florizoone ‘world fame’.
In his starting years Andre Colbrandt spent hours with “extreme long distance celebrities’ so as professor Van Grembergen (from the former success duo De Raedt-Van Grembergen)… who he bumped into in the basketting centre ‘het Zulleke' in Ghent, and with whom he later became good friends… and through whom he also got to know Andre Vanbruaene… then of course he later got to know Roger Florizoone. Andre Colbrandt built up his strain with the pigeons from these 3 celebrities from our international pigeon sport. One of the most important lessons that he learned from his hours of talking to the aforementioned stars was… that success in the pigeon sport… is based on ‘top quality’! That’s why Andre is still ‘awake’ in this respect, because in addition to pigeons from the 3 aforementioned grandmasters, over the last few seasons Andre has also obtained reinforcements from Etienne Devos (line Rivaldo-Ronaldo-Kleine Didi), from international Barcelona winner Danny Vagenende (sister 1° Intnat Barcelona), Staf Haex, Roger Debusschere (daughter ‘Etterbak’), De Jaeger-De Vijlder…in addition to 3 direct Roger Florizoons (2 out the 1° Nat Barcelona, and 1 out the Blauwe Montauban’) which were recently obtained. New acquisitions are usually given 2 years to prove themselves… yes, I really want to see results fairly quickly, says Andre… because I have never had the intention of spending my time on ‘many’ pigeons, but on ‘good pigeons’! Three years ago I sold my entire breeding loft via PiPa, since then I have housed my breeding loft with real ‘toppers’ coming from my own racing loft… the ‘Vlaamse Leeuw’ is and remains the leader, in other words the stock father of the team, and now there are also the super cracks ‘Beoni I’, ‘Beoni II’, the ‘Jonge Leeuw’… and of course the ‘Geschelpte Diamant’ and his wondrous son the ‘Blauwe Tik’, the brand new 1° Nat. Ace bird Super Grand distance KBDB 2010! At the moment they form the basis for the colony consisting of 10 breeding couples, 34 widowers (18 o.b. + 16 yl), and 80 youngsters are also ringed for my own loft. The current standard-bearer is without doubt
-The ‘Blauwen Tik’ B07-4344041
1° National Ace bird ‘Super Grand distance’ KBDB 2010
1° Ace bird ‘Perpignan’ over 2 years 2009-‘10
’10 Tarbes 189 p. 1 Prov 861 p. 3 Nat 4.576 p. 11 I.Nat 15.035 p. 23 ’10 Perpignan 185 p. 3 Prov 1.003 p. 8 Nat 6.257 p. 21 I.Nat 15.847 p. 27 ’09 Perpignan 169 p. 1 Prov 1.108 p. 9 Nat 7.364 p. 46 I.Nat 18.354 p. 78 ’09 Brive 475 p. 27 Nat 16.815 p. 855 ’08 St.Vincent 241 p. 18 Nat 8.393 p. 572
He was probably the successor to ‘Beoni II’ who laid down the law in the racing lofts of Andre Colbrandt, until he was moved to the breeding loft last season. His performances include :
-‘Beoni II’ B04-4035076
’09 Cahors Nat 7.347 p. 10 ’08 Marseille Prov 433 p. 1 Nat 4.000 p. 27 I.Nat 13.938 p. 123 ’08 Cahors Nat 5.441 p. 83 ’07 Montauban Nat 6.187 p. 83 ’07 Narbonne Nat 4.664 p. 87
Whoever wants to race the entire international programme with such a small team of widowers, has obviously to divide his pigeons well over the races. We can then also describe Andre as a man with the ‘small basket’ with always 2 to a handful of pigeons in the competition !
Oxygen and more oxygen
If we may emphasise one important aspect by Andre Colbrandt then it is the attention he pays to having enough ‘fresh air’ in the lofts… ‘Oxygen’ is the most important element for an optimal health of the pigeons, says Andre… and it costs nothing! However he regards dust as the greatest enemy of the pigeons. The windows by the widowers consist of a framework with wooden lamellae which cover netting for stopping the wind so that there is extra air and oxygen in the lofts… and this is still the best remedy for head sickness! He further regularly cleans and mops, and of course everything is dried with the burner… still the best form of disinfecting the lofts says Andre.
The game with the youngsters is no aim in itself, they remain in the open aviary for the entire season… where they can develop into a fully-fledged bird until their hearts are content. The widowers also move after the season (Perpignan is traditionally their last race) and have raised a round of late youngsters… to the open aviary until the New Year, where they are given plenty of moult mixture supplemented with corn. You can’t imagine a better oxygen cure… in addition this also fuels the natural resistance, which can only do them good when they are older and remain in the basket for several days and are fed and watered in the basket!
The widowers are normally coupled at the ‘Presentation of Jesus at the Temple’ on the 2nd of February. The old racing pigeons are separated again after brooding for 10 days, there eggs are placed under the yearlings, which then raise the youngsters… which also makes them more attached to their boxes. At the end of March, beginning of April the pigeons are coupled again for a short brood, after which the widowhood can begin. It is important to Andre that trichomonasis is kept under control… which he describes as the ‘mother’ of all illnesses. Andre always uses the ancient but rock solid recipe from Prof. Van Grembergen against ‘tricho’, based on 1 drop in each nostril and/or beak. Before the start of the season and after a race of 3 or 4 days in the basket the pigeons are given 1 drop for 2 days. This happens then 3 or 4 times per season. In the preparatory races up to and including Limoges (former Brive) at the beginning of June, all the pigeons race the same race, then they are divided over the rest of the races from the national long distance calendar, in which normally only two pigeons are basketted. It is only in the closing Perpignan that Andre dares to let loose with his ‘elite’, and brings his best long distance athletes from his loft… almost always with success! The hen is always shown before the race! Andre likes rest and calmness in the lofts… that’s why his widowers are enclosed in their boxes during the day (without food or water). Therefore they are in twilight during the day, the windows are screened so that they can’t see him during the day when he walks in front of the lofts into the garden! In the full season they train twice per day… in the morning for an hour, in the late afternoon for one to one and a half hours as the basketting approaches, and this with the windows closed. If the training isn’t intensive enough then Andre gets out the flag… the better the pigeons train, the better they eat! Long Distance pigeons have to be able to eat their ‘belly full’, says Andre… that’s why they are given plenty of corn. My youngsters are even given up to 80%, my old birds more than 50 to 60%. When they come inside they are served their first corn, and only then is the racing mixture added to the feeding dish. It is so… when they return home they are given sport or racing mixture for the first two days, followed by a mixture of 50% breed and 50% diet, supplemented with corn for a few days. The last 7 or 8 feeds before basketting they are given more and more corn to feed them up . By the daily training around the loft a real fancier should be able to see which pigeons are ready for basketting. Pigeons which are showing signs but are not 100% ready should be kept home for another week… these are the pigeons which run the risk of being lost when entered for the ‘grand distance’! The daily training are a degree or measure of value of the ‘form curve’ of the pigeons, that’s why ‘observation’ is so important here!
The building up of a long distance career
By Andre Colbrandt a long distance career is still outlined as in the distant past… simply because Andre (and his pigeons) is most comfortable with this! The pigeons are allowed to grow until they are adults, they are given the time to ‘ripen’… only then do they have to prove themselves! So as stated earlier, the youngsters reside in an open aviary, where they are given plenty to eat with more than 80% corn + moulting mixture. The young cocks are trained well up to 2 x middle distance, the hens are usually not even trained. As yearlings they are coupled on the 2nd of February in the racing loft and raise a couple of youngsters from their older colleagues in the racing loft. As yearlings they race at least 2 ‘extreme long distance races’ (700-800 Km), calibre St.Vincent or Soustons… in 2011 this will probably be Bordeaux and/or Narbonne. As two year olds they normally race Limoges and Brive + in July another ‘international extreme long distance race’, be it Narbonne or Perpignan. Once they are 3 years old the real long distance career begins and they have to race 3 or 4 national long distance races, wherefrom 2 international ‘grand distance races’! Between these nationals they are usually given at least 2 weeks rest… between the ‘international’ races it is even a minimum of 3 weeks! A system which hasn’t done Andre Colbrandt any harm, proven by his sublime performances in the long distance and grand distance especially! Andre Colbrandt is a real ‘phenomenon’ in the international competitions, a real topper… and this with only a handful of pigeons! Doesn’t that say enough ?
A selection out the performance list 2010 at national and international level
Brive 534 p. 9-11-21-23-26-28-52-57-58… (12/20) Nat 16.815 p.418-505-855-866-938-958… Cahors 199 p. 23-27 (2) Nat 8.651 p. 764-808 (2) Montauban 225 p. 41-46 (2) Nat 6.654 p. 1288-1504 (2) Orange Pro 556 p. 63 (2) Nat 4.466 p. 362 (2) Barcelona 335 p. 96 (3) Limoges 454 p. 23-76-82-150 (8) Derby 311 p. 15-49-52-96 (8) Limoges YL 637 p. 38-81-93 (5) Tarbes 189 p. 1 (2) Nat 4.576 p. 11 (2) I.Nat 15.035 p. 23 (2) Souillac 291 p. 1-55 (2) Nat 7.045 p. 47-1308 (2) Tulle 174 p. 38 (2) Nat 6.695 p. 1284 (2) Marseille 414 p. 8-67 (2) Nat 3.340 p. 69-322 (2) I.Nat 10.333 p. 150-786 (2) Narbonne 151 p. 25-31 (2) Nat 6.330 p. 949-1190 (2) Perpignan 185 p. 3-5-26-48-59 (9) Nat 6.237 p. 21-39-538-1249-1545 (9) I.Nat 15.756 p. 27-55-838-2223-3564 (9)