De Vroe-Van Gaver (Moortsele, BE) win first national Bourges against 18,443 young birds

The De Vroe-Van Gaver partnership has won the most important young bird classic last weekend. Their 775-13 was the fastest of 39,917 pigeons, covering 441km with a velocity of 1414 m/min.

In 2008 they saw their neighbour Guy Evraert win a national first prize from Bourges so they know how it feels to win a national victory. The national winner of 2008 Vroeke had actually been bred by Johan De Vroe. Last weekend Johan De Vroe and Tom & Marnik Gaver had a great day in the race from Bourges: this time the winner was not only bred in their loft like in 2008, it was also clocked in their loft in Moortsele! The fanciers from Moortsele were really satisfied with this win which is a well deserved result for this strong and powerful pigeon breed. After reading this report you will agree that this national victory was not a one trick pony.

From left to right: Rudi Vandeputte, Johan De Vroe and Tom Van Gaver

De Vroe-Van Gaver, Van Gaver-De Vroe and Rudi Vandeputte

Pigeon racing as it is done in the lofts in Moortsele can be considered an excellent example. It might actually be a textbook example of how a pigeon fancier can become successful in his sport even when combining his hobby with a full-time job. They basket their entire team for the provincial and national races. In fact three different lofts are raced by three different fanciers. Johan De Vroe races the young birds only under the name of De Vroe-Van Gaver. At the end of the young birds’ season in September the best young cocks are moved to the loft of Tom & Marnik Van Gaver, where they are put to the test as yearlings and old widowers, under the name of Van Gaver-De Vroe. The best young hens are moved to the loft of Rudi Vandeputte, who races the one year old hens and the old hens under his own name. In addition to the seven fixed breeding pairs that breed throughout the year in Johan’s loft the fanciers also breed a round of youngsters from their yearlings and old birds, which are then moved to the lofts of Johan De Vroe. Every fancier has his own point of focus so they divide the work evenly. This is a great yet simple method and an example of excellent teamwork. The business skills of Johan De Vroe, CEO of the building company De Vroe Group play an important role of course.

The pedigree of the national winner shows that this partnership is able to breed excellent pigeons and to develop a strong pigeon family thanks to this method. The sire is a full brother of Den Tiets, the best widower the Van Gaver-De Vroe partnership ever had. Den Tiets was sold on PIPA last year.

Den Tiets was bred from the top pair De Grijze Provinciaal x De Sterke 172, which have bred an amazing number of top descendants. In addition De Grijze Provinciaal and De Sterke 172 are the grandparents of Den Drinker, another top class racer of Van Gaver-De Vroe, which was also sold on PIPA. Den Drinker in turn is a grandfather of the national winner from Bourges via his mother’s side. Click here to take a look at the impressive list of successful children and grandchildren of stock pair De Grijze Provinciaal x De Sterke 172.

A full brother of this dam is now one of the big stars in the yearling team of Van Gaver-De Vroe. The New Drinker BE12-4253470 has been basketed every week and has not missed a prize since Bourges I:

Bourges I nat.        169/13,550
Châteauroux nat.      295/19,691
Poitiers nat.       1.089/13,135
Montluçon zon.         350/4,766
Gueret zon.            257/2,891
Argenton zon.          302/4,800
La Souterraine nat. 2.200/11,236
Bourges prov.           53/2,675
Blois prov.             74/1,854
Bourges II  club          74/302

Another brother of the sire, the BE12-4253587, is a summer youngster of 2012 and has already won a few prizes, despite a lack of experience:

Gueret zon.             14/2,891
Bourges prov.          222/2,675
La Souterraine nat. 1,742/11,236

It should be obvious that the BE13-4142775 originates from excellent breeders as well. Click here for the full pedigree of this national winner. The 775-13 had already won a number of top prizes earlier on:

Bourges nat. 18,443    1 (fastest of 39,971)
Quievrain       215   29
Noyon           231   85
Noyon           549  105
Orléans         338   37
       prov.  3,205  248
Angerville      600  145
Angerville      781  176

The love nest

We told you that the young birds are raced by Johan De Vroe, who divides them over three lofts. There is a loft with 24 young hens paired to an old cock, as well as a loft with 30 young birds paired to a group of old hens. In between these two lofts he had also put together a number of young birds, which Johan called the love nest. The aim was to race his young birds with a nest. In the last two weeks however the results of this middle loft were quite disappointing so Johan had to do something. He installed an additional door in this loft so he could race them with the sliding door. This gave the 775-13 some additional motivation and it helped him win the national victory. When the pigeon arrived home from Bourges Johan noticed that his winning pigeon was in love: he found his national winner together with his hen in a dark corner of the loft.

The young hens were paired to the old cocks in early June. They were paired fairly randomly and the old cocks could not enter the boxes of the other cocks. A pair of pigeons was released one at a time. When they arrived home from Angerville they could sit together for an extended time, until Sunday morning. On the Wednesday before being basketed for Bourges the youngsters were taken away to be released one after the other. On Thursday, the day of basketing, they were put together for thirty minutes.

The young birds were paired to the old hens with the widowers' method. The old hens were allowed to lay eggs and to brood for four days before being placed on widowhood.

We know that the pigeons from Moortsele are put to the test regularly; they have to cover quite a few kilometres every season. The widowers and the racing hens for instance have already had 3 x Quiévrain, 3 x Noyon, Ecouen, 3 x Angerville, Orléans and then Bourges I. Since that race they have been basketed for the nationals every week. That does not apply to the pigeons that arrive home one day later however. They were given an additional week of recovery instead. Johan and Tom use several nutritional products to keep their pigeons strong and healthy. They use beer yeast, vitamins, Avidress, Ropa, as well as products of the De Weerd company, including Belgabion and BS. They keep the use of medicines to a strict minimum; otherwise it would be impossible to perform well over such an extended period of time. Of course the pigeons are treated against tricho or in case of respiratory problems if needed. The pigeons are checked by their vet Fred Oosterlinck if a problem occurs.

These top quality pigeons seem to be doing great thanks this demanding schedule. This week’s national victory was no coincidence, just take a look at an overview of their 2013 results with the young birds & old birds.