The adjacent lot contains a few high trees and the crows have made their home here, as can be heard on their cawing. Their noise has the probable advantage that the birds of prey from the Meerdaal woods, a large nature reserve with a vast variety of trees, do not come over the railway to cause horrendous destruction to the pigeons.
How it began.
Rene, who is a Waal by birth, although bilingual, introduced pigeons into family life and his only son Patrick was also devoted to the pigeon sport at an early age. Patrick, presumably a brave boy as a child, chose both the same profession and hobby of his dad Rene. Every day they exchange insurance records and pigeon sport with each other. Rene, who is seventy-seven years old, has been a pigeon fancier for half a century and as a retired Insurance clerk he fills his days taking care of the pigeons.
Patrick, now forty-eight, can’t exactly remember when he first owned eight widowers. What he does remember is that Rene made him a stool so that the small Draye could get hold of the pigeons on the top row to clock them. Rene trusted his only child completely and motivated him to chose such a fine hobby for life.
Both fanciers evolved in the pigeon sport and were clearly complementary as a duo. From Sprint races they grew to the Middle Distance, small and grand.
Rene’s pigeons have slowly had to make room for the introduction of other and also better pigeons. In the mid seventies they visited farmer Richard Mersch in Stree for better blood. This Waal, with Flemish ancestors, had managed to conquer the world with his pigeons. If there had been history books for training to be a pigeon fancier then they would definitely contain the performance of “Jules 11”. “Jules 11” was twice Ace pigeon Long Distance and won the golden medal in the Olympic games in Brussels.
“St Vincent” is another crack of the in ’78 deceased top fancier. The “St Vincent” was a topper in the Middle Distance and Long Distance and exchanged owners for the sum of just under three quarters of a million Belgian Francs.
Over the years Patrick got to know Jan Mees from Heverlee. An enrichment to be able to class such a person as your friend. Several pigeons came from him to the Beekstraat. The “60 hen” was a hen bred by Jan. He himself had bought pigeons from Victor Lemmens in Hoepertingen. Mother of the “60 hen” is “Sandra” from the late Victor Lemmens, also a pigeon that made the history books.
Jan Mees was a man who was always searching for reinforcements and so also ended up in Scherpenheuvel. It is not known whether or not Jan was on a pilgrimage, but he was at the right address in the large shadow of the Basilica by Gomaar Verbruggen. Pigeons from Marien-Meulemans also came to St Joris-Weert. That Jan had an eye for pigeons was proved by becoming 2nd champion Small Middle Distance KBDB 1992. The year before he was 2nd national Ace pigeon KBDB 1991 and achieved this title with a pigeon from joint breeding Draye with Mees.
Jos Deno manifested as a formidable pigeon fancier in Brabant. A daughter of “Witneus” also played her part for a time in Oud-Heverlee. Later the purchase of four pigeons in 2006 which were breeders of equal value.
In 1995 pigeons were exchanged with the power of Limburg, Jaak Koninx from Zonhoven. Jaak is the winner of nat. Ace pigeon Middle Distance 1997 KBDB and in the exchange there was a half-brother and a half-sister of “Magic Star”, the winning cock. For those who don’t own the right history book, Pros Roosen and Jaak Koninx are like hand and glove. The Ace pigeon ‘97 is also somewhat the crown on the work of Pros Roosen.
The year of the change of the century Roger Beulens was visited for reinforcements. Beulens from Heverlee decided to race the Extreme Long Distance and wanted to dispose of his class pigeons for the Small Middle Distance and Middle Distance.
A few baskets containing four pigeons moved to the aviaries in the Beekstraat.
To make up the list of names as fairly as possible we have to mention all the pigeons that were bought and over which the owner is very satisfied. So out the line of Tom there is a good breeding hen which was previously owned by Robert Van Eycken from Erps-Kwerps. A cock from the neighbour from Ottenburg, Daniel Parijs is also worth a mention.
In ’97 Eric Limbourg was not as well known as now but he was a feared competitor for the pigeon fanciers of Brabant. He and Patrick became friends and he paid him a courtesy call. From there come pigeons from “Crack-Aelbrecht”, “The Dubbele” and youngsters from the “Swingkoppel line”. Out “The Slimmen”, “Lucky 85”, 1st nat. Ace pigeon Long Distance 2005 and also other toppers now inhabit the loft of Rene and Patrick for more than 70%.
Rene, but especially Patrick, is a pigeon fancier who is on the ball. What we usually mean with on the ball is that he notices everything quickly and reacts adequately. He does all this but he also promptly follows all the new trends in the pigeon sport.
Every year is started with 36 widowhood pigeons. Two lofts of cocks and one loft containing twelve hens. They don’t race the total widowhood but the classic widowhood with a stay-at-home partner. Both cocks and hens are immediately given their partner when they return home from the race. The stay-at-home cocks or hens are locked up in a half open box and are allowed to share their box after five minutes.
How surprising it may seem, there are also late comers here. The pigeons which have probably given their all in order to arrive home on time but for some unknown reason are hours too late are also entitled to a reward. These pigeons are also entitled to an optimal preparation for a following race. Being on the ball here means that the pigeon faces a closed loft from the moment that the partners, cocks and hens, are returned to the aviary at the back of the lot.
With a great deal of dedication Patrick goes to get the partner, places him or her in the half open box and opens the loft so that the race pigeon can enjoy the partner present.
It is more important to Patrick to be at home when the pigeons arrive than the returning of the clock. On the evening of basketting everyone can socialise with this champion, the day of the homecoming he is harder to contact. Patrick, who never races all the widowhood pigeons at once, forms an opinion when the pigeons return home and on the Monday he makes the decision as to which pigeons will go into the arena the following week.
So as described earlier, Patrick and Rene race with cocks and hens in widowhood.
The cocks train from 17h00 to 18h00, the hens usually don’t keep it up for an hour and are outside from 18h00 to 18h45. The youngsters go outside at 15h00 and are called back in when Patrick arrives home. In July the pigeons are also allowed to train in the morning, holidays for Patrick are work days for the pigeons. Up until the Spring of ’09 this was the common ritual with the help of dad Rene.
The cocks are loose in the loft in their living box while in the hen loft covers have been added to the front of the living boxes. Hens have less chance of crawling into corners and indulging in their lesbian passions. Another spicy detail, the hens are allowed a training race every week. They are taken away to train on Tuesday and when they return home their cock is waiting in a half open box. After a couple of minutes the cock returns to the loft and the covers are replaced.
You can’t go completely against nature says Patrick. Regardless of a properly worked out system to race with hens, a few hens were removed in June, by coincidence they were the hens with the least honours lists. Later in the season they showed what they could do with a nest.
Over the last few years the youngsters were raced with the sliding door but the door was not opened before basketting. We are talking about youngsters that have been subject to darkening, which possibly leads to a higher percentage of prizes. Patrick thinks that the youngsters have to purely show what they are capable of.
Breeding couples are kept together for two rounds. The couples are separated for ten days and then re-coupled. In the same loft with the same pigeons, cocks retain their box but are coupled with a different hen. Patrick then takes two days off work and remains in the loft, in the breeding loft.
Every pigeon that flies into the wrong box is given a slap and within no time all the pigeons know their boxes. The pigeons are locked up at night, the street light is disruptive and gives the pigeons the possibility to change boxes during the night and so break eggs.
Although Patrick attaches importance to the eye of a pigeon, the majority of pigeons also have a strong muscular carcass with a rich, well closed and abundant pigmented eye and everything is packed in a soft and abundant plumage.
Standards and values determine the level. Pigeons are allowed to show what they are worth as a yearling by racing three times top in ten races, otherwise they lose their head. Half of the pigeons race prize per ten, they usually achieve 80% prize.
The stature of breeding pigeon has to be earned and a pigeon is allowed to keep it if, after two or three years or six partners by multiple couplings, top racers are produced.
Setting high standards for years and being on the ball are joint factors in achieving the certain level in pigeon land. The origin of the pigeons is not to be underestimated of course, but their selection standard is so high that other people are also very pleased with the pigeons from Draye.
Pigeon sport is important, a good and well-paid job that you like is more important, but your health and that of your family is the most important. On the day of the first Middle Distance race dad Rene suffered a brain haemorrhage. At that moment Patrick was totally devastated. As an only son he visited his father every day after work. The first few weeks the visits were short by the intensive care but gradually he was rehabilitated and he spent the necessary time with dad.
You can consider it Lucky that Rene returned to the Beekstraat on the morning of Gueret. No, he didn’t visit the loft, but his arrival home was a victory..
Spontaneous help came from the neighbouring pigeon fancier Wim Uyterhoeven. This cheerful bus driver sometimes came to let the youngsters out so that Patrick could call them in and have enough time to stay for more than an hour by his father’s sickbed.
As a result, the youngsters were only outside now and again. With only an exploratory flight around the loft on Saturday or Sunday, the pigeons had insufficient experience. In July, during Patrick’s holiday, they had their first training race after training daily for a week. After the second training race, twice picking a bad time to liberate the pigeons, thirty remained missing from the loft. There was room in the lofts where originally eighty youngsters had been weaned.
The number of pigeons that Patrick is responsible for, and will also be responsible for next year, is too high and he is thinking about reducing that number.
To lighten the load he doesn’t want to breed any youngsters in 2010, he will only race with 2 old birds and 32 youngsters.
Each cock is fed individually. The hens eat from a shared trough. By homecoming the pigeons are given depurative “Casaert”. The youngsters are also given this food. Starting on Tuesday they are gradually given more to eat with sport, a level soup ladle to a full one on Thursday. With this system of feeding their All-round pigeons can race at the front from Momignies to Limoges.
Only grain and water is a nice idea, but there is more to racing well. The feeding up is supplemented with peanuts and four-oils is added over the feed.
Seeing that they only live two or three hundred metres from Waals-Brabant they are designated to basket the pigeons in Nethen for the shorter races. It’s a pity that they only race there in small circles, but for giving the pigeons racing experience it is the most practical basketting centre.
For the Middle Distance and Extreme Middle Distance they basket the pigeons in Tienen and they race in Obrafo against the elite of Flemish Brabant.
Care & Medical guidance.
The widower’s boxes and the floors are cleaned every day. Attention is paid to tricho and complications of “the head”.
Three times a year a preventive cure is given for “the head”, each time a different medicine. The same procedure is also used for tricho. Always a different product in pill form. Before the season medicine is given over the food or in the drinking water for seven days. Every two or three weeks they are given a pill just before they have their bath in lukewarm water without any by-products on the Sunday. The products that Patrick uses are: spartix, flagil and Aviotriek. The lukewarm bath is a blessing for pigeons. In Sunny weather the gentlemen lie resting on one wing. They are allowed to fly out on the Sunday evening and they will often bathe again on the terrace in front of the loft.
Something worth knowing is that coccidiosis has not been established for three decades.
By the homecoming the drinking dish is filled with tea and they are allowed to drink a dish full.
On a medical level the duo Draye is advised by veterinary surgeon Herbots.
A concept in the pigeon sport.
Every year international pigeons are gathered together in Portugal. The international overall organisation of pigeon fanciers organises a race. Each country is allowed to send a limited quota of pigeons. It is an honour to be chosen to represent and defend your country internationally.
In 2003 the field consisted of twenty-six participating countries. Each participant is an ambassador for his country and our sport. The duo Draye Renen & Patrick were flagged as best in the one loft race with the title: 1st Ace pigeon FCI World Championship in Mira.
2272052/03 is a hen that was bred from “Den Dikke” a pigeon with a beautiful honours list with the eye-catcher being a first prize from Chateauroux with a fifteen minute lead. The cock had as partner a half sister of 1st nat. Ace pigeon ’91 from Eric Limbourg.
1st National La Souterraine 2008
1st Ace pigeon World championship MIRA 2003
1st National Champion Middle Distance KBDB 1993
2nd National Champion Middle Distance KBDB 1995
2nd National Champion Middle Distance KBDB 1996
2nd National Champion Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2002
3rd National Champion Middle Distance KBDB 1994
3rd National Champion Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2003
3rd National Champion Middle Distance Yearlings KBDB 2004
4th National Champion Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2006
4th National Champion yearlings KBDB 2009
5th National Champion yearlings KBDB 2000
6th National Champion Middle Distance KBDB 1997
8th National Champion yearlings KBDB 2000
9th National Champion Middle Distance KBDB 1998
9th National Champion Yearlings KBDB 1998
1st Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 1995
1st Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 2000
1st Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 2004
2nd Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 1994
3rd Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 1995
5th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 1996
6th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 1994
6th Provincial Ace pigeon All-round KBDB 1998
6th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2006
6th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2000
7th Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 1993
7th Provincial Ace pigeon All-round KBDB 1999
7th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2004
8th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 1993
8th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 2002
8th Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 2006
9th Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 1997
9th Provincial Ace pigeon All-round KBDB 2004
9th Provincial Ace pigeon All-round KBDB 2006
10th Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 1998
10th Provincial Ace pigeon Grand Middle Distance KBDB 1997
10th Provincial Ace pigeon Middle Distance KBDB 2003
This hen was bred from “Den Brave” 048/07. This pigeon raced self Bourges 47/9061, Montlucon 47/8619, Argenton 64/5883, Limoges 296/16012. “De Brave” was bred from a son brother “Provinciaal” , 1st prov. Ace pigeon Middle Distance 2000,coupled with a granddaughter 2nd National Limoges by Robert Van Eycken with half sister of “Den Bliksem” 1st National Cahors 2001.
Mother 011/06 is a daughter of “De Smalle”. “De Smalle” is a top breeder, a grandson of “De Crack” 7th Nat. Cahors’95, a pigeon from Aelbrechts.
Grandmother on mother’s side is a daughter of “Gilbert”, a super racer from Robert Van Eycken from Erps-Kwerps.
16/08/08 Melun club 14/1404
23/08/08 Melun club 83/740
09/05/09 Toury club 7/713 Obrafo 7/1353 Petit club 11/2009
23/05/09 Toury club 108/823 Obrafo 181/1448 Petit club 311/2399
30/05/09 Issoudiun club 2/410 Obrafo 2/451 Prov. 39/1817 int prov. 176/5848
07/06/09 Chateauroux club 6/442 Obrafo 6/864 Prov. 64/2331, FCW 118/5824
13/06/09 Chateauroux club 4/385 Obrafo 4/630 Prov. 74/2476 int Prov. 324/7871
20/06/09 Argenton club 12/469 Obrafo 27/981 Prov. 26/2067 FCW 50/5192
05/07/09 Soissons club 9/155
11/07/09 Blois Club 60/213 Prov. 531/1840
18/07/09 Vierzon club 1/151 Obrafo 3/360 Prov. 4/616 FCW 7/1678
25/07/09 Bourges club 1/370 Obrafo 3/891 Prov. 7/2030 FCW 21/5479
Zone 18/6621 Nat. 48/15508
01/08/09 Le Mans club 14/167 Obrafo 49/369 Prov. 175/1312
08/08/08 Argenton club 22/217 Obrafo 46/451 Prov. 76/808 FCW 165/2434
Zone 170/2659 Nat. 451/6510
“Den Brave” 2079048/07
This cock earned his stripes in the battlefield with the following top performances: Bourges 47/9061, Montlucon 47/8619, Argenton 64/5883, Limoges 296/16012. “De Brave” was bred from 074/06 son brother “Provinciaal” , 1st prov. Ace pigeon Middle Distance 2000,.
Grandmother is “Witpenneke” 032/01, mother of 1st prov. Ace pigeon middle distance 2004 and 8th prov. Ace pigeon middle distance. She is a full sister of 1st Nat. La Souteraine 2008.
Mother is 942/04, a granddaughter 2nd National Limoges by Robert Van Eycken with half-sister of “Den Bliksem” 1st National Cahors 2001, is also sister of Bonny-Clyde.
18/05/08 Soissons club 3/284 after 2 loft companions
21/06/08 Montlucon club 6/471 Obrafo 7/928 Prov. 31/2044 FCW 29/5052
28/06/08 Argenton club 9/327 Obrafo 16/514 Prov 34/1745 S-Nat. 64/5883
12/07/08 Limoges club 14/224 Prov. 45/105
Zone 100/2359 Nat. 296/16012
27/07/08 Bourges club 66/457 Obrafo 134/937 Prov. 272/1968 FCW 529/5178
Zone 681/6628 Nat. 1693/16771
09/05/09 Toury club 30/993 Obrafo 55/1733 Prov. 107/3043
23/05/09 Bourges club 3/618 Obrafo 10/1259 Prov. 72/3144 FCW 145/8508
Zone 47/9061 Nat. 839/27506
30/05/09 Toury club 29/487 Obrafo 42/724 Petit club 99/1541
07/06/09 Chateauroux club 69/530 Obrafo 138/1054 Prov. 603/2183 FCW 1143/5230
13/06/09 Chateauroux club 2/444 Obrafo 5/708 Prov. 33/1467 S-Nat. 186/5264
20/06/09 Montlucon club 58/381 Obrafo 102/865 Prov. 171/1464 FCW 387/4425
04/07/09 Limoges club 9/145 Obrafo 24/418 Prov. 98/956 FCW 197/2933
Zone 123/2429 Nat. 1932/11869
18/07/09 Vierzon club 9/131 Obrafo 30/303 Prov. 38/543 FCW 78/1463
“Den Argenton” 2079077/07
This dark chequered cock has proven his good qualities both in racing and in breeding. He is a brother of 1st Nat. La Souteraine 2008 and raced self 1st Argenton against 413 pigeons, Argenton 25/6177, Montlucon 34/8619, Chateauroux 62/10198, Montlucon 208/7516.
Father is “De Rolex”, self good for Pithiviers 1/335, Orleans 5/2252, La Souteraine 79/7629.
grandfather is a late 109 and son of the half-sister of Wondertik from Eric Limbourg. Coupled with “Het Beauty”, a stock mother, and is mother of 2nd and 4th int. prov. Toury.
05/08/07 La Ferte club 14/273
19/08/07 Soissons club 1/233
18/05/08 Soissons club 4/284
24/05/08 Momignies club 7/254
21/06/08 Montlucon club 3/471 Obrafo 3/928 Prov. 21/2044 FCW 21/5052
28/06/08 Argenton club 31/327 Obrafo 54/514 Prov. 148/1745 S-Nat. 336/5883
12/07/08 Limoges club 32/224 Prov. 100/1055 FCW 206/2856
Zone 219/2359 Nat. 977/16012
09/08/08 Argenton club 1/214 Obrafo 1/413 Prov. 8/707 FCW 12/2279
Zone 5/2662 Nat. 25/6177
26/04/09 Soissons club 4/300
30/05/09 Toury club 30/487 Obrafo 47/724
07/06/09 Chateauroux club 1/530 Obraf 2/1054 Prov. 26/2183 FCW 47/5230
13/06/09 Chateauroux club 3/444 Obrafo 6/708 Prov. 43/1467 S-Nat. 217/5264
20/06/09 Montlucon club 19/381 Obrafo 42/865 Prov. 90/1464 FCW 121/4425
18/07/09 Vierzon club 8/131 Obrafo 30/303 Prov. 37/543 FCW 77/1483
“Schoon Geschelpt Eric” 2059785/03
The chequered hen originates from Eric Limbourg and by Draye directly placed in the breeding loft. She is the half-sister of “Lucky 85”, 1st Nat. Ace pigeon Long Distance 2006 and mother of four 1st prize winners.
Her father comes out “De Slimmen”, a crossing from Houben x Gommaire Verbruggen. Self good for 3x 1st prov.
Mother “Het Pierke”, mother of 1st Nat. Ace pigeon Long Distance 2006.
26/04 Soissons 1, 4, 7, 21, 35, 55, 67, 94, 300 old birds 8/12
10/05 Nanteuil 1, 2, 12, 15, 23, 38, 70, 209 yearlings 7/10
23/05 Toury 1, 6, 11, 13, 20, 26, 31, 83, 147, 181, 220, 222, 1448yl 16/21
23/05 Bourges 3, 44, 110, 125, 195, 618 old birds 5/6
30/05 Toury 1, 16, 24, 42, 47, 99, 122, 724 old birds 7/9
8, 22, 25, 37, 96, 118, 120, 123, 1147 yearlings 8/12
30/05 Issoudun 5, 14, 504 old birds 2/2
2, 7, 9, 16, 37, 55, 94, 451 yearlings 7/9
07/06 Chateauroux 2, 26, 35, 123, 138, 142, 1054 old birds 6/6
6, 14, 174 864 yearlings 3/4
13/06 Chateauroux 1, 2, 3, 47, 112, 444 old birds 5/6
4, 20, 27, 385 yearlings 3/7
20/06 Montlucon 13, 29, 40, 469 yearlings 3/3
18/07 Vierzon 2, 8, 9, 23, 26, 40, 231 old birds 6/8
1, 16, 251 yearlings 2/3
25/07 Bourges 6, 11, 18, 104, 123, 367 old birds 5/7
national 164, 253, 389, …. 11756 pigeons
1, 81, 370 yearlings 2/2
national 48, 3256, 15508 yearlings
22/08 Sens 2, 15, 23, 70, 92, 311 old birds 5/6
05/09 Gueret 5, 18, 19, 30, 43, 50, 177 old birds 6/8
The cosy pigeon afternoon flew by with Patrick and Rene talking alternately, and sometimes both at the same time. The passion with which two enthusiastic pigeon fanciers talk about their lives, their hobby and their vision of making the pigeon game better and more fun, talking is contagious.
Promotion for the pigeon sport: secretly set up a camera and every film-maker has enough footage to make a short film about normal people with good pigeons and pleasure in their hobby.
Patrick and Rene, the translocation was functional and congratulations once again with the success this year, but also with your career as pigeon fancier, not many can achieve a national mention nearly every year.