An equilateral triangle
Businessman and passionate fancier Johan De Vroe is eager to win every race, while Tom Van Gaver (who is assisted by his father) has been fascinated with pigeons from an early age. He has showed to be a great champion. The third man in the team is Rudi Vandeputte, a fancier from Lemberge with many years of experience. Their approach is based on that of a modern day pigeon loft
Every fancier has his own responsibilities. The breeding pigeons are housed in Johan’s loft, who developed a small breeding and testing facility. In addition to the fixed breeding pairs he also works with test pairings, while also breeding young birds from the best racing birds. These young birds are then raced under the name of DVV pigeons, while the yearlings and old cocks are raced by Tom (Van Gaver – De Vroe). The one year old hens and the old hens are basketed by Rudi under the name of Rudi Vandeputte. The three lofts are in close vicinity and the fanciers know that regular consultation has been the key to success. Still, keeping everything well organised does not get you anywhere if you lack dedication and passion for the sport. Johan has a large company to run, and so he gets up early in the morning to get everything up and running, before heading back home to take care of his pigeons. Tom had a busy daytime job at the Belgian police department but he gets up early in the morning to look after his widowers, and the same goes for Rudi. Again, it takes great passion and motivation to achieve results.
From left to right: Rudi Vandeputte, Johan De Vroe, Tom Van Gaver
The proof of the pudding is in the eating
The pigeon family consists of about ten fixed breeding pairs, which does not sound a lot. In addition, youngsters are bred from their best racing birds and these are paired to their cocks or hens (and exchanged regularly). About 200 to 250 young birds are bred and they are basketed for several provincial and national races. An additional group of young birds from the following rounds are kept as well, to make sure they have more than enough cocks from their best pairs, in function of the widower’s game with the cocks and the hens.
The young hens are transferred to Rudi’s loft in Lemberge without much trouble (Moortsele is only two kilometres away), and it is remarkable that only a few hens tend to return to their first loft, which has likely to do with the skills of the experienced Rudi, who knows how to create strong territorial attitude. Rudi’s loft is home to 70 to 75 hens, while Tom keeps about 70 widowers. These are all kept in widowhood; Tom keeps his pigeon in classic widowhood and Rudi adopts the increasingly familiar rotation system for the hens. One thing is clear with the cocks and the hens: they are put to the test every week, allowing little time to recover. They are taken great care of and they have everything they need to get in great shape but they are basketed every week or every two weeks (the cocks) for a longer middle distance or one day long distance race. Only the strongest pigeons survive! This is the way to create a very strong pigeon breed.
A breed closely related to the basis and founded on great results
The fanciers learned some valuable lessons in the past: they used to purchase pigeons based on their pedigrees instead of their achievements but they agreed to take a different direction a few years ago. Tom’s father Marnik Van Gaver used to be a highly successful long distance fancier himself, and some of his best breeding birds were moved to his son’s loft later on, including the Van Gaver hen of the famous Dreampair (a stock dam and breeder of many champions) and seeral more pigeons that had performed very well. Among these pigeons was the first provincial Châteauroux of Etienne Baudewijns (Moortsele, BE), which is a top class breeder, the Groten of Marnix Van Gaver, the first provincial of Lucien Vandergucht, and Son Turbo of Andre De Coene. Additional pigeons include a hen of Erik Limbourg (a granddaughter of the 1st national Cahors), some pigeons of Rik Cools, a pigeon of the top class family of Rudi De Saer and pigeons from a successful joint breeding with Jan Pappens from Zwalm, that other top level fancier from around Zottegem. Pigeons of Vannoppen-Luyten were introduced recently as well.
Their selection methods have enabled them to create a solid pigeon breed that achieved great results over the past few seasons. This breed will always be related to the Dreampair in some way or another.
Sons and daughters of Dreampair take over
Their dreampair Van Gaver hen BE03-4152445) x Kleine Schonen (BE06-410092) have bred a long list of top quality pigeons and their bloodlines are spread across the entire pigeon breed. Click here for an overview of the phenomal descendants of this outstanding breeding pair.
The bloodline of this dreampair has won a total of 30 first prizes in three years’ time at club level, provincial, zonal and even national level with direct and indirect descendants (sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters). Their descendants have won two national victories from Bourges, two first national prizes in the zone from Argenton, a provincial win from Guéret, etc.
A closer look at some of their champions
1st national Bourges young birds 18,443 p. Originates from a brother of the renowned Tiets (top racer and breeder)
1st La Soutteraine 1,012 p. (club) 3rd La Soutteraine 7,118 p. (national Zone) 3rd Blois 2.959d (provincial) 2nd Montluçon 328 p. (club) 6th Bourges 545 p. (club) 71st Argenton 4,106 p. (national Zone)
Blue Pearl (BE11-4230121)
1st Chateauroux 453 p. (club) 1st Bourges 406 p. (club) 2nd Bourges 293 p. (club) 2nd Bourges 3,489 p. (national zone) 15th Bourges 16,589 p. (national) 34th Bourges 19,655 p. (national) 47th Bourges 3,188 p. (national zone) 82nd Montluçon 7,828 p. (national zone)
De Provinciaal 109 (BE09-4164109)
1st Orleans 5,002 p. (provincial) 12th Guéret 5,237 p. (national zone) 17th Blois 1,637 p. (provincial) 18th Blois 1,519 p. (provincial) 61st Argenton 11,001 (national) He is the sire of Blue Princess
Best results and championship titles of 2014
1st Nat. Z. Argenton 1,672 p. 1st Prov. Guéret 2,097 p. 4th Prov. Ace Pigeon KBDB East Flanders middle distance old birds & yearlings with BE12-4253470 5th Nat. Champion KBDB – Long distance yearlings 5th Prov. Long Distance champion KBDB East Flanders olds + yearlings (1+2) 7th Prov. Long Distance champion olds + yearlings KBDB East Flanders with BE13-4142558 9th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB – longer middle distance yearlings with BE13-4142684 13th Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB – longer middle distance yearlings with BE13-4142828
The secret behind this combination
We assume many fanciers are wondering how they do it. Well, it is basically a matter of getting the most out of your talent pool, combined with strong management and division of tasks. Running such a team takes a lot of organisation but each of the three lofts has its own specialties and responsibilities. This in combination with strong management and a good follow up will eventually lead to great results. Click here for an overview of their best results in 201.
- The health of their pigeons is closely monitored, and medical guidance is mostly based on preventive measures. It is better to perform an additional check up than having to administer a treatment afterwards.
- In the off season all pigeons are placed in large aviaries, where they can moult quietly while spending the winter in a natural environment.
- There is usually a strict regime in the winter months before the breeding period; pigeons that cannot cope will be left behind. The fanciers do not hesitate to eliminate one of their pigeons.
- The fanciers are on top of their game during the season; they leave nothing to chance when it comes to caretaking.
- Temperature differences between day and night are carefully monitored, as they think this will affect their form.
- The pigeons are given large portions of feed closely before basketing. A lot of feed is provided upon arrival as well to allow for quick recovery.
- There is a tough selection process
As you can see, this team does not have any miracle cures either.