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Frans Maris (Itegem, BE) claims 1st national Argenton against 3671 old birds

We took a trip to Itegem in Heist-op-den-Berg, home to the pigeon loft of Frans Maris and his son Dirk. They have delivered excellent results in the sprint competition for many years, and they are now trying their luck in the middle distance and long distance competition. They had an impressive start, winning a national first prize with Maxi.

Maxi (BE12- 6024544) was clocked at 14:08’37” and she completed 551.315km with a velocity of 1399.45m/min..

Sprint champions

Frans and Dirk are sprint fanatics. Every week, they dominate the races from Quievrain and Noyon in the Diamond union, in which they are among the great champions. It was partly on the initiative of his son Dirk that they decided to join the middle distance competition with 12 yearlings, two of which are still in the loft to be raced as old birds. One of these old birds is the winning hen Maxi, which was raced from the nest with a ten days old youngster. The cock was taken away a few days before she was basketed for Argenton, and so she had to take care of her youngster alone. It is no coincidence that Maxi takes the national win from Argenton. We take a look at her palmares in recent seasons:

’13 Argenton: 39th national 6801 p.
’13 Issoudun: 87th national 5670 p.
’14 Montluçon 48th national zone B2 2,373 p.
’14 Argenton 1st national 3660 p.


A number of bloodlines from marathon fanciers were introduced in the loft to allow Frans and Dirk to play a role in the national long distance races. They obtained a brother of ‘Argenton’ of Jos & Jules Engels ( Putte, BE) thanks to a friend, and this pigeon soon developed into an excellent breeder. The breeding pigeons of Nick & Roger Thijs from Hallaar proved a great investment as well. Maxi was actually bred from a crossing of this bloodline. Click here for the pedigree of Maxi.

Approach and medical guidance

Frans is retired and he takes care of the day to day running of the pigeon loft, while his son Dirk is responsible for administration and training the birds. To prevent the hens from pairing with each other and to maintain their plumage, they were assigned a nest in the middle of July. However, that did not prevent Maxi from dropping two feathers simultaneously just a few days before basketing, leaving him with 8 feathers. It raised doubts about whether or not she should be basketed, but it appears this was not a hindrance in any way.

The pigeons of Frans and Dirk are regularly checked by their vet Fernand Mariën. Flagyl tablets are dosed to the racing pigeons once a month, and that is about it. There are no further treatments for respiratory diseases. Frans and Dirk obtain a vitamin and fitness powder from Mariën, which they add to the feed every week. They use mixtures of Beyers, and some Matador Energy is provided on the day of basketing. The pigeons get some fresh vegetables from the garden every day as well, which is something they are really fond of.

The future

They debuted in the national middle distance only a short while ago, and yet they have been able to claim their first national victory. Not a lot of people can say that. Their approach (breeding a lot of pigeons and making careful selections) combined with a team of excellent pigeons takes you a long way. Besides, they can always rely on the expertise of their good friend Gaston Van de Wouwer. We are confident that there will be more to come from this pigeon family.

Many congratulations Frans and Dirk!