Haesen Ludo & Kurt (Zoutleeuw,BE): “It requires craftsmanship and passion to excel in Barcelona"

The Ludo & Kurt Haesen combination will continue to race from their loft in Zoutleeuw in 2020 and 2021. Their loft will be closed down in 2022, as they are planning a fresh start in Sint-Truiden, racing as Haesen Jense. That's right, a fourth generation of pigeon fanciers is ready to take over.

And they are keeping the dream alive of one day claiming an international first prize from Barcelona. The Haesen family stands for passion and craftsmanship, and that is what you need if you want to excel in Barcelona.

Team Haesen: from left to right: Jean Luc Kabergs (holding Emiel), Kurt Haesen (holding Houdini), Ludo Haesen (holding Jane 007) and Marina Kabergs (holding Nafi).

In the meantime, a new racing loft was built in Sint-Truiden, with the help of Michiel Van Haeken, Bert Vanmarsenille and a few family members. Several of their racing lofts in zoutleeuw have already been sold, so where did the pigeons go? Ludo explains: "Kurt already lives in Sint-Truiden, whereas Marina and I will be moving to the so-called city of fruit in Limburg in 2022."


The fanciers of team Haesen have always set their minds on Barcelona, and their palmares in this race is quite impressive:

- 1st International Team Hens (with 10 first nominated basketed) Barcelona’12 - Cureghem Centre.
- 9th nat. Barcelona Ace Pigeon '14-'17
- 9th Primus Inter Pares BARCELONA 2009 -> 2013 (BRUGES BARCELONA CLUB)
- 13th nat. Barcelona Ace Pigeon '09-'13 (PIPA RANKING)
- 14th nat. Barcelona Ace Pigeon '12-'14 (PIPA RANKING)
- 15th nat. Barcelona Ace Pigeon '14-'15 (PIPA RANKING)
- 17th nat. Barcelona Ace Pigeon '18-'19 (PIPA RANKING)
- 17th nat. Barcelona Ace Pigeon '13-'15 (PIPA RANKING)

BARCELONA 2009 -> 2019
147 / 327 (45% 1:4) -  64 / 327 ( 20 % 1:10)

Barcelona ‘09 13,503 p.: 28- 189- 207-...
Barcelona ‘10 12,641 p.: 46-619-1013-1203-...
Barcelona ‘11 12,741 p.: 777-1074-1085-1111-1242-1259-...
Barcelona ‘12 11,509 p.: 52-98-364-841-912-937-989-1044-1118-... 
Barcelona ‘13 10,542 p.: 80-276-283-342-1054-...
Barcelona ‘14 8,764 p.: 90-164-260-369-618-... 
Barcelona ‘15 7,791 p.: 109-180-252-319-508-547-595-...
Barcelona '16 7,693 p.: 14-201-324-365-714-...
Barcelona '17 7,874 p.: 44-310-458-467-606-758-...
Barcelona' 18 7,438 p.: 60-100-246-298-362-452-461-...
Barcelona '19 7,301 p.: 30-34-57-77-249-306-701-...

Barcelona International Hens 2012-2019
The hens of the Haesen family have won 10 international top 100 prizes since 2012:

'12 Barcelona Int. 7,024 hens: 47-85-258-532-585-617-639-... (16/27)
'13 Barcelona Int. 6,684 hens: 60-183-188-614-... (7/21)
'14 Barcelona Int. 5,550 hens: 78-125-180-406-608-... (7/16)
'15 Barcelona Int. 5,244 hens: 96-150-194-238-377-408-572-... (12/16)
'16 Barcelona Int. 5,523 hens: 21-186-312-572-635-... (11/20)
'17 Barcelona Int. 5,366 hens:51-325-434-442-546-666-779-798-... (8/20)
'18 Barcelona Int. 4,820 hens: 54-81-185-216-268-328-575-... (7/14)
'19 Barcelona Int. 5,104 hens: 49-104-230-315-... (6/15)

A total of 149 hens have been basketed since 2012, and these have won 74 prizes (per four), which results in a 50% prize percentage. They also claimed 38 prizes per ten. In other words, one quarter of all basketed hens have claimed an international prize per ten in Barcelona over the years, including an impressive 10 prizes per 100.


We already said that a fourth generation of Haesen pigeon fanciers is about to take over. This story begins in the 1990s, with Emiel & Jean-Luc Kabergs from Grazen (Geetbets, BE) winning a first national from Barcelona with a grandson of "Son Limoges", which Robert & Ludo Haesen had obtained from the Catrysse brothers (Moere, BE) back in 1978. This breeding cock had earned his stripes in the racing loft with top results from Chateauroux to Marseille. Jean-Luc Kabergs had obtained this cock because he wanted to breed a pair of youngsters from him. This Barcelona bloodline of the Catrysse brothers has been producing great results in the Haesen racing lofts, even day, through top class racing bird and stock breeder Simba.

Grandson Kurt gradually developed an interest in pigeon racing as well, and it was soon decided to no longer focus on the shorter and longer middle distance competition but to aim for the extreme long distance instead. They turned to Wim Muller from Wilhelminadorp for investments, obtaining pigeons from this multiple Europe Cup winner and Barcelona champion from Zeeland in the winter of '96, in the summer of '97 and '98, and right until the turn of the century. The Haesen family also obtained a hen in a pigeon auction of the Rotary Club in Landen; this hen originated from the best bloodlines of pigeon fancier Hassoul from Epen. Some particularly important breeding birds were obtained, including most notably top class racing and breeding bird "Lucifer", "Jeanine" and "Bella Donna". As such, the Haesen family were working their way up the ranks. They wanted to try and become one of the leading names in Barcelona, through selective breeding.

Extreme long distance

The first successful races in the extreme long distance came in the 1990s, with most notably a 4th Nat. Bordeaux '99 and a title of 3rd Provincial Champion - Superfond Brabant (Brabant Union) 1st + 2nd nom. old birds. After the turn of the millennium, they began to claim a steady number of national top 100 placings every season, in the races from Bordeaux, Narbonne and Perpignan. They won for instance a 43rd National Perpignan '02, a 52nd National Barcelona '03, a 58th National Barcelona '05 and a 97th National Perpignan '04. It was with these promising results that the team continued to work towards successes in Barcelona. To celebrate Ludo's 50th birthday in 2005, it was decided to invest in pigeons of Etienne Devos from Deerlijk, who happened to have a world class pigeon in his collection with "Rivaldo". They ordered two youngsters from this Barcelona champion. One of these two hens developed into a fantastic breeding hen in the loft of Haesen; she has helped boost the development of the handcrafted Barcelona team in Zoutleeuw. Their achievements in the classic from the capital of Catalonia have continued to improve between 2009 and 2019, making the Haesen Ludo & Kurt combination impossible to ignore in this race.

As a fancier, you always want to strive for progress. Standing still is not an option. At local level, the fanciers worked to develop a network to initiate joint breedings with other talented Barcelona racing birds, and to exchange useful breeding and racing strategies.

Luc Haesen: "We agreed on a joint breeding with our uncle Jean-Luc Kabergs. When grandfather Emiel passed away in 2010, we agreed that he would breed ten youngsters for our collection every season, which would come from his tried and trusted Barcelona breed, combined with the hens from our loft that we gave to him. He has always been passionate about breeding new champions, and he has been helping us with our own breeding strategy as well. We did particularly well with a joint breeding with Eric Herbots (his 5th National Barcelona '09 paired to our stock breeder "Lucifer") and a joint breeding with Nouwen-Paesen in 2013 (his Favorit 83 x our top class hen "Juliana"). And we also had some successful investments in recent years, including Barcelona star and top breeder "Favorit 83", "Condor" (a son of Favorit 83), and some joint purchases with the Nouwen-Paesen family in the total auction of Henri Van Neste (we purchased Rode Barcelona 88, an excellent racing and breeding bird). We also obtained "Jewel Vanneste", which is another excellent breeding hen of Henri Vanneste. We have worked hard, we have been doing a lot of races and we have kept only our best birds. Our efforts eventually led to a major breakthrough in the national race from Barcelona in 2019, where we claimed a 30th-36th-57th-77th national."

Breeding strategy

Over the past ten years the breeding loft has been gradually reduced from 24 to 12 breeding pairs. The Haesen family does only breed youngsters from successful racing birds, from sons, daughters and brothers/sisters of racing birds that have excelled across several seasons, and from ace pigeons. They also breed youngsters from different racing or breeding bloodlines that have produced several national top 100 prize winners, and that are preferably closely related to their own breed; these lines are then crossbred with proven new breeding birds. This is the shortest way to success, according to the father-son combination, who prefer breeding youngsters from pigeons that excel in races of 800-1100km in demanding weather.

Stock breeders

“Simba” (BE99-2368979): a star in the long distance and extreme long distance, and a bird with exceptional breeding references.

After a successful racing career, winning a 42nd Nat. Perpignan '02 and a 104th Montauban '01, Simba developed into one of the team's stock breeders; he is the sire of:
· ROBERTO 182nd nat. Barcelona’09
· PRINCIPESSA 212th int. Soustons’09
· SWEET MINEY 2nd int. OLR Thailand Grand Pigeon Race UTTARADIT - BANGKOK SEMI - FINAL RACE 460 km. - (779 yb. Basketed)
· VALE PINO 17th nat. Ace Barcelona ‘13-’14-’15 (PIPA RANKING) 48th nat. Perpignan ’13 - 50th nat. C Libourne’11
· LUNA 98th nat. Barcelona ’12 - 127th nat. Perpignan ’11
· RADJA 8th s-nat. Ace Extreme Long Distance Club Fond Wallonie
· SAMIRA 27th nat. Ace Barcelona ’17-’18-’19; 41st nat. B Montauban – 100th nat. Barcelona – 123rd nat. B Libourne
· MUFASA 177th nat. Perpignan’18
· MIRASI 53rd nat. Agen 2767 p. - 31st int. Agen 2412 hens - 68th int. Agen 4524 p. - 201st nat. Barcelona 7693 olds - 191st int. Barcelona 5593 hens

“Lucifer” (BE00-2299859) is another renowned stock breeder with quite a few top results to his name as well.

“Lucifer” won for instance a 52nd nat. Barcelona’03, a 58th nat. Barcelona’05 and a 217th nat. Perpignan ’03. And he has now bred several talented youngsters as a breeding bird, including:

JULIANA                           BE 07 2211621
28 nat. Barcelona’09             13,503 p.
35 nat. (C) St-Vincent’08        2,259 yl.  
80 nat. Barcelona’13    

EL FUEGO                         BE 07 2211643
85 nat. Perpignan’11              5,591 p.
63 nat. Ace Pigeon Barcelona ‘09-’10       (PIPA ranking)
207 nat. Barcelona’09            13,503 olds

ESPERANZA                      BE 09 2229322 
15 nat. Ace Pigeon Barcelona ‘12-’13-’14 (PIPA ranking)
14 nat. Ace Pigeon Perpignan ‘13-’14       (PIPA ranking)         
23 int. Perpignan’13               3,049 hens
114 int. Perpignan’12             3,849 hens
54 nat. Perpignan’13              5,049 p.
276 nat. Barcelona’13            1,0542 p.

MIRA                                 BE 08 2182305 
41 nat. Perpignan’11            5,591 p.
52 nat. Barcelona’12            1,1590  p.

LUCIO                                BE 07 2211655 
43 nat. C St. Vincent’08        2,259 yl.

And he is the grandfather of:
ROBINA                             BE 08 2182327 

50 nat. Barcelona’10            1,2641 olds

SIEN                                 BE 13 2174645  
31 nat. Agen’14
14 nat. Barcelona’16 

REZA                                BE 10 2202250 
86 s-nat. Jarnac’11             4,505 yb.

CATALUNA                       BE 12  2176975
15 nat. Ace Barcelona’14-’15
25 int. Ace Barcelona’14-’15
96 int. Barcelona’15 5244 hens

BARCA 72                         BE 14 2141872 – COCK
73 nat. Ace Barcelona ’16-’17-’18-’19


“Jamelia” (BE06-3000713): the dam of “Vale Pino”, “Luna”, “Mira” and “Esperanza”.

“Vale Pino”: 17th Nat. ace Barcelona 2013-2015; this is his palmares:
48 Nat Perpignan ‘13          5,591 p.
50 Nat (z) Libourne ‘11       2,534 p.
342 Nat Barcelona ’13       10,542 p.
369 Nat Barcelona ’14         8,764 p.
508 Nat Barcelona ’15         7,791 p.

«Luna» wins a 98th Nat. Barcelona ‘12       11,590 p.
127 Nat Perpignan ‘12        6,661 p.

“Mira” wins a  41st Nat. Perpignan ’11        5,591 p.
52 Nat Barcelona ’12         11,590 p.

“Esperanza” wins a 14th Nat. Ace Barcelona 2012-2014
15 Nat Ace Perpignan 2012-2013
54 Nat Perpignan ’13        5,049 p.

Racing strategy

The team opted for classic widowhood in their early days, and they gradually switched to total and dry widowhood. However, they entirely switched to racing from the nest in 2012. This has been a bit of a trial-and-error in the first few years but they did their homework. They consulted a few Dutch colleagues and they talked to some renowned lofts in Belgium (Beens, Jellema, T. Hage, Christiaens-Desmedt, Rans) and they eventually developed an extensive nest and race strategy that they have fully mastered. Part of the team was fully darkened for the first time in 2019, with some other racing birds being partly darkened and some not at all, depending on when they had to be in peak form for their most important races. The nest pigeons did as many flights as possible, depending on their nest cycle. The two partners are raced from the same nest, which leads to fewer demotivated pigeons at the start of an important race. The team also used to organise additional training flights away from the loft, almost on a daily basis, but this approach has been finetuned as well. The pigeons are now taken away just a few times a week in the last 10 to 14 days before a major international race.

The stars of the team

“Jane” (BE16-2315007): 77th nat. Barcelona 2019.

Click here for Jane's pedigree.

“Samira” BE14-2141849: 100th nat. Barcelona 2018 and 27th nat. Ace Barcelona 17-18-19 (PIPA Ranking).

Click here for Samira's pedigree.

“Houdini” BE16-2284592: 30th nat. Barcelona '19.

Click here for Houdini's pedigree.

“EMIEL” (BE14-2141862): 57th nat. Barcelona '19.

Click here for Emiel's pedigree.

“NAFI” (BE15-2287222): 36th nat. Barcelona'19

Click here for NAFI's pedigree.

Team Haesen has not only excelled in Barcelona; they are getting solid results in Agen (828km) season after season as well:

2018 Agen Internat. 4,563 hens: 26-46-295-553-875-893 (6/16)
2017 Agen Internat. 4,269 hens: 20-31-104-107-207-222-341-349-454-565-629-763-781-905-919 (15/23)
2016 Agen Internat: ‘we forgot to double’
2015 Agen Internat. 2,412 hens: 31-41-88-152-166-562 (6/9)

Top 10 (inter)provincial 2015 -2018 (Liege Hesbaye)

2nd iprov. Chalons-sur-Saone’ 16 (473 olds)
2nd iprov. Montauban’15 (147 YBs)
2nd iprov. Barcelona’16 (1062 olds)
2nd iprov. Agen’17 (549 YBs)
4th iprov. Agen’15 (292 YBs)
4th iprov. Barcelona’18 (982 olds)
4th iprov. Barcelona’15 (913 olds)
4th iprov. Agen’18 (374 YBs)
6th iprov. Agen’18 (451 olds)
6th iprov. Agen’18 (374 YBs)
6th iprov. Agen’15 (292 YBs)
6th iprov. Narbonne’18 (608 olds)
6th iprov. Barcelona’18 (982 olds)
6th iprov. Perpignan’15 (593 olds)
6th iprov. Barcelona’17 (1235 olds)
7th iprov. Perpignan’15 (593 olds)
7th iprov. Barcelona’15 (931 olds)
8th iprov. Montauban’15 (147 YBs)
9th iprov. Perpignan’15 (593 olds)
10th iprov. Agen’15 (292 YBs)

Medical guidance & caretaking

From the moment our team really began to deliver, we left the medical guidance entirely to Karlo Van Rompaey from Zepperen, who focuses on a preventive approach (medical caretaking) and on improving the pigeons' natural resistance during the winter. All vaccinations are done in the spring, shortly before the start of the racing season, to ensure maximum protection during the racing months. Additionally, we consult the veterinary surgeon almost every week during the racing season, and right before or after an important event or race, to check if any of our pigeons has developed an infection (preventive approach). There were no medical treatments for tricho or respiratory diseases in the run-up to Barcelona 2019, because our team for Spain were perfectly resistant. There were only a few mild treatments for sick pigeons, in which case we followed Karlo's advice. The pigeons are trained with the flag or with a ball in the early season, and they are taken away up until Chimay, flying back home from Mettet (60 or 105km). They get an additional flight from Soissons in the weekend.

As far as diet and feed supplements go, the pigeons get a Van Robaeys mixture during the season, to which we add Zuivering, Super Dieet or Vlucht Exclusief, depending on the conditions. In the last few days before a race, the pigeons get some additional fat, in the form of Super Energy and/or TOVO, simply because they are trained more intensively. Needless to say, the pigeons get plenty of grit, pecking stone, vitaminerals, etc. in their loft as well. When building up towards a race, Karlo provides natural feed supplements to our racing birds. Our pigeons' natural resistance gets boosted in the winter and throughout the season with DAFLOR, BONY SGR, and BONY BIO BOOST. "We think our pigeons' recovery rate is of the utmost importance; we boost their recovery individually for races of more than 400km with a K&K protein pill of Rohnfried.

“Haesen 2022”

The Haesen Ludo & Kurt combination will continue to race from Zoutleeuw in 2020 and 2021. The lofts in Zoutleeuw will no longer be in use in 2022, since the team will be moving to Sint-Truiden, to race as Haesen Jense. That's right, the team is about to welcome its fourth generation of pigeon fanciers.

The family is still dreaming of winning an international victory in Barcelona one day, and they are in fact making some big plans. As a result, the Haesen family offers other Barcelona players and PIPA clients the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions in Barcelona: team Haesen is selling their entire racing team (the best racing birds) of Barcelona 2019, along with an exclusive offer from two absolute Barcelona stars.