Narbonne heralds the end of the long distance season for 2012. Next weekend we have the race from Perpignan and that’s it. For Narbonne the pigeons were released after a one day delay at 8 h 15. Most of the pigeons from The Netherlands had some showers (and a thunderstorm) in the last few hours of their race so most of them were forced to spend the night out.
Kees van Aert
Kees van Aert was waiting for his pigeons to arrive when a heavy shower fell down. When the rain stopped he saw his Vale 10-378 arrive home at 20 h 25:25 after a race of 931 kms. This pigeon was eventually the 1st national against 4,303 pigeons, because no other pigeon had managed to reach a velocity of 1,275 m/min. Kees is familiar with winning good results and first prizes. In 1992 he took the national win from Perpignan and a year later he won a second prize WESM. More than 20 years later Kees is still winning top prizes: a 15th national Pau, a 23th national Tarbes, a 117th national Bordeaux (old birds) and now a 1st national Narbonne.
Kees has been retired since January 2011. He had been working in the clothing industry for 20 years, after which he became a salesman for construction materials for another 20 years.
The Aarden line forms the basis of this family of pigeons. They come from Adriaan van Bergen from Steenbergen and Willy van de Luijtgaarden from Noordhoek. Kees had bought a round of eggs and a few pigeons from them in the autumn of 1985. Kees also purchased a son of Paudoffer of Van de Luijtgaarden. This Paudoffer has won for instance a 2nd, 20th and 51st national Pau. This line originates back to the famous 500 line of Chiel van Agtmaal. Kees called this son of Paudoffer, Willy and Willy was in his turn a father of a 1st national Perpignan, an 11th national Tarbes, 42th national Pau, 48th international San Sebastian etc. Later on Kees had used the same lines and he has purchased some pigeons from Leo Kouters as well. After the death of Willy van de Luijtgaarden, it was his wish to give all his pigeons to Kees van Aert. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse so all of his pigeons are now in the lofts of Kees.
His latest addition to his lofts was a pair from B. Jansen & Co from Bavel. This breeding couple has a proven track record and has bred the winner of the national Narbonne 2012 in The Netherlands.
On top of the garage there is a twelve meter long loft with four sections. This loft houses the old cocks, the stock pigeons and the yearlings. There is a second loft in the garden for the widowers and the breeders. The loft above the garage is made of stone and has a wooden front. One of the sections is especially reserved for a team of old cocks for the one day middle distance. The other compartment of old cocks is used for the long distance racers. This team consists of 19 old cocks as the hens stay at home. Before the cocks are basketed the hens are not shown and there is no nest either, as they are basketed as quietly as possible. The 12 old nesting hens are in a different section and are paired with the cocks that have performed well, but who do not race anymore. The yearlings are raced on semi-widowhood and they do not have a breeding box. Their first real race is usually the overnight race from Limoges, which takes place in September.
The pigeons are trained twice a day. In the last few weeks the youngsters will be moved to a separate section; the old birds and the youngsters can now be released simultaneously. For the feed Kees relies on the mixtures of V. Tilburg, especially the Versele-Lage mixtures. He mixes five portions of Gerry Plus, a portion of Champion Plus and a portion of Superstar Plus to get an easily digestible meal. In the last three days he adds some Energy Plus and he gives his birds some peanuts. He wants his pigeons to increase their natural resistance. That is why he adds garlic and cider vinegar to the drinking water throughout the year. He regularly adds some beer yeast with garlic oil to the feed as well. The pigeons get a lot of grit and red stone as well.
Kees is on excellent terms with his neighbour and vet J.C.M. Konings. They see each other every week to discuss their pigeons. There is a medical checkup once, twice or three times a year and Kees follows the advice of the vet.
The winner from Narbonne is a two year old cock that was raced on widowhood, just like most of the other birds in the loft. He stems from two pigeons that came from Fran Jansen of Bavel. His sire is NL04-778 (vale Fran) who has some Aarden and Theelen origins. The dam of this national winner is NL04-372 (Lichte Fran). She is a descendant of several Cor de Heijde stock birds and she has some Theelen origins as well. This breeding pair has bred several very good racing pigeons. As a yearling the winner of Narbonne took a 850th prize in the national from Bordeaux against 4,084 pigeons. This season he took a 51st regional prize against 216 pigeons in the same race. There was no national classification because Kees was sick and he had not clocked the rubber rings. He knew the consequences of this so it was not much of a problem. This cock does not train very hard but the trainings with the young cocks might have stimulated him to make an extra effort.
Kees favours morning releases. In races with a release at noon the pigeons have to fly at night a lot and that’s not his ideal race but despite this he baskets his pigeons for every race. He has 19 cocks and 12 hens for the long distance races, which is a relatively small team, but he considers racing his yearlings more often in long distance races. That would give him more options.
In the race from Perpignan he intends to race more pigeons than usual: since his win in 1992 this race is something special to him. Who knows if he could take another win here?