Kristof with his wife and kids
Kristof Mortelmans has quite a few outstanding results to his name, including a title of 2nd Nat. Champion KBDB Longer Middle Distance Yearlings in 2015, and a title of 1st Nat. Ace Pigeon KBDB Extreme Long Distance in 2016 with Barcarcas Red. He was again in great form in 2017, as 2nd national champion KBDB extreme long distance + long distance yearlings.
Barcarcas 'Red Ace': 1st national ace pigeon extreme long distance 2016
His pigeons delivered again this season, winning a 1st provincial and 7th national perpignan with Ludo (BE15-6204628). Like most other racing birds, Ludo did his first training races in Quievrain (2x) and Noyon (2x), followed by two middle distance flights. Then came the races from Limoges, Cahors, St. Vincent and Perpignan. "I think this suits my two and three year old widowers really well", Kristof explains. Ludo never failed to win a prize, and he was steadily making progress, moving up the ranks. He started quietly with a 212th provincial of 1318 pigeons. Next up was Cahors, where he won a 52nd provincial of 671 pigeons. And he continued to make big steps, now winning a 4th Provincial and 118th National St. Vincent, as well as an impressive 1st Provincial and 7th National Perpignan a few weeks later. Ludo is a highly talented bird indeed, and he has the potential to become an ace pigeon one day!
Ludo, 1st provinciaal Perpignan, in his living box
If you take a closer look at Ludo's pedigree, you will not be surprised about his race winning abilities. His sire De Wittekop (BE13-6202950) is a direct son of Witpen Bont Koppel (BE11-1583976), one of Kristof's best breeders, and the sire of Spolle (1st provincial Montauban and 1st provincial Libourne 2015) and Kobe (1st provincial Marseille 2017). Ludo is also related to Kristof's number one stock breeder from his mother's side: the dam is a full sister of none other than De Jelle (BE12-4019141), winner of a 1st Provincial Libourne, a 2nd Provincial Limoges and a 2nd Provincial Montauban, before developing into an invaluable breeding cock. Click here for the full pedigree.
De Jelle, a world class breeder for the loft of Mortelmans
From classic tot total widowhood
"I raced in classic widowhood this season, with one loft being raced in total widowhood", Kristof says. "Turns out the strongest yearlings had been kept in total widowhood. That is why I intend to race all or most of my pigeons in total widowhood next year. This is much more convenient for me, and you can definitely get great results with this approach."
The young birds have had three races from Quievrain and 6 races from Noyon so far, which should be adequate. They get a diet low in protein up until two weeks before the first long distance races. I then switch over to race mixture, and they get fatty seeds for the extreme long distance as well, including peanuts, peeled sunflower seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and candy seeds.
Prevention is better than the cure
Kristof leaves nothing to chance when it comes to his pigeons' health. He explains: "They get a PMV and herpes vaccine twice a year, in April and December. The young birds receive the same vaccine after five weeks, and a second time four weeks later. From now on, the pigeons also get an annual smallpox vaccine in February. We use Trimethoprim Sulfa in November against paratyphus, and the pigeons are checked for tricho just before the start of the season. If the test turns out negative, I add a few yellow drops to the feed after each race. If the test is positive, there is a brief treatment. They get a treatment for respiratory diseases during the season only if it is really necessary; I prefer doxycycline (for 10 days). Before each long distance race at least two of my nominated pigeons are checked for trichomoniasis. Ludo discovered a tricho infection during his last check, and so he adminstered a pill before basketing. "Medical guidance is quite extensive in our team but prevention is better than the cure", Kristof says. "Some fanciers act when the damage is done but then it's often too late."
A closer look at the unusual pigeon lofts of Kristof Mortelmans
Pau: 30 of 248 pigeons (1/3) Agen olds: 21-55-71-90-93 of 520 pigeons (5/8) Agen yearlings: 11-16-19-24-79-97-111-133-142-165 of 500 pigeons (10/27) Barcelona: 106-109 of 911 pigeons (2/3) St.-Vincent: 4-15-49-101 of 324 pigeons (4/5) Marseille: 28-79 of 282 pigeons (2/4) Narbonne olds: 15-79 of 323 pigeons (2/3) Narbonne yearlings: 18-50-51-65-78-92 of 293 pigeons (6/11) Perpignan: 1-40 of 431 pigeons (2/7)