Norbert stopped being a full time veterinary surgeon more than five years ago, instead working in an abattoir on a part time basis. In addition, fanciers came by to have their pigeons checked by him. In other words, pigeon sport has been his main activity over the past ten years.
Norbert had quite a challenge on his hands after he sold all of his breeders and racers of 2011 and older in late 2012. He had two reasons for deciding to sell most of his pigeons: first of all, Norbert was general champion of Belgium in 2010, but he also managed to win the first, second and fourth national prize in the long distance classic form Souillac that season, which was quite an exceptional feat. In the following season, he won the title of General Champion in the Inter-West Flemish union for the third time in four seasons, and this is possibly the most prestigious award for the longer middle distance and the long distance competition in West Flanders.
It goes without saying that the pigeon fancier from Aarsele has put in a lot of effort to achieve so many successes. “Every season, I compete in all the races of the long distance calendar with 60 to 70 widowers, and I ring about 200 young birds, 100 of which are darkened and are basketed for every young birds’ race. There is so much work involved that is not really a hobby anymore”, Norbert says. Keep in mind that he carries out the daily caretaking of the pigeons entirely on his own. His son Stefan takes care of administrative tasks, he helps basketing the pigeons and he brings the clocks back to the club. Stefan follows the competition closely but he was not willing to invest too much time in the sport, because it is nothing more than a hobby to him. It was in the spring of 2012 that Norbert started to wonder if he would still be able to run the family on his own. Thomas Gyselbrecht understood the problem and he supported the idea of a total auction. The sale took place in December 2012 and it was a great success. It proves that many fanciers from Belgium and abroad appreciate the true value of the Ally pigeon breed.
In the 2012 season, Norbert had a round of summer youngsters besides his traditional round of early youngsters. These summer youngsters were mainly bred from his best racers, which were to be auctioned later on. The early youngsters of 2012 were tested thoroughly as yearlings in 2013, and Norbert was able to match the level of performance from before this total auction. He was second national champion yearlings in the prestigious inter-West Flemish championships and fifth champion of Belgium long distance yearlings. The stars of his loft were Den 341 (341/12) and Aaron (421/12). Aaron was seventh national ace pigeon long distance yearlings.
The 2013 season with the young birds and the summer youngsters of 2012 (which were trained together with the young birds of 2013) was not the easiest of seasons. This was due to birds of prey in winter, bad weather conditions in spring, and several losses in a number of bad races. This is really unfortunate, because his racing team had been bred from the breeders and racers that were sold in the 2012 auction. Luckily enough, he had placed a few of these pigeons in the breeding loft right away, instead of racing them first.
Norbert could use only half as much early youngsters as in previous seasons due to his total auction taking place in December 2012. To make things worse, Norbert lost several pigeons in the 2013 season and this means he had a lot less yearlings to choose from in 2014. Still, his small yearlings’ team for 2014 had several talented pigeons, including Neymar (093/14), which would win a second national prize from Brive this season.
He started this season with 60 widowers; 35 two year olds (including 15 very late youngsters) and 25 yearlings (basically all the pigeons that had made it through the 2013 season).
The long distance race from Tulle puts an end to the widowers’ season for Norbert Ally, who has already composed a team for next season. His selection is based on the results that the pigeons achieved during competition. The less experienced pigeons should aim to win prizes (per 10), but Norbert pays some attention to their pedigree and outside characteristics as well. Next season, their level of performance will be the only thing that matters. About 30 pigeons will make it to the team, as well as 35 young birds of 2014.
Norbert has bred as much young birds as possible last winter, using an entirely new team of breeders. This is a team of pigeons that have not been raced; they originate from the best breeders and racers sold in 2012, as well as a number of new introductions. He obviously bred a round of pigeons from his best racing birds of 2012 and 2013 as well. Norbert wants to learn a lot about this new racing team by extensively testing his young birds of 2014.
The widowers reach their best form in the month of July, which explains why the fancier from Aarsele took three national top 10 results in just three weeks’ time.
Aaron (421/12) wins 7th national old birds (7,221 p.) from Limoges II (5 July)
pigeons in the widowers’ loft from 2007 to 2010. He was first nominated in Norbert’s team for Souillac in 2010, the team that won an impressive first, second and fourth national prize. Lucky finished in fourth and he was sold together with the first and second national. Norbert was able to breed a few youngsters from him shortly before he was sent to China. He was paired to a hen of Erik Limbourg (a full sister of Bonten Patron, Beaty 530 Patron,…) and together they bred Aaron (591/10) in 2010. The dam of Aaron stems directly from Ally’s top class breeding pair Ronaldo x d. Zorro 618, which his friends K&B Deltour from Zillebeke had purchased from Norbert when he sold a round of late youngster in Rekkem in 2007. The BE12-3111421 has been successful in races from Arras (89km) all the way to Brive (663km). Norbert knows very well that Aaron is quite a special pigeon, and he was relieved to see Aaron arrive home on Saturday morning after being released in Brive on Friday.
Neymar (093/13) wins 2nd national yearlings (3,850 p.) from Brive (18 July)
Neymar proved to be a highly talented pigeon by also winning a 54th national as a yearling from Limoges II (6907 p.) this season, as well as a (preliminary) 40th national prize from Tulle (5735 p.). This led to a coefficient of 1.5% over three long distance flights.
The sire of Neymar is Schalie Souillac (514/10). He was the second best racer in the widowers’ team of 2012 behind Lucas (506/101). He won a sixth national from Souillac (7760 p.) in 2012, and he originates from the two top class breeders Speedy Boy x Superbliksemgirl.
The dam of the BE13-3126093 is a hen of Marc Pollin bred from his famous Provinciaal Poitiers. She is a full sister of the 2nd national Bordeaux yearlings 2012 for Marc Pollin.
De Jarnac (310/12) wins a 2d national old birds (3,760 p.) from Jarnac (28 July), as the second fastest of a total of 7,460 pigeons
Jarnac arrived home in the pouring rain, hovering over a nearby cornfield. It was for the second time in two weeks that another pigeon from Belgium proved to be slightly faster than him. This was very unfortunate for Norbert, because Jarnac had performed really well on 28 July.
He is a grandson of Norbert’s famous top racer and breeder Federer (674/04) and top class breeding hen Daughter Zorro 618 (a direct Norman N & F) from his father’s side. The dam of Jarnac, the BE09-3018017, did really well as a youngster, winning a 7th provincial from Gueret (2175 p.). She was bred from a cock of Ally paired to daughter Aske of Cools-Blancke.
Den 341 (341/12): a great champion in today's team of widowers
This pigeon should be included in this list for sure. The 341 was clearly the best young cock of 2012, winning a 58th national Argenton (25,949 p.) and a 31st zonal Gueret (7174 p.) that season. These two races took place in very tough weather. He lived up to the expectations as a yearling, winning a 4th national La Souterraine (11,263 p.) and a 29th national Souillac (36414 p.). He finished in fifth in the national championship yearlings long distance 2013 together with Aaron (412/12). The 341 won several top prizes in 2014 as well.
Den 341 was the result of a joint breeding with Gaston Van de Wouwer. The sire of Den 341 is a son of Gaston’s top class breeding hen Dochter Kaasboer 018/07. The dam of Den 341 is another daughter of Ronaldo, the Daughter Ronaldo 304.
Interestingly, both the Den 341 and Aaron are grandsons of Norbert Ally’s famous stock breeder Ronaldo, who is also the sire of the 1st National Souillac 2010. The descendants of Ronaldo have been discussed in an article that was published during the auction of 2012. Click here for an updated overview.
Most important results of 2014
Norbert makes no secret of his ambitions. He aims to make it to the top in the longer middle distance and the long distance, just like before his auction in 2012. The generation of 2012 (the pigeons he kept in the loft) proved to be very strong, and it included three great talents: Aaron, Den 341 and the hen Gouda (one of the very best young birds of Belgium in the longer middle distance in her year of birth - click here for a picture of Gouda and click here for her the pedigree). In the relatively small team of yearlings of 2014, one pigeon really stood out: Neymar. Breeding such a talented pigeon is quite exceptional, but this is what Norbert Ally strives for. When he sold his collection of breeders and racers in late 2012, he had to build up an entirely now breeders’ team. This team has to bring new generations of top quality racing pigeons in Aarsele, which is quite a challenge that involves a lot of work. Robert intended to spend less time in his pigeon loft, but it seems that was easier said than done. However, he would still like to have more time to spend with his family and to tend his garden. That is why he does not plan to race with a team of yearlings or old hens. He also continues to adopt the same methods as he did before his auction. He races a team of yearlings and old cocks in classic widowhood and his focus is on the longer middle distance and the long distance. However, he wants to gain a few results in the young birds’ competition as well, but it is not easy to beat fanciers who focus entirely on their young birds’ team. Norbert thinks racing young birds in total widowhood takes too much effort, and so he prefers the sliding door. Norbert races his hens in their year of birth, and so they are put at higher risk compared to his cocks.